Thursday, June 30, 2016

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Organic Wuyi Black Tea, A Tea Review

Today I woke up to my definition of perfect weather, lovely storms, cool temperature, a brisk breeze, and torrential downpours. I have been in a good mood ever since, granted mostly because it is a comfortable temperature, but being woken up by storms was wonderful. It is one of the big differences between Kansas City and the South, here it storms frequently but there can be weeks without storms or rain, in the South it seemed like it stormed (though not always rain) almost everyday. Granted that could be my slightly skewed memories, since it was a while ago, but it seemed like thunder was a daily thing.

I find it a little funny that I am waiting to the last day of June to review Eco-Cha's June Tea Club offering, but man have I had a mountain of teas to review this month, I might be a bit behind. So, presenting Organic Wuyi Black Tea, a tea that really quite cool, if you look at the pictures on Eco-Cha's blog covering this tea, the farm is beautiful, baby tea plants surrounded by wildflowers and native plants, certainly one of the most organic looking farms I have seen! Plus it is really neat that these are Wuyi plants growing in Taiwan, as with previous batches of Eco-Cha's teas I recommend giving the pair of blogs a read, as it provides a wealth of information on this particular tea. Onto the tasting notes themselves, starting of course, with the aroma! The long spindly leaves have quite the unique aroma, notes of sun dried tomatoes, cocoa, lychees, plums, coconut, papaya, and molasses with just the tiniest undertone of cooked sweet potatoes giving it a starchy quality. That dried tomato note might seem odd, but it adds a tanginess to keep the other notes from being too heavy, I find it really works when a hong cha shows up with a tomato quality.

After the leaves get their first steep in my Taiwanese Hong Cha Yixing (yes, they get their own teapot) the aroma is quite potent! Malty sweet, molasses and chocolate rich, with underlying plum notes dance with an almost herbaceous quality, it is like oregano but without the spice/peppery quality, and even a little thyme. Perhaps it is the lovely photos of the wild looking farm playing with my subconscious, but it smells like nature. It is immensely hard to pinpoint, but it reminds me of being out in garden during summer after the rain, it is incredibly evocative of my childhood. The aroma of the liquid is creamy to the point of being buttery, like cocoa butter and sweet cream drizzled over plums and lychee with a tiny hint of fruit wood. It smells really yummy.

First steep, using the cup that came along with this month's club, a beautiful little thing with a pair of nightingales on a blossoming plum branch, which is one of my favorite motifs. Ok, from the first sip of this tea I am in love, it is immensely creamy and thick, it has the buttery thickness of an oolong but the taste of a hong cha, that mouthfeel alone is perfection. The taste starts subtle, with gentle sweetness that builds into creamy lychees and plums with an underlying cocoa note. It is malty and rich, with a finish of molasses and a distant and incredibly faint herbaceous note.

The aroma of the second steep somehow manages to be sweeter, with even stronger notes of plum and lychee and lingering notes of cocoa and molasses, the sweetness is intense. The mouthfeel, like the first steep, is immensely thick and smooth, I am so awed by it that I almost pay too much attention to it instead of the taste...which is a mistake...because the taste is amazing. Strong notes of plums, papaya, and lychees with a drizzling of cocoa, molasses, and raw honey. Underneath these notes is a sweet and tangy fruit wood and lingering toffee which sticks around into the aftertaste.

Third steep's aroma is intense, strong sweetness and wonderfully rich chocolate covered plums and lychees, with a surprisingly hint of goji berries at the finish, which I think is the first time I have run into that note when there have not actually been gojis present. The mouthfeel of this steep is a little less creamy than the previous, giving it a bit of briskness. The taste is a bit woody along with the chocolate and lychee note. Surprisingly around the middle notes of goji berry and oregano pop up, making this one of the most unique teas I have had. Ben also loved it, he kept coming back for each steep wanting more!

This tea was purchased by me.

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