What Black Are You Drinking

Oxidized tea
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debunix
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Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:27 pm

I bought a variety of blacks from Yatra tea and I’m finally opening them....just in time for the opening of sparkling tea season as the weather turns warm. This conversation makes me happy!
TeaTotaling
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Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:07 am

DJ Don’s “pinnacle” JJM. “Every 10g contains about 1000-1500 hand rolled buds picked from the Xing Cun Xiao Zhong Wuyi Lapsang tea plant.”

Actually, quite good, with a luxurious and oily mouthfeel. Lots of warming spices and dark fruits. Chocolaty with very present lychee. A warming tea on a warm afternoon ☀️♥️☀️
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klepto
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Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:40 pm

2020 Yuchi Wild Black Tea:
I haven't had that many black teas but I've been on a mission to try tea types that I haven't given much love.
This one was really good, nice complexity, tastes great and lingers for a long time.
The only notes I could pull out were cherries, cacao and something very close to a rum cake.
In between steeps flavors were popping in and out so it was difficult to pick up on everything
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mbanu
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Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:39 pm

Today it is Jiuqu Hongmei from a Hangzhou subsidiary of the Zhejiang Tea Group, ordered through Wing Hop Fung after fooling around with the ImportYeti Bill of Lading tracker and discovering that, for an American company, they direct-imported a lot of tea from the Zhejiang Tea Group. Imported doesn't mean the same as sold, sadly -- the higher-grade yellow tin I bought turned out to be from 2019.

I think that it was a demand for pre-Qingming longjing that got them into direct-importing, with the black tea more as a curiosity? The standard grade seems to sell better, as the one I received was an autumn flush 2020, so maybe a good choice if anyone likes or is curious about black tea from Zhejiang.

An interesting thing is that it has an English-language label and top, which is different than the standard version. Wing Hop Fung sort of acknowledges this in the listing for their standard grade, in that they keep the advertising material that has the original label with no English on the same page as their English-language export packaging version, even though it is for a different grade. (The standard version is "beige label" I guess, rather than white-label.)

Frustratingly, the Hangzhou subsidiary doesn't seem to have a website, so there isn't an easy way to verify "this is the English-language packaging" vs. "this is a counterfeit" other than that Wing Hop Fung direct-imports tea from the Zhejiang Tea Group and I imagine that selling the two side-by-side would cause problems for them.

*Edit: There was an image of the Chinese-language beige-label on the Zhejiang Tea Group's larger website, tucked into a product line-up, and it looks like the English-language version is doing a little color-inflation. :) For the Chinese version, the beige-label is their 1-leaf-and-a-bud pre-Qingming version, which explains why Wing Hop Fung used the advertising for the white-label, which is the 2-leaves-and-a-bud post-Qingming version.
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debunix
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Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:34 am

mbanu wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:39 pm
Today it is Jiuqu Hongmei from a Hangzhou subsidiary of the Zhejiang Tea Group, ordered through Wing Hop Fung after fooling around with the ImportYeti Bill of Lading tracker and discovering that, for an American company, they direct-imported a lot of tea from the Zhejiang Tea Group.
Interesting insight into WHF. Food for thought.
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mbanu
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Mon May 03, 2021 2:20 pm

Wanted to try the lower-grade Wing Hop Fung Jiuqu Hongmei while it was still in the six-month window. It was superior to the 2019 high-grade tea in every way -- really blew it out of the water. Not that surprising, I guess, as at two years old the yellow-label would be tired even for a Chinese whole-leaf tea. Sometimes it is easy to forget this with the current online tea-marketing trend being to argue that tea never goes bad, so old tea must be good. Maybe I should try a side-by-side later to make sure I wasn't just lucky in my brewing today.
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klepto
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Tue May 04, 2021 4:18 pm

Had some Ancient Spring from Whispering Pines Tea:

It tastes to me just like Lao Man E, sweet woods with herbs and spices. Heavy aroma, very good.
I might have to dig that green peacock cake out and try it again.
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wave_code
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Mon May 10, 2021 10:16 am

I haven't had any black tea in a long time now, so warm weather felt like as good a time as any to try and change that. I tried a Ruby 18 from Taiwan Tea Crafts this morning and thought it was terrible. I have no idea if its a typical or good example for that cultivar or processing and I just don't care for it, or if this is a really bad example, or I'm just brewing it way off. Although on the brewing I think it is not that anything was out of balance or overly strong, just found the whole thing unpleasant. Like a light black tea, some expected malt flavors but more on the light and fruity side, no astringency but mainly just really strong floral character to me which I find extremely off putting. Made a couple rounds but didn't even finish it. Still another 15 grams to see if I can get this to my liking, but I have a feeling this is just really not my tea. In fact it seems none of their teas have been so far- pearl black/oolong and the baozhong I opened also I really didn't care for, so this is now 3 for 3 of their teas I won't even be finishing.
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Bok
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Mon May 10, 2021 10:58 am

wave_code wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 10:16 am
I haven't had any black tea in a long time now, so warm weather felt like as good a time as any to try and change that. I tried a Ruby 18 from Taiwan Tea Crafts this morning and thought it was terrible. I have no idea if its a typical or good example for that cultivar or processing and I just don't care for it, or if this is a really bad example, or I'm just brewing it way off. Although on the brewing I think it is not that anything was out of balance or overly strong, just found the whole thing unpleasant. Like a light black tea, some expected malt flavors but more on the light and fruity side, no astringency but mainly just really strong floral character to me which I find extremely off putting. Made a couple rounds but didn't even finish it. Still another 15 grams to see if I can get this to my liking, but I have a feeling this is just really not my tea. In fact it seems none of their teas have been so far- pearl black/oolong and the baozhong I opened also I really didn't care for, so this is now 3 for 3 of their teas I won't even be finishing.
Sounds about right for ruby 18, yuk hate that stuff.
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Balthazar
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Mon May 10, 2021 11:59 am

For what it's worth, I haven't come across a single Taiwanese black tea I've really enjoyed. Not that I have tried very many. The ones I have tried have been strong in the aromatics department (though emphasizing notes I am not that fond of), but really lacking in terms of body. Actually quite similar to my experience with Japanese black teas (but these I have tried even fewer of).
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debunix
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Mon May 10, 2021 12:10 pm

Definitely a personal preference thing: I've loved the few Taiwanese blacks I've had. Floral, fruity, and easy to keep the slight bitterness at bay.
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LeoFox
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Mon May 10, 2021 12:14 pm

debunix wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:10 pm
Definitely a personal preference thing: I've loved the few Taiwanese blacks I've had. Floral, fruity, and easy to keep the slight bitterness at bay.
I second that it is a matter of personal preference. I feel those who enjoy second flush muscatel darjeeling may enjoy taiwan blacks
faj
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Mon May 10, 2021 1:52 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:14 pm
I second that it is a matter of personal preference. I feel those who enjoy second flush muscatel darjeeling may enjoy taiwan blacks
It hold it for a fact that liking things or not is a matter of personal preference. I prefer it that way. :)

I have purchased Ruby 18 (it was called T-18 cultivar where I got it from, I think) a few times in the past. I never really liked it much. I am not a Darjeeling (or Bai Hao) tea drinker either, so in my case your feeling is right.
Ethan Kurland
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Mon May 10, 2021 3:18 pm

I strongly believe that there is a big difference between the best Ruby 18 and the worst which is foul tasting to almost everyone. Somehow there are vendors who act as if all Ruby 18 is the same. (In fact quite a long time ago I got quite angry with one who would not respond to my complaint that I thought something went very wrong & what was in my packet was a mistake, a tea that that vendor had not intended to sell.) I used to enjoy the very best (according to my palate) Ruby 18; but after regularly drinking other black tea much more, I don't want it.

Of course, personal preferences vary greatly. Of course, they change. If someone has not done so for a couple of years, I recommend trying the best of Taiwan's black teas which I think come from producers who don't think of black tea as a lesser category & will use top quality leaves from high up Mt. Li & Hehuan.

They are different than most black tea, at least interesting to almost everyone & delicious to many. One might not find his ideal parameters the first few tea sessions and not love them until his ideal preparation is found. (Most of the drinkers of the Championship Black that I favor, use gong fu preparation which took me a long time to try because I was happy with my regular habits. It is my favorite way now though I use much less leaves than most who gong fu. )
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Victoria
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Mon May 10, 2021 3:20 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:14 pm
debunix wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:10 pm
Definitely a personal preference thing: I've loved the few Taiwanese blacks I've had. Floral, fruity, and easy to keep the slight bitterness at bay.
I second that it is a matter of personal preference. I feel those who enjoy second flush muscatel darjeeling may enjoy taiwan blacks
Yes agree. I had an all time memorable black that really left a strong impression on me, a Hualien Mixiang Red sourced by Origin Tea. Wow, it was super rich, spicy, aromatic perfumed (but not cheap perfume), and sweet. Hualian County on the east coast is most famous for producing this red tea. Also, the tinny leaves kept steeping for a very very long time. This left such an impression that it posted Longevity of Tea Leaves: Sustaining Multiple Steeps as a result.

And I almost forgot to mention @Ethan Kurland’s stellar Championship Black which is so good and also has a thick aroma and flavor profile of sweet honey, muscat, spices and fruit 🍃
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