I’ve had a rather lukewarm reaction to Silk Road Teas Guangdong Black (B-GDB-5) tea in times past. Giving it another go here, with a sample courtesy of a friend (purchased January 2007), I find I am still not much moved by this tea. It yields a cup with pleasant enough aroma—perhaps a hint of milk chocolate sweetness (?), touch of floral-spice, and a bit toasty.
The cup itself moves toward a pungent edge of earth with those iron metallic notes I find not as pleasing as some of the more mellow rounded China black (red) teas. Earth can be a positive sun-washed freshly-tilled earth experience, which I refer to as “good earth,” courtesy of author Pearl Buck ("and he smelled the fresh smell of the fields"). But it can also be muddy (actually clings to the palate), cellar-musty, or even metallic. The latter is what I find in this particular tea, and it just sits more harshly in my interior than other China black (red) teas.
In January 2000 I tried this tea and commented: The aroma is a mild earthy/floral sweet that gains some light spice notes as it cools. Not unpleasant. Just not particularly interesting to me. I am not zeroing in on what the vendor’s description of "lots of character" is referring to in this tea. The aroma gains more character as it cools down and sweeter/deeper notes are being added, but I don't find them coming into the taste. It has a definite edge of astringency. Too bad the sweetness of that expanding aroma (still gaining spicy notes) isn't in the cup itself. This just doesn't do it for me.
The aroma of the tea promises something that just doesn’t come through well in the cup itself. The metallic note, which is part taste and partly a sensation related to pungency, really just “zaps” this tea for me. I keep tasting it, but I just can’t find reasons to drink it, especially in comparison to some of the other SRT black (red) teas which I do enjoy.