Tea From Taiwan’s AliShan Black 2014

(Tea provided For Review)

Origin: Alishan, Chia Yu County, Taiwan
Harvest: November 2014
Cultivar: Red Jade #18
Elevation: 1300m

Tea From Taiwan was gracious enough to send me a couple samples after I posted my thoughts on their DaYuLings, and they included a rather large tin of this AliShan black tea, while I am not a fan of black and darker teas I did decided to try this since I have had good experiences with Taiwanese Black teas in the past. But before I go on Tea From Taiwan describes this tea as:

75 grams of black tea in metal canister
This black tea is from Taiwan's Alishan tea district, grown at an altitude of 1300 meters.
This is an exceptionally smooth black tea with a naturally sweet honey flavor. This black tea has a hint of cinnamon without any astringency.
Alishan black tea is grown without pesticides.
Comes in an attractive metal cannister.

Dry Leaves: The dry leaves do not have a pungent aroma, but there is a bit of smoke in them. And the leaves are fairly uniform slightly coiled and twisted in a loose s shape with about a fourth of the leaves having golden tips. While it is hard to see in the photo, I did end up pouring the tin on a platter and it becomes much more apparent than.

First Steeping
Temperature: 200oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Cinnamon and Chocolate
Flavor: Malty and Honey
Tasting Notes: I decided to not follow Tea From Taiwan’s recommended brewing time (three to five minutes) although this was not a conscious decision I was just too lazy go online and look their recommendation up. Regardless this is a very nice tea even when I brewed it for such a short time.

Like the description says this is very smooth and lacks astringency. As I already mentioned before I am not big on drinking black teas, but I do know certain green teas do benefit from a little astringency, I wonder if the same is true for black teas. So far this tea seems perfect the way it is, I cannot imagine adding milk or sugar would improve it.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 205oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Cinnamon and Chocolate     
Flavor: Malty, Fruity and Honey
Tasting Notes: The chocolate aroma is starting to weaken which if I am honest I do not mind. I have not drunk “dessert” teas in quite some while, but this felt quite decadent to me, not necessarily rich. Again you must remember I do drink a lot of sharp greens so perhaps this is just my ignorance showing, but I rather enjoyed this so far. While the chocolate aroma is lessening the Cinnamon is becoming more distinct. As for the tastes there are some new fruity notes that I did not notice until I finished my cup.

And there was a touch of smokiness to it, something like that slight smokiness you find in barbeque sauce more so than the smokiness found in immature puerhs.

Third Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Cinnamon
Flavor: Malty, Fruity and Honey
Tasting Notes: The chocolate aroma is completely gone by now, but at this point the cinnamon aroma started to weaken. Regardless the individual tastes are pretty much the same in strength as the last steeping.  While I do not have a lot of experience with black teas, let alone Taiwanese Black teas this seems quite different from the others I have tried. It does not necessarily feel like a breakfast tea, like some of the black teas and teas made from Red Jade #18 that I have tried.

Nevertheless I rather enjoyed this tea. At the time of writing this Tea From Taiwan is selling 75g of this tea and a tin for $25.29 (marked down from $29.75) and it seems worth the price. I do not know what kind of value black tea drinkers look for in their teas, but this seems to me quite a steal.


Just a guy who likes tea.

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