An intensely rich velvety tea with creamy cacao notes, wafting cedarwood, and a spicy undertone. . . .
The original Zhu Rong Black was a wild, sometimes unruly smoldering tea with cayenne, hibiscus and dark chocolate notes. This new harvest has the same flavor profiles, but it is wrapped in a more refined texture and aftertaste.
Lady Zhu Rong was a dagger-wielding warrior-queen of Yunnan who descended from the god of fire. The power of this tea compelled us to evoke her kingdom of Dian, the "barbarian" south before it was conquered by China and renamed Yunnan. While the last Zhu Rong harvest was the queen in battle, this one is the queen at court.
The aroma of the wet leaf is that of fresh roasted sweet potatoes, steaming hot like the ones vendors sell for 10 cents on the roadside on the way to Laoshan Village. Behind the rich savory sweetness of the yams is a bursting tart quality like perfectly ripe heirloom tomato, complimented by sweet paprika.
The early steepings are full and all-encompassing like cedarwood smoldering in an incense censer. There is a dark spice that moves towards clove, but is tempered by a sweet cinnamon note. This tea manages to be deep and full without being rough or unruly. Indeed, the texture is that of velvet (perhaps from Lady Zhu Rong's tribute chests brought by her subjects).
Later steepings develop towards raw cacao nibs, and get dark and thick like molasses ginger snaps, becoming more and more creamy and buttery. The hint of paprika spice remains throughout steeping. The intensity of the cacao nibs and the buttery notes combine to evoke chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven on a rainy day, punctuated by wafting reminders of smoldering cedarwood.
ICED: The platonic ideal of traditional iced black tea. Bold, robust and very refreshing, with a natural honey flavor. Performs excellently on its own or with a fruit garnish.
Date of Picking:Spring 2012
Location of Picking:Lincang, Yunnan
What Was Picked:About two thirds long golden buds and one third young leaf.
Quantity Acquired:This is a ten pound edition
Sourcing Agent(s):Weiwei Ren
Gongfu Brewing: Use 3g of leaves for a medium gaiwan or yixing pot. Heat the gaiwan or pot with boiling water and pour out. Add leaves, rinse leaves with boiling water for less than a second. Use this steeping to heat cups and pour over yixing. Steep each round for 2-3 seconds, increasing time by 3 seconds each steeping after the third steeping. Enjoy at least 15 infusions.
Western Brewing: Use two teaspoons of leaves per cup of water. Steep in a brew basket or loose in a pot to give the leaves plenty of room to expand. If possible avoid tea balls or paper filter bags. Steep for 1.5 minutes with filtered boiling water and remove leaves or pour off water. Save the leaves. Enjoy at least 4 infusions. Add one minute to each subsequent infusion.
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