Taiwan Tea Crafts

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

The quarantine sipdown continues. This is another good Baozhong from TTC though a notch below the winter harvest. I steeped it grandpa style as usual with Baozhongs. Nice buttery lilac-y flavor accented with wildflowers, honey, and nectar. Hyacinth lingers in the mouth after it goes down. Some delicate vegetal tones settle in as it continues to steep. There was lots of broken leaf in here which affects how quickly it infuses but still avoids any bitterness.

Flavors: Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
tea-sipper

That’s it. I’m having a Bao Zhong tomorrow. :D

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90

Finished my sample of this last night. This was a solid Shan Lin Xi with tropical fruit aromas and perfumey florals, typical of this type of tea. Out of the bag, the leaves have a buttery honeysuckle fragrance. Following a rinse, the aroma becomes fruitier with notes of mango and nectar, accented by vanilla and coconut.

The tea opens up with a subtle sweetness and hint of jasmine. As it progresses through steeps, it builds intricate floral layers of lilac, honeysuckle, and wildflowers. Smooth body and a slight fruitiness in the background that complements the florals nicely. I got about 7 steeps out of it.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mango, Nectar, Tropical

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 69 ML

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88

A respectable and quite drinkable Li Shan but doesn’t exactly set my world on fire. It has aromas of magnolia, cream, and vanilla. The taste is very clean and refreshing with notes of honeysuckles, water lilies, and a mineral sweetness. That said, it tastes somewhat generic and lacks that buttery, thick body of higher quality Li Shan teas. Goes for several steeps and has a nice, meditative cha qi.

Instagram shot: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8hFSwRAuGR/

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Mineral

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 69 ML

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90

Backlog. Finished off my sample of this tea sometime last week. This was a nice flowery gaoshan, smooth with a supple texture in the mouth. Fresh floral aroma with hints of butter and tropical fruit. When brewed the liquor unveils delicate notes of honeysuckles, gardenia, and lily of the valley that linger into the aftertaste. Gives about 5 good steeps before the flavor fades out.

Fushoushan is a pricey tea, up there with the likes of Dayuling. It was certainly enjoyable but not in proportion to the price tag which is usually the case with teas in this range. In any event, I’m grateful that TTC offers samplers that help make these expensive gaoshans more accessible.

Flavors: Apple, Butter, Flowers, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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95

What a superb Bao Zhong this is! An almost unparalleled complexity of aromas, a well-defined yet balanced profile, and a full body make it one of the best within the category that I had a chance to try.

The dry leaves already have a great depth of aromas with notes of pastries, custard, flowers (lily), and other green plants. The bouquet changes considerably in a preheated gaiwan. There is a strong floral honey-like scent, complemented by steamed spinach and egg yolk. Finally, after the rinse I get mostly notes of freshly cut grass and honey. Later in the session, the aroma reminds me of a mix between Si Ji Chun and Qing Xin varietals.

First infusion tastes tart, buttery and grassy. It has a smooth onset with a hit of umami and flowers, and a slightly bitter finish. The aftertaste is then sweet and very floral. Second steep introduces a very interesting mix of flavours such as green beans, rucola, and orange gooseberry.

The following ones are then progressively more juicy, nutty (hazelnut), sweet (sugarcane), and floral. There is a bit of astringency around steep 3, but nothing that would detract from the overall experience. The aftertaste in the later stages of the session is cooling with a strong custard note and hints of parsley.

One of the things that elevate this tea ahead of its ‘competitors’ is the mouthfeel. It is very mouth-watering and bubbly with a velvety texture initially that gets more oily as the session progresses.

Flavors: Astringent, Berry, Bitter, Butter, Custard, Floral, Flowers, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Honey, Parsley, Pastries, Plants, Smooth, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Tart, Thick, Umami

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
ashmanra

Sounds fabulous!

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88

This was the second winter harvest baozhong I picked up from TTC, the other one being the more oxidized “Heritage” variety. It’s remarkable how the same kind of tea grown in the same region, of the same cultivar, and picked in the same season yet processed slightly different can be so radically different.

Out of the bag, I get fresh aromas of orchid and spring flowers (hyacinth, tulips). In a heated pot, the usual lilac notes of baozhong are detected along with sweet hyacinth and an odd hint of black pepper. I brewed this grandpa style starting with 195 F water. First sip is light with lilacs and little green apple in the finish. Fairly thin and light bodied. After topping off with boiling water, a meadowy green flavor emerges along with sweet pea, more lilacs, and a mineral/spring water like note.

While this an enjoyable tea, it’s several notches below Heritage baozhong which I consider a top grade tea. It has a mild, simple floral flavor and lacks the complexity and depth of better baozhong oolongs.

Flavors: Flowers, Green Apple, Peas

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 g

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I received this as a freebie in my order from Taiwan Tea Crafts last year. How generous to send a competition tea, thank you :)

I’ve only had a few Dong Ding oolong. Each time, I came away with the impression that this style of tea was not for me. I could never pinpoint why but I suspected it might be the roast, lending the teas a heavy roasted nut flavor. In the case of this tea, the roasting seems like it was heavy but performed so well that it was merely a factor contributing to the balanced nature of the tea.

One thing that really stood out to me about this tea was the scent of the rinsed leaf. It had a pungency and savoriness that evoked an impression of a specific wood used to fire the tea but I absolutely can’t place it. It was very resinous and sappy, though. After a few minutes of rest following the rinse, the nuggets already began unfurling.

With the first pour, the tea had a deep and sweet nutty and floral aroma. An instantaneous, light-bodied caramel-nutty sweetness hit the tongue and transitioned to a lightly tangy mineral taste with mellow florals emerging. Good structure between floral/sweet highs and nutty/leathery lows. Very light complementary resinous bitterness and nut skin astringency. The tea was very clean and easy to sip, leaving the crisp sense of an empty palate after the swallow. The empty cup retained the sweet aroma of the brew. The aftertaste seemed to come out of nowhere, and like the liquor, was very clean with a balance of flavors difficult to describe, something like a mix of lotus leaf, floral lychee and very mellow peach and pine. I also experienced a lingering sweetness in the back of the mouth and a sense of camphor in my chest.

While this Dong Ding was fantastic and balanced, I don’t think I’ll explore this style of tea anytime soon since I feel a little spoiled after having this one; I don’t want to invest the time or money to find one of similar caliber. (This tea, as far as I know, hasn’t been made available on TTC’s website.)

Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Floral, Hazelnut, Leather, Lychee, Nutty, Peach, Pine, Plants, Resin, Sweet, Tangy, Violet, Walnut

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Kawaii433

Sounds like a good Dong Ding. I have mixed feelings about Dong Ding. I also have mixed feelings about Dancong. The latter is too floral for me. At least the ones I tried. Too perfumey.

derk

We do seem to have similar tastes. I think I have a higher tolerance for florals, but like you, dong ding and dancong are two types of oolong that I can’t seem to fall for.

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99

Sipdown. My last few teaspoons of this tea were getting stale but ambient brewing rescued it. Despite the freezing cold and endless snow we endured in Chicago today, it was really refreshing to drink this over ice. By the magic of room temperature steeping, the sour, stale seaweed taste was transformed into a floral bouquet in my cup. So delicious that I made two ambient brews and finished off what was left of this tea.

I must say cold/ambient brewing has been a godsend for less than perfect teas and those past their freshness. I’ve been able to salvage so many teas that I might have otherwise thrown out this way. Highly recommend giving cold brewing a try before giving up on your less loved teas.

Flavors: Flowers

Preparation
Iced 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
tea-sipper

Thanks for the cold brewing tip – I had no idea that would make a difference… I wonder if it would work on the flavor of green tea?

LuckyMe

Definitely. The senchas I bought last spring weren’t all that impressive but tasted amazing cold brewed. 2g to 8oz of water is the ratio I use. I steep it at room temperature for 2 hours, giving the leaves a stir 5 minutes before straining and then add a few ice cubes. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

tea-sipper

Good to know – thanks. I will try it sometime! Maybe even brew normally at the same time to taste-test side by side.

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99

This was the first tea I chose to drink in 2020. Shibi has been a perennial favorite of mine over the years and this latest harvest was a reminder as to why. It’s rich, complex, and has a wonderful floral-fruity flavor. The tea starts off buttery and fresh with aromas of pear, coconut cream, and daffodils. The flowers arrive in waves, starting with peonies, wildflowers, lillies, and hyacinth. This is interspersed with hints of tropical fruit and a little vanilla. Thick in the mouth with a pleasant lingering aftertaste. An exquisite high mountain tea and one of the best terroirs I’ve ever tasted.

Flavors: Flowers, Tropical

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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95

This Gui Fei is basically honey in tea form. It’s thick and syrupy, dripping with the taste of wildflower honey in every steep. Dry leaf smells of graham crackers. Sandalwood and eucalyptus aromas when wet along with some cinnamon emerging later. The tea is smooth and delicious, full of honeyed, brown butter-esqe goodness throughout the steeps but also a bit woodsy at times with hints of apricot and flowers. Although Gui Fei is a bug bitten tea, I taste very little of that bug bitten flavor. It’s more akin to a good roasted Dong Ding.

The only knock on this tea is that it doesn’t change much from steep to steep. Otherwise it’s a very enjoyable and easy drinking oolong.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Honey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 63 ML
Terri

After reading this, I MUST HAVE THIS TEA!!! hahaa…. Right up my alley! Thank you, sincerely!

LuckyMe

@Terri, you’re welcome. Happy to be an enabler :-)

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80

For Christmas, I was given a wood-fired clay teapot, which I picked out myself because my family aren’t big tea people. Well, this was the first time I tried it and possibly the last. The tea seemed slightly different, with more florals and sweetness and less grassiness than in the porcelain pot. But sometime during the session, a long crack appeared that went right through the body of the pot and leaks slightly.

I did manage to preheat the pot before putting in the leaves, but am wondering if waiting too long between steeps caused the pot to cool too much. At any rate, I bought this pot in late November, got it on December 7, kept it in the box to open on Christmas Day, then threw away the packaging in the post-holiday cleanup, and only tried it yesterday, January 9. All this is to say that I’m probably stuck with it. I’m incredibly bummed out, to the point that I’m considering giving up this hobby altogether. I could only afford this thing because it was half price, and what’s the point in getting another if I’ll just ruin it again?

Flavours: Honeysuckle, orchids, minerals, grass, crushed dreams

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

I would siggest maybe returing it to the shop? Warranty claim? I think it should survive, unless it is stated it is not for hot water – but clay teapot like that?

Leafhopper

I’ve contacted the vendor, so we’ll see what happens. But it’s been over 30 days since the sale and I threw out all the packaging, making it hard to prove my case. All I have is a slightly-more-than-30-day-old delivery confirmation and a cracked teapot.

Leafhopper

It’s also made from Japanese clay and isn’t as thin walled as zhuni or Taiwanese clay pots, which does suggest that it should have been able to handle temperature fluctuations and even boiling water. My Japanese mini kyusu has done this successfully, though I admittedly didn’t use water at 195F. I don’t think the crack was there when I got it, though, so the session must be to blame. Whether it was my fault or the fault of the potter is something else.

Martin Bednář

Here, you have 2 years warranty after sale date. And it includes almost everything. If it was intented for hot water, it should survive. If not, it must be stated on packaging or pot itself. Packaging is not needed at all.
But that’s Europe. They should return you money or give you a new one. I hope everything goes well and you won’t give up the hobby because of one pot. But I understand your are bummed.

Leafhopper

Your European warranty system sounds great! Do you need to buy the warranty separately, or is it applied automatically whenever you purchase something?

I bought the teapot from an American company, and didn’t ask about their return policy because I had no intention of returning it (mistake number one, I guess). I hope the vendor will respond later today with good news.

I probably won’t quit the hobby over a single pot, but I now know that I do like high mountain oolongs in clay, which, given how pricy clay pots are and that I almost had one I loved, has made me rather depressed. I’m also bummed that possible user error could have put me in this mess.

mrmopar

Shame about the pot. I have a few around here not the real Yixing but I will send you one if you need a pot.

Leafhopper

Thanks for the offer! I need to talk to the vendor to see if they’ll provide a replacement, or at least a refund. I bought this wood-fired Japanese clay pot at half price for US$80, and honestly, I’m not sure how to get a hold of a similar pot at this price point. I actually thought I was pretty lucky. They’re usually several hundred dollars, and if the maker is responsible for the flaw, I guess I know why this pot was comparatively cheap. I also don’t want to ruin another perfectly good pot by being careless about the temperature. I’ll let you know if I hear back from the vendor.

Martin Bednář

Leafhopper: it’s in the cost. No need to buy it separately. You can buy “longer” warranty, if it is offered at all. But at least two years you have chance to ask money back or new item if it broke because it doesn’t have stated quality. For example if it breaks, clothes start to tear or water proof and shock resistant mobile phone stop working after hit of ground.
In 30 days they have to say you their statement (return/new item). They have to check on their costs how it was damaged. Of course, you don’t get money back if you are using it against operational manual or using it wrongly (bad size, overheating et cetera)

Leafhopper

That seems fair. However, I’m not sure it works this way in North America. Hopefully the vendor will be understanding. :)

Leafhopper

The vendor offered to exchange the teapot or refund the cost if I ship the old pot back. Hopefully the new pot will be better.

Martin Bednář

Great news! Be caruful though, what if is actually your fault :), just little teasing you.
But I am happy that it worked out very well for you!

Leafhopper

I hope it will! I don’t like the potential replacement pot as much—it was my third choice instead of my first during the Black Friday sale—but as long as it works, that’s okay.

I’m actually still worried that I was responsible for this pot’s very early demise, and have been constantly googling how to use a clay teapot properly. Anyone with uncracked clay pots want to give me some tips?

LuckyMe

Glad the vendor was able to resolve it for you. It doesn’t sound like the pot cracked from anything you did. It would have to suffer extreme thermal shock for it to crack the way it did. My guess is you got unlucky and received a defective teapot. Hope you have better luck with the next one,

Leafhopper

Yes, that’s probably what happened. I may have let it cool to room temperature a couple times during my long tea session, but I can’t see how that alone could have caused the damage. Could storing it above the counter where I boil my kettle have done it? Again, probably not. Pots would break all the time if they were that temperamental.

LuckyMe

I wouldn’t fret too much about it. My pots cool to room temperature all the team during sessions and they’re fine. I have both Japanese and Taiwanese clay pots. Mine are fairly inexpensive so there’s no way a high quality one should crack like that. Really, these clay teapots are designed to last a long time as long as they aren’t abused.

Leafhopper

Thanks for your input. Glad to know it’s almost definitely the pot. The vendor actually did an about-face and refunded my money instead of sending the replacement, saying that international shipping is too expensive. I said I would pay to ship the defective pot back and he would just need to pay to ship the new one, but haven’t received an answer. So basically, I lost.

eastkyteaguy

Leafhopper, I thought I’d commented on this note days ago, but I guess I didn’t. I’m not good with teapots either, but unlike your situation, it’s because I accidentally murder them. Really, anything made out of clay is kind of a waste with me because I’m clumsy. I have rather big, wide hands, so getting a grip on small objects is difficult for me. I’m also a very near-sighted and physically awkward human being. I slip and bump into things a lot when I brew gongfu because I can’t sit still and just have to ramble around the house while I sip my tea. Early on, I decided that it would be best for me to just lay in a steady supply of cheap gaiwans and ru yao pots. Now when I break or crack things, I don’t even worry about it. Oh, and I get the added benefit of not having to dedicate my brewing vessel to just one type of tea. As a matter of fact, the gaiwan I use most frequently only cost me like $11 or $12. My favorite, which I only use for Wuyi rock teas, cost me like $5. While it sucks that you had a problem with a pot you were clearly attached to, you don’t have to go all out with your brewing setup either. It can be as cheap and simple as you want, because the only consideration that should matter is how well the tools you have work for you. I’ve been there. I used to try to put together fancy, expensive setups, but I very quickly figured out that things like nice clay teapots were wasted on someone like me. Things can easily go wrong with clay (had one or two issues myself), and I’m just gonna break fancy things anyway, so I stopped bothering with them. TL;DR if you are operating on a really tight budget, it might be advisable to go with the cheapest, most reliable option that provides the most versatility. Oh, and also, don’t give up your hobby. One misfortune should not ruin something you enjoy. This place would feel colder and emptier without you.

Leafhopper

Eastkyteaguy, thanks for your response. I also struggle with clumsy hands, spilling the contents of my gaiwan on the counter and sometimes on myself! I’ve found teapots to be a reasonable solution for this problem. (I’d love to know of a decent ru yao pot under 120 ml.) I also liked porcelain teapots because I didn’t have to dedicate them to one type of tea. My clumsiness was the main reason I thought I might have been responsible for the breakage of my expensive clay pot, although that probably wasn’t the case.

I have to confess that my desire for a nice clay pot might have been partly based on aesthetics and vanity, but when I realized that it actually made a difference for high mountain oolongs, I was hooked. Maybe a $35 pot from TTC could provide the same experience. While I’m on a somewhat tight budget, I’m willing to spend slightly more for a teapot that provides a better drinking experience, and therein lies the problem. I know nothing about clay teapots, and they seem to be either very reasonable (TTC) or stratospherically expensive ($150 or more).

I’m probably not going to give up my hobby because of my defective teapot, although I do notice that I’m shying away from high mountain oolongs with a sense of regret. I hope I can find a replacement for this thing under $100. Or if not, I’ll probably go back to brewing everything in my 120 ml porcelain pot.

eastkyteaguy

I found a good white ru yao pot that was under 120 ml last year at teaware.house. It wasn’t much under 120 ml (about 100 ml), but it serves as proof that one can occasionally find such pots in smaller sizes. I’m a clay noob/rube, so unfortunately, I know virtually nothing about higher end clay vessels. The few experiences I have had were mostly with newer vessels that were not yet seasoned and never made it that far. Even then, I’ve been limited to working with Chao Zhou clay (bizarelly never had a good Dancong in a Chao Zhou clay vessel). Anything else is beyond me. I’d love to get a silver tea set. I know a number od people who love silver vessels, especially for Wuyi teas, ripe pu-erh, and Yunnan Dian Hong, but such things will be out of my price range for some time.

Leafhopper

I might have to look that ru yao pot up. Regarding your use of Chao Zhou, were the breakages your fault or just due to flimsy teaware? And yes, while I’m tempted by silver teaware, it’s decidedly out of my price range.

eastkyteaguy

A few of the breakages were due to the flimsiness of the teaware. I had a couple pots that developed cracks shortly after I started using them. I did, however, manage to break both of them at a later date. One I dropped, and the other I accidentally banged into a countertop and broke off the spout. I’ve also had a couple other pots that didn’t survive very long due to me dropping them. Like I said, I’m clumsy.

Leafhopper

Your teapots seem to be a bit tougher than mine. Still, I’d love to know where you got your inexpensive teapots from. Right now, I just want a clay pot that will give its unique quality to brewing without breaking.

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80

My first gongfu session of 2020! My eyes seem to be too big for my stomach when it comes to tea; I have things in my stash that I don’t remember buying. This oolong is less than a year old, which is good, right? I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of cookies and heady flowers. The first steep has lovely notes of lilac, orchid, honeysuckle, cookies, cream, and spinach. The second steep is creamier, with corn, herbaceous, coriander, faint peach, and grassy flavours. (Why do so many high mountain oolongs remind me of cream corn?) It’s a bit drying in the mouth with a sweet, grassy aftertaste. The next couple steeps have a nice balance of floral, sweet, herbaceous, and vegetal flavours. By steep five, the liquor becomes vegetal and herbaceous, and fades quickly after that.

This is a pretty standard Alishan, although for what it’s worth, the leaf sets are nice. I’ll have no trouble finishing it, but won’t rush to buy more.

Flavors: Cookie, Coriander, Corn Husk, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Peach, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

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

Looks nice though :) Flowers and cookies sounds good.

Leafhopper

It was definitely an enjoyable tea, especially if you like floral oolongs, which I do.

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The ever generous derk sent me a sample of this because I got the tea drunkest I have ever been tea drunk off of a white Ruby Jade that she sent me a while back.

I have always loved – and been fascinated by – Ruby 18 black tea and I am now in love with its white counterpart.

We settled in for a cross-legged gong fu floor session with the King Of Dogs. Same pairing as last night: garden herb Triscuits with warmed cheddar and topped with apricot preserves and tiny pecan tartlets. This is why the King of Dogs stayed so close. (His name is Sam.)

It is here that an unfortunate accident happened. While rinsing, the new gooseneck kettle to which I am not yet fully accustomed made a sideways splash in the gaiwan lid and a tiny bit of hot water went on his paw! Though he scampered behind me, it did not deter him from staying as close to the cheese as possible. Needless to say, he received many kisses and hugs and cheese and pecan tart. He now stays close but leans back when I pour, which is good but also will be awkward to explain when guests come.

On to the tea. The liquor is golden amber. Body is medium light. The first steeps have very fruity wine notes. There is a light, passing savory base note. Very light. First impression as I swished was of rich, high fruit notes, not sharp like citrus but perhaps a little berry tartness laid over a baked fruit flavor. As we keep going, there is a hint of raisin.

We have steeped this so many times that I have lost count. Each steep grows progressively more brisk, pleasantly so for me but my husband preferred the first steeps. The color is undiminished, still the rich golden amber, reflecting beautifully in a silver lined cup. (Small Crimson Lotus one. Thank you to husband for that! It was a gift from him.)

This was very good tea and a fun gong fu session. Between this and the What-Cha, I like the What Cha one best. But this one is intended for aging, and I think it would be marvelous to see what it does in a few years time.

Thank you, derk! I am smiling and content as I head off to bed.

gmathis

Poor abused puppy :) Tazo prefers to be referred to as El Puma, Potentate of All He Surveys.

ashmanra

Oh, his cat name is very powerful! I will remember it if ever I meet him face to face!

tea-sipper

A white ruby jade?!?!?! This I have never heard of.

derk

Oh, you’re welcome. You dove right into that box!

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97

Another brilliant Bao Zhong from TTC. Grandpa steeped 1.3g in my 10oz tea thermos using 200 F water. It opens with the scent and taste of fresh cut lilacs. Hints of orchids and something like a summer green meadow. Egg custard in the finish. The florals become deeper as it steeps with notes of bergamot and magnolia and a sugarcane sweetness that pleasantly lingers on. Stays juicy and floral till the very last sip. Boiling water amplifies the lilacs and gives a more TGY like flavor but the nuances are lost.

Flavors: Bergamot, Custard, Flowers, Sugarcane

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

Oh my. I wasn’t going to order any more tea but is tempting…

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100

I finally logged back in my new Steepster account…Steepster must have really gone to shit, not sure why I come back, Anyways….
This is a damn good Tea, We’ve already reviewed it under our old name which we are Locked out of now, Still a damn good tea…Obviously Steepster been fucked up at least 4 years now, Uugghhh STILL!!!
Thomas Edward(Toad) drank Baguashan Four Seasons Black Tea, Lot 216 by Taiwan Tea Crafts
Really? i haven’t posted about this one yet? Damn, ive bought this one more than once and have drank it many times for good long time now, Lance even liked this one.
Maybe i never posted about it because its kinda hard to really describe to me, thats kinda why i’m here now actually cuz i was thinking hhhmmm well i’ll see what i posted to steepster about it and uuggghh nothing!
Very interesting and delicious tea to me, Everything I’ve had from TTC has been good to me and unique in some sort of way, this one is unique to me one of my favs(i have too many favs, TEA is my fav lol), it is fruity and sweet and kinda roasty and lots more, i really just don’t know how to describe it, it is Delicious!!
I never had a tea like this tea before, i love it.
Had repost, glad i copied it :)

Flavors: Fruity, Sweet

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84

I was in a mood for some medium roasted oolong while working this evening and this one seemed to fit the bill. However, I forgot that GABA teas can at times be incompatible with nontrivial cognitive processes. And so it happened that I zoned out (probably also thanks to the music I had playing at the time, see below) and entered some lucid dreams instead of reading about quantum information theory. Nevertheless, afterwards I drank a few shots of cold-brewed sheng (the 2016 Autumn Da Qing Gu Shu in particular) and became productive again fortunately.

What to say about this tea? It’s very nice, albeit a bit more roasted notes than I expected based on the dry leaf scent, which is fruity with notes of apple, quince, and narcissus. The wet leaves do showcase some deep charcoal aroma though, complemented by licorice, cumin, and more fruits.

The taste is very tart with a distinctive roasted pear flavour, light sweetness, and a dry wood backbone. The sourness, despite being strong, disappears fairly quickly and gives way to a comforting nutty aftertaste with a persistent sweetness. Mouthfeel is very velvety and soft, very good for a tea at this price point I’d say. Generally, the quality/price ratio is very good for this one.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntuC-VUNtDo

Flavors: Apple, Char, Fruity, Licorice, Narcissus, Nutty, Pear, Roasted, Smooth, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

I’ve been moving away from a lot of electronic music lately in everyday listening, but that song is hauntingly beautiful.

Togo

Yeah, the whole album is extremely atmospheric and hypnotic. It’s great both for daydreaming and as a soundtrack to (rainy night) city walks.

TJ Elite

I have this album on vinyl. Great choice!

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78

Steeped the last of what I had, 2g, as another western brew, this time at 185F.

I forgot about it while making a grocery list and piddling around. 10-15 minutes?

Thicker and quite viscous! Same amount of light floral bitterness, more pronounced butter and cream tastes. The peach and osmanthus aftertaste revealed in gongfu steeping showed up today but not nearly as prominent. Still very clean but the astringency remains. That’s my only issue with this tea, otherwise I’d put it somewhere in the mid-80s. Bumped from 75 to 78.

A case of less (less leaf, lower temperature, only 1 long western steep) is more?

Song pairing: Bill Withers — Lovely Day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEeaS6fuUoA

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78

Clean, crisp and calming.

The rose petals in scent remind me of a purplish heirloom variety we have in the backyard. They have a sweet fruitiness to them almost like cherry with a hint of purple bitterness. Not so airy or perfumey but full-bodied with a hint of earthy spiciness. The rose petals of this blend impart a tinge of pink to the clear, brownish-yellow tea.

The dry jin xuan oolong leaf in aroma has delicate notes of sweet sugarcane and cream and vegetal snap peas. Its taste is subtle with dry grassiness and a generic vegetal quality. The minerality is particularly noticeable. There is biting astringency around my tonsils that I do find distracting at times. Light-bodied.

Fruity light cherry with stronger rose finish that moves to the sip with some floral bitterness as the session progresses. Sweet cream also in the finish shows up early and fades by the second steep.

The aftertaste is the prominent part of the experience, with an expansive and lingering fruity perfume of osmanthus and peach. Such a delight. Accompanying that is a touch of menthol to open the sinuses, which draws the aftertaste higher.

Decent jin xuan base tea with plenty of rose petals mixed in. The rose is delicate for me and not overwhelming. If your normal preparation is western style, I’d suggest brewing this one gongfu because that awesome aftertaste doesn’t seem to appear when prepared western.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Dry Grass, Garden Peas, Menthol, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peach, Rose, Spicy, Sugarcane, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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79

I gotta say Taiwanese greens are the most aromatic green teas I’ve come across. Yet the actual drinking experience seldom lives up to the aroma. Such was the case with this tea. It had an incredible honeyed narcissus aroma but I got only the barest hint of flavor in the brewed tea. I had a little more success today following Togo’s steeping parameters.

The dry leaves emitted sweet aromas of maple syrup and apple cider when dropped into a heated shibo. Wet leaves had an interesting smell of eucalyptus and spice. First steep had a buttery, smooth vegetable soup flavor. Second steep was similar with a hint of juniper berries. The third steep had a cooling herbaceous taste mingled with sandalwood and a floral finish.

This was a mellow tea reminiscent of mao feng green tea. It had a sweet though indistinct vegetal flavor and a little tingle of spice. After trying a number of Taiwanese green teas, I’ve come to the conclusion that while interesting, they just don’t measure up to their counterparts from China and Japan. They seem more one-dimensional and lack that depth of flavor.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Spices, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 48 ML

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83

This is the 2017 winter harvest. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

Dry, these big green nuggets smell like heady flowers, green apples, and custard. I get orchids, honeysuckle, green apple, sweet corn, cream, and grass in the first steep. (What is it with corn showing up in high mountain oolongs lately?) The tea is sweet, silky, and slightly metallic, and has a persistent aftertaste. The next couple steeps add notes of spinach, herbs, and a hint of green apple. (But it’s mainly still about the corn.) The corn dissipates by steep five and the florals by steep seven or so, leading to a grassy, vegetal, faintly sweet end to the session.

This is a pretty standard Lishan with a substantial body and some interesting notes near the beginning of the session. It fades pretty quickly, which is a problem with many teas of this type. I usually don’t pay more for organic teas, but I’ll have to see whether TTC’s organic Lishan is worth the extra money.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Metallic, Orchid, Spinach, Vegetal

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

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91

Here we are. Seems my new pattern is to review a few teas on Mondays, so howdy :)

Scroll down to TEATIME if you don’t care for life happenings.

I’ve been dog/housesitting for a coworker (so many acquaintances have been or will be going to Hawaii this summer, lucky ducks!). I didn’t take my kettle or teaware over to the house so recent mornings have involved drinking canned Guayakí yerba maté, or gasp! a K-Cup of coffee the other day. I came home this morning for a few sessions because I’m going through tea withdrawal.

The infection I’d had from March to June resurfaced last week, though since I knew what it was, I was able to get into the doctor for antibiotics the same day the infection kicked in severely. We’re euthanizing Housemate #1’s old, gay tomcat this evening at home. Housemate #2 is moving out in a month so the atmosphere will be very calm as autumn approaches, a setting enjoyable for hopefully increased gongfu sessions. Strange week. Despite all this, I feel a delightful yearning. Maybe it’s because I am okay, confident and rolling with the happenings. Also, somebody is hot on my tail.

TEATIME

Received as a sample from Togo. This swap package is never-ending.

5g, 100mL porcelain pot, 200F, rinse, medium length gongfu steep times starting at 20s. I didn’t keep track, maybe 8 infusions.

Dry leaf was small, uniform pebbles with scents of sweet almond and sugar cookie with vegetal, creamy and floral qualities. Warming the leaf opened up the aromas, with additions of pine, anise, gardenia, vanilla, cream, garden peas and a light, tangy high note.

The aroma was delicate and pleasing, floral, cookie, anise. The first thing I noticed was the body of the tea, thick and oily with substantial minerality leading to quick salivation. Like the aroma, the tastes were delicate. If the tea had not had such a pronounced mouthfeel, I would’ve felt this a dud. But the body had me wanting to swirl the tea around in my mouth and in that process, I was able to appreciate the subtlety of flavors. Pine, fresh and dry grass, butter, gardenia on the breeze, a golden apple and lemon mineral water brightness, fleeting hints of custard and spinach, and a few notes I’ve rarely if ever gotten in a high mountain oolong — wet rocks and fresh fungus on the forest floor. They unexpectedly fit the tea well.

The finish was cooling and complex with a throaty bite for the first few steeps and the aftertaste was distinctly green/golden apple skins. Spent leaf revealed pretty much all 3-leaves and a bud, very thin, yet it really expanded in my pot. The energy was CCC — calm, cool and collected.

Simply, a pleasant, perhaps understated tea. Delicate and subtle, never overbearingly green or floral, nor necessarily sweet. I feel like this is a Shanlinxi done right.

Song pairing: David Byrne and Brian Eno — Strange Overtones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L7IdUqaZxo
Been grooving to David Byrne and Talking Heads for a while.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apple, Apple Skins, Butter, Cookie, Cream, Custard, Dry Grass, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Lemon, Mineral, Mushrooms, Pine, Spinach, Thick, Vanilla, Wet Rocks

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I am hoping that you will kick this thing quickly! You are still on the list.

derk

Thanks, my friend <3

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88

I am slowly but surely getting to the end of my first TTC order. This high mountain oolong is one of the most memorable ones.

The dry leaves smell of meadows and beeswax with a hint of clean decayed wood. The wet leaf aroma reminds me of the morning mist in a town surrounded by mountains. There are notes of custard, cream and various florals. I also notice a smell that is reminding me of a a very dark soil, rich in organic content, when wet.

The first infusion is quite tart and metallic tasting. The main flavours I notice are green apple and grass. The green apple one reappears in later infusions too, but it’s less prominent. It is complemented by other fruit notes like plantain and lime. The taste profile is a mix of umami, sweet and tart, with floral hints like nettle. The aftertaste is very long and pleasant. One of the stronger flavours I get there are lime leaves, but there are many others. It’s a fairly complex aftertaste overall.

Mouthfeel is slick, quite saliva like, but thicker. The finish is a little powdery. I really like the cha qi too, which is pleasant and elevating. It’s a good morning tea.

Flavors: banana, Cream, Custard, Decayed wood, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Lime, Metallic, petrichor, Plants, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Wet Earth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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75

Here’s quite a green looking dong ding. It is tasty, but not very complex. The dominant aromas are those of roasted cocoa beans, wood, stonefruit pits and peat. The taste is bitter and has hints of custard, coffee and acorn. I liked the aftertaste more. It’s long, cooling and tart with notes of sweetcorn and wood. Texture is decent too, the liquor has a soft, silky mouthfeel which thickens as the tea cools down.

Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Custard, Oak wood, Peat, Roasted, Stonefruits, Tart, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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85

Pardon me, I’m tea buzzed. Short note.

Tastes like sipping on toffee loaded with chopped dry-roasted almonds. Nice florality and pervasive fresh grassiness and plant stems. Osmanthus is subtle and puts a smile on my face. Bitterness and minerality keep it from becoming cloyingly sweet. Yes.

Longer gongfu steep times and no rinse because I didn’t want to wash away the osmanthus scenting.

Flavors: Almond, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Milk, Mineral, Nutty, Osmanthus, Peach, Plant Stems, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Toasty, Toffee, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
LuckyMe

I love this one too and reach for it more than my other flower scented teas. It’s a good one for grandpa steeping.

derk

I’ll have to try the remaining amount grandpa, then. I wonder what the oxidation percentage is of this tea. It’s so much more darkly sweet than other Jin Xuan I’ve had.

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