109 Tasting Notes
Thanks to tea bento for this sample. Today we have BALHYOCHA from korea, which is an oxidized tea. This is a pretty dark black tea, and I started by heating my yixing for black tea and using about 205 water. Since I keep hearing about the deep chocolate flavors of this tea, and higher temp usually brings that out. I got a strong aroma of chocolate, nuts, and a bit of fruit, dark fruit like dark plums.
Brewing this up , I skipped a wash as I wanted to get the full flavor and feel of the tea, and I dont think black teas really need a wash. Sipping I got a flavor of chocolate, the dark fruit flavors as well as a tiny bit of citrus, honey and a teeny bit of pleasant sourness. Its a bit sweet as well, and a touch of caramel. Very interesting tea , I was a bit surprised that it is from Korea, its so rich and sweet.
This is quite the interesting tea, I might have to get some more to see what some variations on brewing produce. I highly recomend at least trying this tea, if you like black tea at all.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Honey, Pleasantly Sour, Plums
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample , up today for tasting we have charcoal roasted Dong Ding oolong. I started by heating the yixing to get it nice and hot and then adding the leaves and giving a short little shake. I got a very strong aroma of Honey, roast, char, anise and Caramel. I decided to skip the wash on this as I dont want to lose the flavor of the roast which usually comes out strongest in the early roasts.
First brew I got much of the same aroma as the dry leaf but more intense, the dark honey flavor especially so. The liqour is a medium dark color and the flavor added in sweet and cinnamon as well. I really love how the yixing clay brings out the spice notes in oolong, it really makes the tea shine. The flavors in this tea are quite complex and trying to pick out all the different spices is very interesting. I do like this tea alot.
Second brew, I brewed it just a bit shorter as the tea has opened up a bit at this point. Ohh right choice, the flavor and aroma of char and roast is much stronger in this brew.. so nice.. sweet, honey, and caramel are still there but also a bit of minerality at this point as well. Also might be a slightly coffee flavor as well at this point, but its hard to pinpoint that with the strong roasted flavor.
Third infusion the tea is slightly lighter in color, the minerality is more in prominence now as well as sweet and cinnamon, the roast and char is starting to fade at this point, but there is still nice spice notes. This tea is a wonderful afternoon tea with the strong flavor profile, perfect for going with a sweet snack. I really recommend this one for any who likes the stronger roasted tea.
Flavors: Anise, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet
Thanks to teabento for this sample. I started by getting a glass kyusu style teapot and brewing up 4 grams for about 30 seconds with 175 water. I didnt heat the pot and I poured over the side of the strainer to not burn the tea. I got a medium green color liquor that is quite thick. I got the aroma of spinach, asparagus, butter, and general vegetal from it.
This is quite a good tea, and the color in the cup is quite dark , though there is only a touch of bitterness in the tea. Its more sweet, vegetal and buttery, what you would expect from a high grade sencha. The leaves before brew was quite small which is usually a good sign. The tea liquor is quite thick and rich and very umami , this is a really nice sencha, which is good since Im on a bit of a japanese tea kick recently.
You will need a basket strainer to strain this, as the tea leaves are quite fine and using a cone strainer it might clog up.
I recommend this tea for anyone who loves thick rich sencha.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. I started by heating the yixing with 200 degree water, and putting the dry leaf in for a little shake. I gave the tea a super quick rinse just to help it open up a little. I got an aroma of honey, cinnamon , nutmeg and apple. There might be a bit more floral and fruit under that, but Im not getting them yet.
First brew, I get a clear pale honey color liqour, showing the roast on this is light to medium. Which seems to fit in with the flavors and aroma Im getting, a mix of floral,fruit and spices. Though not much actual roast flavor or aroma.
Second brew , with this brew im getting a bit more roast as well as more spice flavor including cloves. Im a bit surprised by this as its not an aroma I normally pick up in TGY, but it smells heavenly. The color is also a bit darker.. maybe I should have given it a slightly longer rinse :P . Oh the flavor is really nice as well, a bit of roast, fruits, spice all blending together wonderfully.
Third brew is slightly darker still with more clove, fruits, less roast. Still some floral, I also inspected the leaves after this brew and they are quite large and leafy and very nice looking. Im also getting a bit of peach and honey now. Wonderful tasting tea, a perfect after lunch or afternoon tea.
Im going to brew this out a few more times, as it seems it really has some life left in it. Roasted TGY tend to be pretty strong brewers. This is an excellent tea if you are looking for a light to mid roast TGY.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Clove, Honey, Nutmeg
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up for tasting today we have healthy GABA oolong. I dont have all that much experience with GABA tea, and wasnt really sure what to expect. I started by heating a yixing with near boiling water, then putting the dry leaf in to smell. I got an aroma of honey and spices.
I decided to skip the wash as the leaves look pretty clean and open already and just go right for the first brew. The flavor is a bit hard to describe, honey, spices, nutmeg, malt and a bit of sweetness. It does have a few of the flavor profiles of bug bitten, but more spicey and malty. The liquor is clear, reddish brow, the color of whiskey or dark honey.Second brew I got much more intense honey aroma and flavor, almost overpowering the other flavors and aroma. Also just a tiny bit of black tea flavor. Not really bitter or astringent, but a bit of the tea flavor of black tea, I cant think of another word to describe it. The liqour got a bit darker at this point as well.
Third brew is about the same color as the second and seems very similiar though the flavor and aroma is drifting from honey to malt. There is a teeny bit of astrigency in this brew as well. Some spice notes, and possibly nutmeg again. Tiny bit of coffee note as well, again a flavor I usually get with black tea.
This has been an interesting experience as I dont drink much GABA tea, so I didnt really know what to expect. It almost tastes like a cross between black tea and bug bitten. This tea type is supposed to be very healthy , lowering blood pressure and sugar. I do recommend trying this tea for yourself and seeing what you think.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Nutmeg, Spices, Sweet
Thanks to Teabento for this sample. Up today we have silver needle tea by Teabento, and I have to admit, the cute little bento box it came in is rather appealing. I decided to steep this tea in a glass pot. I mostly went by their guide and used 4 grams of leaf, but cut the water from 200ml to 150 to give a slightly stronger brew. I also went with their recommended temp of 87c. The first brew gave a slight creamy, spicy aroma which is light and slightly floral, fruity and vegetal. There is also a very slight yeast or baked bread aroma which is fairly common I find in white tea, but not quite as intense. I also got a bit of white grapes.
The liquor is quite pale almost like a white wine color. Tasting it I got many of the same flavors, and the tea is very subtle and soft. It’s also a bit sweet and well rounded. Its quite a nice tea and has just a teeny tiny spice note that I cant identify.
Second brew is much the same, though there is a bit more fruit notes in as well as teeny bit of sour, which enhances that flavor of white grapes. I lost the spice notes at this point as well as the baked bread, but I am picking up more floral notes now, though I cant quite place it. Maybe possibly a teeny bit of honey, but its quite light.
This tea is nice for anyone who likes white tea or silver needle.
Flavors: Creamy, Vegetal, White Grapes, Yeast
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up for tasting today is Gaoshanchi Taiwan Fushoushan High Mt Oolong. I dont think Im going to try to pronounce that one. I started by heating my green oolong clay pot. With just under 200 degree water, putting the leaves in and giving it a little shake. I got a nice floral, peach, stonefruit and honey aroma from it.
I decided to skip the rinse on this one, Im going to steep this out a bunch of times anyway, so Im not worried about the leaves fully opening on the first steep. Giving this about a 30 second steep. The liqour is light pale, very light, even for a high mountain oolong. The aroma is hard to describe as its floral, and not strong like roses, but subtle. Also honey, cinnamon, white grapes and stonefruits. Its also quite sweet when I sipped it. The aroma and flavor is quite ephemeral on this tea.
Second steeping the aroma changed slightly, as its now nutmeg, apricot, and still white grapes. There is a teeny pleasant sournote in there, but with white grape and apricot that does make sense. The nutmeg aroma surprised me a bit as that doesnt come up often on rolled oolong. But its very nice, this is one of the more complex tea’s Ive tasted. Its a bit hard to pin down the exact flavors.
Third steeping is slightly more sweet. White grapes is very prominent as well as honey. The aroma is so ephemeral that it almost seems to be changing as Im walking sipping it. THis really shows its high mountain bona fides.
Im going to brew this out a few more times, but I might like this one better than their Alishan tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral, Honey, Nutmeg, Peach, White Grapes
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. I started by heating the gaiwan with 190 degree water. I usually use 190-200 for white tea as it helps bring out the sweetness of the tea. Even if it loses a little of the floral flavors. But for this tasting I decided to go with 190 to bring out more of the floral and fruit flavors in white tea, especially since its a high elevation tea.
I decided not to rinse or wake the tea, I usually dont with white unless its well aged. First infusion I gave it about 30 seconds at 190 in a very small 75ml gaiwan. After pouring it off I smelled the lid and the aroma is intense. Floral, fruit, mostly stonefruit as well as a bit of yeast and strong honey aroma. There is a bit of grassy vegetal flavor as well, but the stonefruit and honey is much stronger. The color of the liqour is a nice pale clear honey.
Second infusion I decided to leave it just a tad longer and got almost a tiny bit of spice in the aroma this time. I cant quite put my finger on it, still honey and peach, but there is another aroma as well. Im also noticing some of the leaves have a bit of green on them as well, Im guessing that is where that slight aroma of vegetal and grass is coming from. It all adds up to a nice subtly complex tea.
Third infusion is a darker richer honey color liquor. The aroma is more intensely sweet as well, and it tastes very strongly of peach. This tea changes quite a bit with the infusions. Its very nice. Also im getting just a teeny bit tea buzzed from this tea, which is a bit unusual with white tea, but not unheard of.
Im goign to steep this out a few more times, as I think it still has some flavor left to give. This tea is very subtle and I will probably make a follow up review to this as I try to get more specific of the flavors.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Stonefruits, Yeast
Thanks to bitterleaf for this sample as part of the puerh TTB. I started by heating a yixing pot with 205 water and putting the leaves in for a sniff. I got wet wood, slight ferment, but not as strong as their black beauty. As well as dark fruits, or maybe overripe fruits.
Giving the tea a quick rinse, then making the first infusion. I got a dark clear liqour with a strong aroma of wet wood, wet earth, caramel and still dark fruits. Sipping it, produced much the same, sweet with a hint fermentation. Not too strong, with just a touch of sourness, maybe dark plums or something.
Second infusion was very similar with just a slightly darker thicker color, though even with a fine strainer, Im still getting a tiny bit of tea dust in the bottom of the cup.
Third infusion is slightly lighter as well as smoother with the sweetness coming up more and the wetness dying down a little , this is a quite nice tea. Smooth and sweet, but not quite as intense as the black beauty.
Flavors: Caramel, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Got this as part of the traveling sheng box. I started by heating the yixing with near boiling water. Putting the dry leaf in , I got a fairly intense chocolate and wet earth smell, also a bit of fermented aroma that you sometimes get with ripe puerh that hasnt come down a bit yet.
After a quick rinse, and just one as the tea seems very clean and didnt need more than one. The chocolate aroma became more like dark sweet chocolate and less like baking chocolate. Also wet wood and maybe caramel or dark fruit.
Tasting the first brew it was all chocolate, wet earth and wet wood. Nice but seems like a year or two in a dry climate would mellow this tea considerably and make it truly nice. Also its very sweet and quite nice as an after dinner tea to help in digestion.
Second brew was much the same although the wetness is coming down just a little at this point for more of a dark sweet flavor. Much nicer this brew, possibly 2 rinses could have helped this.
I have a feeling this is going to brew out many brews as the tea liqour is quite dark and thick, which tends to indicate a strong long brewer. This tea is really perfect with desert or after dinner to aid digestion.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet Wood