This past month, Crimson Lotus Tea introduced me to a new tea company called Soyuz Chai. This tea company is based out of Russia, and at the moment, all they carry is black tea… As many of you may know, black tea isn’t my first choice for drinking tea and is something I recently just got into liking. So when they sent me their line-up, I was hesitant to see that it was only black tea. However, since I’m trying to get more into hong, I figured it would be best to be open minded and try it anyways. After trying and enjoying their sample of their ‘Navy’ and ‘Army’ black tea, how does ‘Air Force’ hold up? After all, it’s the most expensive tea on their site. Let’s dive in!
Dimensions — 5.3g of tea for an 80ml shibo
Water Temp. — 190ºf
Number of Steeps — 12
Price — $17.58 USD for a 150g brick
Steeps 1 - 6
For this session, I broke-off a square section of the brick — which measured to 5.3g. For the first infusion, the faint tasting notes of caramel flew their way in, which trailed a creme-like hint on the sides of the tongue. After a few more infusions, the notes of creme and caramel became more prominent in the mouth and left an echo of flavor in the mouth for a small period of time. After the fourth infusion, a new profile of bell pepper and hay crept forward with the base of freshly-cut wood. By the sixth infusion, there was a light astringency that orbited the tip of the tongue and the insides of the cheeks.
Steeps 7 - 12
By the seventh infusion, Air Force was carrying a strong jet-propelling punch in the mouth as the notes of creamy wood ejected a mild bitterness on the base of the tongue. After two more steeps, an Unidentified Flavor Object (UFO) of creme jetted back into my pallet, which mixed beautifully with the woodsy notes of hay. Despite this tea’s strength, the ninth infusion proved that this tea’s notes were ready to make its way to a landing pad. By the twelfth infusion, this Air Force’s satellite was ready to come to a full stop and fall safely back to Earth.
Air Force is a 150g tea brick which was the top-tier black tea in Soyuz Chai’s Russian 1950's militia-style line-up. After their debut, I was intrigued to see what this tea company was about. Air Force started out faint and sweet, and as the session progressed, it became more powerful with the taste of lumber. One thing I liked about this tea was how bud-heavy it was. This is a great aspect because it contributed to a good balance with this tea’s aggressiveness. Another aspect I liked about this tea was its ability to still have flexibility with the water temperature used to brew it.
Overall, Air Force is a new favorite on my (very) short list of favorite black teas. However, one thing I’m excited for is to see what Soyuz Chai comes up with next. After being in the tea community for a period of time, you start to notice that a lot of people get into tea and seem to fall out of it. There’s a lot of companies that try and without the right amount of passion, seem to fail and move on. Soyuz Chai is transparent through their posts on social media and communication through messaging that they’re passionate about what they’re doing, and this is one tea company that, if chosen to continue this path, will end up being very successful…