This elegant black tea hails from Hunan Province, an historically-important province for both organic fruit & vegetables and world-class tea production, but one that many tea enthusiasts are not particularly familiar with. Tea Trekker has had many fantastic teas from Hunan Province over the years; and this is the latest addition to that stellar group.
Hunan Golden Peony black tea has a bright and complex taste, showing a flavorful deliciousness, and is a very complete tea with a huge flavor profile. Layered on top of its full-body, there is a dryness that is simultaneously palate-refreshing and reassuring. Drinking this tea will treat your palate to a wonderful tea-drinking experience.
Starting with the initial pleasant astringency (think a well-made cocktail) that tingles the front of the mouth, and then follows onto the rich body that saturates the entirety of one’s mouth, we have found that there is much to appreciate in the complexity of this tea. There is a slight hazelnut dryness, a little of the ‘tree-bark’ earthiness of some eastern China oolongs, a slight ‘raisiny’ or dried fruit stimulus, and a full, lingering after-taste. The aroma is intriguing, with elements of dried fruit, fully ripe drupes (stone fruit), and a hint of almond/hazelnut. Hunan Golden Peony black tea is the perfect tea to sip with Lebkuchen or Zimtstern on a snowy day at Christmastime, or with well-made toast or waffles year-round.
Like many well-made premium Chinese black teas, this tea is made from large, whole leaf and shows complexity on the palate. The pluck is what is known as a ‘rugged‘ one; so, like others in that style (Taiwan Blacks, Lapsangs, ‘Oolong Blacks’, etc) steep the leaf as it is presented – do not pick out the stems or other large bits of plant material. These are there because the tea maker wants them there, and the taste will change negatively if the user edits the leaf.
One can add milk or not, but to enjoy it as the Chinese would, it is best drunk plain.
Hunan Golden Peony black tea comes from a tea garden located near to the Zhang Jia Jie National Forest, known to millions as being the primary visual inspiration for the movie Avatar. Both are located within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Today this region is equally famous for being home to the world’s tallest lift (passenger elevator) and the world’s longest and highest pedestrian bridge.
The nearby Tianzi Shan main peak is known as The Son of Heaven Mountain and from its heights one can see four main natural scenes, depending on the season of the year: The Sea of Clouds; The Snow in Winter; Rays of Sunshine; and The Radiance of the Moonlight. Similar to the scenic depictions that we have observed on the HuangShan in central China, these viewpoints are the creations of rocks, firs, cliffs, valleys, and clouds & mist (combined with poetic and artistic license!). Stunning nevertheless and worth a detour if you happen to be visiting eastern China.