This tea looks like isht, messy and disordered. Yellow powder on this dark leafy mess seems hiiiiiiighly suspicious. And yet, I ask you to trust me and get closer. This tea has such an extraordinary and harmonious soul that we are going to excuse its embarrassing looks. After all, who of us, at least once in a lifetime, hasn’t looked like isht too?
Smell the DRY LEAVES and you will be astonished: it has an intensely marine, iodized aroma supported by secondary notes of leather and cocoa powder.
INFUSED LEAVES, very dark brown, almost black, amplify the initial sensations, adding to it the hints of white pepper, hot stones, smoking pine, as well as strong aromatic herbs like thyme and rosemary. Beautiful.
LIQUOR is dark amber. Again, perfect harmony with dry and wet leaves; marine and mineral notes come first, spice, wood and leather – second.
This tea is masculine in the best possible way: hot and cool at the same time. Crazy looks, but who cares? – now that we know this guy better, we have completely succumbed to his unique charm.
Today, we have gone darker and tasted AN HUA HEI CHA (安化黑茶), a dark tea made in Hunan Province. Its marine, iodized aromas are unique for a dark tea. And the yellow powder on dry leaves is actually a sign of quality. For a great primer on Hei Cha, go here.
TEA & FOOD PAIRING
I would go for Unadon. The sweetness of the sauce will be balanced by the cool character of the tea, and marine aromas will be in harmony.
We want it darker today, right?
Then, nothing is better than “Darkness and Light” by John Legend and Brittany Howard,
And Leonard Cohen “You Want it Darker”