“Old arbor large leaf varietal tea that is usually destined to be made in raw Puer, picked and processed into dianhong style tea with sun drying. We also have a white tea version of the same material.
“Arbor red has an herbaceous fragrance and flavors that often border on medicinal. Sweetness underlies the complex flavors and heavy body of this tea. This is an enduring and heavy black tea best suited for a longer, gongfu style tea session.”White2Tea
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Yunnan red teas (aka black. In China what we call “black tea” they call “Red Tea” or Hong Cha).
Young Yunnan black tea can be tad harsh and astringent, with cranberry and sour cherry flavors standing out and twisting in your stomach.
In older Yunnan black tea, the fruit fades and they inch into leather and dry forest floor type flavors, but sometimes the harshness or mellows into bitterness.
There is a sweet spot, though, between enthusiastic youth and dusty age where Yunnan Red Teas can be quite nice.
Personally, I like to drink them in the fall here in CA. Once the fire season sets in, it’s time for me to put away the light summer green tea and move into something that can stand up to a little smoke.
When, in 2019, I ordered this cake of 2018 White2tea Arbor Red, I was hoping to get it right in that sweet spot. I even figured that, being in a cake, some of that youthful exuberance might be preserved.
The first thing I noticed on unwrapping the cake was how great it smelled, like dried cherries and plums. Just fantastic.
But, when I brewed, I noticed it was not very red, more of an orange.
And when I smelled the brewed tea, and tasted, I got a bit of smoke wrapping around a mild flavor with a lingering sweet complex bitterness in the aftertaste.
What I’ll say is that this is not so much a Red tea for Red tea lovers, as a Red tea for Puerh drinkers.
Someone who likes English Breakfast tea (or even other Chinese red tea,) is probably not gonna dig this tea. But someone who digs Puerh tea might taste it and say, “Huh, that’s some interesting and subtle character. This is a Red Tea I can get into!”
#Tea #Cha #HongCha #BlackTea #RedTea #YunnanTea #white2tea #ArborRed