Monday, February 8, 2010

Sun Moon Lake Black Tea

While visiting a friend's tea shop in Taipei last month, I treated myself to a 150 gram bag of fine black tea produced near Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou county (which I believe is where most of Taiwan's black tea is currently being produced). I was told that this particular tea was made from the descendants of well maintained tea trees imported from Assam, India around 1925.

Its long twisted leaves have a sweet malty aroma like honey and dried plums.

I used about 8 grams of dry leaf in the 150 ml brewing cup pictured below and I steeped it 5 times with boiling water (2 min, 2 min, 3 min, 5 min, 10 min). This yielded a pretty orange-red color with great clarity.

The mouth feel was smooth and thick and constantly reminded me of dark raw honey. It even had the same wonderful peppery finish that raw honey and extra virgin olive oil should have.

When it was piping hot it tasted more like a strong Assam tea but as it cooled it developed some sweeter, earthier characteristics that reminded me of Yunnan tea... and at room-temperature it delivered a bright, brisk flavor like some Ceylon teas.

Most of the spent leaves looked liked that one on the left... but I found 3 that looked like the monster on the right.

My tasting notes for this tea included: Yum, Ahh and Mmmm.


Unknown said...

"Yum, Ahh and Mmmm"

I love those tasting notes!

Anonymous said...

I can empathize with those tasting notes! I'm so envious, Brett - I hope one day to go to this lake and taste their marvelous black tea!