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I felt like having a Taiwanese white today and I found this sample from derk lying around today after coming home from work. The tea is somewhat less aromatic than other related examples, but the flavours are very yummy. It is sweeter and fruitier than what I remember from other red jade white teas. The texture is very smooth and creamy and the aftertaste very cooling and menthol like with various vegetal notes.
I was also taken aback by the cha qi that gradually started creeping over me. Maybe I should have read the other reviews first, I wonder how much work I can get done tonight lol.
I will be looking to get more of this one, thanks for sharing it with me, derk :)
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Grass, Menthol, Mint, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
Here is a review from the backlog. I can’t remember precisely when I finished what I had of this tea. I want to say the sipdown came either during the second half of July or the first half of August. I recall liking this tea more than either of the previous reviewers. My notes indicated that I appreciated its complexity and depth but felt that it had a few noticeable rough edges.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted barley, toasted rice, vanilla, cream, butter, and baked bread as well as a subtle orchid scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of cinnamon, steamed milk, brown sugar, and honey that were accompanied by a subtle chocolate scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted almond, caramelized banana, bamboo, and grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted barley, toasted rice, honey, cream, butter, bamboo, vanilla, and orchid that were chased by hints of cinnamon, grass, baked bread, brown sugar, roasted almond, toasted sweet corn, and steamed milk. There were also lingering vegetal notes in the aftertaste that struck me as being reminiscent of cattail shoots and spinach. The subsequent infusions produced new aromas of parsley, spinach, cucumber, umami, apple, and white grape that were accompanied by a slightly stronger chocolate scent. Chocolate and caramelized banana notes appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of sweet potato, caramel, wood, minerals, daylily, daylily shoots, apple, pear, white grape, cucumber, and meaty, brothy umami. I also detected some hints of parsley and noted stronger, more forward impressions of baked bread, grass, steamed milk, and roasted almond. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, wood, baked bread, toasted rice, cattail shoots, spinach, grass, roasted barley, umami, and cream that were backed by hints of vanilla, butter, roasted almond, cucumber, and apple.
This tea had a lot to offer, but there were also times when certain notes overpowered and distracted from others. It also displayed a very dry, woody mouthfeel and was very heavy-bodied. Compared to some of the other Dong Ding oolongs I have tried, it was not the smoothest, and it was also not the most approachable or the most drinkable, but it was still a quality tea. I would not recommend that those curious about Dong Ding oolongs or those looking for a quality daily drinker go right for this one, but when something stronger and heartier is called for, this would be the oolong to choose.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Bamboo, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Grass, Honey, Milk, Mineral, Orchid, Parsley, Roasted Barley, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, White Grapes, Wood
Hey all, before I start this review, I’d like to share a major life update. I know some of you are aware that I have been waffling on going back to school, and well, I think I have finally decided to do it. I’ve spent a considerable amount of my time trying to figure out what I really want out of my professional life, and I finally came to the conclusion that a very public-oriented career was not going to be for me because I’m just not a people person. I have pretty serious anxiety issues, so something more stressful was also out of the question. I knew I needed something quiet that offered a tremendous amount of autonomy and alone time, so I have decided to become a librarian. There is a rather highly regarded graduate program in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Kentucky, which is just two hours west of where I’m living now, and since applications for the spring semester are being accepted until mid-November, I decided to go ahead and apply for it. I am in no financial shape to do this, but I also don’t have any real debts and no serious financial obligations, so I am at a point in my life where I can afford to start over from scratch. I figure I can also spend a semester going part-time and then move and work on acquiring funding over the summer when more assistantships become available. This field seems like a perfect fit for me because a good deal of my academic and professional background involves information management. I also think my background in composition and teaching will help me stand out a little from the crowd.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to talking about this tea. This tea represented a step into uncharted territory for me as I had never tried a Taiwanese white tea prior to trying this one. The best way for me to describe it would be almost like a Bai Mudan or Shou Mei but with the minty characteristics of a Red Jade black tea. I found it enjoyable, though I also felt that it was a bit rough in places and packed a caffeine wallop that was a bit much. Essentially, I would have to be in the mood for this sort of profile in order to approach another tea like this one.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of malt, sweet potato, baked bread, wintergreen, and honey. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of butter and peppermint as well as a stronger wintergreen presence. The first infusion brought out subtle scents of vanilla, cream, and grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, grass, butter, and wintergreen that were chased by hints of baked bread, honey, vanilla, and sweet potato. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of brown sugar, autumn leaves, hay, earth, and celery as well as subtler scents of grape leaves, spinach, and green olives. I also detected slightly amplified cream and grass aromas. Notes of brown sugar, earth, hay, minerals, wood, coffee, and autumn leaves appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging peppermint notes, hints of butterscotch, and slightly stronger and more immediately noticeable baked bread and honey impressions. Impressions of green olive, celery, spinach, and grape leaf appeared as well. They were subtle at first but grew slightly stronger with each infusion until the tea started to fade. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, grass, hay, wood, grape leaf, butter, celery, and earth that were underscored by hints of wintergreen, sweet potato, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and spinach.
This was a very odd white tea. Its caffeine punch was reminiscent of a Red Jade black tea, and its aroma and flavor profiles were very bizarre. Still, its aroma and flavor components managed to work together better than expected. Though certain aroma and flavor components could be prickly or poorly integrated here and there, everything worked together for the most part. The mouthfeel of the tea liquor could also be a little rough in places. These are fairly minor quibbles, however, as I still consider this to be a high quality tea. Overall, it was enjoyable. There were just a few noticeable issues here and there that held it back in my eyes.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butter, Butterscotch, Butterscotch, Celery, Celery, Coffee, Coffee, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Grass, Grass, Hay, Hay, Herbaceous, Herbaceous, Honey, Honey, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Olives, Olives, Peppermint, Peppermint, Spinach, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal, Wood, Wood
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Bamboo, Chestnut, Cream, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Lettuce, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Mint, Nectar, Salty, Seaweed, Spinach
Looking back in my log book, I took some hasty notes with a 10g sample of the Autumn 2018 harvest purchased a month or two ago.
One brew was 5g stewed in my 20oz thermos for several hours. Delightfully tangy, sweet and fruity with berries.
The other 5g I dedicated to gongfu. I was able to pick apart the fruitiness into a dominant sweet-tart red raspberry-red apple-grape-rhubarb with other notes of blackberry, blueberry, red cherry, pear, white toast, baked bread, malt and butter. The minerality and salivation appeared very early and transitioned into a woodier, drier mouthfeel that when combined with the taste reminded me of apricot kernel. Juicy fruit aroma (not the chewing gum).
[5g, 100mL porcelain pot, 205F, rinse discarded due to sharp toastiness, good longevity]
This Vietnamese GABA definitely had that grape quality I find in most Taiwanese GABA oolong of a specific cultivar that at the moment is escaping me. However, this tea was more berry-focused; a nice departure from the floral grape I’ve been experiencing lately.
The flavor notes listed below are a combination of both brewing methods.
Wishlisted — I’ll have to buy a larger quantity next time!
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Berries, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Toast, Butter, Cherry, Flowers, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Pear, Raisins, Raspberry, Red Apple, Rhubarb, Sweet, Tangy, Tart, Thick, Toast, Wood
This was another of my sipdowns from either late May or early June. I’d been trying to clean out the vast backlog of black tea reviews before moving on to any of the oolongs, but I have ended up having a crazy couple of weeks and started falling way behind again after making great progress toward getting everything up to date. Whenever I see an oolong from Taiwan simply labeled as “red” or something similar, I instantly get the impression that I am not dealing with a higher end tea, and usually that is true, but I often find myself enjoying such teas. That was certainly the case with this one.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, brown sugar, raisin, roasted almond, plum, chocolate, and praline. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut, orchid, grass, and sugarcane. The first infusion brought out orange zest, cherry, violet, baked bread, and straw aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, baked bread, roasted almond, raisin, cream, plum, cherry, orange zest, sugarcane, and grass notes that were chased by hints of cinnamon, praline, brown sugar, violet, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of roasted pecan, blueberry, pine, raspberry, nutmeg, and red apple. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of violet, brown sugar, cinnamon, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of chocolate and hints of straw and spinach. I also noted impressions of minerals, blueberry, roasted pecan, red apple, raspberry, pine, and nutmeg. As the tea faded, I found that the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, orange zest, pine, cherry, sugarcane, and cream that were underscored by hints of baked bread, red apple, grass, straw, spinach, roasted pecan, orchid, and roasted almond.
This was a tremendously drinkable and enjoyable oolong. Though roasted Si Ji Chun has been hit or miss for me over the years, I found a lot to appreciate about this one. Fans of Taiwanese roasted oolongs would probably be into it and would find it to be a very nice, rewarding daily drinker. I could also see it working as an introduction to roasted oolong for curious drinkers.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pecan, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Raspberry, Red Apple, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Violet
Ahhh…back to my favorite types of tea. I was a little out of my comfort zone trying the Japanese /Brown Rice tea….and another white tea. Here I am back to my very favorite type of tea. BLACK! This was yummy. Malt and notes of pear, and something faintly sweet. I first made it according to the direction with 2 tsp per cup. I found that way too much and made the tea too strong and astringent to where it over powered the flavor. Using just one teaspoon the tea was delicious. And never went bitter. I love my black tea as a latte…..but I found this was better without adding milk.
It’s a great one!
may 2019 2nd flush
Flavors: Malt, Pear
I was really excited about trying this…as I am about most teas. I love trying new things! But even though I’m happy to have tried this…I didn’t like it. At all! It’s just to too ricey and just does not have a pleasant taste to me. Every time I tried it I couldn’t help but think it would be amazing to drink with Sesame chicken. I guess that’s what the flavor reminds me of. Coincidently after drinking it most of this week I’ll be making Sesame Chicken for dinner. Go figure! Anyway…not for me and I don’t think I’ll ever be buying it again.
You get a couple of resters…but it doesn’t rested quite as much as other teas I have tried. Quality of the green tea doesn’t really matter since you are just mixing it with the rice stuff…that being said I don’t think it was high quality and I’m not mad at that. Why waste the good stuff to mix with rice…
Flavors: Popcorn, Rice
Given that I’d purchased four teas from Darjeeling and Nepal, Alistair kindly included this second flush as a free sample in my order. This was another one I almost bought, but I decided to go with the Rohini Golden Buds instead. It’s the 2019 harvest. I steeped about 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 195F for 5 minutes, plus another uncounted infusion.
The dry aroma is of muscatel and orange blossoms, and these are the flavours that jump out at me on the first sip. I also get orange, other flowers, cream, tannin, malt, earth, wood, grass, and raisin. Unlike the Rohini Golden Bud, which is a big fuzzy teddy bear of a tea, this is pleasantly astringent. The second steep still has muted muscatel and orange blossom notes, but is maltier and more astringent.
This is a rustic, high-quality second flush that would make a great morning tea. There’s a nice balance between its heady muscatel and orange blossom aromas/flavours and its earthier elements. However, I made the right choice for my particular taste preferences when I bought the Rohini.
Flavors: Cream, Earth, Floral, Grass, Malt, Muscatel, Orange, Orange Blossom, Raisins, Tannin, Wood
I almost bought this tea when I was placing my most recent What-Cha order, so I was happy to see it included as a free sample. Guizhou is a region I haven’t come across often in my extensive online window shopping; in fact, I think only What-Cha and maybe Camellia Sinensis stock teas from this terroir. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 200F for 7, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of brown sugar, stewed plums, and wood. The first steep is sticky and sweet with notes of plum, citrus, apricot, brown sugar, tannin, wood, and a bit of malt. It’s a mild tea that nonetheless has a tannic bite. The citrus (candied orange) and stonefruit (nectarine?) get more prominent in the next couple steeps, as does the brown sugar. The fourth steep tastes faintly of stewed greens and is pretty drying, though it still has nice apricot and plum notes. Though the fruity notes persist over the next few rounds, malt, cooked greens, tannins, and wood come to the forefront.
If I had to rate this tea on the first five or so steeps, it would be in the nineties, but the increasing dryness and tannins in the later part of the session lose it some marks. Still, there’s a lot to like, especially if you enjoy citrus and stonefruit, which I very much do.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Drying, Malt, Orange, Plums, Stonefruits, Tannin, Vegetal, Wood
Eastkyteaguy’s review convinced me to get this tea, which, given my love of floral and fruity offerings from Darjeeling and Nepal, wasn’t difficult. I steeped 4 g of leaf in 355 ml of water at 195F for 5 minutes, plus another long infusion.
The dry aroma is of spice, dried fruit, nuts, and wood. Whoa! There’s a lot going on in this tea. I get dried apricots, tangy lemon and orange, rose, other flowers, roasted almonds, malt, grass, and mild background spice that is indeed chili-like. There’s no astringency, just a long aftertaste. The second infusion emphasizes notes of nuts, toast, cream, malt, and grass.
This is a unique, complex, and highly enjoyable first flush that has more going on than I can put into words. I didn’t get any muscatel, but I found citrus, stonefruit, and lots of florals, not to mention the intriguing spiciness. This is definitely a tea that repays careful savouring.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Brown Toast, Cream, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Malt, Nutty, Orange, Rose, Spicy, Wood
Am I really the first reviewer of this Tea? Say what? Anyway, from the sampler I had a couple years ago I thought white Tea was going to be one of my favorites. I was amazed b the fruitiness of the other Tea and expected the same in this one. However this one is blah for me. It happens. I drank it up but wouldn’t repurchase. Still love what-Cha. Just not enough to reorder this particular tea
This tea is floral bomb! Thank you derk!
Used all she sent me (5+ grams) for my 85 ml gaiwan. Just smelling dry leaves I knew it is going to be light and floral. So, let’s find out how it is. Preheated gaiwan brings indeed floral (jasmine) aroma. Wet leaf more like orchids. Yep, I made superfast (just filled and spilled) rinse. November 2017 harvest.
1st steep, 10-15 seconds long.
Yeah, very floral aroma. Bit of peas as well. In taste thick fllavours of peas, cream, maybe bit of butter. Aftertaste of flowers, bit of cream as well. Whooa.
2nd, 15-20 seconds.
I am not good in recognizing different plant species. But bit of lillac and violets are there for sure. Thick taste.
3rd, 25-30 seconds
Creamy. Buttery, yet smooth! Floral.
4th 40-45 seconds
I really like it. It is like smooth cream; but with floral, orchid, taste.
All following steeps are “same”, but it is so great tea. Long steeps are forgving. One of the best oolongs I had.
Thanks so much for the sample, Kawaii433! These are just the sort of oolongs I love. Eastkyteaguy’s excellent recent tasting note inspired me to steep this one up. I will never be able to write tasting notes like you guys! The immense amount of specific flavors you can distinguish is impressive. I would have been writing them like that by NOW if I was ever going to be. My notes end up being mainly about if I liked it or not, which is really originally what I started out using Steepster for — Steepster was/is my “tea brain” that remembers if I like a tea or not.
Anyway, I LOVED this oolong. The deep green leaves are lovely. The flavor is so complex and I won’t do the tea any favors by trying to explain it. There is a creamy smooth element, sweet, orchids, osmanthus and fruity element that lingers after the sip and wisps around when I’m trying to figure out which specific fruits. Definitely pineapple early on, but possibly other fruits in the lingering flavor. Never bitter or astringent. I think the first mug was by FAR the best, so note to self: try to steep the next steep session at lower temps to see if I can get the other steeps like the first… maybe even steep it like a green. I have one steep session left of this lovely oolong. Overall, this has many elements I look for in a tasty oolong.
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 13 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep
Steep #4 // half mug just boiled // 3 min steep
People, have you ever bought a tea that you are pretty certain you’ll dislike simply for the hell of it? That’s what I did here. In all honesty, I cannot stand turmeric. It is literally one of my least favorite things. I bought this tea basically because I had already purchased the India Nilgiri First Flush Black Tea and India Nilgiri First Flush Green Tea. This was the only other Nilgiri offering in stock at the time, and I had a little more money to spend, so I just said “screw it” and purchased it too. It was literally nothing more than an impulse buy. Upon deciding to work my way through my pouch of this tea, I was kind of hoping it would change my mind about turmeric, but alas, it did not. My hatred of turmeric remained strong throughout my time with this tea and still burns brightly as of the present. Fortunately, the black tea base was nice and went a long way toward balancing out the infernal, vile turmeric.
I prepared this tea gongfu style (not recommended). After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose tea leaf and turmeric blend in 4 ounces of 197 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. I stopped at the 15 minute mark simply because I had to throw in the towel. The tea base seemed pretty much spent, but that damned tumeric just wouldn’t die!
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea and turmeric blend emitted powerful aromas of, well, turmeric. There were some earthy and smoky scents too, but really, it was mostly just turmeric. After the rinse, I noted more turmeric and a little more smoke and earth with some subtle aromas of wood, brown sugar, and apple. I did not pick up any new aromas on the first infusion. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of turmeric, earth, smoke, pine, brown sugar, cream and butter that were backed by hints of tomato and apple. The subsequent infusions brought out subtle grassy scents with some aromas reminiscent of chili leaf, green bell pepper, toast, oats, and malt. Subtle green bell pepper and grass notes came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, chili leaf, blueberry, oats, toast, and malt. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, earth, turmeric, chili leaf, and green bell pepper notes that were balanced by subtle, belatedly emerging orange zest notes and hints of oats, malt, cream, and toast.
Well, this ended up being about what I expected it to be, which is to say that it most certainly was not for me. I’m sorry, but the turmeric was just too much for me, and I could not consistently convince myself to overlook it and focus on what the tea base had to offer. That was a shame too, considering that the black tea used in this blend displayed some really nice fruity and vegetal notes. I’ve yet to try it, but I’m willing to bet that it would shine on its own. Fortunately, I have some and plan on reviewing it prior to the end of the month. Overall, this was not the worst thing ever; it just wasn’t for me. People who are into turmeric will very likely dig it. As for myself, I’m glad I got this one out of the way. I also doubt that I will be reviewing many more blends like this in the future.
Flavors: Apple, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Pine, Smoke, Spicy, Toast, Vegetal
This was another of my June sipdowns. I’m generally a huge fan of the Assam black teas sourced by What-Cha, but this one did not do as much for me. It was far from a bad tea, but I found it to be temperamental and a bit challenging, which, to be blunt, are qualities I do not look for in Assam teas.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. For my review session, I did not rinse the leaves, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, baked bread, honey, sweet potato, and pine. After infusion, I detected aromas of molasses, caramel, cream, green bell pepper, tomato, blackberry, and wintergreen as well as some subtle scents of prune. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, cream, baked bread, honey, sweet potato, caramel, molasses, blackberry, chocolate, orange zest, blueberry, pine, roasted almond, tomato, wintergreen, roasted walnut, and kumquat that were underscored by hints of grass, green bell pepper, minerals, black cherry, black pepper, anise, cinnamon, and prune prior to an astringent finish.
This tea had a ton to offer, but it also presented a very challenging drinking experience. The liquor was very brisk and astringent, sometimes a little much so for my tastes, and some of the more unique and appealing flavor components had a tendency of getting buried amidst the wash of more typical Assam flavors. As mentioned earlier, I also experienced some difficulty dialing this tea in, as I found it to be very sensitive and easy to oversteep. Truthfully, I am still not certain that I was able to find ideal brewing parameters for it. Overall, though, this tea was a mixed bag. There was a lot to like about it, but it most certainly had its flaws. Thankfully, there was more to like than dislike about what it had to offer.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Astringent, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Dried Fruit, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pine, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal, Walnut
Here is another oldie, coming to you likely from either late May or early June. Quite frankly, I have stopped even roughly dating my sipdowns in my review notebooks, so all of my notes are out of order. I just seem to vaguely recall finishing what I had of this tea around that time. Clearly, organized is one thing I am not. Anyway, I found this to be a quality Tieguanyin, and actually, I enjoyed it more than the premium offering from the same producer.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of lilac, gardenia, vanilla, orange blossom, baked bread, cream, and custard. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of butter, sweetgrass, honey, watercress, and coriander. The first infusion brought out aromas of violet, pastry, and orchid as well as somewhat more amplified sweetgrass, coriander, and watercress scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweetgrass, watercress, coriander, butter, cream, violet, baked bread, and pastry that were chased by pear, green apple, spinach, orange blossom, tangerine, honey, and sour apricot hints. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cinnamon, tangerine, sour apricot, and orange zest. Notes of cinnamon, orange zest, minerals, plum, lemon zest, sesame, white peach, and white grape appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging custard, orchid, lilac, and gardenia notes and hints of vanilla and plum. I also noted more prevalent impressions of sour apricot, pear, green apple, spinach, and tangerine. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, pear, sweetgrass, coriander, butter, orange zest, white grape, green apple, cream, and watercress that were backed by subtler, thinner notes of spinach, tangerine, sour apricot, sesame, honey, baked bread, and violet.
This was a ridiculously flavorful, satisfying Tieguanyin. While I also enjoyed the premium Changkeng Tieguanyin that What-Cha offered, I found this one to be deeper, livelier, more memorable, and more textured overall. I would definitely be willing to recommend it to fans of jade Tieguanyin.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Peach, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes
A good tea, but not for me. Very astringent, lots of seaweed notes. I’ve been back to this a few times but I’ve really settled into the Chinese greens and this is just too astringent for me. Not round or corny or buttery enough. It took me a few tries to ensure it’s not the tea – it’s not.
Flavors: Astringent, Seaweed
This is the 2019 harvest, and it’s very, very good—so good that it’ll probably be gone by the end of the month if I don’t hoard it. I steeped 2.5 teaspoons of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 203F for 5 minutes, plus another long infusion because I didn’t want this session to end. I usually steep Darjeelings for 3.5, 5, and 10 minutes, but wanted to see if a longer first steep would bring out more flavour for the review.
The dry leaf aroma is of muscatel, honey, and orange blossoms. After steeping, the muscatel wafts gloriously out of my cup. Steeping for 5 minutes was a fantastic idea, except not really, because now I’ll want to drink all my Darjeelings this way. The tea has notes of muscatel, honey, autumn leaf pile, orange blossom, roses, tannins, tree sap, earth, and a bit of chocolate. There’s a whisper of astringency that doesn’t occur if the tea is brewed less heavily. The second steep is a little more astringent, but still has nice honey, muscatel, and sappy notes.
Whether it’s steeped strong or comparatively weak, this is a great second flush Darjeeling with lots of nuanced flavours. It has exactly the soft, muscatel, floral profile I like in this tea type and I regret not buying more.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Earth, Floral, Honey, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Rose, Sap, Tannin
Yep, I’m back. I just couldn’t stay away any longer. I figure I’ll ride this Steepster thing out to the end and find a new platform for my goofiness afterwards. More than anything, I realized that I once again had a ton of unposted reviews just sitting around and nowhere to put them, so I figured I would become active on Steepster again just to get them posted and to avoid losing them. After making that decision, I realized that if I were going to come back to Steepster, I may as well just stay. I’m primarily a tea reviewer, and Steepster, even in its current woeful state, still works for me since there is not really another tea community or site out there that meets my needs.
Okay, let’s move on to talking about this tea. It was a weird one. Apparently, aged tea in Taiwan was not all that big of a deal until recently. If what I have read is true, the market collapsed back in the ‘80s, resulting in a great deal of unsold tea just sitting in storage. The black tea market was hit particularly hard, and the increased emphasis on oolong production as the market recovered left a considerable amount of aged black tea behind. I’ve noticed that almost every seller specializing in Taiwanese tea seems to offer at least one or two aged blacks from this period every now and then. In many instances, I find aged teas incredibly difficult to deal with quite simply because I do not often think they smell or taste all that good. My previous reviews of aged teas reflect this feeling. Check them out. It is obvious that I find aged teas to be very hit or miss. I don’t know whether or not I have done it here, but I do recall once offering the opinion that aged tea is almost like a hipster thing in the tea world. It’s expensive, usually only available in small quantities, and difficult to appreciate, meaning that a lot of people who claim to be into it probably only reach for it to show off their spending power and lord their supposed sophistication, knowledge, and discerning taste over others. With all of that being said, one would be forgiven for expecting me to rip this tea apart, but, ya know, I actually kind of liked it.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material emitted strong aromas of old paper, must, mushroom, moss, and forest floor. After the rinse, I picked up aromas of green bell pepper, autumn leaves, malt, and raisin. The first infusion introduced a subtle prune aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of old paper, must, mushroom, autumn leaves, moss, forest floor, and green bell pepper that were chased by hints of raisin, cream, malt, and prune. I even picked up some subtle impressions of menthol after each swallow. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of pine, smoke, tobacco, and damp hay. Notes of damp hay, smoke, pine, caramel, burnt toast, minerals, and tobacco appeared in the mouth alongside hints of cinnamon and baked bread. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer up notes of minerals, pine, old paper, moss, damp hay, forest floor, autumn leaves, mushroom, and malt that were backed by hints of raisin, prune, baked bread, smoke, cream, and menthol.
This was a very earthy yet rich tea that was simultaneously reminiscent of both shou pu’erh and an aged sheng pu’erh but with a little remaining Sun Moon Lake black tea character to set it apart. Storage aromas and flavors were definitely prevalent here, but honestly, I did not find them to be too off-putting. They were a little much at first, but I found that they soon softened to reveal a number of unique and appealing quirks. I could see pu’erh fans being into this tea, but I could also see it appealing to more adventurous black tea fans. Though this tea is no longer available, there are several other vendors who stock Taiwanese black teas from the ‘80s, so teas like this one are still out there. Don’t be afraid to give one or two of them a shot if you are up for a challenge.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Burnt, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Forest Floor, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Moss, Mushrooms, Musty, Paper, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Toast, Tobacco
Thanks so much for sharing, Kawaii433! :D I had to bust this one out when others were talking about it. I was certainly even more intrigued than before. I used less than a teaspoon to have another steep session later, just didn’t fill the mug all the way each time. This certainly tastes completely differently than any other oolong I’ve had, even the couple GABA oolongs I’ve tried. It’s almost like the lightest of charcoal roasted oolongs, mixed with one of the non-fuzzy white teas. Hints of white grape, but it might really be pear I’m seeing mentioned… Otherwise, it’s very tough to describe the flavor. Smooth, sweet. I was in an even better mood today, so maybe that was the GABA powers.
Steep #1 // less than teaspoons for a 2/3 mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
Flavors: Pear, White Grapes
If you want to get me excited about a tea, put “stonefruit” in the description. The story of a guy reviving an old tea farm also won me over. This is the spring 2019 harvest. I somehow thought you could gongfu it, but the consensus on here is that it works better Western, so I steeped about 2.5 teaspoons in a 355 ml mug at 203F for 4, 6, and 10 minutes.
The dry leaf aroma is of soy sauce, plums, and raisins. The first steep indeed has a lot of stonefruit, such as apricots, raisins, and plums. There’s also caramel, roast nuts, dark wood, and a bit of that umami soy sauce flavour. As others have mentioned, there’s almost no astringency. The second steep has lighter raisin and stonefruit notes, dark wood, a little malt, and some tannins, and by the third steep, it’s just a generic mild black tea.
I’m not usually a huge fan of raisin notes in tea, but this one is still very tasty. I might try adding even more leaf to intensify the flavours, as I think my gigantic mug attenuated them a bit. Also, two steeps seems to be the limit. This is a solid tea that I’ll enjoy playing around with.
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Dark Wood, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Roast nuts, Soy sauce, Stonefruits, Tannin, Umami
Oh my glob. I had 4g of April 2019 harvest stewing in my thermos all morning. Incredible. I moaned during lunch, 6 hours after pouring hot water over the leaves. A coworker asked me if I needed a room. So Thick. So Spicy. Sweet and Fruity. Bought 25g so I’ll be coming back with details but I had to pop in to say