Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Teavivre: Organic Jinhao Golden Tip Black Tea, A Tea Review

I am having too much fun painting my Chaos dudes, deciding to make my Khorne hoard zombies was a fantastic choice. Currently I am working on the big guy, Skuldrak (because Warhammer names) and I modled his paint scheme after a Magic card (since MTG's take on zombies is what I am going with) called Liliana's Reaver and as I finish shading the skin I can say this was a great choice.

In case it is not completely clear, I am on a mission to try all the Hongchas from all over Asia, if I can gongfu it, I want it, so I was very excited when I found Teavivre's Organic Jinhai Golden Tip Black Tea. This fuzzy golden tea hails from Guangxi, China, a region probably most familiar to those who pay attention to tea regions for the production of Liu Bao, but there are quite a few teas that come from there...like this one! Sniffing this tea I can certainly say it is a unique one, unlike the Fujian, Yunnan, and Taiwanese Hongchas I am most familiar with. It starts with notes of tomato and malt, then moves to woodiness, cloves, saffron, lychees, and a touch of distant anise. Complex brisk and sweet, with herbaceous undertones makes for a fun adventure for my nose. It would be a lie to say it was not love at first sniff, but you all know me and my obsession with the glory of red teas.

I tossed the leaves into my gaiwan and went to town pretty instantly, once steeped the aroma kinda blew my mind a bit. Notes of strong cherry and lychees, with honey, anise, sassafras, and saffron. It is fascinating, if I was to compare it to other reds/blacks I have tried it is similar to a Red Jade with that sassafras, clove, and cherry note but that is where the comparison ends. The liquid is fruity and sweet, notes of cherry, mango, lychee combine with woody cocoa pods, saffron, anise, and a finish of sassafras. What a fascinating blend of notes, I keep using fascinating, have I proven this tea is fascinating yet?

The first steep had a pleasantly smooth and light mouthfeel, bordering on almost buttery which was surprising. The taste was not light, it was rich and full, starting with anise and sassafras with just a hint of clove. It then moves on to sweet potatoes, chocolate, and a bit of woodiness in the middle. The end is sweetness, the sweetness of lychee and goji berries with a hint of lingering cherries in the aftertaste, and boy does that aftertaste linger!

On to the second steep! The aroma is like the first steep, but with stronger anise and sassafras, it is sweet and potent! This steep is rich and bold, the taste is not as sweet as the first steep, instead the richness of cocoa and sweet potatoes and the herbaceous notes of cloves and saffron take the dominant notes at the front and midtaste. In the end, the taste picks up the sweet cherries and lychees with a hint of sassafras and anise. The aftertaste is cherries like the first steep and it lingers for quite a while.

This tea lingers on for many steeps, being similar to the second steep where the richness dominates over the sweetness for four more steeps, and then for the last three fruity sweetness returns. I really enjoyed this tea, and not just because I am obsessed with Hongcha or because it is from a region I don't explore very often! I enjoyed it because it has flavor notes I greatly enjoy and found its long lingering aftertaste to be delicious. Also, it behaves very well bowl steeping style, which is always a plus, brewing versatility is a wonderful thing. I seem to be saying it a lot lately, but this tea is a favorite and I want more!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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