One River Tea

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95
drank Enshi Yulu by One River Tea
1815 tasting notes

Sipdown 45 – 2024

As much as I didn’t want this to be gone, I knew it was best to finish off while still fresh. So delightful.

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95
drank Enshi Yulu by One River Tea
1815 tasting notes

Perhaps the best green tea I’ve ever had. So incredibly fresh. Picked at the end of March and I received my order last week (so about a month since it was picked!) The freshness is really obvious in the flavor. Slightly nutty, bright green and vibrant.

Flavors: Butter, Nutty, Seaweed, Toasted Rice

derk

Glad to see you enjoy their teas so far!

amandastory516

Yes, very happy with my order!

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85
drank Antiquitea by One River Tea
1815 tasting notes

Just received my One River order a few days ago, and very impressed with the couple teas I’ve tried so far. This is really nice- lots of dried fruit and honey.

Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Hay, Honey

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1

I would give this 0 if I could. The worst tea I’ve ever tried by far. This is everything bad about when people talk of the “funk” that fermented teas can have. And I even rinsed this 3 times. The golden flowers just don’t sit well with me I suppose.

At least it was a free sample.

Dry leaf: Pungent, smoke
Wet leaf: Same
Flavors: Pungent, rotting fish, disgusting, mold, must, musk

Flavors: Fish, Mold, Musk, Musty, Pungent

Leafhopper

Was this your first heicha? I’ve avoided this tea type exactly because of the flavours you describe.

Marshall Weber

No I love love love shou puerh and have had somewhat enjoyable experiences with Liu Bao and Hunan Fu Zhuan. Nothing has come close to being this horrible.

Leafhopper

Oh dear, sorry to hear that. I’ve had maybe six teas from ORT and they seem very hit and miss to me.

Marshall Weber

Appreciate the sympathy :). Yea they are definitely hit and miss. Probably wont be ordering samples from them again unfortunately :(.

derk

I know last year ORT had issues with some puerh molding over in storage. Maybe the same happened here? Generally fuzhuan teas should be mild and sweet.

Marshall Weber

Hmmm maybe that happened. Wasn’t aware they had issues with molding. I didn’t see any mold other than the namesake golden flowers, but maybe it was there an not super visible.

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85

Not too bad as my second to last sample from ORT. Also not worth the price IMO, but I can tell it is pretty high quality. FL’s HZLZ is better tbh. Not sure how much this being 3 years old affects the perception as well.

Moderate bitterness that lasts 2 infusions. No sweetness. Decently thick mouthfeel. Very smooth overall. Lasts 12+ infusions.

Harvest: Spring 2021
Location: Boatang, Huazhuliangzi, Mengsong, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

Dry leaf: Puerh scent, grapes
Wet leaf: Same
Flavor: Puerh, hay, grapes, honey, bitter

Flavors: Bitter, Grapes, Hay, Honey

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96

Wow this is a properly aged white! And a wonderful tea for the price ($0.13/g). Much better than the aged white from KTM, although a lot more expensive for sure. The price to quality ratio here is phenomenal, though. I am really starting to love aged whites. I will be caking this FOR SURE.

Incredibly sweet, no bitterness. Can handle boiling water. Mouthfeel is thick and oily. Hui gan is insanely long-lasting; 15-20 mins later I still have sweet honey taste lingering in my mouth. Lasts 5 infusions. Complexity is very high for a white tea.

Harvest: Autumn, 2013
Location: Diantou, Fuding, China

Dry leaf: Fermented fruit, dried apricot, fig, honey.
Wet leaf: Same
Flavors: Dried apricot, fig, dates, honey, sweet, vanilla, old library, cream, thick.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Fig, Oily, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla

ashmanra

This sounds amazing!

Marshall Weber

It was so good! Would definitely recommend :).

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84

4th sample from ORT. This one is definitely better than the Xenringxiang, but not amazing. Much more going on and more complex. Still not as good as Verdant’s Milanxiang.

Tingling mouthfeel and aftertaste that lingers for ~1-2 mins. Trace bitterness if you squint your tastebuds. No sweetness. Lasts 6-7 infusions. Probably can handle boiling water.

Harvest: Spring 2023
Varietal: Milanxiang
Location: Phoenix Village, Phoenix Mountains, Chaozhou

Dry leaves: Floral, citrus
Wet leaves: Floral, citrus
Flavors: Floral, citrus, grapefruit, tingly, sour, honey

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Grapefruit, Honey, Pleasantly Sour

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86

So this is Xigui…I see why it is liked so much, even though this is likely at best a moderate quality production from there. It is somewhat Yiwu-like in its softness.

Has the best mouthfeel of the three samples I’ve tried so far. Flavors are much more subtle here than the Kuanshan. No bitterness. Mild sweetness. Lasts 12+ infusions.

Overall, starting to think ORT is just okay. This is definitely not worth $1/g. Not terribly complex. And their tasting notes are just wild. “Champagne, mangos, sour skittles, IPA, spring Gardenias.” I get absolutely none of that. Nothing close. Not sure where that is coming from haha.

Harvest: April 2023.
Location: Xigui, Lincang, Yunnan

Dry leaf: Fruity
Wet leaf: Same
Flavors: Fruity, grapes

Flavors: Fruity, Grapes

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80

Second sample from ORT. This one isn’t too bad. I wouldn’t turn it away if it were offered.

Lasts 12+ steeps. Mouthfeel is nothing special, but somewhat thick. Not much hui gan or cha qi. Mild bitterness that is fairly enjoyable. No sweetness.

Harvest: April 2023
Location: Kuashan, Lincang, Yunnan

Dry leaf: Apricot
Wet leaf: Same
Flavors: Grapes, cream, fruity

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Fruity, Grapes

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82

My first sample from a new order from ORT. Mostly intrigued by their offerings, so decided to give them a try even though they are a somewhat lesser known company. This one is just okay. Overall a bit too watery for me, but what flavor is there is good. Definitely will finish the sample at some point.

No sweetness or bitterness. Thin, watery mouthfeel. Lasts about 8 steeps. Not incredibly complex as I would expect from a Dancong.

Harvest: Spring 2023
Cultivar: Xingrenxiang
Location: Zhuliu Village, Phoenix Mountains, Chaozhou

Dry leaf: Dried apricot
Wet leaf: Same
Taste: Dried apricot, watery, thin, fruity

Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Thin, Watery

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95
drank Lichuanhong by One River Tea
1575 tasting notes

2023 harvest

Wonderful hongcha. Pronounced floral rose and cocoa aroma, tannins balanced with taste. Floods the body with warmth. High in caffeine. Like Qimen, I think. Overleafs pretty well if you’re wanting something real viscous. Does just fine with a tiny pinch of leaves. I prefer this tea grandpa style over any other preparation.

Flavors: Cacao, Clean, Cocoa, Coconut Husk, Floral, Geranium, Juicy, Leather, Malt, Malty, Oak, Olives, Osmanthus, Peppercorn, Persimmon, Rose, Smoke, Spicy, Tangy, Tannin, Viscous

Marshall Weber

Have my first order from ORT arriving soon! Just some sheng and dancong samples tho. Are you a pretty big fan of their teas?

derk

It’s funny, I spent almost 4 weeks deep in the mountains outside Enshi city with a few people who run ORT but I only drank a few of their teas while there!

Alex is a part of the Loushuiyan tea collective (where I was staying), so he sells the teas from that collective. They specialize in greens but also make red tea. Those are generally pretty good teas if you like Chinese greens from that region.

The teas from outside the collective, I believe, are mostly sourced by another guy from ORT (I forget his name, never met him – Dylan?). I’ve only had two dancong and one zhengshan xioashang from ORT that were gifted to me by leafhopper. All were mediocre teas to poor quality.

This tea in particular, which is not from the collective, Alex gifted me to take home. Apparently it’s not the highest quality lichuanhong (which is considered a novelty tea in China due to the milkdown effect), but I would never know the difference! It’s a great tea.

Their pressed red tea from Laos was also very good!

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80
drank Hefeng Maojian by One River Tea
1575 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Alfalfa, Asparagus, Bread Dough, Butter, Savory, Soybean, Sunflower Seed, Sweet

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88
drank 2021 Laos Red by One River Tea
1575 tasting notes

2022 pressing, not on website

Mornings at One River Tea’s traditional Tujia house in Maiyingtai village always started slowly. The three of us are not early risers. Tea in the house is made with water pumped from the river up into the village’s concrete reservoir. The river named Loushuiyuan (for which the local tea cooperative is named) runs through the valley bottom as a beautiful streak of aquamarine. In the kitchen’s wood wall, there’s a tap with a tiny filter on it that I’m not convinced does much to remove the river sediment. No bother, though; it’s very clean-tasting water and never made me sick. We’d prepare morning tea drank from Coca-Cola glasses sized and shaped like the cans.

It’s a lazy, cold and sunny Saturday morning at the end of October. I’m sipping on the last of this tea in one of those glasses, much like mornings in China but with city tap instead of aquamarine river water. Probably 3g to 300mL of 200F water, grandpa. The tea has a glassy, nectarous licorice root taste and texture before the tight compression of the cake gives way. It’s a substantial, though not heavy feeling tea once it finally opens up. Bright and fresh yet with rich, mature tastes of natural cherry candy, fresh mushrooms, honey, citrus, wood, a bit of goji berry, mineral cleansing. Very clean and sweet aftertaste. The taste gets woodier with nice raspy tannins as I move into the fifth pour, still bright in taste, a little cocoa. High in caffeine but comfortable and with great longevity, all of which would make it a good partner for busy days in the office. Enjoyable red tea, sad to see it go.

Flavors: Brandy, Bright, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Clean, Clear, Cocoa, Goji, Honey, Licorice Root, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nectar, Rich, Sweet, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

This was delicious to read!

ashmanra

I agree with the above! <3

Martin Bednář

That’s a beautiful picture you wrote.

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74

I bought this tea based on its description, which promised orchids, berries, and citrus. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the part where it said it was charcoal roasted… I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of citrus, honey, coriander, orchids, herbs, and roast. The first steep has notes of citrus, honey, roast, almonds, butter, wood, orchids, coriander, cloves, and herbs. The next steep has more citrus and clove and is quite pleasant, and there’s even a hint of berries. Steeps three and four are pleasantly citrusy and floral, with warming herbaceous and spicy undertones, though the tea is getting a bit drying. There’s a lingering honey aftertaste. The next couple steeps have citrus, orchids, and cantaloupe, with a nice fruity aroma at the bottom of the empty cup. Roast, minerals, and nuts start to take over as the session goes on, although the citrus, florals, and spices stick around for a while. The tea also develops that typical dancong bite/astringency in the final steeps.

As Derk mentioned in a previous review, this is a nice, welcoming, inoffensive dancong that isn’t particularly memorable. It’s more roasty than I expected, though that could be because I didn’t read the description properly.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Berries, Butter, Cantaloupe, Citrus, Clove, Coriander, Floral, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Orchid, Roasted, Spices, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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67

I received four Dancongs from One River Tea, all of which are on the roasty side for me. I’ve always wanted to try Osmanthus Fragrance, though it seems that most of them, like this one, are heavily roasted. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot using 195F water for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of osmanthus, chrysanthemum, buttered popcorn, peach, and sour roast. The first steep has nice floral, buttery aromas and top notes of orchid and osmanthus, with roast, wood, minerality, and sourness in the background that might get out of hand later. I get a pleasant peachy aftertaste a few minutes after drinking the tea. The next steep also has nice aromas and flavours of butter, osmanthus, peach, grass, honey, zucchini, apricot, and other florals, backed by a prominent roast. The third steep is similarly aromatic, with a lovely stonefruit and floral aftertaste. However, keeping it in the mouth for any longer than necessary is a mistake, as the tea is sour and astringent and reminds me of pencil shavings (more kindly described as woody?). By steep five, the florality is integrating more into the body of the tea, but the roast, wood, and minerality are becoming even stronger. The slightly sour, floral/grassy/buttery aftertaste is still pleasant. The next few steeps still have buttery floral elements, but the roast, minerality, wood, and sourness are taking over and the aftertaste is not as prominent. The tea remains floral to the end, although the bitterness is very pronounced.

This tea is kind of a Jekyll and Hyde. I love the floral, fruity aroma and aftertaste, but the roast overwhelms these flavours in the mouth. I’d say that this tea might become more integrated with time, but it’s from 2021 and I’m not sure how much longer it might take.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Chrysanthemum, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peach, Popcorn, Roasted, Sour, Wood, Zucchini

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Osmanthus Fragrance by One River Tea
1575 tasting notes

Thin body and very mineral without the depth of flavor I want from dancong oolong. Three steeps in I did get a mild generic stonefruity aftertaste followed by a very nice cooling sweetness. Too drying for my likes. After 4 steeps, the leaf went into the fridge for cold brewing.

shrug

Flavors: Acidic, Astringent, Drying, Honey, Mineral, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Stonefruit, Thin, Woody

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
derk

Hey Leafhopper, I’m really curious about how you perceive this tea! Have you tried it yet?

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Leafhopper, I don’t know if this is an intentionally smoked tea. If it was roasted with a wood fire instead of in a machine, then maybe that accounts for the lingering campfire aroma and taste. It’s a moderate smoke for me.

The tea is somewhat weak. I don’t mean thin in flavor but there’s not quite enough volatility to the aromatic compounds. It’s rather earthy tasting with a muted earthy-smoky-buttery-citrusy aroma, a bit of bite in the throat and muddled aftertaste that most resembles buttery osmanthus. Overall, for some reason, reminds me of a Japanese black tea.

Decent tea, though not a standout lapsang souchong. I have been spoiled by Old Ways Tea’s Wuyi black teas :$

Flavors: Biting, Brisk, Butter, Campfire, Citrus, Citrusy, Dark Wood, Drying, Earthy, Fruity, Grapes, Honeysuckle, Juicy, Menthol, Osmanthus, Potato, Pungent, Tannin, Varnish, Wet Earth, Woody

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML
Leafhopper

Thanks for confirming this is a smoked tea. I also thought it lacked oomph compared to other lapsangs.

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75
drank Jade Leaf Monarch by One River Tea
1575 tasting notes

This dancong oolong is truly like a pleasant introduction. A warm smile, some lighthearted conversation, nothing too deep, almost entirely inoffensive. Silky, lingers for a bit but without the magic that makes one remember every word exchanged and every sparkle in the eye. One River Tea calls this a humble tea; I agree. For a dancong, this has to be one of the gentlest I’ve tried.

Thank you, Leafhopper :)

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Citrus Zest, Clove, Coriander Seed, Ginger, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Juicy, Melon, Roasted, Silky, Spring Water, Strawberry, Wet Rocks, Winter Honey

ashmanra

Silky, gentle, warm…humble. Sounds very nice!

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2020 harvest.

7g, 100mL duanni, water off the boil

Like the rest of my roasted oolong reviews, I am still not great at picking out distinct notes. Takes some getting more used to the taste I guess? I don’t dislike them in the way I used to at least, though there is a limit to the amount I am willing to shell out for them.

Smells roasted, can’t pick out specifics.

In the pre-warmed pot, something sweet like cinnamon and smoky and also vegetal like tomato, though the last could be due to the time I used my duanni to also brew kabusecha lol. Haven’t had much time to use it lately.

Wet leaves exude strong smoke. Emptied cup smells sweet in a buttery sort of way.

3s: smoke and light sweetness initially, then a slight sweet aftertaste that lingers.

3s again: stronger on the smoke. a slight touch of bitter and medicinal. a bit of a tickle in the throat, but not sure if it’s because of a slight cough that day.

11s: bitter! Leaves a minty cooling note on tongue.

12s: bitter and minty.

10s 2x: a celery like aftertaste with dark chocolate notes throughout.

15s: something of a berry note.

My notes stopped here, but if I’m remembering correctly, I did do a couple more infusions. An interesting tea, though personal tastes still lean towards lighter roasts for me.

Flavors: Berry, Bitter, Butter, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Medicinal, Mint, Smoke, Sweet

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

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30
drank Osmanthus Black by One River Tea
255 tasting notes

2020 Osmanthus Black
One River Tea
5.1g, 200-205f brita filtered water, 130mL gaiwan

I can’t find any descriptions on their site about this, but it was included as a free 7g sample with the other teas I ordered. A loose leaf black tea with dried osmanthus leaves. The smell is very sweet and familiar, something almost citrus like, though I’m not sure why since I don’t remember ever smelling osmanthus before. The only thoughts I can discern after reading about the smell of osmanthus described is it smells of peaches and dish soap, like an Hermes perfume from the Jardin line (most of which are quite expensive soapy kind of smell).

5s: very floral. Slightly sweet with a slight sweet aftertaste. Leaves smell like a very floral black tea.

10s: hints of smoke. Other than that, similar to before.

Stopped taking detailed notes since this one was fairly linear. A very floral tea (in an almost chokingly floral sense smell wise), slightly sweet, but simultaneously falling flat for me. Wouldn’t purchase. Both of my friends who tried it liked it though.

Flavors: Floral, Osmanthus, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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