Review by teafancier.com Read the original Reddit post here
iTeaworld – Black Tea Selection
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we love a bit of free tea here at Tea Fancier Towers. And when iTeaworld got in touch to ask if they could send me some tea, I leapt on their offer.
They offered to send me one big ol’ box of any tea of my choosing and selection boxes of black and oolong tea. And here’s where I – in my haste – made a bit of a miscalculation. For my main box, I asked for Wild Souchong tea which, as anyone who knows me well enough to know that I hate Lapsang Souchong will appreciate, was an odd choice.
The thing is, you do get unsmoked souchong teas. They don’t grow like that. And for some reason, I thought it was one of those. Also, I was seduced by the romanticism of tea leaves from wild trees.
Because rather than the neat, tidy tea bushes most favoured by plantationeers, Wild Souchong comes from huge, old tea trees in the Guangxi mountains. As iTeaworld’s website says, “Tea from wild tea trees has an unruly wild characteristic”, and goshdammit, I really liked the idea of some unruliness in my teacup.
But it’s smoked. And, so, as much as it pains me to say so, and even though I can see that this is clearly a high-quality batch of tea leaves, this tea is not for me. Nor was the Lapsang Souchong, which came in the selection box. I will endeavour to rehome both teas so they can be with someone who loves them in ways I can’t.
But, tea friends, let us move swiftly on and talk of happier things like the absolutely bloody amazing Yunnan and Yingde black teas, which iTeaworld also included in the chinese black tea selection box.
Yunnan Black Tea
Yunnan Black Tea: This is a marvellous sweetish dark blend that makes me want to employ words like honeyed and caramel when describing it. It’s brisk, though. It might lure you in with its seductive smoothness, but then it will slap you round the chops to remind you that you’ve had a substantial cup of tea that is not mucking about.
It’s top-quality stuff. In fact, it reminds me of the blends that Curious Tea sell. It’s a seriously good large-leaved single estate lovingly-produced black tea blend that tastes so beautifully and absolutely of tea that I wish it could somehow be an immersive full-body experience. (I don’t want to bathe in the tea, you understand. And want, in some way, to become the tea.)
Yingde Black Tea
And if you thought me talking about iTeaworld’s Yunnan was some overexcited fangirling, well, whoa, hold tight because I am about to get even more effusive. Yingde black tea is even better than Yunnan in ways that I am not tea-experty enough to articulate.
It has a fresh, flowery taste with an aroma that is quite rose-petal-y. (Although, as always, I feel the need to point out that what this tea primarily tastes of is tea. And jolly good tea at that.)
And the dried leaves are beautiful, long, twisty, twirly works of art. Just look at these beauties! All of iTeaworld’s chinese black tea selection are comprised of satisfyingly whole leaves, which makes me feel connected to the plants that produced them in a way that I don’t with your more chopped-up processed tea.
(I said I was going to get even more effusive with this one but, as it turns out, I can’t actually think of a way to top “I want to become the tea” in terms of hyperbole.)
The only thing that could possibly mar my enjoyment of this magnificent brew is the nagging voice telling me that this was the tea I should have chosen as my main tea rather than Wild Souchong.
Not that I’m complaining. I got to try some amazingly good teas for absolutely nothing. And I have drunk an insane amount of high-quality tea over the last couple of hours so I’m high as a kite.
And I still have an Oolong selection box to work my way through! I’m a very lucky Tea Fancier.