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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Element Tea’s Black Silk Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder.

The Subject:  Black Silk
Company:Element Tea. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the rating designation.

Water temperature:212° F
Steeping time:3-5 mins.
Tea type:Black
Dry leaves:  Curled, tan to black, raisiny/plumy/date-ish aroma

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Malty, light
Taste, plain —Malty, light, not bitter, great straight, takes on slight date quality as cools
Color, plain —Reddish brown
Taste, enhanced —  Caramelly quality
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —Light
Taste, plain —Light
Color, plain —Lighter, reddish brown

The company’s site says only that this tea is made of Chinese black tea. Actually, this is Yunnan Gold, also called Golden Bi Luo. I tried one from Chicago Tea Garden a little over a year ago and another one from TeaGschwendner in August, 2010. The ladies of Element Tea have also just confirmed this. Yunnan Gold is considered one of the better black teas, and their price is quite reasonable, certainly when compared with their competition in the tea market, as shown here:

Element Tea price as of 29 Dec 2010 on their site:
4 oz (up to 50 cups) at $15.95 — $3.99 per ounce

Chicago Tea Garden price as of 23 April 2011 when I checked their site:
3.53 oz at $28.99 — $8.21 per ounce
5.29 oz at $40.99 — $7.75 per ounce

TeaGschwendner price as of 23 May 2010:
.05 kilo (1.77 oz) at $7.76 — $4.38 per ounce

We opened the foil-lined pack and saw a lovely sight: curled tea leaf pieces of the typical size, shape, and color for this tea type. After steeping, the full story is revealed, the careful plucking and sorting this tea underwent to give you just those tender tip leaves:

This tea can take milk well in the first infusion. Hubby and I also added a touch of sweetener. The second infusion is lighter and tastes great straight. You could just do one stronger steeping if you prefer. Play around a bit to find out what suits you. At their price, you can go with one infusion and still get your money’s worth. Another option is to only use half as much water for the second infusion (we used 16 oz. for each).

Hubby loved the sight of those tip leaves so much, he laid one out by itself in a little white bowl to be photographed.

Overall, this is another high-quality tea from the tea ladies in the Mile High City of Denver, certainly worth being served in one of our special bone china rose-covered teacups and saucers.

One final thing: along with the tea samples came a little steeping guide. It’s pretty general, but quite useful.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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