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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Roswell Strange for this weird, weird tea. It actually isn’t completely out there tastewise but I am finding two things weird: (1) the concept of a black bean tea is a bit strange and (2) someone said the leaves looked like strange coffee and for some reason I keep smelling coffee when I smell this. Is there coffee beans in this? Or is my brain somehow normalizing the idea of beans in tea by thinking coffee? And is that normal when I do not drink coffee?
Anyways, this tea is not bad, just different. Different but not totally unfamiliar. Like it tastes like parts of teas I have had before jumbled together in a new way. It is earthy. Leathery, almost. And a lot of bean. It is smooth. It is interesting. Do I like it? I genuinely don’t know. It is so unique and yet so easy to drink but do I want another mug full? Not anytime soon I don’t think. Yet I am also not throwing it into my swap box so make of that what you will. Thank you Roswell Strange for the experience.
Thanks for the share, Roswell Strange!
This tea smells somewhat fruity in the bag; nothing stands out in particular, although it is definitely more in the tropical realm than anything. If I had to guess, I’d likely go with mango as the fruit I’m smelling the most, but it would really only be a guess. Brewed up, the flavour is similar and nondescript, not bad, but not anything overly special. However, for some reason it’s giving me a strong craving for a french “red fruits” tea, or something with strong berry notes. Not sure why.
Overall, I suppose fruit punch is an accurate enough name for this, given that it tastes like a melange of fruits instead of any one in particular, but it also doesn’t taste like the fruit punch I’m used to (which is fine. I’m not a fan of juice box fruit punch!) It’s not a bad tea, but pretty mediocre.
Drank a mug of this because I was inspired by VariaTEA who recently tried it as part of her 365 Days of Tea challenge – it’s been awhile since I steeped this one, and I needed the excuse to dig it out of my stash and steep it up. It’s delightfully smooth, and – yes – very bean-y but mostly it’s just delightfully roasty tasting. I really, really enjoy heavily roasted teas and this definitely falls into that; has soba cha/buckwheat, coffee, and Guinness type notes along with that strong bean-y element.
Drank this one earlier in the week and posted a pic on Instagram, and man did it get a lot of feedback. Like, I KNOW that this is a weird tea. However, I’ve also 100% had much weirder teas before as well. A lot of people seemed very confused and concerned in general by the concept of the tea though, and in turn I found that very entertaining…
The cup itself tasted good though – very full bodied, robust and earthy with a roasted oolong quality, nutty notes, hints of sweet smoke, and a bean-y quality for sure. I’ve always maintained that this is actually quite a good cup that’s really well suited in place of an equally bold/robust breakfast black tea – it’s just not the kind of thing that I personally can have as an everyday thing; it’d get to be overwhelming for me.
I was just in the mood for something really different this morning, so I opted for this one.
I did add a little honey to it because as much as I just wanted something different I wasn’t quite ready to kick off the morning with something so earthy/savory without getting a little sweetness out of the cup. It was actually very good with the honey; it exaggerated some of the notes that are often present in the cup but not main focuses like nut, cocoa, and espresso notes! The rest of the flavour wasn’t so much “bean-y” as it was earthy – really earthy, actually with soft smoke undertones and a roasty toasty quality.
Love this one! It’s so unique, and pleasant and smooth.
Because I fucking could.
So, this was REALLY earthy tasting, with a strong bean like quality and gentler smokiness to it. Also, very roasty as well. It was kind of super weird, and one of my coworkers described it as tasting “sort of like bitter coffee grounds” and they were kind of correct in that. Like, I didn’t see it before but as soon as the comparison had been made I couldn’t shake it. At the same time, because of the high milk content and that sweeter earthy and vegetal kind of quality I was also strongly reminded of Taro Bubble tea. And, I’ve yet to have red bean bubble tea but I feel like it would probably taste somewhat like this too.
It was just so weird, but in a pretty good way.
Finally trying this very weird oolong.
It’s actually really good, which is a relief because I have quite a lot of it now. I think that overall the flavour could probably just be summed up as “earthy” but there some slight complexities/nuances to it as well.
It’s weird ‘cause as earthy as this tastes, it does so in a way very unique from other earthy teas I’ve consumed – it’s not like pu’erh, or the earthy notes sometimes found in darker oxidized or aged oolongs or black teas. It’s a, and I know this is an obvious statement, ‘beany’ sort of earthiness. It’s also weird because it’s got a little bit of a bitter top note but the finish is sweet and somewhat cocoa like. I don’t know if I’ve ever really experienced a tea with a bitter start but such a smooth, roasty and sweet finish like this. It’s very pleasant though! A great way to finish off a sip, and encourage taking another.
Apart from that, there’s some overall roasty notes, hints of smoky notes (sweet smoky), and almost this coffee like flavour as well. That’s in addition, of course, to the already mentioned earthiness, cocoa, sweetness, and beany qualities.
I really like it! Bonus points for it being really affordable too.
I was excited about this tea – I love tangerine, and I could really see it working well on a black tea base. In practice, I ended up liking the steeped tea a lot less. I drank this one iced, and I just found that overall the tangerine was a little too tangy, and a little too generic citrus to really nail that flavour for me. I feel like if I had to blindly guess what the citrus flavour was I would have settled more in the “Meyer lemon” range of citrus fruits. The black base was also really full bodied and somewhat “choppy”/unrefined feeling. For how strong of a presence it was, I really didn’t like it.
All in all, that just made for a tea that was drinkable but not great. I think all in all, this is just going to wind up being a forgettable experience. There’s just nothing noteworthy here.
This is my second tea of the day; after my first mug around 1PM today I didn’t eat/drink anything else all day except for water but I started feeling a bit light headed and realized it was probably from all the unintentional fasting – so I just strained the cold brew that has been going in my fridge since last night and made myself a watermelon salad, since I had bought all the ingredients for it afterwork on Thursday and I don’t want them sitting around too long. We’ll see how it settles…
Cold brew is good – it’s smooth and the flavouring is really mild, which I think coincidentally turned out to be a really good thing. My stomach still feels a little shaky so I think anything strongly flavoured or really harsh would have upset it. As it stands, this is refreshing and smooth with a really delicate generic fruit flavour.
The salad is also good – but I think the onions were a bad call. Other than onion, it’s made from watermelon, feta, tomato, and some chopped leafy greens with a very small amount of lime juice. It seems to be sitting alright, except for the red onion I added which is intense. I did use it sparingly, but even so I think it may have been too much for the state I was in beforehand…
I think I probably should have added just a pinch of some kind of sweetener to this one to draw out more of fruit flavours of this tea, however I did end up finishing off the cup straight. It was way more base than ‘punch’ though; quite full bodied and strong, and even the tiniest bit astringent too. I got a little bit of very generic fruit flavour but it was STRONGLY covered by the malt and floral notes of the base.
I definitely would have loved a bit more fruit flavour out of this one because that’s what I was craving in the first place – but as an iced black tea, it wasn’t bad tasting. Save for the astringent edge, it was actually a very solid black tea profile. Only downside is that I wanted fruit punch!
Maybe it’s the tea version of stockholm syndrome; but the more I drink this one the more I actually like it. It didn’t originally taste very fruit punch like to me, but now? Yeah, totally picking up some sweet fruity notes. In particular the mango.
I think a rating increase is in order.
There we go; up 18 points from the 50 rating it was at. Still not mind blowing, but totally moving from bad to… average?
Hmm, I think this one is growing on me.
The more I drink it, the more I think I’m actually picking up on the fruit notes! I’d say, arguably, this is more mango than anything else? With hints of red fruits. Still not the most vibrant “punch” flavour though. I think maybe the mango explains the pine note that I’ve experienced a lot with each infusion though (including this one). Underripe mango tastes a lot like pine to me, so that could be the solution to that weird, out of place flavour.
The overall flavour of this tea is definitely improved by cold brewing it. It gets a bit of extra sweetness, and is much fruitier overall although still in a really muddled way. Oddly enough, I thought the undertones were rather pine-like? Both in the sense of pine wood but also like the sort of pine taste that comes from juniper berries or under ripe mango.
Fruit Punch black tea just sounds like such a good idea, but when I brewed this one up this afternoon I was sadly disappointed by an overall lack of flavour. What’s especially disappointing is that the dry leaf smells REALLY lovely/strongly of fruit punch. It just doesn’t carry over into the taste…
Not that it tasted bad; but just very strongly of somewhat plain/average black tea. Strong but relatively flat malt notes, and just a general “stillness” to the flavour if that makes sense. There were subtle peachy undertones I suppose but nothing that screamed “Fruit Punch”. Also somewhat oddly floral?
Again – I didn’t HATE this but it wasn’t what I was hoping for/expecting. Thankfully due to the really low cost of this I do have plenty left to play with so hopefully I can coax out more flavour in future infusions.
My first tea from Oolong Inc!
I have to stay, I’m starting my Oolong Inc. exploration on a pretty positive note; I was really impressed with overall cost of the tea and shipping, and then on top of that it arrived really efficiently as well. The packaging seems pretty solid, and they even included this tea as a free sample in addition to what I had ordered. All positive starting signs.
The tea leaf itself seems pretty broken up looking and has a lot of fanning looking bits. I made this into an iced tea though, and I have to say I don’t really feel like I’m getting any bitterness/overwhelming astringency which would have been my principle concerns from such broken up looking leaf. In fact, this is pretty smooth with quite defined lychee tasting notes. It does taste a touch artificial, but I don’t mind it. Very juicy, and floral and as an iced tea I think it works REALLY well. I feel like it almost has a honeyed quality to it as well, which is nice.
If the rest of my teas from Oolong Inc. stay in roughly this quality range or better I think I’ll be really happy with this order overall.
I’m working my way through these odd and unusual teas. This one was verrrrrryy difficult to photograph. This is probably one of the least photogenic teas I’ve ever had, but i still was curios as what beans and oolong tasted like. The leaf is made up of small bundles of dark oolong balls along with lots of black beans. The aroma is some roast and black beans (duh). I warmed up my gaiwan and placed the snack inside. The scent opens into lots of roast along with prominent edamame notes. I washed the leaves once and prepped for brewing. The taste of the drink was full of starch and sweetness. This reminds me of Americanized mole sauce on an enchilada. Its an odd sweet tone with bean and pungent smoke . I was not a fan of this tea.
Flavors: Beany, Roasted, Smoke, Soybean
Black bean oolong, wth?
This oolong is for all the people who love that roasty smoky taste, but the black bean improved it by removing that bitter element of smoke. What you get is a sweet, roasty oolong smoke and a bombproof tea that you can grandpa or gongfu. I gongfu’d mine and it was bright, roasty, and sweet with a unique savory brothy taste. You’ll love this one especially if you like houjicha, roast barley teas and high roast oolong. I can see this tea being awesome iced!
Full review on OolongOwl http://oolongowl.com/black-bean-oolong-oolong-inc-tea-review/
Unique would be the correct term; however that sometimes equates to a bad connotation such as this time.
I tend to only write positive reviews, but I will adjust this one to provide some help from my experience. Floral notes work best for that vegetable like tea taste and the lighter teas. There’s a reason why jasmine works well with green tea but not so well with black tea; just a balancing act of flavors.
When it comes to this blend, there’s a strong upfront roast profile to the tea with a smokey finish while having the osmanthus flavor throughout. While I can say the flavoring is balanced and does what it should, the base of this really throws off the experience. When it comes to floral, a dry mouth feel coming from the smokiness makes it hard to enjoy while a stronger dancong could be acceptable for such a thing.
What would I change? Well, I think a base tea that already agrees with the taste being mixed in would be best. It would be cool to see a dayuling and osmanthus or a dancong osmanthus as both have a nice thickness that ends in a wet way rather than dry.
There’s just something odd about drinking this that made me want to stop, but I went through four steeps to ensure the smokiness stays as well as the roast. The osmanthus lasted as well so that’s good, there’s a good technique being used just needs a more agreeable base.
I was expecting this tea to be a little more “greener”, but this one seems pretty roasted. I gave the leaves a nice long whiff and was taken over by a sweet perfume aroma with a citrus orange tang. The leaves were very fruity and incredibly fragrant. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed them inside. With a shake, I lift the lid and take a deep inhale. I could note some roasted oats, baked bread, and orange juice. This tea smells like breakfast, haha. I could also take in some warm honey in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste began perfectly! The first flavor was an intense sugarcane candy that coats the tongue; then, a nice floral sweetness that eases you down. The base of the tea is nice and roasted with some berry tones, and finally a smooth honey aftertaste. A mild tannin and bitter lingers in the very back. However, this tea completely plummets in the second steeping. This is a one steep tea. The second pour yielded a very sour and bitter tea that is unpleasant. I ended up dumping the remaining tea. So, lesson learned and if I ever have this again I know to call it one and done.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berry, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Oats, Orange, Perfume, Roasted, Sugarcane
So, probably no gongfoolery this week, it has been a bit of a rough one and I am not clear headed enough to give it my full attention, but there is still the weekend so mayyybe. That is one of the really big differences between my usual tea reviews and the gongfoolery series, from a writing perspective. With tea reviews I have it all written down (in sloppy barely decipherable by anyone but me shorthand) and the blog is just that polished up with photographs and research when needed. With gongfoolery though, that is being written as I do it, usually the blog takes hours and a lot of focus, which is something I have just had none of this week. Good news though, the tea I needed for my next batch of testing finally arrived, yay!
Today I am looking at the last of the samples I got from Oolong Inc, Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea, now it is probably well known by now that I love osmanthus flowers in all its forms, and having it blended with bright green Oolong was one of my favorite ways of drinking this flower. However this tea is different as it uses roasted Oolong instead of the floral green, which is pretty fascinating. Sniffing the leaves, and you know, it smells like osmanthus jelly on toast, like uncannily like it! Toasted grains and sweet nectar blend decently, though there is a bit of a smoky note making me think of burnt toast.
Into the gaiwan for steeping, and the smoky aroma ramps up after steeping. The osmanthus is still there, but it is not as strong, neither is the aroma of toast. There is sweetness that is an odd but not unpleasant combination with the smoke. The liquid however is not quite so smoky, it is gentle smoke with creamy osmanthus and roasted grains, the jelly on toast aroma is back.
Well that is neat! It is a bit dry in the mouth, with a strong roasted grain and smoke start. This is mellowed by the gentle blossoming of floral osmanthus notes that add an intense sweet nectar quality. Blending the nectar and roast at the finish makes the tea taste like grilled plums, which is a fascinating way to finish the tea. I sadly noticed this tea did not have a ton of longevity, and the taste did not really change at all throughout the several steeps I got. I liked the taste though I wish there was more of it and it lasted longer.
A free sample from Oolong Inc!
A good medium-dark roast oolong with a faint osmanthus scent. Roasty notes of wood and burnt sugar balanced with tangy and floral flavors. Osmanthus has an odd flavor to me, it reminds me a lot fresh jalapeno, without the spice
A pretty nice oolong, and at a price point that’s more than reasonable
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Osmanthus, Resin, Roasted, Tangy, Wood