Remember last time when I mentioned I was battling the winter blues? Well, the weather hasn’t improved much since then, so I’m craving a good ol’ black tea this time. Since it was time to rotate back to my Yezi Tea samples, I went straight for their Yi Fu Chun Black Tea.
Yi Fu Chun is a Chinese black tea grown near Fuqing City along the country’s Nanhu Mountain range. Climate plays a crucial role in tea-growing; and according to Yezi’s website, the Nanhu Mountains can be covered in fog for 200 days a year. Read on to learn more about this smoky, classy gem.
Yezi’s Description: “Yi Fu Chun is an organic tea, and Yezi is proud to bring you this offering sourced, like most of our teas, directly from the farmer. You will find drinking this golden brown brew as smooth as riding in a Rolls-Royce on a newly paved highway. A light and natural sugarcane sweetness is a distinguishing characteristic of Yi Fu Chun. Notes of apple and peach add to its complex flavor.”
Ingredients: Yi Fu Chun Black tea leaves
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 tsp of tea for every 3 oz of water. Heat water to boiling (194 – 203 degrees Fahrenheit / 90 – 95 degrees Celsius) and steep for 20 seconds. Add 10 seconds for each subsequent brew.
Multiple Brews?: 4 to 5 times
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: High
I’m so used to seeing black tea leaves as… well, black in color. So when I laid my eyes on Yi Fu Chun’s dry leaves for the first time, I spent a loooong time admiring them before I made my first cup. *lol* Yi Fu Chun comes in fine, twisted tendrils of black-brown, with lots of silken, deep golden tips. The coloring reminds me of Red Dragon Pearls, but I think Yi Fu Chun contains more tips. The leaves themselves are quite delicate. Each time I scoop in with my teaspoon, I do so gently for fear of breaking them.
Yi Fu Chun’s fragrance also reminds me of Red Dragon Pearls. It’s predominantly smoky, with an oak-like wood tone and traces of cocoa. The image it conjures up is a log cabin in the woods, smoke puffing out from the chimney during a winter’s day. Familiar and comforting so far. I know Yi Fu Chun and Red Dragon Pearls are grown in different parts of China, but if they have similar aromas, I wonder if they’ll taste alike, too.
Originally I was concerned that Yezi Tea’s instructions for Yi Fu Chun (1 teaspoon for every 3 ounces of water) would make the brew too strong for my tastes. However, my favorite cups are the ones brewed closest to Yezi’s ratio. (I should trust vendors’ instructions about black tea from now on. *wink*)
Using 2 teaspoons of tea and 8 ounces of boiling water, I steep the leaves for about 30 seconds. The liquid turns a dark golden brown, and the heady scents of smoke and oak are much stronger now compared to the dry leaves. The first couple sips are perplexing – not in a bad way, but it took me a while to sort through the flavors. I taste smoke, stone fruit (especially plums), and malt. There’s also a dark, complex sweetness akin to brown sugar and molasses. It’s smooth, sophisticated, and very different from Red Dragon Pearls, but in a good way.
Most vendors don’t recommend resteeping their black teas. However, Yezi’s instructions call for incremental increases in Yi Fu Chun’s steep times after the short first brew. And to my surprise, the later brews are just as delicious as the first one. Steep #2 in particular (1 minute) develops a toasted undertone and a rich heartiness that reminds me of baked bread. A slight cinnamon sweetness pops in the aftertaste once the liquid cools, too.
What surprises me the most about Yi Fu Chun, though, is its lack of tannins. Even after my fourth and final cup of the 2-teaspoon batch (2 minutes), the drink isn’t harsh or bitter. No wonder Yezi says to resteep Yi Fu Chun: It’s wonderfully long-lasting for a black tea.
Out of curiosity, I try a single-steep cup of Yi Fu Chun, letting it brew for 4 minutes. It’s good, but a little robust for me. The smoke, stone fruit, and brown sugar flavors bombard the tastebuds all at once. You could definitely drink Yi Fu Chun this way if you wanted to, but I prefer the shorter, multiple brews so I can experience the flavors as they unfold over time.
Complex, smooth, and elegant, Yezi Tea’s Yi Fu Chun is a black-tea luxury ride that cruises along your tongue. It plum and smoke overtones, brown-sugar sweetness, and lack of bitterness all contribute to its unique profile. Yi Fu Chun is also quite versatile, producing flavorful single brews as well as shorter steeps of evolving depth and presence. You can use fewer leaves if you don’t like your black tea too strong, but you’ll lose the full effect that way. I can’t find anything bad to say about Yi Fu Chun. It doesn’t floor me the way my favorite teas have, but it’s very lovely and definitely worthy of keeping in my personal stash.
Grade: 8.5 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like black tea
- Time of Day and Year: Autumn or winter mornings, either during or after breakfast
- Possible Book Pairings: Something tells me that Matthew Clairmont from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy would appreciate this sophisticated black tea. If you haven’t read A Discovery Of Witches, Shadow Of Night, or The Book Of Life yet, Yi Fu Chun would make a great companion beverage.
You can purchase Yi Fu Chun Black Tea directly from Yezi Tea here.
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In addition to being a tea enthusiast, Sara Letourneau is an avid reader and a writer who… well, enjoys writing! Currently she’s working on a novel, and she writes book reviews and articles on the craft of writing. She’s also a published poet with works available in various print and online publications. Visit Sara at her personal blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
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