Which black teas are your favorites?

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Apr 22nd 16 7:28 am
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by Bok » Apr 22nd 16 7:28 am

jayinhk wrote:Sabah Tea (black tea from Borneo). Significantly different from the English Breakfast/Assam/Indian CTC/Earl Grey the rest of my family drinks. I always pick up a half kilo or so when I'm out in Kota Kinabalu.
Sorry to quote back to this old post of yours Jay – Got a friend going to Sabah for a holiday and was thinking of getting her to pick some of it up for me. Has your opinion about this tea changed in the meantime? So it‘s tea dust? No whole leaves available?

(While I am at it: anything else noteworthy picking up in Sabah, tea-wise?)

Cheers!

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Apr 22nd 16 1:11 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » Apr 22nd 16 1:11 pm

Bok wrote:
jayinhk wrote:Sabah Tea (black tea from Borneo). Significantly different from the English Breakfast/Assam/Indian CTC/Earl Grey the rest of my family drinks. I always pick up a half kilo or so when I'm out in Kota Kinabalu.
Sorry to quote back to this old post of yours Jay – Got a friend going to Sabah for a holiday and was thinking of getting her to pick some of it up for me. Has your opinion about this tea changed in the meantime? So it‘s tea dust? No whole leaves available?

(While I am at it: anything else noteworthy picking up in Sabah, tea-wise?)

Cheers!
Bok, that's it as far as local teas go, but in downtown KK there are Chinese tea stores. You might be able to get the Wuyicha you want :)

Apr 22nd 16 1:56 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by Bok » Apr 22nd 16 1:56 pm

jayinhk wrote:
Bok, that's it as far as local teas go, but in downtown KK there are Chinese tea stores. You might be able to get the Wuyicha you want :)
Thanks! Not confident though that my friend knows enough to make a good buy 8)

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Apr 22nd 16 2:54 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » Apr 22nd 16 2:54 pm

Bok wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
Bok, that's it as far as local teas go, but in downtown KK there are Chinese tea stores. You might be able to get the Wuyicha you want :)
Thanks! Not confident though that my friend knows enough to make a good buy 8)
There's a store there where I got very nice 80s liu bao. Best liu bao I've ever had!

Apr 22nd 16 3:39 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by Bok » Apr 22nd 16 3:39 pm

jayinhk wrote: There's a store there where I got very nice 80s liu bao. Best liu bao I've ever had!
I had found that old post of yours as well, but again, in that price range I am not sure I would trust my friend to buy tea for me! :lol:

But thanks again for the help!
I told her to watch out for Liu Bao if she sees it, not sure how much time she might spend in the city...

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Apr 22nd 16 6:53 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » Apr 22nd 16 6:53 pm

Well at least youll have Sabah Tea! Sabah is pretty cool.

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by daidokorocha » May 11th 16 12:58 am

Not Ceylon tea... I don't really love Indian teas but I always find myself very attracted to a good cup of Assam. They are almost always delicious and sometimes brilliant. Highly satisfying with some surprises here and there. However, I've come to wonder, is there even such thing as a good Ceylon? Probably the only tea I dislike. Either I have had nothing but bad Ceylons...

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May 27th 16 8:23 am
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by john.b » May 27th 16 8:23 am

It can be hard to judge teas against each other across long periods of time, but I think a Jin Xuan based Thai black tea I tried not too long ago might have been my favorite (from the Tea Side vendor, for what that's worth). That tea was amazing, so sweet and floral and rich I could almost just spend time huffing the dry leaves.

I've tried some pretty good unsmoked Lapsang Souchong and Jin Jun Mei this year, Wuyishan black teas of course. They're very nice, but once you get a taste for them and get the brewing parameter and strength balance just right somehow they transition to amazing.

I had a really decent version of a Ceylon once but it was still kind of "brisk." The right level of astringency can add to a tea's effect but by the time you're describing one as brisk it's gone a bit far already. I haven't tried enough examples to really have that country's teas down, though.

Per my experience, extensive in one sense and very limited in another, Assamica based black teas in general tend to have an earthiness that can be nice but it's hard to really love per my preferences. Darjeelings have those interesting fruity ranges of tastes going for them but even without astringency getting in the way somehow they tend to seem a bit thin, and most don't seem like a black tea in the same sense.

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by ethan » May 27th 16 2:24 pm

john b., I never tasted that Thai black tea that you mention. By Tea-Side vendor do you mean to say Tea-Village?

I know what you mean by saying darjeelings can feel a bit thin. I recently posted that I went from using 96C to using water at a full boil for preparation of my favorite black tea, Himalayan Orange (HOR). At 96C it seems quite a bit like white tea or oolong, while at 100C more like a true black. Yet, the body might be somewhat thin compared to some blacks. I actually prefer that thinner body.

I hope you can try the HOR again so you see that the astringency you want to avoid is at a much lower level w/ this tea from Nepal while the darjeeling flavors remain as prevalent as excellent darjeeling from India features.

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May 27th 16 2:32 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » May 27th 16 2:32 pm

I prefer sinensis var. sinensis blacks to var. assamica. The TGY black ethan and I discovered in Taipei, and jinjunmei, are more pleasurable than any assamica black IMO.

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by Bok » May 27th 16 3:09 pm

jayinhk wrote:I prefer sinensis var. sinensis blacks to var. assamica. The TGY black ethan and I discovered in Taipei, and jinjunmei, are more pleasurable than any assamica black IMO.
Ever since I have had my first Taiwanese Black tea, I find it hard to find pleasure in any other kind of black tea... feel all flat or too assidic in comparison.

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May 27th 16 4:15 pm
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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » May 27th 16 4:15 pm

Bok wrote:
jayinhk wrote:I prefer sinensis var. sinensis blacks to var. assamica. The TGY black ethan and I discovered in Taipei, and jinjunmei, are more pleasurable than any assamica black IMO.
Ever since I have had my first Taiwanese Black tea, I find it hard to find pleasure in any other kind of black tea... feel all flat or too assidic in comparison.
Agree, Indian blacks were meant to replicate Chinese blacks...IMO assamica is best green or as pu erh. I haven't had an assamica oolong yet!

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by daidokorocha » May 27th 16 7:37 pm

jayinhk wrote:
Bok wrote:
jayinhk wrote:I prefer sinensis var. sinensis blacks to var. assamica. The TGY black ethan and I discovered in Taipei, and jinjunmei, are more pleasurable than any assamica black IMO.
Ever since I have had my first Taiwanese Black tea, I find it hard to find pleasure in any other kind of black tea... feel all flat or too assidic in comparison.
Agree, Indian blacks were meant to replicate Chinese blacks...IMO assamica is best green or as pu erh. I haven't had an assamica oolong yet!
If Indian blacks were meant to replicate Chinese blacks, I feel like they failed miserably. :lol: Perhaps times have changed since back then to their own identity.

Personally, I have only had Indian assammica blacks. I do not think I have had a Yunnan black... yet. I think I have one lying around somewhere though, but whether or not it is assamica I do not know. Being from Yunnan, I imagine the chances are high. I will brew it up and see what I think. But, I really prefer Assam over any other Indian tea, including darjeeling. I should give a Taiwanese black a spin someday soon.Still waiting on my Yunnan Sourcing package to try those assamica greens.

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by ethan » May 27th 16 9:59 pm

When Chinese tea was planted in India, it was to grow a commodity in great quantity at a lower price in a land more under the influence of Europe than China was. The characteristics of the tea relating to flavor were not so important. Those of us now w/ palates sophisticated enough to note nuances in flavor & aftertaste etc. would be even rarer birds than we are today.

What people bought had to be recognized as tea. They were used to the tea from China.

That is not saying much. People were used to buying tea that had been adulterated, subject to long journeys & poor storage, etc. to such an extent that one never reads of tea then being drunk w/o sugar & lemon or milk. If we try the very worst tea today, it is probably far better & cleaner than the leaves & dirt etc. put in teapots a hundred years ago.

I am from a factory town where many people drank a lot of booze. They were not easily awake for work & not feeling their best as their days started. They drank coffee that was bitter. No one ever talked about brands or even dreamed that one day people would care where the beans came from. 4 -5 ounces of hot coffee was mixed w/ 2 - 4 teaspoons of sugar & a good amount of cream.

Would it not be logical that farmers planting to provide beans for that market were concerned about yields more than flavor? I think the business of tea inspired (& continues to inspire) the same concerns. Although no one says he really loves tea from Argentina & other countries (c.s. not yerba mate) plenty is found in teabags.

On Teachat are concerned w/ the tea that is not standard, & we might forget that the vast majority of tea business is major agribusiness. It will be ground up or chopped to be blended & mixed w/ whatever sell.

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Re: Which black teas are your favorites?

by jayinhk » May 28th 16 12:04 am

Good post, ethan!

Another issue with South Asian blacks is they have long been processed to perform well with milk. Astringency is therefore less of an issue. Indians tend to drink tea VERY milky and strong with lots of sugar; much sweeter than a Snapple or something.