Monday, September 5, 2016

Yunnan Sourcing: Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea * Spring 2016, A Tea Review

Happy Labor Day everyone, I hope you are having a fantastic holiday weekend. I am not doing anything special, well Ben has off from work today so we might play some Magic, but other than that it is just a day without mail. I know one exciting thing I will be doing today, cooking! Making sure Ben has lunch for the week, it will be a grand event.

Today's tea is another hong cha from Yunnan Sourcing, Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea * Spring 2016 in my ongoing quest to go all Pokemon with all the red teas. You know, there are a lot of tea blogs out there, and several of them are very single focused, usually on Puerh but also several on Greens and Oolongs, if I am not careful I could easily become a blog dedicated to the world of reds, so I have to limit myself a little...only a little though. So, first with the sniffing, and what good sniffing it is! It is both light and rich, not one of those red teas that smacks you in the face with a bar of chocolate and pile of malt, this is subtle caramel peanut brittle, gentle malt, subtle mineral notes, and a bit of a fresh woodsy quality, like someone snapped an oak twig next to my nose, but one that has gone dry rather than being green. Recently dry, not soggy and rotting.

Oh hey! A peppery red! It seems like the last couple of year's Dian Hongs have been lacking in the pepper department, so it is nice to run into one with that note. Alongside the pepper is a stronger note of malt, some sweet molasses, and a nice undertone of peanuts. The aroma of the first steep is lovely, very 'Dian Hong' with notes of toasted peanuts, malt, molasses, and sweet caramel. I was a little surprised I could not detect any yammy goodness, but not all teas have the orange tuber as a note.

Well hello mouthfeel! This one is not so much smooth as it is slippery, like thinned down okra and that is super fun, it is like a slip and slide in my mouth but with tea! It starts with this smooth slippery quality, but by the time I have swallowed it the texture turns to a more familiar thickness. The taste is delightfully sweet, starting with honey and caramel and moving to malt and sweet potatoes with a finish of peanuts and a touch of very distant roses.

The second steep brings in a fascinating change, distant notes of patchouli and myrrh in the aroma along with the sweet caramel and molasses, I love when tea gets that resinous quality (though technically patchouli is leafy, but shh.) The slippery quality of the first steep is replaced by thick smoothness that sticks around the full steep. The taste has a tangy woody cocoa shell quality that blends really well with a sweet potato and molasses middle. The finish is gentle resinous myrrh and a lingering aftertaste of caramel coated peanuts, yum!

Did I go for a steep three? You betcha, I also went for a steep nine but I won't bore you all with the details in the middle. This tea does not really change a lot between steep two and the inevitable finish, but this is not a bad thing since when it reaches its stride the stride tastes lovely. I really liked how it could be a solid daily drinker or a special occasion tea and plan on adding more to my collection.

This tea came from a tea trade with tea friends.

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