Tea: Ancient Forest Black

A Black Tea from Zhi Tea

Picture of Ancient Forest Black
Brand:Zhi Tea
Style:Black Tea
Region:Vietnam
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Loose?Loose
# Ratings:1 View All
Product page:Ancient Forest Black

Review of Ancient Forest Black

AromaFlavorValueTotal
7 of 104 of 54 of 584 of 100
Very GoodGoodGood Value

This was among the most interesting teas I've tried in a long time, both aromatically and with respect to mouthfeel. It was the first pure tea I've tried from Zhi, and it may be the first tea from this company to wow me. It had an unusual character somewhere in between that of a black tea and a Pu-erh, but not like ripened / shou Pu-erh.

The leaf both looks and smells interesting. It's a mix of broken leaves of different size and color, with some stem mixed in. The aroma is fairly strong for such a small sample, and complex...fruity, vegetal, and lightly spicy with hints of olive and wintergreen...it's a little muddled and a little like potpourri, but makes me curious to brew it. It smells a bit like Himalayan teas and a bit like Yunnan teas, but overall singular.

As the cup is steeping, it takes on a different aroma...it smells old, like old books. Upon sipping it, both the flavor and mouthfeel are lot like a Pu-erh. Soft up-front, but astringent mid-sip, leading to a thick mouthfeel. Strong notes of cinnamon and mace in the finish.

The first time I only brewed this for 3 minutes, and I found the resteep more compelling that the first steep; it was less aromatic but the mouthfeel and flavor were more balanced. Still tastes a lot like a Pu-erh. I found I preferred a longer (5 minute) first steep, although this made the astringency almost too much.

I thought the price on this was reasonable. Zhi tea puzzles me...they sell teas like this, which I think are worth the price, and then they sell mediocre flavored teas, and they're all about the same price, this one was only a tiny bit more expensive (about +10%). Why? It makes no sense to me.

I enjoyed this, but it isn't the sort of tea I would like to drink every day. The astringency could be a bit overbearing, and it didn't seem very caffeinated; I think this would make a better afternoon tea than morning.

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