Tuesday, May 17, 2016

White2Tea May Teaclub: Six Fujian Red Teas, Part 2

Carrying on from yesterday looking at White2Tea's May Teaclub full of Fujian Black Tea goodness! Ah, hong cha, I never tire of drinking you...be it from Fujian, Yunnan, Sichuan...or of course Taiwan, you have stolen my heart. Sappy tea love aside, let us return to the adventure in the leaves!

Black Buddha- Made from the Jinguanyin cultivar, it is listed as being similar to an oolong/black tea hybrid, which is fun. The aroma of this one struck me as a little odd, since so far it is the only one with any smoky notes, I was expecting that from the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. The smoke notes are so faint that they seem ghostly, like an incredibly distant and dying campfire, or slightly charred skin of a grilled yam. It has a mineral quality too, like wet slate, and a subtle sweetness like brown sugar.

The first thing that struck me about this tea was the difference between the aroma of the leaves and the tea, the smoky and mineral notes are gone and now there are just brown sugar, honey, yams, and a tiny bit of floral. Tasting the tea it is smooth and sweet, with a tiny bit of a woody not quite sour but certainly salivary inducing finish that is gone by the second steep. I notice this same quality with a lot of rock oolongs as well, very good at producing saliva.

Wild Tree Black-This one is made from a wild varietal native to Wuyi, and of the teas from this set I have looked at so far it sports the largest leaves. Big ol curly things that certainly look like something from Wuyi! The aroma is GOOD, I spent the entire time my kettle was zombie-ing its way to life sniffing the leaves, and I picked up notes of honey and cocoa, yams and toasted oats, and a distant floral note reminiscent of magnolias of all things. I think this is the first red tea I have had that has that note, which is awesome.

Awww, the floral notes vanished upon steeping, but that is ok, because the taste is still really good. I am not sure it is some sort of psychosomatic thing, but wild trees always seem to taste...well...wild, more like nature and less like food. True there are the notes of yams and cocoa, but there are note of pine wood, mineral, mountain air, and in later steeps the gardenia notes gently return. It is like walking in the mountains and drinking water from a spring...if somehow that water was already tea. This was a wonderful session that lasted many steeps, drinking it made me feel like I was in another place, even if the effect was all in my brain, it was nice regardless.

Black Meizhan-Made from the Meizhan varietal, which sent me a few wild goose chases while researching, but it is frequently made into oolongs. This tea smells really good too! Notes of distant flowers and lychee blended with almonds and cocoa. It is a very sweet and creamy smelling pile of leaves, a contrast with the previous tea's more nature like aroma, this smells more like dessert.

Wow, this tea! It is immensely sweet, kinda took me by surprise! Like a mouth full of juicy lychees and marzipan with honeysuckles and cocoa. The most fun part of this tea is the almost explosive salivary effect, it was almost like biting into a tangy orange but without any of the taste, it made me drool a bit. This was a bit diminished as the later steeps went on, which I am a little glad for, that was immensely intense, but it was also fun. The tanginess is replaced with gentle woodiness, but there is still a good bit of sweetness of lychees and almonds many steeps in.

I really enjoyed all of these, but I think if I had to pick favorites it would be Little Red and Wild Tree Black, both were very different but their notes were ones I adored.

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