Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Nannuoshan: Comparing Chocolaty Chinese Black Teas

I love Hong Cha, the delightful sweet and soothing leaf known to many just as Chinese black tea, it is a deeply varied category that I am very happy to explore. Today I decided to compare a pair of teas that have a strong chocolate profile, showing how they are similar and yet quite different!

Da Fo Hong Cha

This tea is fun, it is the same as dragonwell green, but as a black tea, and you all know my love of tea that is made into something it usually isn't. The aroma is malty and chocolaty with side notes of molasses and a woody finish. The steeped tea is very sweet, like honey, molasses, and a large amount of melted milk chocolate, it is pretty mouthwatering! Tasting the tea is a treat, it is very creamy, again the idea of milk chocolate comes to mind, along with a hint of stewed pear and a finish of distant flowers. This tea is getting a bit of age on it, and I love the way black teas mellow out with age, when I first tried this tea a while ago it had a stronger woody taste and no floral aftertaste, seeing how it changes is a delicious adventure. One thing I really like about this tea is you can do anything to it, I am not sure why but it seems this is the tea I go to when I am frazzled and end up forgetting it, but even oversteeped it is sweet and good.

Zhenghe Gongfu

Ah, Fujian black teas, these are my weaknesses, the teas that I find very comforting and only drink when I need a mood boost, unlike some other Chinese black teas that I just drink whenever! This one is very aromatic, strong notes of cocoa pods, molasses, and ok honestly this tea smells like fresh brownies, complete with a thick cake like aroma. There is a family recipe that Ben's family makes for birthdays, a very rich and sweet chocolate cake, as recipes go it has been tweaked over the years to not be as rich and to be more like a cake rather than something godlike. Well I got my hands on the recipe and....ummm...altered it to be more rich, and if you were to take that rich chocolate, malty, molasses heavy cake and make it into a tea you would end up with this. It is so rich and sweet, and conveniently is another tea you can do just about anything to and end up with a delicious cup. I am fond of tossing this one in a thermos, just leaves and water and drinking it as it goes from light and sweet to full on serving of molasses chocolate cake.

These teas were a gift

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