Review of Da Hu Sai Village Wild Arbor Black Tea of Yunnan Spring 2018

9 of 104 of 55 of 592 of 100

This is one of those really dangerous teas...very caffeinated but incredibly mild and smooth tasting, so it is very easy to brew it too strongly and get uncomfortably wired.

Dry leaf has a potent and very pleasing aroma: strongly malty with cocoa notes, and a faint hint of smoke and vegetal notes. Contrasting with the Jingmai Mountain Wild Arbor Black tea I have been drinking, this smells distinctively like a Chinese tea and unlike anything else, with that sort of softness and warmth in the aroma that I usually only find from Chinese black teas.

The brewed cup has a soft, sweet character; the aroma is slightly malty and like sweet cocoa, with floral notes, especially in the finish. The flavor is sweet with only a very slight, sharp bitterness. Just enough astringency to impart body. Overall, body is light and flavor is smooth, and in brewing, I was limited more by how caffeinated this tea is, not by it ever getting too bitter or harsh.

It is so warming, the sort of tea that I find myself wanting to drink more on cold, gray days.

Resteeps better than I expected, and incredibly well for a black tea. The long, wiry leaves look delicate but they do contain some larger leaves that are slower to infuse. I was easily able to brew 2 or 3 cups from the same set of leaves. I liked a 2-3 minute initial steep, followed by 5-8 minutes, followed by a very long final steep. Each cup brought out different aromatic qualities. This would be an excellent tea for gong fu brewing, but I haven't tried brewing it this way.

This tea is insanely caffeinated, almost as much as teas made of pure tips (this tea is not); relative to its flavor and body, it's the most strongly-caffeinated tea I've tried in years and among the most caffeinated teas I've ever had. I notice the effects even drinking just 1/4 of the cup. I'd be curious to get it measured, but it seems more caffeinated than a typical cup of coffee. If you're someone a little sensitive to caffeine, like myself, I'd be cautious with this one.

The caffeine, combined with the very mild and smooth flavor, can be a bit dangerous because it's so easy to brew this tea very strongly (it never really gets too bitter or astringent) and end up unpleasantly jittery.

That said, as long as I was careful to not use too much leaf and thus drink too much, I liked how I felt after drinking this. Some Darjeelings seem to have less caffeine but somehow manke me feel more jittery, and this tea produced a calm alertness that reminds me of how I feel after drinking gyokuro or other high-end Japanese green teas.

As with most of the teas from Yunnan Sourcing, the price on this is fantastic; I can't emphasize this enough. $8 for 100 grams; it's very hard to find teas of this quality in this price range. If you like mild-flavored, aromatically complex, and rather caffeinated black teas with a strong warming quality, I highly recommend this one.

My only reason for giving this less-than-top marks on flavor was that it actually was slightly too mild and too smooth for me.

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ConradKay wrote:
on October 14th, 2018

Looking to get my next batch of tea this Christmas from Yunnan Sourcing and will be sure to keep this one in mind!

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