You could probably spend a lifetime studying the topic of Chinese tea, if you were so inclined, and still not get to the bottom of it. All of the major types of tea are grown there and the sheer number of varieties that fall into those categories are enough to put a strain on your brain cells. Just keeping track of the various names of Chinese teas and their English translations can be a daunting task in itself.
Whether it be in Chinese or English many of the names of these teas are quite colorful. I can’t put a finger on why I like the name of Nine Bend Black Dragon so much. It just has a nice ring to it. Nine Bend Black Dragon is apparently named for the Nine Bend River located in the Wuyi Mountain region in the north of China’s Fujian province. Not surprisingly, this is a region that’s well known for its Wuyi Oolong as well as various other varieties of tea.
I personally have never found much to like about Wuyi Oolong, but Nine Bend Black Dragon is a another cup of tea entirely. While I like a nice delicate green tea now and then for me they tend to serve more as palate cleansers to be consumed in between the black teas that I’m such a fan of. Assam is one of my favorite black teas but I’ve been drinking a lot of Chinese black tea lately, such as Yunnan and Keemun, and Nine Bend Black Dragon fits in with this group quite nicely.
One of the first things that stands out here are the leaves themselves, longish and needle-like and mostly black, with a little bit of a sheen and just a smattering of yellow tips. The Tea Store’s description mentions “deep burgundy depth and delightful oaky notes.” I’m not sure what the former is and I can agree with the latter pretty much, but I also noticed a pronounced note of something resembling cocoa.
A nice one for fans of full-flavored black tea. More here.
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