I wanted to start by thanking Yunwei tea for the opportunity to try all of these amazing teas! They offer a tea "flight" which is a box of 7 of their best teas you can try all at once.
The tea flight only costs $20 and is a very good deal considering you can try 7 of the best teas from China in one shot! Make sure you know how to brew before trying them out though!
In this review, we are going to do things a little bit differently. I am attempting to brew the tea "gongfu style" which means lots of leaves, very little water and very short steep times. I will try to get at least 5 brewings out of each of these teas, but I may stop if I can no longer get flavor out of the tea. the first 3 steepings will be about 10 seconds and then I will add 5 seconds there on out. This is a very fun way to brew tea, and if you haven't tried it yet I would really reccomend it. It lets you appreciate each layer of the tea at a time, instead of all at once. This is a good way to pick up on all the subtle complexities of the tea, and have a truly enriching tea tasting experience. Anyways, let's get started!
This Zhenghan Chigan is referred to as a “red tea”. In China, what we call “black tea” is actually called “red tea” and when they say “black tea” they actually are referring to “pu-erh”. Even though this is in the black tea section of the blog, I wanted to pay proper tribute to Chinese tea culture and make sure I do not refer to it as such.
The smell of the dry leaves smells like a high quality wood, like a cedar or a mahogany. There is a tiny bit of smokiness to it.
The first steeping had that fine woody flavor, but no smokiness like I would’ve expected. There is a tiny bit of bitterness to the end but overall it is probably one of the least bitter black teas I have had.
When I smelled the wet leaves, I was shocked! My nose was suddenly overtaken with the smell of soy sauce! It was so powerful I couldn’t smell anything else. This was so unusual to find in a tea and made for a fun surprise!
I notice a lot more of a full-bodied flavor to this one. The “soy sauce” flavor is starting to come out a little bit. I’m wondering what that is, I’m sure it’s a byproduct of the fermentation. I notice a very pleasant and well-rounded aftertaste. I pick up on a tiny bit of smokiness and an even more subtle mineral flavor, both towards the end of the tasting.
The smell of the wet leaves still has that “soy sauce” aroma to it, but it is a bit more subdued. I notice more of an earthiness to it.
The third steeping is my favorite so far. There is a warming, full-bodied flavor to it. It also shad the thickest mouthfeel. I really can taste it for up to a minute after the sip. This is starting to taste like a yunnan black tea at this point. I am really starting to feel the effects of this one. My body is filling with a calm alertness I usually only get with a larger cup of tea.
The wet leaves are beginning to smell like a wet wood. I’ve compared this to being on a forest hike after a day of rain. It’s very pleasant to enjoy just the aroma of these leaves. I am detecting a little bit of sourness to this tea, like you would find in the aroma of a red wine.
This is a slightly weaker version of the 3rd steeping, but still a very powerful red tea. The taste is very smooth and balanced. This is probably the second best steeping after the third.
The leaves are just beginning to smell like a typical black tea. Perhaps they are beginning to lose some of their complexity but they still smell quite good!
The fifth steeping has more astringency to it that some of the previous ones. I really like how different it is, and the aftertaste is deliciously mouth watering. Any of these steepings could hold their own as a stand-alone tea so I really think that shows this tea is very high quality.
The subsequent steepings of this tea were very delicious. I will never cease to be amazed by how much flavor and how many flavors can be packed into 5 grams of tea leaves.
I wanted to start a ranking for the teas I have tried from Yunwei. If you are going to try tea from them, I would still recommend getting the "tea flight" so you can try all of them yourself. Otherwise, feel free to take my rankings into consideration.
#1 Zhengshan Chigan Red Tea
#2 Unroasted Peach Kernel Dancong
#3 Mengsong Gushu Sheng Puerh
Thank you all so much for reading this tea review! We still have 4 more teas to try from Yunwei tea so stay tuned to find out how the rankings change!