1185 Tasting Notes

80

I’ve been meaning to do this one a while. I may have cheated and described it on another note for another tea. Oh well, here’s the story about how I changed my mind on this tea.

This one is interesting. I tried it two years back as a looseleaf to see if I would get it as a daily sachet work oolong in bulk. Their description is really interesting for when I purchased it in 2018 and in 2019- wild honey- sandalwood-and white pepper. Since it was oddly specific, I figured the notes weren’t off, and they weren’t. It’s profile is very close to a Tie Guan Yin type of tea with a little bit more sharpness and complexity. I wasn’t in love with it at first since it was kinda thin, water-cresty and too intense with the tangy orchid florals. I decided against buying the 100 bag pack and Hugo’s Jasmine would become my staple.

Trying it now after sorting through the teas I need to drink through, I dumped the sample in my Yuppy version of a Gaiwan that’s called the Manual Brewer from Spirit Tea, which I pronounce Man-U-El everytime I read the description in my head. The durability and double wall of the Gaiwan and cup are great, but the lack of filtration and the glass make my teas taste a hair more astringent than they do in porcelain or clay.

Aside from the mini-teaware review aside, the sampler dumping ground combo with terse steeps of 10-15 second increments did the trick really well. The texture was fuller and thicker, and the honey cascaded nicely with the orchid florals, some very light roast, and a nice sharp edge of spiciness like ginger and the white pepper described. I kept on going back to it and it evolved. Earlier steeps were more honey and orchid forward, middle more pepper, and later ones get spicier followed up by the water chestnut flavor I’ve personally associated with Tie Guan Yin similar Chinese oolongs.

This one is very green, but not too beeny green. It’s very floral, and very sharp. I swear Hugo teas differ season to season. For example, earlier years and seasons of the jasmine where more citrusy last time, but this past years was more grapey and on the dryer side with the jasmine. The previous season of Earl Grey taste was more acidic, but the recent one was more pithy and malty as a sachet. The tasting notes have actually changed in the last few years for most of their teas. A part of that is marketing since the company is slowly catering more to a Gong Fu Cha-Consuming crowd, but this particular 2019 Spring batch does taste sharper and fuller than the 2018 one did. That one was almost too floral and watery, which could be due to how I brewed it, but it was fuller this time and well balanced. The sharper notes clashed with the sweeter honey notes making me grimace like it was sour or tart last time, but the thicker honey and the tangy sharper spicier notes made the orchid florals less intense.

Anyway, while this is still not my favorite tea just due to my Taiwanese, Dan Cong, and Nepal preferences, it stands out compared to many much more generic oolongs I’ve had. I dig the natural spiciness to it, and it’s actually pretty easy to drink. I still much prefer Hugo’s Earl Grey and Jasmine Green right now and recommend them stronger, this one is a great foundation for an oolong and it might not be a bad staple.

The only challenge is that this one is in a weird crossroads for who might like it. I think newer drinkers would be into it, but I could see some be off put by the orchid profile and the weird spicy kick this tea has, putting it more into tea snob territory. It’s also a bit more experimental since it’s a Taiwanese varietal grown in China and styled like a Tie Guan Yin from the same region that specializes in Dragonwell and Jasmine, so that’s another point to tea snobs and tea nerds. It’s also fairly durable, but I think Gong Fu is the way to tame this dragon, nevermind I think this is a good example of most Chinese Oolongs since many have both spicy, sweet, and floral qualities. This one just combines it into one, making a good education tea I’d use on a noob to say “THIS IS OOLONG”. I do highly recommend and prefer the more oxidized Dong Fang Mei Ren version of this one, the Champagne Long Lou, but this tea is a solid and fun oolong.

I apologize for my verbosity. You don’t always get a tea that makes you change your mind like this one, and I do think that a Chinese Fan Style Qin Xin that is sold as both a loose tea and a sachet tea is more than noteworthy.

Flavors: Floral, Ginger, Green, Honey, Orchid, Pepper, Sour, Spicy, Sweet, Tangy, Vanilla

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Backlog from December 30th sitting on the front porch with my bro for any remaining sunlight for the short day. We listened to a Mythunderstood Podcast about Janus and Ragnarok: Derk, you nailed the rice and paper thing and it’s very heavy in the kettle corn popcorn flavor for me.

I am still not decided on this one. I still lean towards the Mandala, and this one is personally more vegetal, vanilla, spinachy and bordering cakey than I like. Not getting caramel personally, but I do get caramel stickiness. I am also not convinced its Jin Xuan in the body since it’s got more florals like a fan styled Chinese oolong, or even a Tie Guan Yin…but who knows, I’m probably wrong. I’ve gotten through more of it and gifted a friend a decent amount as I work through.

I personally don’t see why this one is rated so highly, but enjoy it . I’m still indebted to Kawaii.

Flavors: Artificial, Cake, Grass, Kettle Corn, Popcorn, Rice, Rice Pudding, Spinach, Sweet, Vanilla

ashmanra

I love this tea! And my daughter Superanna, does, too! But I can see where you are coming from.

Daylon R Thomas

Thank you for your comment! I think I would have loved it when I was first getting into tea since I love tropical creamy flavored or unflavored oolongs. Since I’ve been spoiled with Taiwanese Gaoshan and Lupicia, I’ve gotten way to picky. And pricy. I also tend to over-leaf, and I tend to find a higher water to leaf ratio works better for me when I drink this one along with shorter steep times.

ashmanra

What do you recommend from Lupicia? I have never tried Gaoshan. Must have a look.

Daylon R Thomas

Gaoshan is a fancy way of saying High Mountain Oolongs like Shan Lin Xi, Dayuling, Lishan, Dong Ding, Alishan, etc. For Lupicia, I personally really like their Mango Oolong and their Momo Oolong both loose leaf and as sachets. Momo is rose peach.

White Antlers

I second the mango and momo oolongs from Lupicia. Generally I abhor flavored teas, but these 2 are very well done.

Daylon R Thomas

Most of their flavors for teas are well done. I am pickier about their black and green, but most if not all of their oolongs are good. I would also recommend the Muscat Oolong they have Ashmanra, but they only do it seasonally. I was able to snag some thanks to Whiteantlers. I am still curious about their green white blend version, but I’m waiting on that one till I go through my other oolong horde.

ashmanra

Excellent! Thank you for the recommendations! Then I have indeed had gaoshan and love goashan!

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85

One of my older favorites from Whispering Pines, and I could have sworn it was the base for the Harvest Chai…also a not so popular favorite of mine.

Whiteantlers, thank you so much for indulging me on this one. I am writing another note on it since I can’t find my original ones. It’s roasty, toasty, nutty and fruity. Butternut squash is what I’d personally label the overall profile, and the roast takes on some fire qualities with very minimum char. If it were sold on another website, I could see someone using “incense” in one of the notes. There’s something about it that reminds me of Frankensense or Nag Champa…which is weird and a stretch of two very different incenses for freakin’ tea, but it’s there for me.

It’s my quintessential fall oolong for sure. I think I originally rated in the 90s, but I haven’t been coming back to it extremely often. It’s got some power to it’s sweetness that’s a little bit heavy for me. 75% of my oolongs have honey in their description, and most of them are too sweet…I need a break every once in a while from the honey-geddon.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Fruity, Nutty, Roasted, Toast

White Antlers

You are most welcome Daylon. Happy New Year to you. : )

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92

This one grew over me. I’ve saved it for over a year, and I am glad I waited. The Honey is not as cloying as it was, but all the old notes still hold up plus some new ones in a single western tumbler session alone. 3-4 is grams, 12 oz, 3.5 minutes, 187 degrees
f. Take everything I wrote with a grain of “ish”.

First scent was general honey scented medium roast oolong, but the first cup…..man, so comforting. I got the honey and the florals in full force, but with violet, nutty macademia, cream, and graham cracker. The roast was a little bit more noticeable, and everything combined reminded me of Teddy Grahams. It’s still a softer profiled tea, but more mouth coating, flavorful, and unctuous than I remembered. The mouth feeling of the violet and honey baked goods lingers…

I am so happy I hoarded this for over a year.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Graham Cracker, Honey, Nutty, Sweet, Thick, Violet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
tea-sipper

Teddy Grahams!

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85

I’m lowering the review a little bit. It’s much better in loose leaf than in sachet form. I got this in bulk towards the beginning of the year and wish I chose the Earl Grey instead. It’s still got the great ginger vanilla smell I like, but the vanilla ratio is not consistent in the sachets.Ginger and cinnamon overpower the other elements in the tea, and they didn’t use enough of the Simao Gao Wen base making it a little too light. The Vanilla Chai remains as one of the best Vanilla Chais I’ve had, but I recommend the loose leaf over the sachets. The other thing I will note is that the sachets do taste different from the 2019-2020 season than the 2016 one I originally got it from.

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78

I’m going to feel unoriginal with this one. I think Andrew or Evolvingness might have sent some a long time ago of this one because I swear that I’ve had it. Granted, I’m behind on my backlog, but there a few notes I know I wrote that were not saved during the transition like the Amber Oolong Whispering Pines one. Oh well, I’ll add more.

Back to this tea. Berry malt was one that I almost decided to get myself, but the shipping costs detract me from a lot of the White2teas options.I almost got myself some Fruit Bomb and their Daily Jin Jun Mei and Qi Lan Oolong, but then my wallet said no. I know, Canadians have it worse, but I’ve got other options. Thanks to Whiteantlers, I get to try this one. It is one of the smoother malty teas I’ve had, and while the fruit notes are stronger in the smell than in tastes, I still get a fruit leather taste from it.

It reminds me a little bit of Ancient Spirit since it’s got some balmy dryness to it along with some oak and older wood with the usual cocoa you’d expect from a Chinese tea. Malt and berries are obvious, but the tea overall tastes like malted raspberry leather. More specifically, like those fruit based natural fruit rollups.

I tried Gong Fu, but got distracted by 5 things like settinig my new insulin pump up, College PD applications, and so on, so it turned mega western-and emphasis on malt, raspberry, very slight and easy to miss cranberry, and leather. It was a little bitter and drying, but it actually was not bad at all. This one reminds me of a decent Cabernet in how it combines its notes on a dryer level. Even the notes I use for this tea are identical to what you would find on a Cab’s bottle for marketing.

I like this one, but I don’t love it so far. My preferences are contradictory when it comes to malt. I usually avoid buying black and oolong teas if it says malt, nevermind some of my favorites are some of the maltier teas described on steepster. If the tea just tastes like malt, it doesn’t really taste too different than some bagged teas in my preference. If it has malt combined with something else going on the tea, like caramel, chocolate, berries, honey, bread, then I get more interested.

The fruit leather with the malt keep me interested enough to experiment more with this one, but I don’t think I’m going to finish it quick. If anyone wants this tea or any of my other teas, I’d be happy to share. Then again, most of you are in the exact same boat where you’ve gotten a lot of teas just to try them, but have gotten more than you wanted because the industry needs us to get more than 10 gram samples to eliminate inventory. I have some Renegade Tea, Dan Cong, and Shui Xian bricks I have smelled and touched, but haven’t finished. I also have some really expensive teas I’ve refused to touch to save for a special occasion, which is also code for “I haven’t cleaned my good tea ware yet, but I will when my body is not hibernating 2020 off to speed track the year.”

Apologies for going to off topic. Again. Now the tea, I like it and think it’s a step up from most blacks. If this one is rushed, I can see the tea snobs brushing it off as one dimensional nevermind this tea is NOT one note. I think Gong Fu is the way to go for it so you don’t miss out on what it can do. I think it may be decent tumbler fuel if you don’t over leaf it, and it’s actually good when I’ve poured it over ice. Just sugar with it western might be better if you do it that way, but I also think it could stand up to cream and sugar. You’d need the sugar to highlight the berry notes and enough leaves to preserve the flavor in my opinion.

Your thoughts?

Flavors: Berry, Cocoa, Cranberry, Leather, Malt, Oak wood, Raisins, Raspberry

White Antlers

I sent you Berry Malt Black, Daylon, but you might have also gotten some from another Steepster as well. I can’t remember drinking it, but then even if I had, to me, tea just tastes like tea.

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80

Got this one thinking that it would donate to the Globe Theater since COVID forced the company into hard times. Well, I was kinda wrong. There was a volunteer donation option that I missed. I feel bad about it, but I also do not feel bad about getting this tea, other than guilty pleasure.

I got this one ‘cause it appealed to my inner BASIC WHITE LITERARY NERD, or BWLN. Not as succinct as BWB, but BWLN is the hipster version of BWB with its scarf, fake glasses, and its giant poster that reads "I’m not like the other girls/boys/them-I READ BOOKS." And yes, I watched the international theatre’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream…it was very entertaining.

As for the tea reasons as to why I purchased the tea, my favorite flavors and ingredients were listed. I fell hard especially for the oolong+black tea+rose+currant+orange+ginger. The make up of this tea looked really similar to Paris and the Tower of London Blend, and while it bears a lot of similarities to tower of london, the bergamot is not the strongest note from it. There’s really no one strong note in particular.

All the cups the stage,
And all the teas and fruits merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one tea in its time plays many parts,
It’s acts being seven ages:

Currant, Rose,Vanilla, Caramel, Citrus, Ginger, and then a hint of tannin that sweetens into honey.

Really, it’s a sweet flower power desert-like decadent tea. The ginger can be pretty powerful if you leave it in too long, but the tea is not overpowering in steep 2 for rebrew. I personally like it straight or with honey, though it does take a very small amount of cream well-sweetened condensed milk is likely best.

Either way, I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t expect the tea flavors to balance each other out because it’s highly flavored, but it’s flower power done right. I could have personally used a little bit more oolong for less tannin, or maybe a slightly different black base. It can get flat if you don’t brew it right, but the flavors were very gratifying, especially the currant rose citrus ginger caramel combo.

I also know that I broke my rule about not writing too much for tonight, but a tea based on the feel of the bards works -and nails it-deserves more than a few words praise.

Now, to get ready for what will be a long awaited new year that I am a bit reserved about. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Flavors: Bergamot, Black Currant, Candy, Caramel, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Ginger, Orange, Rose, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla

derk

Thank you for being you <3

Daylon R Thomas

Derk, that made my day.

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Surprisingly balanced with a little bit of a spicy kick from the bourbon. The tea itself is not strong, but the bourbon flavor can be a bit much. I need to figure out how I like it. I love it’s smell and the spicy kick back, but I don’t know yet. My brother had it with cream and sugar, but this one stresses me more as a tea that would go well with honey. I can almost do it on it’s own, though again, the spicy kick back can be a bit much for my palette despite how much I enjoy it.

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78

Got this one at the behest of a lowered shipping rate and as a personal quest item.

I love oolongs-I love caramel-and I’ve enjoyed sachets for work, and the ingredients were interesting to me. I also want to thank Roswell Strange for a good opening note on this one to give me an idea of it.

It’s definitely artificial and cakey in its caramel vanilla smell, but the taste was actually enjoyable for me straight. It’s not too far off from a medium roasted oolong, but sweeter. The pineapple and carob (or is it chicory?)combo was a weird one that actually worked for me-the carob thickened up the body of the caramel so it would not taste like a diabetics suicidal wet dream. I should know, since I am -a diabetic.

I was surprised at how much oolong I actually tasted. It’s not strong, but the oolongs own buttery notes thickens the caramel and adds viscosity to the tea. It’s got some malt too from the caramel flavoring, but it’s a medium to thinner tea overall with THICC flavor.

I actually returned to this one a few times. It is good with just a small amount of sugar, and it can be good with the right honey-but honey can overwhelm the tea itself and the vanilla added with the caramel. I personally think that black teas are the way to go for caramel if it’s the right kind of black tea, especially a Yunnan or Fujian one, but I am pleased that they did this with a greener oolong since I think that helps nail the texture right.

I still prefer my naturally scented jasmines, Earl Greys, and loose blacks, but I am really pleased with this one. I’ve yet to have a tea that has been this close to nailing a caramel I like, and most others I’ve had either over or under do the caramel. This one is almost right, and there is no doubting it’s flavor.

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88

I’ve downed this one and only have 5 grams left. This one has changed a little bit, and I’ve enjoyed it because I feel like I don’t run out of things to write, think, or say.

Yesterday, I got rose and peanuts; the day before, I got grains with the honey, yams, and florals like oats and bread; today, I got honeysuckle, sweet potatoes, light malt, cocoa, and peony. Some of the tips are silver, and looking back at these notes, the notes and parts of the tea resemble a white tea.

In essence, this is a black tea for white tea lovers. It’s not as strong as some of its other Fujian counterparts and is a very light, soft tea, but it’s been a much welcome staple while I wait for more bud based blacks coming my selfish way. The main heathered honey is still prominent with a very floral body with reliable Fujian flavors, but it’s hints are fun and pull back and forth.

This one scores between an 85 and 90 for me since I kept coming back to it. It’s not a heavy tea and is more suited for the afternoon of evening for me, but I like my black teas light and flavorful. I recommend this one to people who are familiar with Fujian teas and who prefer white teas and less heavy blacks.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Grain, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Peanut, Rose, Squash Blossom

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Bio

First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
Best Jasmine Black Tea
Best Sachet Teas

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwaneese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong

Me:

I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii with a dominant Eastern Asian influence. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.

Location

Michigan, USA

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