Today I am looking at Golden Tea Leaf Golden Red Tea (Small Leaf) feeding my addiction to Taiwanese red/black teas! By this point, we all know I love teas from Taiwan, indulging frequently in their oolongs, however you can get them everywhere (heck my local Asian Market has some roasted Dong Ding that is decent if you are in need of a fix) my other love is their reds, but they are harder to get. Not impossible mind you, but certainly something I have to go to specialist vendors to get rather than getting a fix from a local market or tea shop. This of course means I cannot indulge as often as I want, and when I do have some it tends to disappear very quickly, so when Golden Tea Leaf asked me to pick out some teas to review, I went for their selection of reds, including this lovely tea! The aroma of the dry leaves is fascinating, like a blend of a Red Jade and a Alishan Black, mixing malt and squash with a delicate cinnamon and nutmeg, with an underlying goji berries and lychee with a very distant finish of dried papaya. Man, now I want dried papaya, one of my favorite snacks! I enjoyed how it smelled both fruity and sweet while also being a bit tangy and brisk, like I said the aroma is a fascinating combo.
The aroma of the wet leaves inside my clay pot (Yixing dedicated to only Taiwanese blacks, yeah that is how I roll) is red, this is one of those teas where when I sniff it my mind lights up with color making it hard to perceive notes, though that would be a boring review. The notes that waft from my pot are red peppercorn, cinnamon, dry wood, chocolate, hazelnut, and a bit of goji berries at the finish. It smells rich, though not particularly sweet. The liquid has the sweetness, creamy cocoa and goji berries mix with nuttiness and a touch of papaya.
For the first steep, the texture manages to be thick, slippery, smooth and a bit brisk all at the same time. It is a party in my mouth! The taste is pretty light, notes of squash and squash blossom, a hint of cocoa at the finish, a brisk woody middle. It is a pleasant start with an interesting complexity while being mellow.
The second steep has a similar mouthfeel, with slight increase to the smoothness. Wow, this steep is fascinating (I keep using this word!) it is both rich and sweet, spicy, and brisk without being too brisk, a woody quality blending with distinct red pepper and clove note that ends into a cacao shell and papaya finish. It really does remind me of a hybrid of a Red Jade and Alishan Black, so fun!
So the third steep was a mistake, by mistake I mean I got distracted and accidentally let it steep for like twenty minutes. I was leery, thinking it would be super bitter, but no! It was sweet and creamy with notes of papaya and goji berries with a gentle mineral and chocolate undertone. The aftertaste has a touch of hazelnuts which linger quite a while. That surprising finish let me know that this tea would be good for those who like western style and grandpa steeping, so yay for versatility!
This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.