Mountain Stream TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m finding a lot of Mountain Stream Teas to be misses for me. The last 3-4 I brewed all tasted about the same- slightly vegetal, slightly bitter, but overall boring and similar. I’ve found they’re generally very weak, even using 10g of tea and just a few ounces of water. Not sure I would make a repeat purchase anytime soon.
Got this in a recent Mountain Stream sample order. This tastes exactly like an artichoke dipped in melting butter. The savoriness is especially delightful today. Upon looking at the Mountain Stream website after my first cup, I’m surprised to see how affordable it is ($5/25g). Definitely something I’d like to have on hand in my stash.
I would randomly drink this from time to time, but I never remembered the sessions all too well. However, upon drinking this, I realized that it wasn’t an oolong that I favored a lot. It’s bitter and very temperamental. Bringing the water to 195F (my usual temperature for an oolong) made the blossoms come through a lot, but also made the brew extremely bitter. I turned the temperature down to 180F, which did help, but I had to get through a few steeps to get it to workout.
When the temperature was right, I noticed heavy citrus, floral, and fruity flavors. I brewed out 6-8 steeps before moving on to the next tea session. It’s unfortunate that this is so low on my tea rating scale, on the account that this is the first oolong I’ve disliked from MST.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Orange
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.