Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: pale reddish
If I had to pick a favorite black tea Dian Hong just might be it. There’s just something about them that is so comforting. Bitterleaf Teas was kind enough to include a sample of Sugarglider with one of my orders. What can I say, I’m addicted to their tea pet offerings! This is a tea that has been on my wishlist for a while (and not just for the adorable label) so I was really happy to have a chance to try it.
Jingmai is one of my favorite regions in Yunnan for Dian Hong as well as puerh and white tea. It is an area famous for its ancient tea forests, so much so that it was named a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tea was harvested in 2018 and is a mixture of material from old and young trees. My inner tea nerd wonders if it was dried in the sun or using ovens. I enjoy teas made using either method so either way I knew I would be in for a treat.
The dry leaves of this tea were really beautiful. They were dark and wiry with just a hint of chrome. Some of them were as long as my gaiwan is wide. A lot of Dian Hongs sold to the western market trend towards the golden end of the spectrum but this one was more reserved. I did manage to capture a particularly fuzzy bud set for my Instagram feed.
Sugar Glider brewed up a pale reddish shade of amber. It was surprisingly light considering how dark the dry leaf was. My senses were flooded with aromas of malt and dark chocolate before even taking the first sip. Those notes were echoed in the cup along with a lingering sweetness. It was earthy but not in the unpleasant way that you might associate with shou puerh.
There was hardly any bitterness, even when brewed with fully boiling water. The finish had a refreshing cooling effect that kept it from being too heavy or tannic. At $20 for 100 grams, this tea is a real bargain considering the quality. Its natural sweetness would make it a great choice for those who don’t usually enjoy black tea.
Have you ever tried Bitterleaf Teas Sugar Glider? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!