Japan is predominantly known for producing, exporting, and drinking green tea, though there is a small amount of black tea to be found. The folks at Mellow Monk have made a lightly fermented black tea from tea plant varietals usually meant for green tea. Crimson Grove comes from their estate near Mt. Aso in Kyushu.
The leaves are small, very dark with some golden tips mixed in. The aroma in the bag is earthy, but with a hint of sandalwood and something floral.
The liquor is deep ruby with a gentle aroma of fresh cut wood, nutmeg, orchids, and citrus. It's vaguely reminiscent of a high-grown Ceylon. The flavour is exceptionally smooth, not even a hint of astringency or chewiness. There's a touch of smoke, maybe an edge of cinnamon and lilac, but it's almost sweet. It's gorgeous and delicate, one of the most refined black teas I've had in a while.
Crimson Grove at Mellow Monk