In the past, I’ve reviewed teas from Bitterleaf Teas before. However, I never really spoke about the company. I came across Bitterleaf Teas a year ago because I saw a picture of their pretty packaging (I’m a sucker for packaging).
Today is Comparing Thursday! I have two Dian Hong black teas from Bitterleaf Teas: Fox Tail and Sabertooth. Both teas are made from ancient trees, with Sabertooth originating from 300+-year-old trees!
As Bitterleaf Teas explains, Dian Hong “is produced from the large leaf variety tea tree indigenous to Yunnan. [It] has a unique appearance thanks to the presence golden, strand-like tips in the tea. The end product is a sweet, fragrant and smooth, red- I mean, black tea with no noticeable bitterness or astringency.” Since black teas are known as ‘red teas’ in China, Dian Hong translates to ‘Yunnan Red.’
Description: It has a strong baked cookie scent, making it a great tea for when you are craving something sweeter.
Review: I can understand why Bitterleaf Teas called this tea ‘Fox Tail.’ The fuzzy leaves were golden and brown and looked a bit like mini tails. The aroma of the leaves had a faint woody and cocoa aroma, but when wet, it became a rich chocolate aroma. Smelt a bit like baking!
First and Second Steep (5sec/8sec) – The tea came with instructions, which included pre-warming any of the teaware, how much tea to use, temperature, and time. However, the tea could use a wash too because the liquor was slightly gritty. The flavour was warm and caramel. The second infusion was smooth and the flavour lingered in the mouth. The liquor was dark orange.
Third and Fourth Steep (8sec/10sec) – The sweet flavour took a back seat and the liquor became more woody with very mild astringency.
Fifth and Sixth Steep (10sec/10sec) – Infusion Five was more cocoa and Infusion Six is a bit more floral.
Seventh Steep (10sec) – Last recommended infusion. The flavour was very mild.
The overall flavour lingered in my mouth for quite some time after drinking the tea and tasted sweet. I personally liked infusion 1-3 best, however, if you like more of a woody or floral flavour, keep on steeping! I would have also stopped at the 6th infusion.
Lastly, Bitterleaf Teas’ description of the tea was spot on! I try not to read companies comments about their teas because it colours my thoughts on it. However, after I finished my tasting, their tasting notes mirrored what I wrote down (4/5 rating).
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Description: With a smooth, sweet flavour and a malty-chocolate finish, this is a luxurious tea that needs to be savoured.
Review: When I first smelt the dry leaves, it had a lovely woodsy scent, which carried into the wet leaves. The leaves also were slightly malty in aroma.
First to Third Steep (5sec/8sec/11sec) – The first few infusions were reminiscent of the leaves and had a woody taste. The liquor was reddish-orange.
Fourth Steep (14sec) – The more cocoa flavours came through. The liquor was thick and smooth.
Fifth Steep (17sec) –The malt flavours were more apparent and reflected the wet leaves.
Sixth Steep (20sec/25sec) – The flavour was less malty but more deep and roasted.
Seventh Steep (25sec) – The tea became much milder but there is a lingering malty aftertaste. Between each steep there was a malty aroma from the leaves.
After the 7th steep, Bitterleaf Tea recommended cold brewing. I’ve never tried it before, so I thought it would be neat. I let the tea sit for two hours. The malt flavour was stronger but there was some slight astringency. It was not unpleasant and the liquor was cool and refreshing (3/5 rating).
While there were some similarities, I found I enjoyed Fox Tail better because it had a much more malty flavour. That being said, I’ve never tried cold brewing before, so I enjoyed that Bitterleaf Tea recommended that for Sabertooth. I definitely think I will be looking for more Dian Hong in the future!