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蜜香紅茶
We have released 2 types of Yunnan black tea that gives muscatel flavour. The intensity of the muscatel flavour on these teas is not as strong as that of Mi Xiang Black Tea from Taiwan. These two teas are giving subtle extent of muscatel flavour that is acting like a back dancer that is to enhance the overall characteristic of tea.

In fact, when I was in Yunnan during my trip in early April, I had also found some black teas that give much stronger muscatel flavour. However, the quality of tea is generally in inverse proportion to the intensity of the muscatel flavour. Teas that give stronger muscatel flavour was not as mellow as what I have selected in terms of mouth-feel. Teas with stronger muscatel flavour give much weaker after taste.

The intensity of muscatel flavour is in inverse proportion to the quality of tea

I would like to explain the mechanism of the muscatel flavour produced by certain types of tea. The particular substance that gives muscatel flavour is called terpene that is produced by tea in responding to the attack of small insects. The terpene is the substance that commonly exists in the flavour of fruit. Just like mosquito does not like the smell of citrus fruit, there are many insects that hate the smell of the terpene. With some moderate oxidation of terpene during the fermentation of tea, it becomes the flavour like honey or Muscat. For more details, please refer to the following article.

The Green Fly that Produces the Muscatel Flavor of Oriental Beauty

蜜香とウンカの関係
Naturally, there are very less insects in March when the weather is still very cold. On the contrary, the number of insects increases in summer due to the warm weather. With more insects attack on the tealeaf, the muscatel flavour becomes stronger. Ironically, the quality of tea is in inverse proportion. The earlier the tea is plucked, the better the quality. The early-harvested tea gives stronger aftertaste, mellower mouth-feel and smooth drinking feeling but the muscatel flavour is milder due to less insects attack in this season. Those who look for the strong muscatel flavour shall consider the late-plucked tea. I illustrated the graph as follow to demonstrate the relationship between the intensity of muscatel flavour and the quality of tea. (Note: This graph is made based on my hypothesis and therefore it is not based on the actual figure)

As it is, most of the teas such as Oriental Beauty or Darjeeling Second Flush that promotes muscatel flavour as the unique characteristic are plucked in June. As a result, the mouth-feel of these teas is a little rough and most probably you will not be enjoying the delicacy in terms of soft mouth feeling on your palate.

Muscatel flavour is not the primary point for selecting tea

It was very hard for me to make a decision whether I should emphasize on the muscatel flavour or the base quality. Even if I choose the tea plucked in April based on the muscatel flavour, it will be quite nice since the tea is made follows the natural farming method and it gives strong aftertaste. However, once I tried the tea that is plucked in March, the quality was overwhelmingly smooth with lingering aftertaste, and I could hardly resist it. At last, I’ve selected the March crop. Although the muscatel flavour is a little lighter, I am happy with the overall quality that is well-balanced. I always prefer the tea that improves the water quality.

Other factors that influence the intensity of muscatel flavour

For your information, the level of muscatel flavour differs a lot depending on the water used for brewing tea. In particular, the flavour intensity is influenced a lot by calcium content in water. If you feel that the muscatel flavour is not strong enough, you may consider choosing water that contains more calcium. In addition, the maturation of tea is also a factor that increases the muscatel flavour. Usually, the muscatel flavour becomes stronger if the tea is kept more than a year under appropriate storing conditions.

 

We are now selling Yunnan Black Tea, Yunnan Muscatel Black Tea and Yunnan Ancient Black Tea. These teas were made in March when the weather was still very cold. The main characteristic of these teas is the ability to improve the water quality. Once tea is brewed, the water is very soft, clear and it gives sweet lingering aftertaste. The strong muscatel flavour makes tea very unique and it possess more characteristic. However as the daily drinking tea, I enjoy the moderate extent of muscatel flavour.

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