Mountain Stream TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Gongfu Sipdown (800)!
Picked up this sample, along with a sample of the Pomelo black tea and a full black tea stuffed lemon, during Black Friday. I went back and forth on whether I was going to place the order or not, but curiosity eventually got the better of me. I started with this one because it’s sort of the “most normal” of these aged fruit type teas and I thought it would be the best base line…
It took me a little while to warm up to the flavour; the oolong was deep, lightly bitter and roasty, with strong and drying woody and nutty characteristics and more of a high acidic note in the finish. The Valencia Orange, by contrast, had a sweeter flavour and was more lively. It wasn’t until seven or eight steeps in that I was able to find harmony in the differences between those two profiles, with the emergence of a sweet cocoa note – prior to that my brain found the sweetness of the orange but the more astringent and roasted oolong cacophonous. I’m still not sure exactly where I land on this sample, even after finishing the session…
Now I’m especially curious to try the two others, though!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVZQPJQykpg
This tea kinda reminds me of that dress color optical illusion the Internet was arguing about a few years ago. As I drink it, I internally debate with myself whether it’s really an oolong or a black/red. I lean towards it being a red tea but like Darjeeling, it straddles the line between oolong and red. This is the Spring 2019 version which is new and improved according to Mountain Stream Teas.
Judging from appearances, the dark balled leaves certainly look like an oolong. The dry leaves have a very oxidized but sweet aroma. On the nose I get cherries, honey, and rose. The taste is more delicate than your typical black for sure. It’s smooth with a gentle malt and a prominent rose flavor that I really dig. Later on I get woodsy oak notes. Nothing tannic or harsh here, just a mellow and pleasant drinking experience.
Flavors: Oak wood, Rose
100ml shibo, 200F, 5g (~10 or so steeps with varied timing) Sipdown
A lot of roast in the aroma of this tea. It’s a thick, slightly sweet tea with some minerality. Lightly roasted – which is in the aroma, but not in the liquor until it cools down toward room temperature. Slightly longer steeps (~20sec) bring out fruity and juicy notes. The aftertaste of this tea is long and sweet.
I wasn’t too excited to try this tea – most roasted oolongs are not for me. Pretty sure I received as a sample with my order. This one is an exception. I enjoyed this tea.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet, Thick
This was a lovely tea with a light, sweet jasmine aroma and taste. No off notes or any clashing flavors. Just the pure essence of the jasmine flower comes through. I steeped it grandpa style, 1.2g to 10oz of 185 F water. It takes a while, but the jasmine flavor eventually builds up. As it steeps, a creaminess appears from the underlying Jin Xuan which I suppose is the milky aspect of its name. Even when left to steep for a while, the tea doesn’t get bitter and a clear jasmine flavor remains.
I’ve had so many jasmine teas over the years that they seldom impress me anymore unless it’s something truly exceptional. This is one of those teas. Yunnan White Jasmine from Verdant remains my preferred jasmine scented tea, but I could totally see myself getting more of this once my stash runs out.
Spring 2018, 5 grams, all from derk.
Dry leaf smell smells after fruits with cinnamon.
1st is, as usual for me, 15 seconds long.
It smells after fruits, but tastes really sweet, like cereal maybe with sugar. Maybe bit of malt.
20 seconds for second steep.
Fruits and malt. Good.
Raisins? Certainly sweet notes… bit of malty. Maybe baked bread as derk notices.
4th, 40 seconds.
Now the baked bread is present for sure. But somehow sweet. Great though.
5th, 50 seconds.
Bit of florarity appears. Sweet and floral, with bread. Weird. But so tasty…
6th, one minute.
Yep, floral. But certainly not overwhelming.
7th, 90 seconds.
Bit weaker. I think that 8th will be last one.
I just kept in gaiwan. For 90+ seconds. Close to 120 seconds for sure…
Derk – Thank you! My first GABA oolong. And it is so tasty. Creamy, but – fruity, baked bread, so much…different notes. I really enjoyed and another style I have to check when ordering somewhere next time.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Malt
Not familiar with dong ding’s. But this one must be very similar in roast level to the Korean Baked Oolong I had purchased in bulk. These leaves are more intact and there are more delicate notes to be found in here towards the later steeps, but they’re very alike in the overall comforting mood they offer. Good to learn!
song pairing: Nathan Goshen – חזרי אלי
The description of this tea sounded exciting: a new high mountain cultivar with the minerality of Shan Lin Xi and the fruitiness of Pear Mountain. However, it tasted more like a green tea than an oolong to me. It’s got a little butteriness to it but otherwise is vegetal and flat. The flavor didn’t evolve much, remaining constant for 5 steeps. Didn’t do a whole lot better cold steeped.
I wouldn’t mind if this were a green tea but as an oolong I found it pretty lifeless and bland. There was a little staleness in the smell so perhaps it was good back when it was fresh.
Flavors: Butter, Milk, Vegetal
This is Baozhong #2 from my Mountain Stream Teas order. It’s a flower scented tea and a very good one at that. The osmanthus mingles with the floral baozhong for an intensely fruity brew. The tea smells and tastes like stonefruits, apricot to be precise. You don’t really taste the osmanthus until later after it’s been steeping for a while. Thick mouthfeel with a lingering, sweet finish.
I steeped this grandpa style in my tumbler, ~1.5g leaf in 10oz of 200 F water. I also like adding a pinch of this tea to spent green tea leaves. Not only does it get me a few more infusions at the end of the session, but the osmanthus flavor perfectly complements green tea’s grassiness.
Flavors: Apricot, Osmanthus, Stonefruits
Finished my sample. It seemed like a normal alishan. I still have a relatively large stash of this category of tea from an H&S order. Ever since the weather got warmer I have not made the time to sit down regularly to drink tea. My beverage when out has become the easily found ice coffee again.
Song pairing: kirari futari – mamerico
Just finished sipping down my sample of this tea today. After green tea, the spring harvest of baozhong is my most anticipated release of the season. I love the heady florals and delicate sweetness of this tea. However locating some was a bit challenging this year as its been short on supply. Fortunately I was able to snag a few different varieties from Mountain Stream Teas.
This Heritage Baozhong is supposed to be an old school style of Baozhong that’s described as tasting somewhere between a milky baozhong and floral white tea with a thick mouthfeel. Taiwan Tea Crafts which sells its own Heritage Baozhong notes that traditionally, Baozhong processed in this style is slightly more oxidized and has rounder, more complex flavor.
I found these descriptors to be generally accurate. This was a buttery, mineral-y tea with an interesting interplay between sweet floral aromas and soupy/brothy flavors. The tea liquor feels full and viscous in the mouth and leaves behind a flowery aftertaste that lingers for a while. I got notes of lemongrass, lilacs, and honeysuckle. Underlying all this is a milkiness imparted by its Jin Xuan cultivar.
This was a pretty robust baozhong compared to the more delicate ones I’m used to. It not only holds up well to hotter water but rather demands it. My usual 185-190 F brewing temperature for baozhong didn’t cut it here. And it didn’t do well cold brewed either. Best results came from following Mountain Stream Teas directions using just under boiling water.
Flavors: Broth, Flowers, Honeysuckle, Lemongrass, Nectar, Vegetal
The pomelo’s there but it’s super light. This was cheaper as they were upfront that the fragrance had faded quickly. First sip just tasted like hot water. Has some thicker body. A good bit of jade oolong taste peeking out especially as it cools.
4 min – longer steep brings out the flavor better. Now a hint of sweetness and pomelo.
I might try this cold brewed to see how it goes.
I found an unsuspecting little bag of some ball rolled green oolong today. After a little inspection, I decided it must be this tea that I received a 5g of from derk some time ago. I thought I have already drank it without realizing that’s what the tea was because I couldn’t find it. Anyway, into the gaiwan it goes. And I haven’t had breakfast yet, oh boy.
As derk mentions, the tea comes accross as an introvert. The aroma is light and nondescript. The liquor looks somewhat watery (especially in the first few steeps) and translucent with a light greenish colour. The taste is definitely not pungent, but I notice this is not your standard Taiwanese green oolong. It reminds me of the Wild Cultivar Oolong, also from MST, but this one is mellower with a grassy taste. There is the same fenugreek flavour, just more agreeable. Mouthfeel is nice, but I can’t really place it.
After drinking the first two steeps the session ramps up though. My eyelids are heavy and my body feels super relaxed. I am worried that I may drop some of this teaware I’m using to make further infusions, but nothing like that happens fortunately. It’s a funny feeling, I can choose to alter between a defocused state and a more or less fully conscious one.
The aftertaste now presents itself as well, and it is pungent. The main note is some floral sweetness. My throat feels like after eating some chillies, but no such sensation is present in the mouth. Late steeps have quite a thick and coating mouthfeel. I find that it’s impossible to overbrew this tea, even with fully boiling water and long times it never gets astringent or bitter.
As I finish the session, I let myself enter a fully defocused state and get enveloped by the music. It feels like a dream without a dream. I mean there’s very little in the way of hallucinations, but I experience reality as if were a dream. After the album finishes, I stand up and function normally, just like that. As if I just woke up. As I am recalling this, the whole session sits in my my mind as if were a dream from last night. Maybe it was.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD7bxyzFbC4
Thanks for the sample derk :)
This is a very nice one, robust and tart with an expansive, strong and spicy aftertaste. At two years of age, it sits in an interesting spot and the profile is a mixed bag of minty/floral and fruity/tart. There’s also various mineral and woody notes as well as some malt and cinnamon in the aftertaste. I think it would have been interesting to track its progression and I think it could age pretty well too.
As much as I enjoy the flavours of this tea, I have to say its aroma and mouthfeel are somewhat underwhelming. It’s still the best tea from MST that I have tried though.
edit: In the end, I got 13 steeps out of this with several infusions being overbrewed. That’s a very good longetivity for a white tea with not that many buds I’d say. Also drinking this tea made me think that it could be interesting to press a cake of white tea from this cultivar. I wonder if anyone has done it.
Flavors: Bark, Cinnamon, Licorice, Malt, Mineral, Mint, Peach, Stonefruits, Wood
Of the Mountain Stream samples I’ve tried so far, this one is the most memorable. The scent is a toasted grain breakfast cereal, and the tea has an unusually calming effect. I haven’t tried many GABA’s yet, so can’t compare, but certainly compared to non-GABA teas, there is a noticeable difference. There isn’t much longevity to the flavors, but you end up not minding because it’s such a unique experience.
Maybe 25% oxidation is too low for me. I have tried many 고산차’s at this point, and most of them are just ho-hum to me given the expense. It’s easy to see why the category is appealing for many, but I seldom crave this sort of high mountain stuff. I don’t dislike it. It’s just not something I’m going to seek out.
This was as advertised, with prominent honey notes and some complexity as the steeps progress. I’m going to put this firmly in the “good, but not my style” category. I prefer a more roasted flavor, and ultimately do not care for oolongs that are like blacks with high oxidation. This one is at 80%. The honey scent lasts a while, but in the end it just feels like a nice black tea.
This is a great GABA oolong. Thank you Derk :).
I didn’t try last year so I can’t compare it to that but I can compare it to other GABA oolong that I’ve tried, and this one is quite different. I would definitely put it up at the top especially if you’re into fruity tea.
Overall, It’s a sweet and fruity, not too floral oolong… Not too floral is always a plus for me. On the first few steeps (gaiwan), I got some strong fruit notes., mainly dried fruit notes, like raisins, prunes, berries with baked bread notes. It was malty and rich… And comforting, calming energy. It remained sweet throughout most of the infusions. It wasn’t stagnant, it changed from raisin bread to stonefruits throughout the infusions. In the end, it wasn’t as fruity sweet but yam sweet, then to slightly but pleasantly tart, spices, and some nuttiness as well.
I really enjoyed this sample. I wonder how it compares to the release from last year. Highly recommended if you like GABA oolong as I do.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berries, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Spices, Yams
One of the first things I did when I moved to California was buy an orange tree for the patio. I was taking a drawing class when I lived at that place in San Jose so I’d sit out on the patio in the sun getting intoxicated on orange blossoms and sketching them. When I moved to San Francisco, I gave the tree to my current housemate who lived in a climate more favorable for oranges than in the city. I think the freeze got it one year, so I was unable to reunite with the orange tree when I moved up here. That’s ok. We have a an out of control lemon bush and a young satsuma for me to bury my face in.
I bought this Spring 2017 Orange Blossom oolong on a big discount since it was past its prime. It’s held up ok. The orange blossom is a little sharp on the nose and I’m not getting any milkiness from the jin xuan cultivar but the tea is all sweet orange blossoms with a touch of bitterness and light vegetal flavors. Medium bodied and viscous. Looking forward to this year’s round of citrus-scented oolong!
Received a sample of the Spring 2018 harvest with my latest order, thank you!
I hate to write another dissatisfied review about Mountain Stream Teas but I think perhaps this tea is stale like the Shanlinxi Milk Oolong. The Lightly Roasted Jade Oolong does have the roast going for it, though, keeping a quick decline in quality at bay.
Dry leaf smelled mostly toasty with light burnt sugar and maybe some floral and vegetal tones. Warming the leaf brought the floral to the forefront, turning perfumey in nature. Rinsed leaf smelled of toast, cookies and peach.
First steep was light, grassy and vaguely fruity with a hint of rancid butter. Medium bodied, light aroma, drying. After the second steep, the leaf smelled like almond oil, seaweed and cherry. Liquor tasted of generic fruitiness, osmanthus, soap in a bad way and dry grass. At least there was a decent peach aftertaste. Third steep was dominantly grassy with osmanthus-cherry-pine, a little butter and very light toastiness. The toastiness became more pronounced in the fourth steep and I ended the session on the sixth steep when the floral perfume became the dominant note.
Overall: unimpressed. Clunky, too toasty for a tea lightly roasted, hints of rancid butter and soap, floral perfume. Longer gongfu steep times bring the toastiness out in full force.
Flavors: Almond, Burnt Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cookie, Dry Grass, Drying, Floral, Grass, Osmanthus, Peach, Perfume, Pine, Soap, Toasty, Vegetal
Spring 2018 harvest shouldn’t be stale, but it is. The rinse gave me a clue when sour milk hit my nose, grape nuts cereal, vegetal. No liquor aroma. Drying. All steeps tasted like spoiled salted butter and tropical fruit that moved between passionfruit and guava. Shame it’s stale because I’m always surprised by those elusive tropical fruit notes in Taiwanese oolong. Rare that I throw away a tea but the last 5g met their fate with the compost instead of boiling water.
I’ve been feeling longer steep times with the teapot the past few days, as opposed to shorter infusions in a gaiwan. This tea… hm. I think it liked it, too.
5g, 100mL, 212F, rinse plus 6 steeps at 30, 40, 45, 60, 75, 120s
You know those iconic images of bristlecone pines — gnarled, twisted and thick growths that are generally seen clinging to boulders? So old and weathered, perhaps denuded, that you question whether they’re really among the living.
This tea is one of those strong and silent types. A slow-mover. Its poetic power took me by surprise. There’s not much in the way of looks, lumpy mishapen nuggets. There’s not much in the way of aroma, a diffuse cloud of white flowers. There’s not much in the way of first impressions on the sip. It’s vegetal and grassy with a light body, but as it passes over my tongue, the body thickens and the liquor leaves a dry finish with something vaguely fruity — candied lime? Butter slowly blooms in the aftertaste. After the swallow I notice how highly mineral the tea is. My mouth feels cleansed.
The tea slowly reveals its strength. The sip becomes rich yet fleeting with umami and I experience an interesting, diffuse bitterness along with a taste of cooked dandelion greens. My whole mouth is tingling. And I’m stoned? I’m a goddamned bristlecone pine. (I tell my housemate and he yells “You ARE a hippie!” And you’re a misfit jazz percussionist mechanic. Whatever.)
I’m tired and old, weighted with the years longer than any animal traversing this earth has experienced. I’m weary. Flipping through my music I find Warren Zevon’s cover of “Back in the High Life Again” but my shoulders and my mind slump when I hear the downtrodden voice. Warren Zevon was a goddamned bristlecone pine, among other things. I need something more uplifting. How about the original artist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ollyGgvGkU Yeeup. That’s it. Let’s get some life pumping through these limbs. I pick up my napping (now healthy and happy) cat, prop her on her favorite perch, my shoulder, and we stroll around the garden in the backyard, both of us alert to the breeze and the robins hopping along the wooden fence. Hey kitty, hey girl. Love you. Forever.
Anyway, I come back in to finish the tea. It continues to get thicker and fuller-bodied and only a hint milky, finishing with butter and transitioning into a candied citrus aftertaste, a mix of lime, lemon and orange that is reminiscent of that fruity, milky puddle at the bottom of your finished bowl of Fruity Pebbles. I’ve never tasted this in tea. A very potent sugarcane returning sweetness presents. The fruitiness finally moves out of the aftertaste and into the palate on the last steep, still thick and a little buttery.
This might be my most long-winded and least tangible review. I think it’s appropriate for the way the tea made me feel. Qi to the center of earth. Miles and miles. This tea has depth and strength and a bright interior. Take the time to sit with this one. Let me know how it makes you feel. I’m curious if it will have a similar effect on others.
The only other thing I have to say is the tastes and body and energy are like some curious mix of sheng, oolong and green tea. Leaving it unrated for now. Honestly, a number feels inappropriate at the moment.
I’m willing to send off the remaining 5g to an adventurous sipper. Please message me if you would like it. —Update: the 5g is accounted for.
This is a relatively simple tea, but VERY effective.
The way I see it, this is what every standard commercial tea would like to taste like.
And it’s not that expensive, and a joy to drink WS or GFS.
Actually, I don’t understand how this is the only one of it’s kind that I’ve had, seeing that it’s exactly a “next level Lipton!”(product page).
(Brewed it by the recommend parameters in the product page)