593 Tasting Notes
First spring green tea of 2022.
Pale green leaves shorter than a typical dragon well. Matcha like aroma that changes to spinach and chestnut when the leaves are placed in a heated vessel. The brewed tea is nutty with a pronounced roast. Tastes like stir fried vegetables with an astringency that becomes less noticeable the more you sip. Notes of grilled asparagus, green beans, zucchini, straw, and edamame.
Enjoyable tea but not memorable.
This was the second tea from my Wang Family Tea order. A few months ago when I was knee deep in studying, my tea consumption went way up despite having less time for leisurely gongfu sessions. Most of the time, I just wanted to be able to quickly fill up a mug or tumbler. So I resorted to compounding all of my gongfu infusions into one mug. And to my surprise, infusions often tasted better when combined than on their own. Such was the case with this tea. It expressed itself differently depending on how it was steeped yet was delicious no matter what.
I brewed it grandpa style the first time. Upon opening the bag, the tea leaves smelled of buttered flowers. First sip tasted like crisp, clean spring water with a lily floating in it. Reminiscent of baozhong with its lilac and light floral notes but absent the usual body and minerals of gaoshan. Refreshing flavor with a little fruitiness in the finish. After topping off, it had a more body along with sugarcane and vanilla notes.
Next session was normal gongfu where I tasted each steep individually. The leaves, which had been allowed to rest for a couple of days, now emitted a soft tropical aroma. A heady burst of orange blossom, coconut, and mango following a rinse. The flavor of the tea was sweet, juicy, and mineral rich. Full bodied with a bright, minty herbaceous note, and lingering florals.
The best result though came from combining all of the steeps. Using my 65ml mini kyusu, I stacked 4 steeps at a time and was shocked at how intensely fruity it tasted. It felt like a tropical cocktail in tea form. Fresh pineapple juice accented with with lychee and melon. Some top notes disappeared by the time I got to the later infusions but it was very fruity and delicious.
After seeing all of the rave reviews for Wang Family Tea on this site, I finally pulled the trigger and placed an order last November. Picked up 25g each of Gangkou, Lishan, Shan Lin Xi, and Long Feng Xia. I’m happy to report that all of them were outstanding and having experienced these teas, I get the hype for this vendor now.
Gangkou is the first tea I tried and the sole low elevation tea of the bunch. Wang Tea’s website describes it as having five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Indeed, this was the wildest one of the bunch as the flavors are all over the place. The website recommends a high leaf to water ratio and “heavily boiling water“ to steep. Despite my better judgement I followed their steeping parameters initially.The dry leaf had aromas of flowers and freshly baked cookies. A rinse brought out cucumber and a little incense. The tea starts off with some strong vegetal notes and slight bitterness but eventually this fades and fruitier apricot and pear notes emerge. The bitterness wasn’t as bad as I feared but I decided to revert to my usual steeping method and kept the temperature below boiling which produced better results. Lowering the temperature and leaf quantity brought out gentle floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orchid intermingled with some sugar plum fruitiness. Along the way, there were hints of autumn leaves, toffee, spice, and perfume. When steeped grandpa style, it has a richer mouthfeel, mineral notes, and a sweet, lingering wildflower honey flavor.
Overall, this was a complex and enjoyable tea although a bit challenging at times due to how unpredictable and inconsistent it is.
Surprised to see the low ratings for this tea. I‘m enjoying this one way more than I expected. I’ve tried other green Earl Greys which left me wanting to wash out my mouth with soap. This tea has a bright, invigorating flavor with notes of orange, mint, and cardamom. The green tea base lets the pure bergamot flavoring shine through. My favorite way to steep it is by adding a little bit to spent green tea leaves.
Flavors: Bergamot, Cardamom, Citrus, Herbaceous, Perfume
Purchased this as part of the Adagio Earl Grey sampler set. I’m far from an Earl Grey aficionado but this was easily the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had. A serious step up from my last one which came from Trader Joe’s.
The tea smelled amazing out of the bag. An intense burst of bergamot and malt. I prepared this as an Earl Grey latte, steeping it for 5 minutes using water just under a boil. Then added a little sweetener and frothed oat milk. I was worried that the citrus would be overpowering due to how potent it smelled but the flavor was surprisingly light and on point. Just a hint of orange zest and sweet perfume that accented the black tea base perfectly.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Orange Zest, Perfume
Yet another stellar roasted Taiwanese oolong from TTC. The light roast on this dong ding strikes the perfect balance between warm notes of candied pecan, cocoa, and toasted almond on one hand and greener floral notes on the other. Very smooth from start to finish without any bitterness. I love roasted teas that don’t actually taste roasty – not an easy feat – but this one manages to pull it off.
I normally steep this grandpa style using 200 F water. Cold brewing brings out brighter, more lively florals and sugarcane.
Another baked high mountain oolong from the backlog.
Out of the bag, mellow aroma of sweet caramel. Steeped grandpa style using 195 F water then topped off twice with boiling water.
This was a very clean and easy to drink tea with a rich honeyed flavor reminiscent of gui fei. Accented with notes of wildflowers and toasted almond. Next time, I’d like to brew it gongfu and see if I can get even more nuance and complexity out of this tea.
Gross. This one tasted like swampy water mixed with earthy turnips and yams. What’s weird is the flavor bore no resemblance to the smell. The leaves had a citrusy aroma of lemon and tangerine however none of that came through in the tea. Didn’t bother rebrewing and will likely chuck the rest of my sample. That’s how bad it was.
This is likely my last time buying a Taiwanese green. In my experience, they smell great but seldom if ever deliver on flavor.
I was torn on how to rate this tea. If you’d asked me when I first opened it, I would have rated it close to a 100. When fresh, it was intensely flavorful. A dynamic mixture of alpine flowers, tropical fruit, pastry cream, perfume, and minerals. But a few weeks later, the flavor suddenly began to go flat. It lost some of its brightness and body as sharper, more savory notes began to creep in. Usually high mountain teas fade gradually but this one lost its oomph pretty quickly.
Well, it took longer than I expected get back on this site. Had been away for a while to focus on work-related training which finally ended a few weeks ago (whew!). In the process, I sort of fell out of my daily Steepster habit and the mountain of backlogged notes left me feeling a little overwhelmed. Wish there was a way to post my tasting notes from the MyTeaPal app to Steepster.
This was a complex and delicious roasted gaoshan. Despite its name, it did not taste roasty or charred at all. Instead it had deeply caramelized notes of salted caramel, brown sugar, and candied pecan. I steeped it grandpa style at 185-195 F. Lower temperatures brought out more sweetness and chocolatey notes.