Sipscollection

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Recent Tasting Notes

82

I remember having a not-very-enjoyable example of this tea a few years ago, but I’ll usually try a tea again to see if my tastes have changed. This is related to dragonwell, which I’m beginning to drink more of during the spring. I steeped 5 g of leaf in 120 ml of 195F water for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of plum, wood, and malt. The first steep has notes of plum, plum skin, wood, milk, honey, tobacco, and malt. The next steep has more wood and minerals, with a thick, fuzzy texture. The soft plum is noticeable in the next couple steeps, as are minerals, wood, honey, tobacco, and malt. I get some tannins, but not much astringency. There’s a more milky aroma in steeps five and six, with softer plum notes coupled with more wood, honey, minerals, and tannins. The plum aroma is very distinct in the next few steeps, though the tea mainly features wood, malt, honey, minerals, and tannins. I get some grass and floral hints in the final steeps, though only at the bottom of the cup.

Because of its malt, minerality, honey, and unassuming character, this tea has some superficial similarities to mass-market teabags, though it’s a lot more nuanced. It doesn’t get overly astringent and the plummy fruitiness is elegantly in the background (though maybe a bit too elegantly for me). I like flavours that are a bit more in your face, but I think that speaks to my preferences rather than to the quality of the tea.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honey, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Plum, Smooth, Soft, Tannin, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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85

This tea has so many names, and I’m surprised that vendors persist in using the one that’s potentially the most problematic. (Personally, braggart’s tea is my favourite, though I go with Bai Hao.) I’m honestly not picking on this company in particular, as most Western-facing vendors do the same thing. I’m not sure what Asian tea drinkers call this tea, but it’s probably something else.

Rant on the name aside, I enjoy this type of tea and wanted to try one made from Jin Xuan. My 10 g sample was nicely packed in two 5 g pouches, with extra cardboard sleeves inside to prevent breakage. I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot using 195F water for 30, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of autumn leaves, honey, muscatel, citrus, and florals. The first steep has a thick body and a fuzzy texture from the many trichomes in the tea. I get honey, autumn leaves, rose, other florals, muscatel, citrus, and some tannins. Lemon and pine emerge in steep two. In the next couple steeps, I get lots of tannins and terpenes, plus honey, lemon, muscatel, and wood. The next couple steeps are fairly tannic and drying, with nutmeg and the honey, muscatel, lemon, and autumn leaves mentioned above. The final few steeps focus on autumn leaves, honey, muscatel, wood, grass, minerals, and rather aggressive tannins.

With my remaining 5 g, I did a session using the vendor’s parameters (30/45/60/75/90… seconds), and I was surprised that the tannins didn’t kick me in the teeth. I got more autumn leaves, citrus, and muscatel and less lemon, pine, and florality, though these flavours were still there. I found this method produced a smoother tea with less character.

Could I detect the contribution of the Jin Xuan? Maybe it appeared in the rose and other florals, but otherwise, I’d say this is a nice midrange Bai Hao. It lost a few points for those tannins, but was pleasant and more interesting than other Bai Hao I’ve had recently.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Pine, Rose, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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83

Nice green tea from Leafhopper with just the right amount of L-Theanine to releive headaches. In terms of taste, it’s got more similiarity to a white needle green tea that some other Bi Lo Chuns I’ve had, and it’s smoother too. I mostly got green peas, sugar snap peas, fresh regular green beans, nuttyness, and a little bit of sweetness. I tumbler styled a light amount of these fury leaves. It only brewed well once and didn’t last past the second grandpa style, but a lighter green tea is honestly what I like more, so I’m not complaining too much.

Overall, easy for me to like and has enough sweetness to let people get into it that aren’t a fan of super spinachy green teas. Only fresh greens in this teas profile.

Flavors: Green, Green Beans, Peas, Snow Peas, Sugarcane

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84

After the great pre-Qinming Teavivre Bi Luo Chun I enjoyed earlier this year, I wanted to try something a bit more moderately priced. This Bi Luo Chun seemed like a good option to get me over the free shipping threshold. I steeped 4 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using 185F water for 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. These parameters don’t match the ones given by the vendor because I have issues with bitterness when steeping greens for a longer time. I also bowl steeped 3 g of leaf in 250 ml of water at 185F, starting at 2.5 minutes and refilling as necessary.

These fuzzy little curls are very pretty! The dry aroma is of beans, asparagus, butter, and florals. The first steep has notes of beans, asparagus, butter, grass, florals, and nuts, and the body is thick and fuzzy. It has a strange honey/asparagus aftertaste. The next steep has more spring flowers and something I’ll call pear, but also more asparagus and bitter veggies. The next couple steeps have a good balance of beans, asparagus, nuts, kale, and grass, with some nice florality. The final steeps are more grassy and vegetal, but bitterness is still kept at a minimum.

Bowl steeped, the tea seems more beany and nutty, with the asparagus, florals, and grass emerging in later steeps. The tea becomes grassy and mineral near the end of the session, though the bitterness never gets out of hand.

This is a nice Bi Luo Chun that I didn’t find as compelling as the one from Teavivre. Maybe that one was higher quality, or maybe it seemed better because I drank it when it was fresh. Either way, this is a floral, refreshing BLC that never got too bitter and was pleasant to drink in this warm weather.

Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Kale, Mineral, Nuts, Pear, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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84

I’ve been on a bit of a yellow tea kick lately. It’s usually less astringent than green tea, and hopefully keeps better for longer. Mo Gan Huang Ya is new to me, as I’ve previously only tried yellow teas from Huo Shan. I followed the vendor’s instructions and steeped 5 g of leaf in 120 ml of water at 185F for 30, 45, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, 150, 180, and 240 seconds. I also bowl steeped about 3 g of tea in 250 ml of 185F water starting at 3 minutes, then refilling the vessel as necessary.

The dry aroma is of nuts, hay, grass, and florals. The first steep has notes of hazelnuts, corn, butter, and grass. The second steep is a bit astringent, suggesting that I shouldn’t have extended the steeping time so long. Hazelnuts, grass, and tannins are the main flavours. The next couple steeps have a thicker body and lots of hazelnuts, butter, grass, and spring flowers, though also some astringency. Further rounds lean toward kale and grass and are quite a bit more astringent.

Grampa steeped, this tea starts off with buttery hazelnuts, grass, hay, and kale. The middle steeps are nutty, buttery, and grassy, with some corn and melon notes. The final steeps have notes of lettuce, kale, and minerals, but never get overly bitter.

This is a nice yellow tea whose differences from Huo Shan Huang Ya are quite subtle. As usual with green and yellow teas, grandpa steeping produces better, less astringent results at the expense of some complexity.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Floral, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Kale, Lettuce, Melon, Mineral, Nutty, Sweet Corn, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 OZ / 0 ML

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83

I like new-to-me fruity black teas, so buying this was a no brainer. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using 195F water for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 seconds. I also used the vendor’s parameters of 6 g in 120 ml at 195F for 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of plum, raisin, earth, malt, lavender, and florals. The first steep has notes of raisins, plums, forest floor, malt, honey, pine, lavender, florals, and wood. There are some tannins, though maybe that’s because I accidentally poured more slowly than usual. The next steep has a fruity flavour I can’t pin down that’s something like lychee. Steeps three and four have more honey, plum, malt, and earth and are quite sweet. Honey, earth, and malt predominate in subsequent steeps, and they have a sweet honey aftertaste that can get cloying.

With longer steeping times, the tea becomes more balanced but a little less fruity, with more pronounced violet florals and tannins. I actually like this method better, though later steeps can turn earthy, tannic, and brassy.

This is a nice daily drinker, and I finished the pouch without really trying. I appreciate the fruitiness and lack of bitterness.

Flavors: Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Lavender, Lychee, Malt, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin, Violet, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Marshall Weber

Do you have a link for this vendor? I haven’t heard of them before and can’t find them online haha

Leafhopper

I saw them on the Steepster discussion forum. I’m not sure why they aren’t on Google yet. The link is:
https://sipscollection.com/

They have a 15% off sale until September 30 with the code MIDAUTUMN15, including free shipping on orders above US$38 (SG$50). Of the five teas I’ve tried, the SLX TGY is my favourite.

Marshall Weber

Okay thanks for the info! Might have to give them a try :)

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92

Taiwanese green Tie Guan Yins are few and far between, possibly because they’re hard to grow. Given my love of Anxi Tie Guan Yin and gaoshan and my wonderful experience with What-Cha’s Lishan Tie Guan Yin, I couldn’t resist buying this tea. At $13 for 25 g, the price was also fair for Taiwanese green TGY, which I’ve seen go for $30 for 25 g. In one session, I followed the vendor’s instructions and steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot using boiling water for 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, and 240 seconds, plus 5, 6, and 7 minute steeps. I also used my regular parameters of 6 g in 120 ml with 195F water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of orchids, violets, honeysuckle, grass, cream, green apple, and candied apricot. The first steep has a nice, thick body and notes of orchid, gardenia, honeysuckle, violet, cream, coriander, green apple, and grass. I can taste the slightly sour, grassy TGY alongside all the SLX florals. The tea continues to be creamy, grassy, and floral in the next steep, with violets and apricots being more apparent. Like the What-Cha Tie Guan Yin, there’s an ethereal quality to this tea. The next couple steeps are a bit more fruity, highlighting apricot, green apple, peach, and a little cream corn. The grassiness starts to intensify in steeps five and six, though there’s still plenty of florals, cream, and fruit. The end of the session is predictably grassy and vegetal, though the florals hold on for a while.

Using my regular steeping parameters, I get a slightly thinner-bodied tea with many of the same flavours, though I detect pineapple, lavender, and something herbaceous in early infusions. The green apple, apricot, pineapple, and even peach are quite noticeable, maybe even more so than in longer steeps.

This tea ticks all the boxes for me. It isn’t quite as special as the What-Cha version, but I would definitely repurchase it. There’s a 15% off sale happening right now until the end of the month that I’m resisting because my tea museum has expanded beyond all reasonable proportions and is threatening to get its own post code. However, my willpower has been very low this year, so we’ll see!

Flavors: Apricot, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Orchid, Peach, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet Corn, Thick, Vegetal, Violet

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

Sounds phenomenal! Love how the TGY and SLX notes both come through.

Leafhopper

Agreed. This is my favourite tea from this vendor, though that’s not much of a surprise given my love of green oolongs!

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