1500 Tasting Notes

89

Quick note-
I GOT THE PACKAGE FROM LEAFHOPPER!!!!!!!

It made my night after a tough day. I decided to sample this first, then Bok’s Lishan.

I will write more later, but this tea tasted very strongly like pineapple to me. It was more fruity in the earlier steeps than later ones gong fu shifting more floral. It does get sweeter, but sugarcane/almost gardenia sweet. The dry leaf is super complex in the smell, bordering on nutty and toasty, and the nuts was more prominent in the rinse and third steep.

Either way, this checks all my oolong lover boxes so far. I will go into depth when I’ve got more time.

Leafhopper

Glad you got the box so fast! I remember enjoying this one.

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Better today and yesterday. I did short then long steeps and overwhelmed it a little. Today, I only did short steeps and the florals were more prominent. It was green, slightly grassy, and orchidy with some clear cardamom notes going on this time. Really cool tea. I’m not ready to rate it because it’s still so finicky. I’ve been so tempted to get Eco-Cha’s Yushan, but I have too many oolongs already.

Flavors: Cardamom, Floral, Green, Orchid, Smooth, Sugarcane

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2 month backlog: I got a whopping 50 grams because I wanted higher end silver needle. I should add the tea to the database, but I want to write a quicky note. Don’t worry, I’m not writing a book or a novelette.

I like it. Jasmine and the cucumber, stone fruit, and light tea base are really well balanced, the needles are super furry. It makes a decent western or tumbler style tea, but best gong fu so far. You really have to abuse it for bitterness. Oddly enough, it became more bitter with sugar after a western steep for my mom, so there’s more to explore. I am a tea purist, but I’ve rarely had that happen.

A part of me wishes I got a little bit less of it, but I won’t have a problem sharing it and drinking it down this spring.

….
Back to the present, jasmine, nectarine, and cucumbers are heavy in flavor, especially stonefruit finish. Digging it, but I have to be soooo careful. It is forgiving, but not as forgiving as I used to think. I do like it a lot, but for some reason, I’m not in love with it.

Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Cucumber, Floral, Jasmine, Perfume, Plant Stems, Stems, Stonefruit, Sugar, Sweet

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Backlog and current log. Hot tumbler brew.

Decent, went lighter on the leaf around 3-4 grams ish. Butter, herbs, lilac after about 5 minutes. More florals and green flavors later, edging on pineapple skin. The fruit flavors did not develop until about 10 minutes in. I think it was a little too hot. I swear the metal raised the temperature in the tumbler, but it gote sweeter as it sat. I’m re-brewing the leftover leaves in a regular kyusu since they are open and smell fresh and fruity. I hope it gets something good…

And yes. WAY fruitier notes. Still soft green oolong, but clear lilac pineapple, and a little bit of creamy mango in texture. Not super forward, though more what I like. Maybe I should do longer steeps western with less grams?

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93

Sipdown! I should have kept more for leafhopper, but I could feel the time ticking on this one, so I drank it down using a really short style for 3 grams. I rinsed it for 5-10 using 2-3 oz, and kept on flash steeping 10, 15, 20, 15, 25, 30, 45, 55 (closer to a minute), 1 minute, 2 minutes, and then, I added more hot water to about 4.5 oz, , and let it sit for lord knows how long and am drinking it now. I’m not exactly sure of the temperature since I’m using primo heated water, but it’s definitely between 185-195.

All the notes I wrote earlier are still pertinent like they describe. Overall body consists of herbed compound butter leaning into cilantro and oregano, but aroma and flavor leans heavily into the jasmine florals with nectarine finish. I get more fruit in the 2 and 3rd steep, and more green apple in the very last brew. Jasmine is fairly present, though not as strong as a scented tea, it’s comparable.

I am not super strong on the rating, but it’s leaning towards a strong 92, maybe 93. $21 for 50 grams pushes it past the 90s for me, and the complexity of the flavor pushes it to be 87-90’s range minimum. The tumbler rating is holding it back a little bit. It’s also good western, but lasts significantly longer in shorter steeping gong fu. The shortened session with less water brought a lot more nuance in shorter bursts, and made the tea last a lot longer.

I highly recommend this one for tea nerds, and the fact you get a decent quality dayuling for bug bitten sweetness is pretty good. I’d also choose this one easily over the Exuding Jade I have, and it’s pretty close to the High Mountain Goddess in preference, close to their Lishan in terms of flavor.

Flavors: Apple, Butter, Floral, Herbs, Honey, Jasmine, Nectarine, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Leafhopper

This sounds like a good tea, and $21 for a Dayuling is a great value. I hope I’ll get my hands on this tea eventually!

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76

I’ve held this off, and was time to finish the 2021 sample. Thank you Alistair for this one, and now, I can properly appreciate it. Whole and golden kissed black needles fell into my tea vessel, having decent length and much larger than usual ceylon size.

So I started indecisive between gong fuing my sample or having it western. Everyone recommended 3 minutes, so I started it out that way in my Manual Tea Brewer (westernized gaiwan) with a slight sip. Light, citrus, caramel, smooth. Not expecting that. A little bit too light, so I let it sit more…then one or two minutes extra as I did some chores. I’m not going to say anything new other than its a smooth and easily drinkable ceylon. I get notes of malt, caramel, oats, citrus rising in the mouth, and a caramel, almost cocoa finish ending in tannin. There was some extra bitterness, but a chocolate kind if tea bitterness.

There was mild astringency, and I was impressed with how smooth the body is. What-cha aims for smooth qualities in all of their teas-hence why I buy from the company so often. It’s got the trademarks of Ceylon teas, but it’s so much easier on the palette than the majority I’ve had.

I decided to go so much shorter, brewing 10 seconds, and it was smooth dark chocolate malt, tea tasting, with some healthy citrus and tannin.

Another 10-15 seconds, less water-3-4 oz, and citrus/orange leads the way. Malty finish still there with a little bit of tannin, yet precisely balanced and mildly drying.

I am going to be able to get more cups, but before I do, I’m pretty much set on what I think. And I have to workout. Time is of the essence.

I’m thankful that Alistair included it because I’m usually one to snub Ceylons and some Assams. I know they are essential for most breakfast teas and the blends I drink regularly, but they’re usually too drying, astringent, or tannic for me. This one was a lot more balanced and resembled some good Yunnan blacks, though the chocolate toffee tannin aftertaste is distinctly Ceylon. Keep in mind I’m using “chocolate” as an approximate adjective and not a accurate one, but it’s got the same bittersweetness chocolate does, and that’s what a lot of people like in their tea. It’s not super robust, and it stands on its own legs easily while being soft and nuanced enough to drink it straight.

Although I won’t have this in my consistent rotation (because I pay too much for other tea), it stands out as one of the easiest to drinks Ceylons I’ve had yet. I think it’s a good stepping stone noob tea, and I’m glad Alistair used it as a way to expand some palettes here on Steepster.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Malt, Oats, Orange Zest, Smooth, Tannic, Tea, Toffee, Wood

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Surprise-it’s been more flavorful as a coldbrew. I stuck some, maybe 3-4 grams or more in my bamboo tumbler and let it sit and steep as I worked today. First time after about an hour it was creamier and sweeter than when I had it hot. It had the Qin XIn texture and pineapple skin floral flavor, but the mouthfeel was fuller cold. Second time I refilled my bottle, and more cream. It was subdued, but then after about 10ish minutes, diffused faster than the first one. Lilac was prominent in a soft green edamame-ish body, and then a sweeter finish sneaking up. The drips of remaining water at the bottom soaked more juices from the tea basket/strainer, and were heavy with pineapple taste and acidity, almost being a nice ripe flavor. I decided for another go.

After an hour steeping…not much. Darn. Either way, there’s improvements. I will have to do another tumbler test with the tea but with less leaf and cooler than 185 F water to see how it does.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Green Melons, Pineapple, Snow Peas, Soft, Soybean

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80

Tried it gong fu, doesn’t quite work fully, but enjoyable flavor. Coldbrew and western hot are the ways to go. It’s a very balanced strawberry tea that makes clever use of hibiscus. I’m very picky about hibiscus in blends, but here, it works for a bloody liquor and adding much needed dimension for the strawberry taste. The oolong is extremely subdued, and adds a nice orchid background smoothing out the body. In terms of strawberry candy, this one tastes like a strawberry infused hard candy like a jolly rancher.

It’s not my favorite of the Brutaliteas, though I really enjoy and like it for what it is. I don’t see it as a staple like Violet Cremes, and I see it as a occasional tea for visitors and friends or myself during the summer or fall. If you like more naturalistic strawberry, this one’s a good bet.

Flavors: Floral, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Juicy, Orchids, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g

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85

When you have a lot of tea that is near its expiration date, and it surprises you to have a lot of flavor. I heavily leafed my cup, and it was pretty complex. All my notes are still on there, but the rhapsberry, lilac and bread notes were really working with todays 60 degree weather. Each cup gong fu got sweeter and sweeter leaning a little bit into tannin and brown sugar towards the end. A part of me wishes I could have gotten a smaller sample since I have at least 30 ish grams to work through on top of all the other teas I’ve had, but I’m happy I figured out a season this works in. It’s a spring-summer tea.

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87

It’s been a while since I’ve had this one. Here I thought I’d be writing about it more often, but for whatever reason cough, cough, Taiwanese oolongs cough, cough I haven’t written more. I would drink it a lot in summer and the winter for the past few years, maybe every once in a while in the fall. It’s better suited to fall, but it’s more of season round tea for me.

I’m gong fuing today, and doing it 6-7 grams in 5 oz, 10, 20, 30, 35. The later end was the fruitiest and most honey forward, but slowly developed some power that was too much for me after that. The smoke and lychee are still there after having it for nearly four years, and it’s technically expired, but I think it’s smoother than when I first bought it. Darker oolongs tend to age well and better than black teas, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not quite as forward with the honey and not quite as overwhelming. There’s a little bit more mineral as I drink it. It also made a very good cold brew last year with a friendly 4-6 grams in 14 oz tumbler.

I thought I rated it and wrote at least one more note, but I was wrong. It works tumbler, western or gong fu, but I get the most bang for my buck gong fu or tumbler. Shorter steeps are better for it because it does have some bitterness and astringency like the woody core of an overripe peach. I would have rated it in the higher 90s when I was first getting into dancongs, but now it’s between an 80-90. I still have the same 50 gram bag that I did all those years ago, and I’m not close to finishing it. I’d be happy to share, but I’m happy I’ve got some left over. It’s one of the most reliably good and consistent dancongs I’ve got though, and the least tricky to brew. I occasionally get overwhelmed by it’s strength or sharpness, though it’s easily one of the more balanced Dan Congs I’ve had.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Resin, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Tropical Fruit, Wet Rocks, Wood

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Bio

First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Grand Crew Teas
Wuyi Origins Jin Jun Mei Sampler
What-Cha Jin Jun Mei
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
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. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. 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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