Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: long, dark, slightly twisted
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: dark amber
I have a funny habit of saving the tea that I think I would like the most for last. I previously reviewed and really enjoyed Teance’s Tiegunyin Dark Stone Fruit but something about the name Burnt Sugar Red told me that it would be a special one. The red part of the name might seem confusing but what we call black tea in the west is usually called red tea (or hong cha) in countries like China and Taiwan. Not to mention the fact that rooibos is often labeled as red tea.
The taste was malty and sweet with absolutely zero bitterness or astringency. Since this is a Taiwanese black tea I was expecting it to be something a bit like Ruby #18. There were a few things that really set it apart for me though. Rather than notes of cinnamon and dark fruits, I was getting deeply caramelized sugar, gingerbread, and black strap molasses. It was the creme brulee of black tea!
Gongfu is definitely the way to go with this tea, especially when you consider the higher price point. It performed well in a gaiwan and I found myself continuing to drink past its prime because of the residual sweetness. I’d be hesitant to use it with clay unless the vessel is very well seasoned. My .5 oz sample was just enough for two good sized gongfu sessions.
This tea was made by Miss Lin, one of the most decorated tea makers in Maioli. I always enjoy reading about Teance co-founder Winnie Wu’s sourcing blogs, particularly the ones about Miss Lin. While it is certainly possible to have a good tea where the source is not known, I very much prefer to have transparency when buying my tea.
This is a limited batch tea so it might not be available for much longer. If you’re intrigued, I definitely recommend picking some up before it is gone. You won’t regret it.
Burnt Sugar Red sample provided for review by Teance.