Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Teavivre, Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea

Teavivre Description:
A cup of Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea will not only attract you by its taste, but also by its appearance: so dark and strong with tight and long tips. This tempting appearance is produced in Yunnan. While if you want to describe its taste, you can use the word elegant. It can serve you a cup of elegant gongfu tea or afternoon tea.

High mountains and proper environment produces good tea. Chinese Red has a price of high value. Its special tea tree and superb making skills make this tea carrying a unique fragrance as rich as perfumes. The top notes make you delighted; the middle notes fresh your mind; the base note of strong floral fragrance make you intoxicated.

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
The first thing I want to comment on is this seems to be a lot more expensive than my normal everyday teas. Preparing it as Teavivre recommends for western style, with 2.5 g of leaf for an 8 oz cup, works out to only about $0.75/cup that is hardly outrageous. If you steep more than once with the same leaf that brings the price down even more. The initial price of some teas keep us from giving them a try when the price per cup really is far less than mediocre (or even plain bad) tea will cost us at a cafe.

What we in the west call black tea, the Chinese call red tea, so named for the color of the brew, not the leaf. What is unique with this tea, according to Teavivre's website, is the tree used to produce the leaf is actually of the variety used for oolong. So though this contains a generous amount of buds they are darker in color than typical for this tea type.

Opening the sample the aroma is, to my nose, malted milk balls (chocolate included) and Cheerios. I know, I know, I have such a sophisticated palate. Removing the leaf it is thin twists of dark leaf with just a little tan showing through. This appears to be full leaves and not the tiny broken pieces common to black tea from India and Kenya.

I used 2.5 g in my press with 8 oz of 194 F water. I steeped for 3 minutes. The recommended range is 1 to 5 minutes. The color is dark orange. I don't know why that always surprises me, but it does. The aroma of the leaf is brownies and honey - more sophistication for you. It is warm and inviting.

The taste is very reminiscent of honey without being extremely sweet. This is dark browned sugar or molasses. It has some indistinct fruity notes. Very easy to drink. It has some astringency but no bitterness. I detect some notes from the roasting process. I find this similar to a Fujian tea in taste and complexity. I keep catchy fleeting traces of cocoa and malt but I can never decide if they are really present of just expected.

With Yunnan and Fujian black (or red) teas topping my favorites list, I find it totally expected that I would enjoy this tea.

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