Saturday, January 16, 2016

WymmTea: Tengtiao Dian Hong Black From Ancient Tea Tree, A Tea Review

With the most recent Minecraft update we got bunnies, oh so adorable hoppy fluff balls of happiness. I love them so much, though along with this addition we got a change to wolf mechanics, that change is they attack skeletons and bunnies, along with sheep from previously. I don't care about the sheep, the skeletons being attacked is hilarious, but I hate how I am watching a bunny and a wolf comes out of nowhere and eats it. It just makes me so sad! I built a bunny sanctuary to keep at least some of them safe from the ravenous wolves, nature you so cruel sometimes.

Recently on Instagram WymmTea had a little giveaway for a sample of their new Tengtiao Dian Hong Black From Ancient Tea Tree tea, and I was selected as one of the winners. If you have even a passing familiarity with my tea rambling or my Instagram, you probably know I have a serious obsession with Dian Hong, I love Hong Cha in general but Dian Hong is like a drug to me. I just can't help myself from guzzling it in enormous amounts. This specific Dian Hong comes from Mengku, and is made from the same Maocha that if processed differently, would be their Tengtiao Cane Sheng Puerh. The aroma of the pretty curly leaves has a lot going on, it is malty and sweet with notes of molasses and sweet potatoes, a touch of camphor, black pepper, distant rose, roasted acorn squash, and a finish of myrrh and peanuts. It has some very iconic notes of a Dian Hong, which I like, smells very classic to me with a few added bonuses, specifically in the myrrh and camphor.

I had enough for several steepings, and tried it both in my duanni yixing gaiwan and fancy new teapot, in typical me fashion I have already motored through my sample, because I chug Dian Hong like crazy. The aroma of the soggy leaves is quite rich, notes of cocoa and malt with honey and underlying squash and pepper with a slight resinous myrrh undertone. The liquid is malty and sweet, with cocoa and honey, roasted peanuts and yam, and a slight undertone of myrrh. It is not terribly nuanced but it does smell nice.

The first steep is mild and sweet, with a very light mouthfeel. It starts with sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts with undertones of honey and cocoa. At the finish there is a gentle rose nectar that lingers into the aftertaste, sadly the aftertaste does not last overly long. This is a very light first steeping.

Second steep, the aroma is very sweet and rich, strong notes of sweet potatoes and brown sugar with molasses and peanuts, kinda reminds me of baked sweet potatoes with extra honey, yum! Like the first steep this one is light and has an incredibly light mouthfeel, it seems to lack body. The taste is malty and sweet, with notes of molasses and sweet potatoes with an accompaniment of honey and pepper. At the finish there is a mineral note and an aftertaste of cocoa.

Third steeping, the aroma is still pretty sweet, with honey and sweet potatoes, nuttiness and molasses, again it makes me think of baked sweet potatoes (just without the marshmallows because no, just no) and to be honest I really want some of that now. The taste is still light and still sweet, with very little body. It has notes of sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts with gentle cocoa and black pepper. At the finish is a bit of rose that lingers. What this tea lacks in body it does make up for in staying power, it just does not quit. The other night I pushed it past ten steeps and even though it was light and did not really evolve much, it was happily chugging along, so I definitely give it that. I have mixed feelings overall on this tea, I liked the taste and the staying power, though I wish it had more of a thick mouthfeel and richer flavor. I tried upping the leaf amount and that made it way too astringent for my liking, and Grandpa/Bowl steeping it was a disaster, so it is a bit limited. To be a favorite Dian Hong it has to hold up to Grandpa/Bowl steeping so I can take it with me in my travel infuser.

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