Thursday, July 10, 2014

Green Terrace Teas, Li Shan Black Tea

Li Shan Black Tea Leaf
Green Terrace Teas Description:
Our founder's favorite tea - this is a rare and unique cultivar available only in Taiwan. Grown at elevations of over 2,000 meters, our spring harvest is both exquisite and complex in character. Non-astringent and mildly sweet, this black tea has floral and fruity undertones with notes of peach and honey. Its aroma of sweet, ripe fruit is strong and noticeable instantly after the leaves come in contact with hot water. If you've never had a quality black tea before, this variety is a must try. Best brewed with multiple, short infusions.

Sample provided by Green Terrace Teas

My Review:
This is my second tea from Green Terrace Teas. The first Honey Black was everything I hoped it would be, so I am excited to try this Li Shan Black Tea. I received this through an offer on Steepster to trade samples for reviews. As always, that does not sway me. I'll give you my honest opinion, but based on my previous review this one is most likely going to be a good one.

This one is hand picked from a local farm in Lishan, Heping District, Taichong City, Taiwan. It is then vacuum sealed for freshness. I like the vacuum sealing. I have only seen it done with oolongs previously. I cut the top and allowed the contents to puff up a bit. Inhaling this is sweet and makes me think of some of the better Chinese greens I've reviewed. The leaf is dark with some milk chocolate colored tips.

Li Shan Black Tea Steeping
I used 3.5 g of leaf (about one third of the sample), 10 oz of 195 F water and a 2 minute steep. That seemed a good compromise between Eastern and Western methods. The result is a light caramel colored brew that turns root beer in the mug. The nose of the wet leaf is sweet and malty with a fruity element that to me images grapes. Not like a Darjeeling muscatel but good old regular grapes. Terrace Green Teas says its peach. Maybe it is the way I prepared it but I get grape. Either way the aroma is really fine. The leaf relaxed and expanded nicely.

Waiting for this to cool left me impatient. The aroma of the cup is cinnamon raisin whole wheat bagel. Get in my belly! First sip is very smooth with a slightly spicy feel around the tongue. The taste is malt and wheat, with cinnamon and raisin. It is wonderfully sweet like honey. As I continue to sip I notice a neat cooling sensation on my breath and in my lungs. That is always a welcome tasting element from me.

At this point I added sweetener to see how it changed the cup. My advice is it is really unnecessary. In fact it detracts from the cup as the sweetness is a little too intense. If you must use additions, go very lightly and taste before adding more. This is really one of the few black teas that I honestly advise no sugar - and I am addicted to the stuff.

I steeped the same leaf three times for a total of 30 oz. The second was at 2 minutes and was similar in taste but lighter than the first. The third I went in the neighborhood of 5 minutes as I didn't time it. The brew was darker than the second but still light in taste. It was similar to the previous cups with the addition of a slight mineral element.

This is definitely a worthy tea.

You can find Li Shan Black Tea here.

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