880 Tasting Notes

95

This was one of my sipdowns from July and a tea I received as a free sample with one of my numerous What-Cha orders. At the time, I was rather bummed to get it because I’m not particularly well-equipped to review Japanese green teas. I don’t own any Japanese brewing gear and have long had neither the money nor the desire to invest in any. I figure there is no point in trying to do so when I drink Japanese green teas so rarely. For whatever reason, I just don’t purchase them very often. Receiving this tea presented me with a dilemma. I wanted to give it a shot, yet I didn’t own anything appropriate in which to prepare it. What did I do? Well, I ended up breaking out one of my standard tea mugs, a mesh strainer, and a tea coaster in an effort to mimic brewing in a kyusu or something similar. It’s what I have done with most Japanese green teas to this point, and I also tend to use this approach for any Korean teas I end up purchasing. This approach has worked well in the past, and quite frankly, it worked far better for this tea than I ever would have imagined.

With regard to my specific preparation method, I started off by measuring out 3-4 grams of loose tea leaves and steeping them in approximately 8 ounces of 158 F water for 30 seconds. Note that I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion. This infusion was followed by 4 additional infusions. For the second infusion, I increased the water temperature to 163 F and steeped the leaves for 45 seconds. The third infusion lasted 1 minute, and the water temperature was increased to 168 F. The fourth infusion lasted 1 minute 30 seconds, and the water temperature was set at 173 F. For the fifth and final infusion, I increased the water temperature to 178 F and steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of seaweed, spinach, cucumber, butter, zucchini, and grass. After infusion, I noted new aromas of asparagus, honey, and sweet corn. In the mouth, the tea liquor revealed delicate butter, cream, spinach, grass, zucchini, seaweed, cucumber, asparagus, and salty, brothy umami notes that were balanced by subtle hints of vanilla, lightly roasted barley, earth, honey, steamed rice, and minerals. The second infusion saw an umami presence come out on the nose, while new aromas of steamed rice, lettuce, summer squash, and lightly roasted barley also made themselves known. Stronger honey, roasted barley, earth, and mineral notes appeared in the mouth alongside even more amplified butter, cream, seaweed, grass, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, and umami impressions. New notes of summer squash, baked bread, lettuce, and oats also appeared alongside belatedly emerging impressions of sweet corn. I was even able to pick up on some hints of sugarcane, fennel, and spearmint. The third infusion saw aromas of oats, baked bread, and hay emerge along with a subtle fennel scent and stronger umami, seaweed, and grass aromas. Slightly more amplified earth and mineral impressions appeared in the mouth while notes of seaweed, grass, fennel, umami, cucumber, and zucchini continued to build. New impressions of hay and sea salt emerged along with a slightly enhanced sugarcane presence and hints of lemon. The fourth infusion saw the tea’s bouquet start to decline. The tea liquor turned very grassy and vegetal with pronounced earth, umami, and seaweed notes and a slightly enhanced sea salt presence. The final infusion saw the tea’s bouquet turn very clean. It was heavy on mineral aromas, though I could also pick up on some umami, grass, earth, lemon, and sea salt scents. The tea liquor was soft and smooth in the mouth despite pronounced mineral and umami characters. Softer, subtler notes of grass, lemon, and sea salt could still be detected along with fleeting hints of spinach, seaweed, and sugarcane.

This was one of the more challenging green teas I have consumed and reviewed this year, but it was also one of the most enjoyable. I do not pretend to be anything close to an expert on sencha (or anything else really), but this one struck me as being an exceptional offering. This tea displayed tremendous character both on the nose and in the mouth. The tea liquor had tremendous body and texture as well. Quite simply, there was so much to love about this tea. With as much as I enjoyed this one, I should probably start trying some of the other Japanese green teas offered by What-Cha in the near future.

Flavors: Asparagus, Asparagus, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Butter, Butter, Cream, Cream, Cucumber, Cucumber, Earth, Earth, Fennel, Fennel, Grass, Grass, Hay, Hay, Honey, Honey, Lemon, Lemon, Lettuce, Lettuce, Mineral, Mineral, Oats, Oats, Rice, Rice, Roasted Barley, Roasted Barley, Salt, Salt, Seaweed, Seaweed, Spearmint, Spearmint, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Sweet, Sweet, Umami, Umami, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal, Zucchini, Zucchini

Preparation
0 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

93

Okay, here’s my final review for the day. Hopefully, I’l l get to do this again in the near future. Of the Yunnan Sourcing Dancong oolongs I have tried recently, this was one of the best. It seems that I always either adore or feel pretty meh about Yunnan Sourcing’s Dancong offerings, but this one fell firmly in the former camp rather than the latter. I wasn’t expecting to feel as strongly about it as I did either since I had a little trouble with the spring 2016 version of this tea (I still liked it quite a bit though).

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 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, custard, orange blossom, sugarcane, vanilla, and tangerine. After the rinse, I was able to pick out new aromas of roasted almond, grass, sour cherry, peach, and pomegranate. The first infusion introduced aromas of orchid, caraway, and coriander as well as a subtle geranium scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, custard, roasted almond, vanilla, orange blossom, and tangerine that were balanced by hints of grass, geranium, caraway, sour cherry, peach, and coriander. The subsequent infusions coaxed out stronger geranium scents and new aromas of plum, candied pomelo, pineapple, dandelion, and violet. I also picked up on subtle parsley and watercress scents. Stronger and more immediate sour cherry, coriander, and peach notes emerged in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging orchid notes and impressions of dandelion, plum, candied pomelo, minerals, violet, and pear. I also noted hints of sugarcane, pineapple, butter, watercress, and parsley. As the tea faded, the liquor increasingly emphasized notes of minerals, roasted almond, cream, grass, and coriander that were balanced by sour cherry, candied pomelo, peach, tangerine, butter, watercress, violet, vanilla, and sugarcane hints.

Compared to some of the other Dancong oolongs I have tried recently, this one displayed greater balance, integration, and sophistication. It had some amazingly charming and exotic qualities that grew increasingly difficult to pin down as my drinking session progressed. If all of Yunnan Sourcing’s Dancong oolongs were this likable, I would probably not purchase such teas from other vendors.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Fruity, Geranium, Grass, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Parsley, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88

Let’s post a more positive review, shall we? This was one of my sipdowns from July. I had a couple sample pouches of this tea, both of which I received free with two different orders from Old Ways Tea. I finished one during the second half of the month and ended up putting the other in storage. I’ll probably drink it sometime next year to see how much greater aging will affect it. Though this tea was labeled as a Da Hong Pao, it was actually a Rou Gui, albeit a Rou Gui that was given a roast intended to mimic the qualities of some of the more floral Da Hong Pao blends. This treatment worked quite well for this tea, as I would never have been able to tell that it was 100% Rou Gui without reading the product description in advance.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 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 tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, rock sugar, pine, smoke, char, ginger, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by stronger cinnamon, char, and smoke scents. The first infusion brought out aromas of black cherry, strawberry, and blackberry alongside a more amplified ginger scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, pine, ginger, orchid, smoke, char, rock sugar, roasted peanut, blackberry, and black cherry that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, black raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and red apple. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of blueberry, red apple, Asian pear, and black raspberry that were accompanied by subtle grass and cannabis scents. Notes of tobacco, minerals, cannabis, grass, nutmeg, rose, butter, baked bread, and cream appeared in the mouth alongside hints of cocoa, orange zest, roasted walnut, and Asian pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, pine, char, roasted peanut, grass, and cream notes that were underscored by hints of butter, smoke, roasted almond, roasted walnut, baked bread, tobacco, black cherry, cannabis, cocoa, and rock sugar.

This was both a very interesting and satisfying Wuyi oolong. I’m curious to see whether or not additional aging will bring out any new aromas and flavors or soften some of the tea’s rougher edges. Regardless of how it holds up down the road, this was a very good tea at the time I tried it. It was clearly coming into its own, perhaps even peaking. Fans of Da Hong Pao and some of the heavier roasted Wuyi oolongs would probably get a lot out of it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry, Sugar, Tobacco, Walnut

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

59

This was my final sipdown of October and another tea that I am struggling to rate numerically. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me, and the little bit I recall about it doesn’t leave me with particularly positive feelings. I think I found this to be a pretty awkward and unappealing Dancong oolong.

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 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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 tea leaves produced aromas of pomelo, cherry, butter, orange blossom, peach, and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of honey, sugarcane, and tangerine that were accompanied by a subtle grassy scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of white grape, violet, and orchid. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomelo, cherry, butter, sugarcane, orange blossom, tangerine, and honey that were chased by hints of white grape, violet, peach, plum, grass, wood, and pomegranate. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of pomegranate, turnip greens, coriander, lychee, basil, and collard greens. Stronger and more immediate wood, white grape, pomegranate, grass, and plum notes appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging orchid hints and new impressions of minerals, turnip greens, coriander, spinach, collard greens, pear, lychee, basil, and honeydew rind. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, grass, spinach, coriander, wood, and honeydew rind that were balanced by hints of basil, turnip greens, sugarcane, violet, white grape, lychee, pomelo, and pomegranate.

The more I think about it, the more I come away with the impression that this was a very strange and awkward tea that had some rough edges that really irked me. It was a bit astringent in the mouth, and some of those vegetal notes came through in ways that struck me as being distinctly unpleasant. The nicely textured tea liquor and pleasant, clear flower and fruit notes kept it from being a total wash, but this tea did not make much of a positive impression on me. I found it to be a mixed bag with slightly more good than bad. A score just below 60 feels about right to me, at least for now.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Fruity, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

Okay, I’m finally back. This schedule is killing me. Anyway, this was my most recent sipdown. I had to spend more time with this tea than I planned because I was never able to convince myself that I had the best handle on it. Normally, Mi Lan Xiang does not throw me for a loop, but this one I struggled with immensely. I’m still not entirely confident about the numerical score I’m giving it.

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 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, peach, orange blossom, sugarcane, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and grass that were accompanied by subtler scents of geranium, spinach, and cannabis. The first infusion introduced stronger spinach and cannabis scents, though the spinach scent was the more dominant of the two. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, peach, roasted almond, orange blossom, and orchid that were underscored by hints of pomegranate, butter, grass, cream, geranium, and cannabis. The subsequent infusions quickly coaxed out aromas of violet, pomegranate, cherry, plum, butter, and lychee as well as subtle scents of earth, wintergreen, and wood. Stronger and more immediate butter, cream, geranium, grass, and pomegranate impressions appeared in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, sour cherry, wood, plum, lemon zest, violet, lychee, caramel, and nutmeg. I also detected hints of wintergreen, watermelon, spinach, and sweet potato. As the tea faded, the liquor settled around somewhat amplified spinach notes and impressions of minerals, butter, grass, caramel, and wood that were backed by hints of honey, violet, sugarcane, roasted almond, sweet potato, pomegranate, and lychee. Bizarrely, green bean and vanilla hints appeared just before the tea liquor ceased to yield much flavor.

There was a lot for me to unpack with this tea. It yielded the expected Mi Lan Xiang aromas and flavors in spades, and though I have not mentioned it prior to this point in the review, the tea liquor displayed nice body and texture in the mouth. Unfortunately, there were some odd, predominantly vegetal aromas and flavors that were also apparent to varying degrees from the get-go that never seemed to be fully integrated into the whole and came off as distracting in a number of places. Overall, I would say the good outweighed the bad with this tea, but in my opinion, it was still something of a flawed offering. I feel there is no shortage of better Mi Lan Xiang out there.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Butter, Butter, Cannabis, Cannabis, Caramel, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Fruity, Fruity, Geranium, Geranium, Grass, Grass, Green Beans, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Herbaceous, Honey, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Orchid, Peach, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vanilla, Violet, Violet, Wood, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
eastkyteaguy

Why the hell does Steepster constantly double the flavors I list? I seem to be the only person this happens to consistently, and it does not matter how many times I try to fix it because nothing I do ever works.

LuckyMe

Yunnan Sourcing’s Dan Congs tend to be a mixed bag for me as well. For the most part they’re good but rough around the edges.

Mastress Alita

I think that is the first time I’ve seen the doubled flavors list like that… sure would be nice if we had any sort of upkeep/moderation for all the bugs around here, but alas… rolls eyes sadly

Jade

I have similar experiences with YS’ Dan Cong offerings. It’s either hit or MEH.

derk

Are the price points at least comparable to quality or is one taking a gamble purchasing dancong from YS?

eastkyteaguy

derk, I would say the price points are fairly comparable to quality with YS, maybe just slightly inflated. I know there have been a few stinks about the prices of their pu’erh increasing, but honestly, I don’t buy a ton of pu’erh these days, and when I do, I buy cheap stuff in an effort to unearth hidden gems or decent drinkers for sick days. That being said, the quality of their offerings will obviously vary both from tea to tea and year to year. I know I have seen positive reviews for this tea elsewhere, but it wasn’t for me. Decent to great Mi Lan Xiang is not all that difficult to find since it’s one of the Dancong oolongs that everyone seems to carry. What-Cha had a really nice one several years ago, and I recall liking one of the Mi Lan Xiang Verdant offered too. I even found one of the other Mi Lan Xiang Dancongs sourced by Yunnan Sourcing in the spring of 2017 to be better than this one. With regard to YS Dancong oolongs, I find that I tend to like their King of Duck Shit, Ling Tou Village Bai Ye, Wu Dong Ba Xian, Zhi Lan Xiang, and Cao Lan from year to year. The last time I tried their Da Wu Ye, it was really nice too. I know a lot of people like their Chou Shi offerings as well.

Kawaii433

I didn’t care for this one… Thank you for your great review on it. I had it gongfu as well, and your explanation of some of the bizarre notes is probably the same reason why.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

This review is one of many that I have been sitting on for several months. I know I finished what I had of this tea at some point during the first half of August. It seems crazy to me that I’m this far behind. Heck, I have one review from November 2018 that I still need to post, a few random things from July and September, and a whole chunk of reviews from August and October, not to mention an incrementally growing number of unpublished reviews for the current month. I have no clue if/when I will get everything posted here. At this rate, it will be sometime in either December or January even with my tea consumption greatly decreasing. Anyway, I recall this being a tea I was a little reticent about trying, as I loved the 2017 version of this tea and was concerned about this tea being described as less grassy. Ultimately, I found it to be less grassy and more fruity and floral, but I think being fruity and floral instead of overtly grassy worked for it. Now that I think about it, though, I don’t recall the 2017 tea being all that grassy. I’m pretty sure I also found it to be more fruity and floral, so I guess I was making much ado about nothing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, malt, straw, grass, honey, and cream. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted peanut and butter made themselves known alongside a subtle sweet potato scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of vanilla, roasted almond, and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, malt, grass, straw, cream, honey, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, violet, and pear. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, cocoa, candied orange, rose, pear, kumquat, red apple, and brown sugar. Sweet potato notes appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident impressions of vanilla, butter, and pear. The violet presence was also slightly amplified. Notes of cocoa, brown sugar, red apple, minerals, rose, candied orange, plum, peach, and kumquat appeared, and I even picked up a slight menthol presence in the aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, candied orange, cream, butter, honey, malt, and sweet potato notes that were underscored by pleasant grass, kumquat, brown sugar, cocoa, rose, and violet hints.

Compared to the 2017 offering, this was a much sweeter tea, though it also displayed the savory characteristics of that tea. Having tried both, I can say that the 2017 tea struck me as being more balanced, more substantial, and more textured, while this one was lighter, sweeter, quirkier, and livelier. I think I had more fun drinking this tea than its older counterpart. Honestly, I found both teas to be very enjoyable. The 2017 offering felt more refined and a little more complete to me, but this tea was an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Grass, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Red Apple, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

God, it’s been forever! It seems that every time I try to get myself into some sort of routine when it comes to posting tea reviews, something always happens that causes me to fall even further behind. In this case, it has been a combination of an oppressive work schedule, health issues, and a general sour mood that has left me not exactly feeling like writing in my extremely limited spare time. I’m going to start playing catch-up again with this review, or so I hope. This was my first sipdown of the month and a tea I had been meaning to get to long before I actually managed to motivate myself to try it. My limited experience with winter Shui Xian and previous positive experiences with various Shui Xian offered by Old Ways Tea told me that this would be a quality offering, and it was. It ended up being neither my favorite winter Shui Xian nor one of my favorite offerings from Old Ways Tea, but it was still a very nice tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cinnamon, raisin, roasted almond, honey, blackberry, charcoal, and pine. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted peanut, smoke, earth, tar, and cannabis. The first infusion brought out a little rock sugar and orange zest on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of mushroom, cream, baked bread, roasted almond, roasted peanut, earth, tar, charcoal, and pine that were chased by hints of honey, cinnamon, blackberry, butter, smoke, and grass. The following infusions coaxed out aromas of rock sugar, malt, roasted walnut, grass, mushroom, cranberry, and pear alongside subtler scents of vanilla and red apple. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of blackberry, butter, cinnamon, smoke, and grass appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, black cherry, roasted walnut, orange zest, pear, red apple, pomegranate, cranberry, malt, and caramel notes. I also picked up some belatedly emerging cannabis hints and subtle notes of raisin, rock sugar, and vanilla. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted walnut, baked bread, caramel, butter, grass, blackberry, charcoal, and cinnamon notes that were underscored by hints of rock sugar, earth, mushroom, tar, smoke, vanilla, orange zest, black cherry, and pear.

This was a very complex and interesting tea. It was a little surprising to me that the characteristics of the roast (charcoal, pine, tar, smoke, etc.) came out so prominently and so strongly. Winter Shui Xian is generally not as heavily roasted as other Wuyi Shui Xian, and either this one was more heavily roasted than the average winter Shui Xian, or its roast somehow managed to retain a good deal of its strength and liveliness in storage. I have no clue which is the case. Anyway, this was a very good and very enjoyable Shui Xian, though it was a bit harsher and heavier than I have come to expect winter Shui Xian to be. I’m willing to bet that a few more months in storage would have mellowed it out a bit more.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Caramel, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tar, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
tea-sipper

Hope you feel better.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks. I’m working on it.

mrmopar

Indeed, prayers your way.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks. The support is appreciated.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

80

This was another of my sipdowns from last week. I remember finishing what I had of this tea the day after I finished the sample pouch of Old Ways Tea’s 2017 Huang Guan Yin-Electric Roast. Their Premium Old Tree Black Teas are usually great offerings. I recall the 2016 offering being fantastic and the 2017 offering being very good, but not quite as good as the 2016. This tea marked yet another step down in terms of perceived quality. It was still a more or less very good offering, but it did not have the depth that made the other two teas so enjoyable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, pine, roasted almond, cinnamon, baked bread, straw, honey, and nutmeg. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and green wood. The first infusion brought out a subtle smoky scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, baked bread, roasted peanut, roasted almond, and butter that were chased by hints of green wood, pine, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey. The following infusions gradually brought out aromas of minerals, orange zest, leather, butter, lemon zest, and grass as well as stronger smoke aromas. Notes of smoke and straw came out in the mouth with a slightly amplified cinnamon presence as well as notes of minerals, leather, lemon zest, orange zest, grass, and cream. I also detected hints of brown sugar, raisin, red apple, and pear. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, green wood, orange zest, butter, roasted peanut, and lemon zest that were underscored by fleeting hints of grass, straw, roasted almond, pine, leather, cream, and smoke.

This tea shared many characteristics with its counterparts from the previous two years, but in my opinion, it lacked some of the quirks that made those teas so appealing. It also lacked the smooth, cooling finish that was especially enjoyable and pronounced in the 2016 tea. Overall, it did not come off as being as deep or as captivating as the previous offerings. Still, it was a mostly very enjoyable black tea and just suffered in comparison to those older teas. I don’t regret trying it at all, though I would by lying if I were to state that I am not hoping that Old Ways Tea’s 2019 Old Tree Black Tea will represent something of a step back up in terms of quality.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butter, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Grass, Grass, Green Wood, Green Wood, Honey, Honey, Leather, Leather, Lemon Zest, Lemon Zest, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peanut, Pear, Pear, Pine, Pine, Raisins, Raisins, Red Apple, Red Apple, Smoke, Smoke, Straw, Straw

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
derk

The 2016 was stellar. Wow.

Jade

This reminds me…I have to post my own review. I never tasted the previous versions so I can’t compare, but I did enjoy this particular tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

Okay, I finally seem to have more regular access to Steepster. For the better part of two weeks, I was either so busy that I had no time to contribute anything or could not log into my account due to constant 503 errors. Hopefully, things will change from this point forward. A lot has gone on since I posted my last set of reviews. Most significantly, I interviewed for a job at the local community college. I hadn’t been consistently looking for a new job for the better part of a year, and the few applications I submitted in that time did not net me any interviews. As a matter of fact, I had not been to a job interview since September 2018 prior to this last one. Unlike that earlier interview, I didn’t walk away from this last interview with a terrible feeling, so I guess that’s a good sign. At this point, I’m not sure I expect to be offered this job, though I hope I do receive the offer. Anyway, I did not feel like digging through notes from the summer, so I decided to take the opportunity to review a tea I polished off more recently. I only had a sample pouch of this tea to work with, and I finished it in a single day back around the start of last week. I was not expecting much out of it due to my strong preference for charcoal roasted Wuyi oolongs, but honestly, this was a very nice tea. It didn’t rival Old Ways Tea’s regular 2017 Huang Guan Yin, but for what it was, it was very good.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, roasted almond, nutmeg, cream, strawberry, and raspberry. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of butter, orange zest, blackberry, and blueberry. The first infusion saw the strawberry aroma increase in strength while new aromas of vanilla and red grape appeared alongside subtle smoky scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, roasted almond, orange zest, butter, blueberry, and blackberry that were backed by hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, grass, smoke, black cherry, and raspberry. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of roasted peanut, grass, roasted grain, roasted beechnut, malt, and peach as well as subtler scents of grape leaf and green olive. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of grass, smoke, black cherry, and raspberry appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted grain, roasted peanut, roasted beechnut, peach, and plum. Impressions of red grape and vanilla also emerged, and some hints of grape leaf, green olive, strawberry, and malt could also be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, cream, butter, grass, roasted peanut, and roasted grain notes that were accompanied by an amplified malt presence and hints of green olive, smoke, grape leaf, roasted almond, roasted beechnut, vanilla, and orange zest.

Electric roasts generally do not allow the the full range of a tea’s quirks and complexities to shine, but this one was not overpowering and seemed to have been very skillfully applied, so that was not the case here. In truth, I’m used to cheap, rough electric roasted oolongs that kind of smell and taste like ashes or burnt toast, so my expectations were low going into the drinking session detailed in the previous paragraph. I was most certainly not expecting a very delicate, complex, playful tea with tons of aroma and flavor components. Still, this tea did start to fade sooner than I hoped it would, and having tried Old Ways Tea’s charcoal roasted 2017 Huang Guan Yin several months prior to this tea, I could tell that this was a lower quality offering. It just did not quite have the depth or balance of that tea. All in all, I still consider this a very good offering. If you’re the sort of person who thinks of electric roasted Wuyi oolongs as low quality teas with an overpowering ashy or smoky presence, this tea would certainly surprise you.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Blackberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Blueberry, Butter, Butter, Cherry, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Grain, Grain, Grapes, Grapes, Grass, Grass, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Nutty, Nutty, Olives, Olives, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Peach, Peach, Peanut, Peanut, Plums, Plums, Raspberry, Raspberry, Roasted, Roasted, Smoke, Smoke, Strawberry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Martin Bednář

I wish you good luck with a job :)

eastkyteaguy

Martin, thank you. I need all the luck I can get on the job front.

mrmopar

Good luck on the job front!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

I had to dig through my review notebook for this one. I knew I had a few reviews from July that I still needed to post, and this was one of them. I think I finished what I had of this tea around the end of the month, but I could be wrong as it’s been a while. I do know that I found this tea to be on par with Old Ways Tea’s 2016 Huang Guan Yin, perhaps just a little bit better.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 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 cream, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry that were accompanied by subtle scents of cinnamon and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, rose, and roasted grain as well as a subtle scent of smoke. The first infusion introduced a slight earthiness to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, roasted peanut, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of cinnamon, mushroom, smoke, earth, roasted almond, and rose. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of dark wood, grass, charcoal, and roasted beechnut as well as subtler scents of roasted hazelnut, malt, and strawberry. Notes of black cherry, minerals, grass, charcoal, dark wood, plum, roasted beechnut, roasted hazelnut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth along with slightly stronger rose and roasted almond notes and hints of green olive, malt, tar, and strawberry. As the tea faded, the liquor took on stronger malty and earthy characteristics while also emphasizing notes of minerals, cream, roasted peanut, grass, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of green olive, roasted hazelnut, roasted almond, blueberry, and brown sugar.

This was such an interesting and complex tea. Compared to the 2016 offering, this tea struck me as being both fruitier and nuttier. It also offered some unexpected twists and turns over the course of my gongfu session. It was very satisfying and struck me as a truly excellent offering, but I could also see it not being for everyone.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Wood, Earth, Grain, Grass, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutty, Olives, Peanut, Plums, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer