Hello Teatime (AliExpress)

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Recent Tasting Notes

An old packet of tea that I found from some long ago Aliexpress tea order. I don’t drink a lot of hong, and this is the first time in years that I’ve had one of this style. It reminded me of some of the “Golden Monkey” black teas that I tried when I was first getting into tea. More fruity than malty, but has both going on. I didn’t really take detailed notes on this, but I enjoyed it well enough.

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Another pretty good Shui Xian Pillow from Hello Teatime. I think I can probably skip these green ones if i ever order from them again, though I wouldn’t mind having a few. They remind me of a mix between Tieguanyin and Taiwanese Gaoshan. This one had a notably sticky floral flavor to it. It did get a touch bitter at times, likely because I used the whole ~8.5g square in a 100mL gaiwan with boiled water, but I enjoyed it even when it did become bitter.

Flavors: Floral, Narcissus, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Another little packet I ordered from Hello Teatime last 11/11. I was hopeful when I smelled the dry leaf – it was sweet, like a lightly burnt sugar. After a rinse, the scent was more prominently roasty, with a bit of an underlying fruity sweetness – almost like red wine.

Unfortunately, once I got to tasting the tea, it only disappointed. A lot of the characteristics I sometimes get in Tie Guan Yin that makes me think it’s not one of my favorite styles of tea. The flavor started off nice and bready, but very light. Against my expectations, the flavor didn’t really start to pick up anymore after the first steep. I started to get some really unpleasant sourness on the finish, magnified as the tea cooled a bit. I get that more often in green TGY than roasted. Other than that, the flavor was pretty flat. There was sometimes a nice grassy sweet aftertaste, but it didn’t last long and was usually overshadowed by the sourness.

Flavors: Roasted, Sour, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

This one may not be as well baked, also, I found that this one is the type of oolong that I buy I forget about it for about a year and it actually tastes better. I’m not sure what it is about the processing that makes the taste (when recently made) taste off to me. If you have enough store it away and see if later it is a bit better.

These usually smell better than they taste when new. You should get lots of caramel and nutty/roasty hay notes. I recommend trying one from Yunnan Sourcing, preferably one that has some age to it already.

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Dry leaf on this one smelled roasty, caramel, earthy. After the first steep, it was roasty and very bready. That scent foreshadowed the flavor of this tea, which remained roasty and very bready – almost doughy in flavor + mouthfeel, if that makes any sense. No off-flavors or sourness either, which is always a plus in these often-scary little TGY packets. I liked it a decent amount, but not enough to want to buy any more of it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This tea tasted alright for the first few steeps. It was roasty, a bit chocolatey, and sweet. Sometimes it got a little bit sour, though that could have been because I put the whole 8g in my 100mL gaiwan. Halfway through the session there was a bit of a nutty flavor which developed as well. The tea started to die after around 6 or 7 steeps. I didn’t find it particularly interesting or fantastic tasting. It was alright, but there’s much better Da Hong Pao to be had.

Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g

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Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Sweet

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This tea was pretty decent – I have already tried a couple of Hello Teatime’s greener Shui Xian pillows. I’m normally partial to roasted teas, so I was pretty excited to give this one a go. The dry leaf had a bit of a chocolatey aroma. After the pillow met with water, it smelled a little bit roasty with a nice floral sweetness.

The flavor was a little bit delicate, unless I oversteeped it by accident, which is a bit surprising considering I put the whole ~8g pillow in my 100mL gaiwan. It started out with a bit of roasty, burnt sugar notes, followed by a lingering sweet floral aftertaste. As the session progressed, the sweetness got a little bit more earthy and thick, while still retaining its floral character. It even moved a little bit into the resinous category for a couple steeps. The texture is decently thick, but I wasn’t wowed by it. If pushed, this tea can develop a bit of a sour note, as many roasted oolongs can in my experience.

I think I might have one more of these to try, and I will need to try it before I can pass judgement on this one. I enjoyed it, but it left me wanting more.

Flavors: Earth, Floral, Resin, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is the second of these Shui Xian Pillows I’ve tried from Hello Teatime. It was not as good as the “Pleasure” series one I had before. I used the whole 8g in my 100mL gaiwan with boiled water, and the flavor was pretty shockingly weak. There was some nice and sweet floral flavor, but not much else, and it wasn’t too strong. After making it through 8 or 9 steeps, I dumped the whole 8g into my 12oz mug which I use for grandpa style, hoping I could pull some more flavor out of the leaves this way, but the strength was no greater than when I was steeping it in the gaiwan. Not sure if this one just happened to be a bit old or stale or whatever, but pretty disappointing compared to the previous one I tried.

Flavors: Floral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This was a pretty nice tea – I got a packet with around 7g…can’t remember if I paid for it or if it was tossed in as a freebie. The leaves had a sweet and floral smell with just a touch of peach.

The flavor, especially in the first few steeps, matched the aroma. Lots of high floral notes with a bit of peachy fruitiness to round out the flavor. Probably orchid for the floral, but I’m really still not too great at picking out individual floral flavors. After a few steeps, there was a bit of a milkiness working its way into the flavor, which I appreciated. There wasn’t a whole lot of bitterness, though some of the middle steeps did seem to fall a bit flat in the finish. Seems like it would be a good daily drinker for Dancong lovers as long as the price is right. Not particularly interesting or eye-opening, but tasty and easy to appreciate.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Milk, Orchid, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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72

The packet this came in contained about 9g of tea, so I just threw the whole thing into my 100mL gaiwan. I kept the steeps short with boiled water – I was expecting some sourness or bitterness or astringency to come out of it when brewed like this, but there was very little of that to report. Some bitterness of the pleasant variety in early steeps.

Using these ratios, this tea brewed up thick and creamy. I described it as like drinking roasted milk. There was also a bit of a fruitiness to the finish, but not the peachy notes I’ve been getting in some yancha of late. This was more of a dark currant note here. Even with this much leaf and flash infusions, the tea’s longevity was not particularly notable. If you’re looking for an affordable Da Hong Pao which you can abuse without concern but still tastes pretty good, this is a decent candidate at $10 and change for 125g.

Flavors: Black Currant, Creamy, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78

A nice black tea that came in one of the samplers I did with Hello Teatime for 11/11. I would consider it more interesting and pleasant than a lot of hong I’ve had. There was a bit of maltiness to it along with a bit of figgy fruit notes, though these were not particularly pronounced. The fig notes sort blended in with a general dark earthiness that I got out of this tea. It sort of tastes like if you took potting soil and mashed a few figs into it with a bit of malt. Pretty tasty.

Flavors: Dirt, Fig, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78

This tea was part of a Tieguanyin sample pack I bought from Hello Teatime for 11/11. I think it’s the first green tgy I’ve actually enjoyed. I wasn’t too excited after smelling the leaf, which had the typical green tgy floral aroma, but it turned out to have more to offer than just that generic flavor. Maybe it helped that I used boiled water. Boil all the oolongs!

Lots of floral going on, but enough fruity flavors joining up in the finish to keep it interesting. I didn’t get the weird sourness which sometimes puts me off of tieguanyin either. The texture was pleasantly smooth. Simple and enjoyable.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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82

This is my first Shui Xian Pillow and the first Shui Xian I’ve had which wasn’t pretty heavily roasted. I gave it two rinses at the start to get it opening up, thinking it would be like the puerh balls that take a lot of effort to open up in the gaiwan. Next time I drink one of these, I think I could just drink the second rinse, as it broke apart almost completely by the first “official” steep. The dry pillow had a floral aroma to it. After a rinse, it smelled even more floral with some honey. At this point, it smelled like a lot of green tgy which I’ve had, which I am not a fan of.

Thankfully, once I got into drinking the tea, I found it to be something quite enjoyable. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor variety or difference between steeps. For most of the session, it was a floral, nectar sweet brew, with decently creamy thickness in the mouth. It had pretty impressive longevity – I got nearly 20 steeps out of it! Part of that was probably because I used the whole 7.3g pillow in a 100mL gaiwan, but still nice. At times, the finish changed from just floral sweetness and became something a little bit different. In steeps 4 and 5, there was an extra sweetness to the finish – it was fruity, but really it reminded me of jelly beans. Around steeps 9 and 10, the finish had a bit of a caramel sweetness to it as well.

This tea was tasty! I was a bit dubious, as I have been gravitating towards roasted oolong more lately, but this was nice.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Lost my notes, but an enjoyable tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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82

This was my first roasted tgy – after this one, I’m fairly convinced tgy should always be roasted. I think I might have overdone it on the leaf a little bit – 7.7g in a 100mL gaiwan, but it was still good. The dry leaf had a lightly roasty and buttery aroma to the. After a rinse, I smelled the roast pretty prominently along with a bready note and a bit of a floral character.

The tea started out a little bit fruity and floral, with a bit of the nasal sharpness I’ve come to associated with tgy – more blunted in this instance. The texture in these first few steeps was slick, and there was a slight cooling mouthfeel. The highlight of this tea was probably the lasting floral sweet aftertaste.

Steeps 4-6 were a bit rougher – slightly sour on the front with an almost too intense roasty floral note and a touch of bitterness. I’m guessing this is just because I used a little more tea than was optimal for the gaiwan.

The sourness faded for the most part by steep 7, after which I got another 7 more steeps or so before the tea gave out on me. These were much softer, mostly exhibiting the floral sweetness along with a bit of the sweetness which came from roasting the leaves – I want to say caramel, but it wasn’t intense or sugary enough – so I think it just kind of highlighted the floral sweet tones this tea had.

Part of a super fun Aliexpress order that includes almost 20 samples for me to go through – trying some oolong styles I haven’t gotten to yet! Roasted tgy is one I’ve been wanting to try, and (in my very limited experience) definitely has something over green tgy.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Roasted, Sour, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81

Didn’t really get the fruit out of this. It was deep and rich with some smoke overtones but not unpleasant. Woodsy and strong but not bitter or drying. It seems like a pretty standard China black, presented in a different format.

It was included as a free gift with my last purchase. Not sure I’d replace it, but maybe. Main reason I wouldn’t is that the amount of tea in one of the pillows is so much, you pretty much have to commit to the same tea all day long. :)

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78

Not sure I could tell you this is a Dian Hong, but it’s a pretty decent, strong black tea. No bitterness even though one little tuo cha was far too large for the pot I had it in. :) Got several pots full out of it and could have done more. Might be an interesting way to travel with tea for full sized pots to share. :) I wouldn’t go out of the way to replace them but if I order more of the lovely narcissus oolong pillows, I’d throw these in there.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCWade_rqi5/

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99

Got this as a sample with a recent Aliexpress teaware order. Initially I suspected it was a cheap, throwaway tea. I didn’t have any idea what kind it was – thought it was puerh because I’d never seen oolong in cake form before.

A google search cleared up the confusion and I immediately fired up my kettle and dropped half of the mini-cake into my gaiwan. The dry leaves had a floral and, true to their name, sweet narcissus aroma which intensifies with wet leaf. Brewed gongfu style, the tea matches its aroma. Lots of nectary flavor with robust floral notes and a lingering sweetness that stays in your mouth for a while. The brick stays intact for several steepings and then opens up to reveal long, pristine leaves with a beautiful purple hue around the edges.

This tea was surprisingly much better than I expected and totally blew me away. It’s a flower-packed oolong that happens to be one of the best I’ve tried. Not bad for a random, no name tea from Aliexpress!

Flavors: Floral, Narcissus, Nectar, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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dexter sent me some moonlight samples to try out and i figured i really ought to get to them asap. I’m still a shou lover but i’m always open to experiments and trying things out, especially when friends are also trying them (terri i miss the BBB!)

This one has an initial sweet smell, though after brewing it for a number of steeps and trying it with both a lower temp and hotter with flash steeps – i remain unconvinced that this is a puerh for me. It was, for me, a rather boring and uneventful brew. Closer to water than anything else though there was none of that bitterness that i sometimes find with raw puerh. Not a bad experience but nothing to convince me that it’s for me :) thanks dexter!

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This was a tea that I had to try because of the look :)
https://instagram.com/p/2xBp2LxYCT/
The compressed oolong minicake here is quite nice with a floral hint to it
The leaf expands quite a bit and can make A LOT of tea. While the floral taste is nice and clean, I wouldn’t put this as a top oolong. I really enjoyed this and would buy it again. Fun experience with a nice taste
I also got enough to send some as a surprise to others :)

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