Monday, October 25, 2010

A Honey of a Tea

A bench on the church porch in Darstetten. The Swiss are a very tidy people and you'd best be tidy, too, or they will remind you.
I have wanted to be more fair to green and Oolong teas in my reviews, but I just am not in the mood. So here we are with another black tea. This is from Aura Teas, in Vancouver, Canada. If you ever have the chance, this is a beautiful place to visit and you certainly can get good teas there. The tea is Formosa Natural Wuhe Honey Black. And is it a honey!
The dry leaves are very black,and quite twisted. Dry it smells like honey graham crackers or granola, with a floral/ripe fruit overlay. This continues all the way through into the cup, for 3 infusions worth! Powerful stuff. This tea is sooooo smooth and rich tasting. You won't need sugar with it as it is sweet enough on its own. I didn't even use a drop of cream. A dark rich brown, the flavor really mimics the scent and tastes of honey, graham crackers, roasted barley. Very rich, and all this is after only 2 minutes of steeping.
The second steep was 2.5 minutes and as I said, the aroma just kept going. The color was a bit more on the red side and there was a bit of a brioche bread taste to it, along with the honey tastes. I decided I might as well try for a third, so I brewed this next cup for about 3 minutes, using only about half the water. Definitely paler and it has lost a lot of nuances, but that wonderful honey taste is still there. Since this is $8 an ounce, it is nice to know you can get 3 infusions out of it, or the equivalent of 3 ounces of tea for $8, which is pretty cheap for high quality tea.
Something I often do is blend the 3 infusions together, which I did and it is just lovely, heavy, dark, sweet, smooth as silk. I would recommend you drink this as hot as you can, in small cups. As it cools, it seems to lose some of its magic.
This tea comes from Hualien, on the eastern side of the island of Taiwan, up against the central ridge of mountains. It is a new tea, that is raised and processed like Bai Hao [Oriental Beauty] Oolong. That means that the tiny green leaf cicada bugs, attack the leaves, forcing the plant to produce a protective enzyme, which gives the tea its particular flavor. The tea is raised without pesticides and organically.

1 comment:

Steph said...

The smell of graham crackers...mmmm!