Or, a tale of three biscuits.
Oh, sorry, spoilers…
This is the last of the four black teas that made up my recent four tea mini-haul. It went onto my shopping list as part of an on-going project to dig a little deeper into the black teas of Fuding.
I also had another reason to want to buy a full cargo of these leaves.
I’d previously had an encounter with this tea as a free, 3 gram sample in November of last year, and was impressed enough to place it on my “must buy later” list, in order to satisfy my curiosity as to how it stacked up in the gong-fu stakes.
The dry leaf fresh out the caddy smelt sweet and malty, like the malt extract in a home brew beer kit.
Looking at those small, delicate needles I couldn’t help feeling that I was in for a hard and fast ride with this session, not to mention that simply keeping the leaves in the gaiwan was going to require fine control of the aperture between lid and bowl.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml porcelain gaiwan|
|No. & duration:||7 infusions of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 60 seconds duration|
After allowing the leaf to warm up in the rinsed out gaiwan, it started giving me strong suggestions of chocolate chip cookies.
Before taking my initial sip of the first infusion I had a good old sniff of the wet leaf. There was a kind of smokiness there, which closely resembled slightly burnt bread crust just out of a toaster.
That first infusion switched the biscuity focus. Chocolate chip cookies had been replaced by a British classic, the custard cream, with its sweet, vanilla tinged creaminess and lightly baked background.
Just one round later that particular biccy left the stage, allowing another well known treat from Blighty to hop into the spotlight, the Bourbon cream. Now we were back into choco-territory, and a darker, more caramelized tone.
It has to be said that for a tea made up of such small, fine leaves this liquor was surprisingly beefy in the mouthfeel stakes, nice and oily in fact.
The first signs of slippage appeared during the 6th. steeping, and after another round we were all done.
I’ve noticed that Yorkshire Tea’s “Biscuit Brew” has been getting a fair bit of attention on Reddit ( /tea, amongst other places) lately.
I suppose as a Yorkshireman myself that I should be championing that beverage, going into bat for it you might say, if you were going to reference the stereotypical depictions of Yorkshire life on the packaging, but I can’t help feeling that if I want to be reminded of classic British baked goods whilst drinking tea then the leaves from Fuding, rather than the blend from Harrogate, would probably give me a far better result.
This batch of Hong Ya has quickly carved out a niche for itself as a top end of the range daily drinker in a mid-afternoon time slot. No biscuits required.