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Recent Tasting Notes
Yellow florality top note is underpinned by an autumn leaf-straw body, light creamed honey sweetness with a mellow pine-smoked meat base note from the roast. Slight citric-fruity aftertaste and clean minerality. Unique like the 2018 with less complexity. Comforting taste with high energy. The 2019 is definitely worth a try for a different white tea experience. More robust flavor when brewed with water off the boil.
2.5g, 300mL, 200F
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Campfire, Citrus, Flowers, Honey, Meat, Mineral, Straw
I remember this Wuyi black tea having the basic, fruity profile of the region. The osmanthus flowers are the orange ones, not the yellow ones stored in gallon jars in Chinatown shops. The osmanthus was very strong in the first steep prepared western style. Its fruity, savory character blended very well with the black tea. I do remember the mouthfeel being rather thin but cleansing. It would make a great teapot tea to accompany lunch.
Thank you for the freebie, Old Ways Tea.
I wish I had more of this tea, like all the previous Old Tree Black offerings from Old Ways Tea. I had one bag, which I drank during the Steepster Freeze. Old notes, fairly illegible.
Like the other 3 years I’ve had (2016, 2017, 2018), this one had a great, complex strength in aroma and taste. It reminded me most of the 2018 harvest, and I think that’s because there was an umami quality present in this one that wasn’t there in the 2016 and 2017 harvests.
Main taste profile included pumpkin candy, wet rocks, sunflower seeds, rose-orchid-sunflower florals, almond, blackberry, antique wood, malt, bright leather and a tangy apricot-orange tone. Creamy finish with lychee, morphing into apple and peaches and cream. Long lasting floral aftertaste developed vapors of nutmeg that grew stronger. Ginger heat, camphor cool.
I can’t recommended the Old Tree Black teas enough if you’re willing to pay for a treat! These teas deserve attention and would be a fun learning experience for anybody wanting to develop their palate and understand complexity.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Candy, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Ginger, Leather, Lychee, Meat, Nutmeg, Nutty, Oak wood, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Pumpkin, Roasted nuts, Rose, Spicy, Tangy, Umami, Wet Rocks
There’s something reminiscent of a bug bitten quality- syrupy sweet honey, mostly in the flavor. There is a bit of a woodiness (like an oak tree after it rained) in the flavor. But, the aroma is extremely off-putting for me. Like boiled vegetables that sat out for a couple of hours. Subsequent steeps yield for of a chocolatey aroma, but the vegetables scent is still there. Definitely an odd experience, but the most intrigued I’ve been by a tea in a bit.
I’ve been really good about not making any tea purchases! I did, however, purchase the Tea Thoughts summer box. I love a surprise, and the Tea Thoughts boxes are always loaded with such fun items, I couldn’t resist. This is one of the teas that came in the box, and I’m loving it. I woke up with a headache this morning (the worst!), and was feeling much better after drinking this tea. So smooth and soft in the mouth. A bit smoky, and full of sweet honeyed stone-fruit flavors. Absolutely no astringency or bitterness.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Smoke, Stonefruits
Great daily drinker yancha. Aromas of chocolate/syrup, caramel, blood orange tone, marshmallow, dark wood and raspberry/blackberry. Thick mouthfeel but light and refreshing with a playful bitterness, strong mouthwatering effect and camphor throat feeling. Vibrant, lively flavor that’s mineral sweet with a complex fruity aftertaste. Doesn’t present its full palate within the first few steeps unlike a lot of rock oolong. I seek that quality in this style of tea though others may prefer full flavor in the first or second infusion.
This tea proved to me that you can accidentally blend two cultivars and create a concoction that is steps above huang guan yin or qi lan on their own.
Lucky Accident is something Old Ways Tea should consider adding to their usual catalog as a fantastic value rock oolong (it is no longer available).
Spring in a cup. For Easter.
I had some 2017 Qi Lan gongfu this morning while watching service so I didn’t take notes. It was good but nothing that blew me away.
Right now I’m drinking the last 3.5 grams western and I like it better this way. It tastes like a specific Easter candy — those small, candy shell coated chocolate eggs. Like those are mixed with roasted almonds and a touch of caramel, sitting on the damp mineral soil and overgrown tender grasses in one of our raised beds. And of course, orchids. Those are in my backyard, too. Gentle tangy-fruity, creamy aftertaste. Some bitterness. Tea oil coating, tingling. Not necessarily sweet tasting but rather dry with sweet aromatics. That’s what I like about a lot of Wuyi yancha.
Like the 2016 Qi Lan from Old Ways Tea, still too green/floral for me to go crazy over but today it makes me happy and that’s what matters.
Flavors: Almond, Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Raspberry, Roasted, Tangy, Wet Earth, Wood
Backlog. The final tea of my 3-year spread of Old Ways Tea’s Old Tree Black teas.
This tea reminded me of an old leather couch in a study. Pipe tobacco and raisins, malt, florals, tangy. Interesting unexpected umami. Glorious silky texture later turning oily with mouth-watering minerality and a complementary light astringency that opened the door for a strong returning sweetness. Explosive yet contemplative energy, warming and cooling. Six great infusions.
Each year from 2016 to 2018 was markedly different, each with their own strengths.
2016 — complexity and strength of flavors, lingering aftertaste, longevity
2017 — roundedness and daily drinkability
2018 — strength of brew, structured body/mouthfeel and pleasing energy
All delicious. All aromatic and engaging.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Campfire, Cinnamon, Floral, Flowers, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Tangy, Tobacco, Umami, Wood
In comparison to the 2016 harvest I had earlier this week, the 2017 is more of a high-end daily drinker as opposed to a real treat. It manages to be both bold and light yet not so complex that it commands all my attention. The flavor profile is exemplary of Old Ways Tea’s Wuyi black teas. It is very similar to the 2016 though more rounded and less active in the mouth. It smells and tastes a lot like a sunflower seed dark bread. Quite sunflower-wildflower-rose floral, malty, leathery, fruity. There seems to be less of an old-growth depth and the baking spice and cream notes are not as apparent, briefly experienced early on in the back of the mouth. It evokes a feeling of a cool, damp meadow in full bloom, surrounded by berries, rather than an old-growth cedar forest. It’s still a wonderful tea and I’m sad to see it go.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cream, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Leather, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orange, Rose, Tangy, Tobacco
This was a freebie provided by Old Ways Tea what seems like many lives ago.
Dry leaf — deep, dark old growth forest, orchids, spicy, WOW.
Warmed leaf — complex HOLY COW
Liquor color — clear cool brown w/ a green-grey-blue ring around the edge of the cup
Tastes — woody, leathery, malty, sweet, mineral, creamy, fruity, spicy, cooling, sweet potato, lemon, lychee, baked bread, brown sugar, herbs.
Progression — the low tones fade as sweet potato comes forward, then finally black pepper and citrus come to the forefront. Most pronounced black pepper note I’ve ever experienced in hongcha.
Got 6 good short steeps like most hong.
I had a very difficult time parsing this tea due to my mood and the tea’s complexity and low tonal nature.
May I point you in the direction of eastkyteaguy’s review?
Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Citrusy, Creamy, Forest Floor, Fruity, Herbs, Leather, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orchid, Pine, Spicy, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wet Rocks, Wood
Caveat: I haven’t even been able to enjoy tea since I’ve been home from dogsitting and have in fact drank very little. This tea is just ok for me. It’s complex and strange as baijiguan is. Try a baijiguan rock oolong if you never have and want to throw your tastebuds for a little loop.
I debated editing out a portion of my life because it sounds whiney (frankly, I’m scared), but I have friends here so it stays, just moved below.
I tried some big girl panties on for size the past several weeks to push through exhaustion and anxiety. Even big girl panties rip when you’re dragging ass like my cat did across the rug the other day… And all the bits of myself I didn’t want people to see came out in full force last week. Hello, vulnerability. Yes, my cat looks at me with shame when she’s dragging ass, the same look my dog used to give while experiencing the joy of peristalsis over a very sad parcel of sandy soil in a sidewalk that once housed a tree on a steep block in San Francisco until somebody drunkenly parallel parked into the tree. That’s the look I was giving the world last week with my knitted brow. A combination of shame and “Protect me, I’m vulnerable right now”, which quickly morphed into the look of chronic pain — a defocused gaze and disinterested body language that many seem to take as a personal affront. The sweater I knitted wasn’t going over so well at work so I opted to take off the past few days.
What all that whining comes down to is I’ve had a hernia? for several months that I think may be putting pressure on a nerve in my leg which is causing my right hip to crumple beneath me along with that dull, throbbing pain that mutes any pleasurable moments one may have in the midst of SAD season. Makes doing my job difficult and I can’t work out at all. Due to changes in health insurance providers and a period without any insurance, I had put off going to the doctor until last week. I was scheduled for an immediate consultation with the surgeon, which is thankfully today.
Flavors: Camphor, Carrot, Citrusy, Coffee, Compost, Floral, Forest Floor, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Gardenias, Graham Cracker, Mineral, Mushrooms, Osmanthus, Peach, Sugar, Sweet, Tangy, Yeasty
I had around 6 grams from derk. Thank you!
Prepared grandpa, overleafed with all in my 85 ml gaiwan. Ehh, it wasn’t so clever.
I feel really weird somehow. I can’t really explain why, because I don’t know myself. Like some nostalgia coming up, or just being tense because my nieces and nephew are coming tomorrow for a week.
Anyway, prepared this tea of char aroma when dry. I have to say, it wasn’t too appealing for me, but I hoped it will disappear with rinse or first steeps. Please note, that this note was written while I already finished it and I was drinking it in family circle (is that valid in English?).
First steeps were really mineral and char like. Not even much of roastiness for me. Then it started to transform into stonefruits as well my headache started to grow. I don’t really blame tea for it, but unfortunately I think it took its part as well. After few steeps it became really fruity, but it is as well quickly over. Not my favourite oolong I guess. Thanks for chance to try it though, derk.
Flavors: Char, Fruity, Mineral, Stonefruits
Backlog from early December. Barely took notes. It must’ve been a bad day. I don’t remember anything about this tea, unfortunately :/
Dry leaf had notes of caramel, marshmallow, vanilla, roasted nuts, milk chocolate, florals and peanut.
First infusion was sweet and roasty with florals and graham. No notes in between there and the seventh infusion where all I had to say was peach-osmanthus and butter finally coming out in aftertaste.
And there you have it folks.
Dang. I hit the backspace key a few times and I was backed out of my tasting note. I’ve received one 2018 Jin Mu Dan freebie in each of my past three orders from Old Ways Tea. It’s a good tea and a great complement to an overcast morning; the coastal fog has been rolling in and out daily for the past week.
I stored my previous packets of this in a non-airtight tin to let the roast air out. The most recent freebie I left in its original packaging unopened. This tasting note is basically a storage note. The difference in storage seems pretty pronounced, with this round being much more roasty and floral (peony and osmanthus) compared to the fruitier and creamier attributes of the tin-stored leaf. That is all.
Welcome, fog. You and yancha have been missed.
Had a 2018 harvest of this tea. I’m pretty sure I received two packets as freebies in a few orders, so thank you, Old Ways Tea :)
The dry leaf was all intense Caramelized Peaches and Cream! Super clear expression. Warming and rinsing brought out the sweet roasty-toasty nature of the tea along with the tanginess and red aroma of raspberry, pomegranate and red apple, and dark chocolate and wood.
I had a rough day at work when I tasted this, so my notes kind of trailed off after the first infusion. I noted that it was light-bodied, mineral, still quite roasty with an astringency toeing the ‘too much’ line but it never really got out of control. Beyond the roast was a pure peach-fruit tree flower essence. Creamy impression on swallow followed by a peach-osmanthus-cream aftertaste.
My notes were sparse for the remainder of the session. Some things I wrote: late emerging bitterness, caramel sweetness, osmanthus aftertaste, bitterness gone. Toward the end I noted the growing thickness of the liquor and tongue tingles with the final infusions being nutty, sweet and grassy. Good longevity with short gongfu infusions.
I’ve had one other Jin Mu Dan, from Yunnan Sourcing — https://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/85028-gold-mudan-jin-mu-dan-wu-yi-rock-oolong-tea-star-spring-2017
This was a completely different experience, and despite my mindstate, I fully appreciated what this tea had to offer. It was much livelier and I’m guessing Old Ways Tea’s Jin Mu Dan had a heavier roast than the one from Yunnan Sourcing which had left me not wanting to further explore the Jin Mu Dan cultivar. I’d go for this one again but it’s not a favorite yancha. The clear and vibrant peach/flower and osmanthus expressions were fantastic, though!
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grass, Mineral, Nutty, Osmanthus, Peach, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Spices, Sweet, Toasty, Vanilla, Wood
This is one of my favorite teas of the Oldways yancha lineup. The first few infusions had a prominent berry note that I can only describe as raspberry. Through the session, it moved more towards a smooth, sweet creamy caramel.
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Raspberry
Dark, sweet aroma with orchid but no sweetness in taste. Instead the taste is rather thin and herbaceous, dirt-mineral with orchid and roasted almond. Still some lingering char/roast notes that fade away a few infusions in. Undercurrent of alkaline bitterness.
An indistinguishable fruity aftertaste presents early, something like strawberry-apricot-orange-pineapple mixed with cream. That transitions to a clearly defined sweet white peach. The liquor develops a thick viscosity when the tastes start fading into grass and orange zest.
This session left me wanting something different. The dry leaf shows that this is low oxidized and medium roasted which really isn’t my favorite presentation for Wuyi oolong. This Qilan had aftertaste in spades but seemed unbalanced overall. I’ll have to revisit this tea soon, if only to hasten its departure from my cupboard :P
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Char, Cream, Dirt, Grass, Herbaceous, Herbs, Mineral, Orange, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pineapple, Roasted, Strawberry
This was one of my sipdowns from July. I think I’ve only got three or four more teas from that month to post once I get this review up for the world to see. To this point, this is my favorite of the 2018 Old Ways Tea black teas I have tried. It was a very sweet, fruity black tea, and even though such teas are not often my favorites, I found this one to be exceptional.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, cream, butter, strawberry, blueberry, and tangerine. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted almond, nectarine, and blackberry emerged. The first infusion brought out aromas of pear, plum, roasted peanut, and malt. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, malt, strawberry, nectarine, plum, roasted peanut, cream, and tangerine that were balanced by hints of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, butter, peach, pear, and guava. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, wood, straw, vanilla, and guava as well as a subtler scent of sweet potato. Slightly stronger and more immediate notes of blueberry, butter, guava, black cherry, pear, and peach appeared as did impressions of roasted peanut and baked bread. I detected new notes of minerals, orange zest, sweet potato, wood, and straw that were accompanied by hints of pineapple and vanilla. There was also an herbal, slightly cooling quality on each swallow that I could never manage to place. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, wood, malt, baked bread, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by peach, plum, pear, strawberry, orange zest, blackberry, tangerine, and black cherry hints.
This was an amazingly aromatic and flavorful Wuyi black tea with a ton to offer both casual and experienced drinkers. Despite its fruity sweetness, the tea liquor never came off as syrupy in the mouth, instead maintaining a strong, firm texture throughout my drinking session. There was also just enough balance provided by the tea’s other characteristics to keep the fruit aromas and flavors from being overwhelming and throwing everything out of whack. Fans of Wuyi black teas would undoubtedly enjoy this offering, but I think black tea fans who are used to sweeter teas and looking for a good entry into the world of Wuyi black tea would also be well served to check out this tea or one like it.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Guava, Herbaceous, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Stonefruits, Straw, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Wood
Let’s post a more positive review, shall we? This was one of my sipdowns from July. I had a couple sample pouches of this tea, both of which I received free with two different orders from Old Ways Tea. I finished one during the second half of the month and ended up putting the other in storage. I’ll probably drink it sometime next year to see how much greater aging will affect it. Though this tea was labeled as a Da Hong Pao, it was actually a Rou Gui, albeit a Rou Gui that was given a roast intended to mimic the qualities of some of the more floral Da Hong Pao blends. This treatment worked quite well for this tea, as I would never have been able to tell that it was 100% Rou Gui without reading the product description in advance.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, rock sugar, pine, smoke, char, ginger, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by stronger cinnamon, char, and smoke scents. The first infusion brought out aromas of black cherry, strawberry, and blackberry alongside a more amplified ginger scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, pine, ginger, orchid, smoke, char, rock sugar, roasted peanut, blackberry, and black cherry that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, black raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and red apple. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of blueberry, red apple, Asian pear, and black raspberry that were accompanied by subtle grass and cannabis scents. Notes of tobacco, minerals, cannabis, grass, nutmeg, rose, butter, baked bread, and cream appeared in the mouth alongside hints of cocoa, orange zest, roasted walnut, and Asian pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, pine, char, roasted peanut, grass, and cream notes that were underscored by hints of butter, smoke, roasted almond, roasted walnut, baked bread, tobacco, black cherry, cannabis, cocoa, and rock sugar.
This was both a very interesting and satisfying Wuyi oolong. I’m curious to see whether or not additional aging will bring out any new aromas and flavors or soften some of the tea’s rougher edges. Regardless of how it holds up down the road, this was a very good tea at the time I tried it. It was clearly coming into its own, perhaps even peaking. Fans of Da Hong Pao and some of the heavier roasted Wuyi oolongs would probably get a lot out of it.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry, Sugar, Tobacco, Walnut