It was so hard to describe this flavour! It was just different with every brew, with every different water, for everyone who tasted it – seriously! From rice porridge over cinnamon bark to passion fruit – oh and there was also something almost mildly sour… chuckley pear as well… Well, those up there we could kind of get together on. Especially that Chinese roadside stall charcoal roasted, lightly caramelized, partly burnt, partly still a little more raw orange sweet potato – do we even know these deep orange sweet potatoes in the West? No clue. But that was there, I swear. Try it yourself. Gongfu brewing favourite. Well, here the main text:
Our Old Tree Black is a first flush black tea only from early leaves and a few buds of around 100 years old tea bushes on our favourite tea farm, organic certified and grown on 1400m+ in the mountains near Qionglai, Sichuan, China. It’s hand-rolled and therefore nicely curled, matte black with tiny golden buds inbetween. Definitely pretty.
2019 once again was a very special year. Spring came up to 3 weeks later than normal. For many tea farms in Western China that meant major losses, but Mr Deng, only producing high quality early spring teas, managed to get those qualities even more refined. Also some of his newly implemented growing practices fully payed out: leaving the ferns from summer on to grow tall enough they cover the tea plants like a winter protection blanket in combination with leaving a mohawk style row of twigs on top of the plants that work as sun collectors while shading the neighbouring plants’ lower parts made this tea incredibly complex. When I first tried it, I really missed the chocolate flavour of the 2018 version. But now, after storing it for a year I tried it again and was actually impressed. So no discussion if it’s the time to sell this tea. It is!
This is rather a tea to concentrate on, to gongfu brew and enjoy. It works as a daily drinker too, but I think more careful brewing techniques can bring out far more of it’s refined structure and complexity. As said above, you should by the way try it with different waters – you will be surprised! And if you don’t like it at first – give it two different waters. If you still don’t get it you get your money back. I promise. But only over a session with this tea (and others maybe) in the shop.
Also nice for cold brewing by the way.