Ying Xiang Small Leaf Black Tea was selected to share with the Eco-Cha Tea Club mainly because we feel it is an exemplary Small Leaf Black Tea from Taiwan. You can learn about the background of this tea in our sourcing blogpost. Ying Xiang is the name in Mandarin that was given to this cultivar which means "Alluring Fragrance". The leaves from this tea tree offer a distinctly aromatic brew that sets it apart from the other popular Taiwanese tea cultivars.
These leaves are the second flush from a plot of tea at 700m in Lugu, Taiwan. They were picked while still young and tender. They were cured using a combination of Oolong and Black Tea processing methods. This is a significant contributing factor to the character of Small Leaf Black Tea — which is the name of a category of tea that came into being only in recent decades in Taiwan. Small leaf type tea strains are used to make almost all partially oxidized Oolong Teas as well as Green Teas. Large leaf type tea strains are mainly used to make Black Tea and Puer Tea. So it is a combination of the strains of tea that are used to make Small Leaf Black Tea, along with the curing methods which including parts of the recipe for Oolong Tea. In short, this is what distinguishes Small Leaf Black Tea in its aromatic and flavor profiles.
Generally speaking, Small Leaf Black Tea offers a more complex flavor profile with tangy sweet qualities that are not commonly found in Black Tea made from large leaf type tea strains, which also entails simpler processing methods. So, more complexity results from tea leaves used to make Oolong Tea, along with some of Oolong's processing methods. We feel like this batch of YIng Xiang Black Tea is a fine representative of this relatively new category of tea that has come about from Oolong Tea makers using their second and/or third flushes of tea leaves to make Black Tea instead of Oolong.
This skillfully cured batch of tender young leaf material offers a Black Tea that keeps you reaching for your cup. It has a relatively light character with a tangy sweet aromatic and flavor profile that is both fruity and malty. It has a smooth mouthfeel and a refreshing finish. There are flavor notes of pears alongside molasses preceded by aromatic notes of rhubarb and candied yams.
It also makes an amazing glass of iced tea! If you haven't explored iced tea that is made using a cocktail shaker, learn how here.
Finally, check out the tasting video for a full rundown on how it brews!
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