I generally drink the gold ones, so this was new to me. I wasn’t sure what the ‘noir’ would mean. In French, noir means ‘black’. In mysteries that is the hard-boiled, often ugly ones. What is it in tea?
The dry tea gave off a muscatel, earthy aroma. The leaves were definitely different from any Yunnan tea I’ve had before. They almost looked like some Oolong teas, with their tightly rolled little bundles of gold and black, complete with a tiny stem.
I brewed them up with boiling water for 4 minutes, but about half way through I took the lid off to sniff. I was glad I did, the leaves were huge! I quickly dumped them out into the pot so they would have more room t move around. The scent had shifted to something heavy and dark, very, very woody. Oh dear, I thought, is this going to be unpleasant?
However, the tea was much gentler than it’s brewing aroma suggested, especially when I put in some more hot water after the first sip, which was indeed a bit much in the strength-before-taste department. There was my Yunnan, with its faint hint of spice, a bit of cocoa and yes, some woodiness thrown in.
The directions say to use a heaping teaspoon per 8 oz. cup. I used only a bit more and the strength of the tea was far too much to be able to appreciate it. I would really recommend using just a straight teaspoon, unless of course, you’re going to take the “Strong Man of Tea” challenge.
Here’s what Adagio says about it:
Black tea from the Yunnan province of China, the birthplace of tea itself. Much of the tea in this southern province is a large leaf variety. Mountains veiled in mist, with clean water and rich soil form ideal growing conditions and contribute to the unique flavor. Our Yunnan Noir is a hand-rolled tea, with leaves tightly curled into a ‘black snail’ shape. The aroma is sweet with hints of honey and spice. Savory and winey on the palate, with smooth, deep fruity astringency, tremendous depth of flavor, cinnamon bark and nutmeg in the finish. Terrifically textured cup of tea.
This is pretty close to my experience, but only after diluting it somewhat. You can have that too, just use less tea than they recommend. I guess the ‘noir’ is what happens when you use too much dry leaf and the brew goes to the “Dark Side”.