Black Magnolia and A Milestone

It was finally time to break open the Black Magnolia tea from the Great Mississippi Tea Company that I helped to pick and process just two weeks ago, which you can read all about on my post titled “Tea Trip!” While brewing and tasting this tea the first time, I had a moment that I hadn’t had before. I am calling it a small milestone in my tea journey and I was pretty excited about it.

So the pictures here are actually the second time I have made this tea. The first time I made it, we had some friends over for dinner and I brewed it up as an after dinner drink for our guests and I didn’t really have a chance to do a full tasting session or take pictures. But I can tell you about the milestone moment that I had.

You know how we do it here, I brewed it Gongfu style, even though the directions on the bag are for Western style. Well I used 200F degree water, which is what I almost always use for black tea. I used 7 grams and 200 ml of water and first infusion was 10 seconds. The tea was pretty good, but when I tasted it, I just had this gut feeling that this tea could be better. Like I knew that I could get more out of this tea and the way to do that was to use hotter water. I can’t say for sure where this feeling came from at that moment, but I had never had that feeling before when brewing a tea. I usually just try to taste what I taste and take notes of it, but this time was different. So after three infusions, I made some fresh water and this time used the full boil 212F. I brewed it for a little bit longer than I normally did, and wow did it make a difference in the taste. It was a lot better this way! With such a subtle change, I was really surprised at how much better it was. This was the first time I have had a feeling like that and I turned out to be correct, which was very exciting for me.

So, with this in mind, the second time I brewed this tea, I used full boiling 212F water and 4 grams per 100ml and brewed the first infusion for 15 seconds, adding 5 to each infusion after that.

Y’all, this tea is GOOD. As soon as the water touched the dry leaves, I was hit in the nose with a strong aroma of honey and caramel. The taste of the liquor was fragrant and sweet with notes of honey and caramel, some floral, sweet, and fruity notes. The official description says caramel, honey, honeysuckle and apricot. I can’t say that I have ever had apricot, so that must be the fruity note I am picking up.

The tea was not bitter at all and it even gave me a tingling sensation in the roof of my mouth when drinking it. It was very pleasant overall and I am really impressed that a tea that’s grown in Mississippi can be so good.

The price of this tea is normally $10 for 1 oz. which is 28 grams. 4 grams per session makes 7 sessions per bag. Each session can make a good 8 cups. That comes to about $1.43 per session, which is $.18 per cup. If you go to a café or restaurant and order this tea or any similar tea, they will charge you $3 or more for just ONE cup. Tea is not very expensive at all if you look at the whole picure, which I hope you will do and not be scared off by the price of $10 per oz.

I have since realized that my inspiration for going with hotter water may have come from my Mei Leaf brewing guide, which can be found here. I didn’t consult this guide before brewing but something must have triggered my memory. Most of the black tea that I have been drinking has been small leaf, and these leaves are a bit larger than those.

Here’s to many more milestones to come. Cheers.

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