I’m not sure if you’ve wondered about this, but i certainly have. Is Black tea ever supposed to be, you know… Black? Short answer: not really. The Chinese actually call it “Red tea”. Most traditional Black teas have a red or orange liquor, though if we’re talking about BOPs, Fannings and CTC, I suppose you could make a case that the raw tea is black. Pu-erh and Heicha are black but they don’t fit very well into the normal Black tea category anyway. Check out below for a color comparison. ;)
OP (Orange Pekoe), as I’ve described it before, doesn’t hold a candle to FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowering Orange Pekoe). However. There are a great many OPs, BOPs and lesser grades that are still exceptional in their own right. Vietnam Yen Bai OP is one such tea.
Unlike yesterday’s tea, Vietnam Yen Bai OP has a magnificent quarter-smoked Black aroma. Similarly, in flavor Vietnam Yen Bai OP is a bit gooey sweet and a goodly amount of what could only be called “robust rust” malt. Texture-wise, Vietnam Yen Bai OP shines with what i would call a full tingly mouth feel, despite having no Tip! Northern Vietnam is home to world’s 2nd oldest, wildest tea trees, and Vietnam Yen Bai OP might be the poor man’s ticket to this exotic locale.
- Aroma – 94
- Taste – 94
- Texture – 94
- Spunk – 96 (Kudos for being Organic)
- Rarity – 96
- Availability – 92 (offered online in any size from both TeaHaus & TeaGschwendner)
- Appearance – 94
Mean score – 94%
I had hoped this tea would break the 95 ceiling, but not quite. It’s still a marvelous Black tea that you simply must try though.