This is yet another post inspired by Eric’s blog One Man’s Tea Journey (if I’m not careful he’s going to start charging consultancy fees), which was in turn inspired by Marco’s blog Steap’d.
As the title suggests, it’s my attempt to try to pare down the teas I’ve encountered this year to a shortlist of 10 favourites, and then assemble them into some kind of ranking order.
It’s been an interesting exercise, and I’m pretty sure that if I was to re-run it in a couple of day’s time the teas would end up in different places on the list, and if I was to do it again several weeks from now, a few teas would be given the boot and a few new ones invited into the fold.
One interesting thing to emerge was that for reasons I can’t quite fathom half the teas on the list found their way onto my tea table in October.
And so, in reverse order we have…
10 Kenya Golden Needle
This tea just edged out its sister tea, Kenya Rhino. I really enjoyed this African tea with a twist, which in principle is material that otherwise would have ended up as a Silver Needle given the black tea treatment.
9 Gruzia Tjakvi
This was my first encounter with Georgian teas, and I was well impressed by this black tea, with its strong taste of tart red berries.
8 2005 Wild Shou
This complex tea, with notes of camphor, berries, and an Oolongesque hint of roast honey stood out from the shou crowd by giving me a noticeable Qi bump.
7 Georgia Wild Forest White
The second tea from Georgia on my list, and deservedly so. A complex white tea, that once again brought with it an unexpected Qi hit.
6 2014 Jing Gu Sheng Tou
This 100 gram tuo took a while to get going, but then kicked like a mule. Despite the wallop, there was something intriguing here that was more than just raw power.
5 Taiwan Red Jade White
Slick and sweet, this great little tea also did an interesting sideline in spinach and broccoli vegetal tastes.
4 White Dragon Whiskers Tribute
This pre Qing-ming, high altitude, bud only gushu tea combined the full on oomph of a good sheng and the subtlety of a Silver Needle.
3 Wu Yi Bai Rui
This sublime Yan Cha was well worth its spot in my top three.
2 2019 House Of Tea Lincang Old Tree Sheng
A late contender from December, this wee beeng made an instant and huge impression, so much so that it’s one of the teas I’ll be ringing in the New Year with.
1 Shan Lin Shi Hong Cha
It was going to take something special to keep that Lincang Old Tree Sheng off the top spot, but these leaves were up to it. This Oolong varietal turned black tea from Taiwan was full bodied, luscious, and laughably good.
So, there you have it. Looking back at 2019, I was lucky enough to get my mitts on some cracking teas. If 2020 is anywhere near as good, it’s going to be be utterly brilliant.
It only remains for me to wish a Happy New Year to tea friends old and new alike.
Long may we steep! Cheers!
Pingback: Shan Lin Shi | Northern Teaist
Pingback: Steeper At The Gates Of Dawn | Northern Teaist