I often browse the online tea groups, and read what others have to say about tea. I enjoy this because you can learn about what types of tea others like to drink, as well as their habits and preferred methods of preparation. It is also easy to learn about the different businesses that sell tea. Specifically you can see how these businesses brand themselves, and what their value proposition to consumers is.
Over the past six months or so, one tea business that popped up on my online radar is called Yiwu Mountain Tea. Their name in Chinese is 易武高山友益茶坊 (Yì wǔ gāoshān yǒu yì chá fang), my rudimentary translation of which into English means “Yiwu High Mountain Benefiting Friendship Tea House”.
Their mission quoted from their website is to “provide authentic premium-quality Yiwu Mountain Tea and support the families of Yiwu.” They aim to deal high-quality low-quantity teas out of their wholesale business in Guangzhou, as well as to the global market online.
The offering of theirs that interested me was a basic sample pack. This pack offered samples of raw pu’er, ripe pu’er, and black tea, some from old trees and some from younger trees. A lot of the teas on the site fall out of my price range, but this sampler pack was an affordable way to try more teas supposedly from the Yiwu terroir.
For today’s blog post I tried a red tea from this sample pack. It was produced in 2016, and supposedly comes from old tea trees. I brewed the tea with my standard parameters, using 5 grams of tea leaves in a roughly 150 ml lidded bowl. This tea was brewed with water taken off the stove slightly below the boiling point (roughly 90 – 95°C).
For today’s post I’m going to summarize my tasting notes in a new way that was suggested to me by my friend. They suggested taking notes on the aroma, first infusion, fourth infusion, and then the seventh infusion. I liked this idea because it shows different stages of the tea’s development throughout the session, while also giving me more time to drink the tea without feeling compelled to write down notes after every cup.
Aroma – This tea had a very strong fragrance that reminded me of the other Yunnan red teas that I’ve tried in the past. It had sweet fruity and floral notes, along with more savory notes of baked bread or crackers.
1st Infusion (5 seconds) – The first infusion was very light, with sweet citric notes. The texture was smooth, and this first infusion felt cooling on the mouth and body after being drunk.
4th Infusion (30 seconds) – By the fourth infusion the tea had a much fuller body. The sweet citric component remained, but there were also strong nutty and bread-like flavors present. The fourth infusion was smooth, with a slightly dry aftertaste. At this point the tea reminded me somewhat of red teas from Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake.
7th Infusion (1.5 minutes) – I chose to push the tea at this point in the session as the tea continued to open up. This brought out a lingering fragrance that was sweet and deep. The flavor at this point of the session was similar to that of the 4th infusion.
I continued to push this tea beyond seven infusions. This is a tea has a greater longevity than average red teas, and was still going strong by the 12th run. The sweet lingering fragrance brought out by these later infusions reminded me of the Essence of Tea’s 2017 Beyond the Clouds Hong Cha from Ai Lao Mountain, another old tree red tea that I enjoy greatly.
Overall this was an enjoyable tea, and I plan on writing a future post comparing it to its younger tree counterpart.