Batch #56 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Pinglin Qing Xin Black Tea — summer 2019 harvest, from the same source as last month's edition of award winning Wenshan Baozhong Tea. This is the first batch of Black Tea we have sourced from the Pinglin region in northern Taiwan, and it is further supporting evidence of the fact that high quality tea can be made from low to mid-elevation farms. We were lucky to have sourced the remainder of two consecutive days of last summer's harvest that were combined to provide just enough to be shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club! Black Tea reaches it peak of quality after at least one year of aging.
These immature leaves from the same Qing Xin tea trees that made the Wenshan Baozhong Tea that we shared last month were masterfully cured as Black Tea to offer a very satisfying brew. The most immediately striking quality is the mouthfeel — it's amazingly thick and rich — almost syrupy, but without any sugary consistency. So smooth. The flavor is dense and mellow, with tangy fruit notes akin to plum cobbler as well as tart stewed apples, with subtle undertones of warming spices —like star anise and cinnamon. There is a distinctly mellow, rich quality that presumably comes from being aged for a year. The aftertaste is complex, with soft tangy sweet notes balanced by something that is almost smoky, but not — like preserved plums or stewed prunes.
Our respect for the maker of the two most recent editions of the Eco-Cha Tea Club has deepened, even though we knew he made good tea, since he is our ongoing source of our in store Wenshan Baozhong Tea!
We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to provide an educational experience for our Tea Club members by having two consecutive batches of tea that were from the same farm, same trees, but processed to be completely different types of tea with totally different flavor profiles. This batch of Qing Xin Black Tea is one of the finest Small Leaf Black Teas we've come across since there has been a growing trend among Oolong Tea makers to make Black Tea with their summer crops.
The name "Small Leaf" refers to the tea strains that are mainly cultivated to produce Oolong and Green Teas. Black Tea generally is made from Large Leaf strains, although mainland China has been making Black Tea from various Small Leaf cultivars for... a long time!
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