Ai Lao Hongcha is a black tea from Yunnan, grown at the altitude of 2200 meters, visually very interesting, colorful and messy, with unique tea liquor color.
Black tea was one of the tea types that weren’t my favorites many years ago. I started with green tea and it took me a few years until I finally started appreciating black tea. The reason lies in the fact that black tea is a true mass market product, usually sold in teabags and of the unknown origin. Then, I discovered Chinese black tea. And got hooked immediately.
I had a really bad cold last few days and wasn’t able to write any reviews or drink tea. However, when I opened the bag of Ai Lao Hongcha, scent was so intense that I could still smell it, even though my nose was out of the function. And this made me really impatient.
Ai Lao Hongcha – Fun For the Eyes
Leaves are brown-greenish with yellow buds, a bit like a dry forest leaves mixed with leaves of a regular Yunnan black tea. They are quite unusual, messy and interesting. Scent of dry leaves is very intense, like chocolate meets tobacco meets winter pear. It has that distinctive Yunnan scent, both black and raw pu’er tea. This changes quite a lot in a heated teapot, with a citric note appearing in the background. Old tobacco smoking rooms with dim lights and sour drinks being served throughout the night. 30 grams costs 9.50 GBP or around 12,50 USD.
Brewing: 4 grams, 150ml, 30, 60, 90, 180, 95 degrees Celsius
Ai Lao Hongcha does leave a feeling of a moisty dry tea. It’s quite lively, with light background, but full scent. It’s very pleasant and light for drinking, without any bitterness, but complex. First infusion is lightly sweet, with delicate chocolate, tobacco and pear note.
Color is really interesting, more like a brown tobacco color leading to brown-red. It leaves a pleasant warming feeling. It’s almost like good young raw pu’er meets Darjeeling tea. It keeps the same attitude in the second steeping, but slowly starts to change in the third. Like a chocolaty liquid tobacco, smooth and quite full, with slight sweetness, and no bitterness, and then starts to fade in the following steeping, but does offer 5-6 good infusions.
Ai Lao Hongcha would be a perfect summer dessert tea after a good rich dinner. Cigar in hand, light breeze and dim lights. It’s very light for drinking, but full and flavorful at the same time.