932 Tasting Notes
A packet of rock oolong that came from an aged oolong group buy orchestrated by Liquid Proust several years ago. Disregarding my Chinese character illiteracy, all I can read on the packet is “Ye Cha.” I don’t know if this translates as “Wild Tea” or something else.
Had this lackadaisical morning before a breakfast of chorizo and eggs (tea and breakfast made me 15 minutes late to work, whoopsie), I don’t remember much. It seems the roast was light and there were absolutely no lingering roast notes, just a nice warm toasty tone to the mineral sweet and dry woody deal. The flavor persisted for many infusions, which was a nice change of pace from so many rock oolong that seem to give all their life within the first few short infusions. Looking at the pliable and healthy spent leaves, they seem to have been light to medium oxidized, which I don’t normally enjoy with this style of tea but something about this one worked very well. A very friendly tea that I think would be great for beginners to rock oolong.
I created “Unknown Oolong” to house my many upcoming notes for teas from that group buy.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Chocolate, Jam, Mineral, Raspberry, Sweet, Toasty, Wood
“Ok, I though it was strawberry at first and grape candy but it tastes like, uh, bergamot and black tea. It tastes berrylike. That’s good. It’s got a little tartness in there, too. Maybe it’s a little hibuscus or something. I like it, it’s good. I could drink it again. I’d say it’s an 8.5. It’s got that exotic smell, you know. Can I have another cup?”
This smells really good. I see where Kiki is getting grape candy, it has that tone but lacks the sweetness. I interpret it more as blackberry. It’s a smooth, dark woody but mild black tea that transitions to some tartness and astringency. Seems mostly like a Ceylon black. Bergamot is definitely there, stronger on the swallow, but I think it melds well with the berry and black tea. Dang pleasant. This tea oozes French. I’ve never been to France, but I think about its Mediterranean coast and while there is no lavender in this blend, my mind keeps wandering there. I enjoy this one. (Edit: except now I have a headache.) Thank you, Cameron B. :)
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Berries, Blackberry, Citrus, Dark Wood, Smooth, Tart
Spring 2020 harvest
Dry — dark chocolate, peanut butter, malt, slight rye. Warm — dark chocolate, oak, osmanthus, vegetable oil.
Western has a very forward, sweet chocolate-honey-apricot taste for me with a delightful and drawn out powdery white floral and osmanthus finish. Overall, the tea is rich and deep upfront but a little thin-textured for my likes.
Gongfu, this tea has a good, viscous structure with balanced astringency and tannins. More tangy than western, less sweet. There’s also a nice swallow that I get from a lot of Old Ways Tea’s Fujian blacks – it’s squeaky, full and satisfying and I can feel it cool my throat. The tea is a bit drying but I think that allows the aftertaste to continue developing in the minutes after finishing a cup. Floral, rich and fruity notes of osmanthus and honeyed apricot-orange-peach with touches of caramel, chocolate and sweet potato linger in the mouth and sinuses. These aromatics are more apparent than the actual taste of the tea. Bottom of the cup retains a very sweet and deep osmanthus note supported by chocolate and red cherry. Comfortable energy. This tea is currently on sale.
Nice tea. Happy Easter :)
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Oak, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Peanut, Rye, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy
If you’ve ever had a LaoManE sheng pu’er, then you’ll understand the level of aspirin or rubberlike bitterness of this tea. The cake itself has an intoxicating scent but the flavor and any underlying complexity beyond dark and herbaceous tones are masked by the bitterness. I threw a pinch of a very chocolate-forward black (What-Cha’s Huang Jin Gui) in the second steep to try to give the tea more of a dark chocolate vibe. Can’t say it was successful. I have ~100g to play around with and am curious 1) how it does gongfu and 2) how I can amend this tea to make it drinkable western style. Not sure how I feel about it yet.
Dry leaf smells like spiced walnuts, pineapple-mango-coconut, vanilla sugar and flowers. Wamring brings out a sweet, creamy vegetal character with spinach, coconut cream, walnut and vanilla sugar. Intoxicating. Rinse brings out a more pungent, tropical fruit character with pineapple, mango, coconut and jackfruit on a spinachy base.
The leaves quickly unfurl. The tea is silky, oily, mouth-watering with salt and other minerals. Complex, rich and evolving aromas, tastes and aftertastes. The strength of the aroma gives the illusion of sweetness, but I’d say the tea is rather mineral-salty and somewhat tangy. Lofty notes of coconut cream, vanilla sugar and rich white florals on a crisp lettuce-straw base change to macadamia and coconut to cream and butter. The aftertaste contains the fruitier notes of the tea. The sweet aromatics blend seamlessly into the aftertaste and when that subsides, the fruitier notes of the tea display with green apple skins and pineapple. Some gentle cooling in the mouth early and later, an impression of sugarcane fills the throat. At the end of the session, coconut and floral vanilla make another appearance in the aftertaste. Burps bring out some of that spinach quality of the warmed leaf.
This tea easily takes boiling water and lower and does well with a variety of brewing methods. I couldn’t stop preparing cup after cup. It’s really that easy-drinking and addictive. The creamy quality of the tea suggest Jin Xuan cultivar to me but I see it’s actually Qing Xin. A beautiful representation of Shan Lin Xi. Thank you, Leafhopper :)
Flavors: Apple Skins, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nuts, Orchid, Pineapple, Salty, Spices, Spinach, Straw, Sugar, Sugarcane, Tangy, Tropical, Vanilla, Walnut
March 2020 harvest. A mystery oolong pick that Leafhopper shared with me when we went a little crazy in November.
The dry leaf has notes of spinach, walnut, cream, gingerbread and honeysuckle. This transforms into a very floral perfume with the rinse – notes of lilac and gardenia, plus cream and gingerbread.
The tea is one of the most fragrant unscented teas I’ve ever had, so strong that it’s dizzying — in a good way if I were to find myself in a mood that warrants such an effect — but I couldn’t handle it either time. The tea is creamy, sweet, soft and silky and produces a wonderful mouth-watering effect. The floral perfume lingers long in the aftertaste.
The characteristics of the tea soup point to good quality, but the floral aroma is much too intense for me. I can see why this tea garners such positive reviews here, but it’s simply not for me. This is truly a Jade oolong and for those sippers with a major floral tilt, I would recommend it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Ginger, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Mint, Orange Blossom, Perfume, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Walnut
Silky, nourishing, grounding, clean. Cooling, lingers in the mouth and throat down into chest. Mild sweetness, mild tang, salivation, tingling. Gently stimulates digestion. Brews much darker than the taste. Excellent tea, especially after acupuncture and dinner, and a stark contrast to the other Fu Zhuan tea I’ve tried which is sharp, smokey and dry. This is loaded with golden flowers. My my.
I’m excited to try a green tea from Georgia thanks to Martin!
Summer 2020 harvest, certified organic. The tea is soft and thick on the sip and transitions to a clean, mineral swallow before leaving a lingering salty and lightly drying finish. Notes of grass seed, green olive and the barest hint of spiced apricot are greeted by a mild astringency. Combined with the mineral-salty character, it creates an excellent palate cleanser and is treating me with a gentle hand upon waking.
While it’s a simple, mild tea, it excels at what it does. I’d say it easily plays a supporting role to the excellent black teas that What-Cha offers from Georgia.
Flavors: Apricot, Grass Seed, Mineral, Olives, Salty, Spices
“Oh boy! whispering What is that smell?? Candy, candylike. louder It tastes like strawberry jello. Am I close? hehe Strawberry or raspberry. Tastes very fruity. It’s very pleasant. It’s like drinking jello water before it sets. whispers I like it. It’s so sweet. It’s up there, it’s up there in the eights. It’s the wildberry flavor that we’re tasting burp and smelling, isn’t it? It’s a berry tea.”
I’m stealing a few sips. It definitely smells tangy, like strawberry jello. Yup, hot strawberry jello water. Boring. Huge list of ingredients. Why do I taste nothing? Nothing bad but nothing.
Flavors: Artificial, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Tangy