106 Tasting Notes
Well, I’ve never had bi luo chun before. Is it supposed to be salty? Because… it’s…. strangely salty? Not in a super overpowering way, but definitely a little salty. Huh.
The leaf itself is pretty—pale, and a little crunchy and moist, very cute in their little swirls. Smells nutty, like most of my Chinese green order. The broth is a light gold green tea liquor, deliciously sweet and creamy and nutty (quite a lot like cashews tastewise, actually), but with that saltiness to it that kind of reminds me of soy sauce a little bit. It starts off heavy on the nut and smooooth, becoming somewhat floral towards the end with an additional bit of bitter and astringency. It coats the back of your throat after sipping, leaving a strong aftertaste and lingering presence.
I liked this the best out of the three greens I ordered and it was definitely the most unique, I thought, but be sure to wash your teaware carefully after brewing this one as it gave everything else a salty tinge to it too that I poured in the same cups, ^^;
I tried this one both western-ish style and in a gaiwan. I think I preferred the western, although I probably also messed up the steep times on the gaiwan and did roughly gaiwan recommended steeps on the western so… heh.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Nuts, Soy sauce
Had a sample of this today, made the mistake of forgetting it on the second steep while I went to the bathroom, so a bit bummed by that as even with this the subsequent steeps were very nice. Using off boiling water (didn’t read the site instructions til now), 100 ml gaiwan, and a layer-ish of pearls to coat the bottom, this definitely has a juicy fruitiness to it and a bit of a citrus tang that is reminiscent of lime leaf overlaid over a smooth honey character I find a lot in oolongs this green.
It has a pleasant, light grassiness to it (that can turn bitter and astringent if oversteeped, as I discovered…) and is on the bit less floral side, which, combined with the overall mellow character, I quite liked, even though there is a definite note of a softer jasmine or something similar to it and I normally detest jasmine in tea. There is also a creaminess that hints to a bit of rice to the taste and aroma, so I thought the site description pretty accurate, or at least not as much of a stretch as I usually find those things.
A little bummed I don’t have anymore, given how I botched the earlier steepings, but it was generous despite that as I still got five more cups out of it. I might order some more once I finish up my other oolong samples if it still stands out in my memory as I was a fan of the strong but mellow character, the more subtle floral notes, and the general flavor profile.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Lime, Rice
A contender from the mystery group buy, all it says is “A piece of the 200g Iceland sheng ball from Aliexpress.” Hm. Mysterious. Smells like strong sheng, why not give it a whirl?
Wasn’t sure of the age, so let’s go light on the water temp, about intense oolong temp, fast bubbles coming up in the pot (too lazy to take exact temp today). Hm, starts of kind of not doing much, although quite a mouth drying feel to it for not much flavor for the first two steeps. Gaiwan smells very camphorated and unpleasantly medicinal. Hm.
And then things took a steep downturn. WTF, even more astringent and the tea smells kinda… smokey and…. tobacco-y. But not in the good way. The gaiwan smells EXACTLY like an ashtray. EW. As the tea cools, it tastes less like cigarette butts and more like gross medicine with a burnt tobacco aroma and gross smoker’s breath on the aftertaste. Dumped it out after this, couldn’t keep going, need to wash out mouth with bleach, ASDFLKJASDLKFJASL,
Flavors: Astringent, Leather, Medicinal, Smoke, Tobacco
Trying a vaguely worded sample thrown in with some other tea today, says “Liu Family Traditional Tieguanyin” on the very nondescript black bag. It’s greener than I was expecting since I thought traditional roast was a little heavier on TGY, but has a roasty smell.
Tea itself brews up fruity with a bit of a musty iron tinge and some after tastes of mineral rockiness that is so strong in yancha. Nice roast taste to finish, and decent number of steeps at four-five, although it does start to get a bit dry towards the end of the leaf life. Overall, I enjoyed this, although it didn’t stick out enough to make me put on my detective hat and hunt down the origins of this mysterious Liu family, haha.
Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Tart, Wet Rocks
Hm, wasn’t really my taste personally. I had a hard time picking out flavors apart from the real heavy roast on this one, although it was very smooth. There was that standard mineral/rock personality and some sweetness, along with a bit of a cloying dry fruit-ish flavor, but it was kind of flat to me. Definitely had a buttery quality to it though, and it wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again.
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Wet Rocks
Smooth, nutty in taste and smell, with a slight sweetness following. Very easy to drink with a pretty light green color, silky texture, and pleasantly savory taste. Has a very nice “fresh” spring feeling to the after taste as well, although I feel it needs more body/flavors to round it out, unfortunately. Not bitter at all, does have some mild to moderate astringency if you push it too long steep wise.
I tried this western-ish style to start due to a rushed morning, 5 grams per 8 oz, two minute-ish steeps. Will report back after trying other methods if they vary result wise.
Not sure what the heck I’m doing different, but my subsequent steeps have all tasted crazily heavy on the umami to the point where it tastes like dashi without the fish flavor to me. Will try cutting back on the temp and/or leaf see if that’s where I’m going wrong, but it’s kind of insanely strong and a bit unpleasant to me at this strength…
Flavors: Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass, Nuts, Umami
Woah, this one surprised me. I’ve been getting a bit weary of black tea lately since I’ve ended up with a surprising number of different kinds in samples, but my water was already boiling when it came time to pick out a tea and I’ve been wanting to work on crackling my new ruyao ware, so black tea it was. 3-5 grams to a 100 ml gaiwan, preheated, boiling water, 25 seconds to start.
It’s as if this tea heard my misgivings and gently placated my concerns this grey morning by delivering a much more subdued, but still intensely rich and comforting chocolate flavor with only tones of the black tea maltiness I was starting to grow a bit bored of. Surprisingly sweet for any tea I’ve had, it has a honey sweetness to it that I find hard to believe is a natural byproduct of just tea leaves. This sweet lingers strongly in the back of your throat after each sip, it is definitely the sweetest tea I’ve had to date. The lighter orange amber color seems to reflect the tea’s lighter flavor as well, although the first steep or two does have a predominately intense chocolate flavor I also enjoyed. Overall, I would place this as a much lighter but no less comforting alternative to hot chocolate anytime, I may have to stock up on this tea.
Flavors: Cacao, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Dumped the whole (5 gram?) sample packet into my 100 ml gaiwan, which… maybe might have been a little too much, the leaves look a little crowded in there, ^^:.
Anyway, light gold color, light honey floral scent that matches the overall taste quite well. Starts off very silky and smooth with that intense honey taste, although a little thin tasting on top. Opens up into more of the same, but with some more mineral and body and additional florals that were hinted at in the aroma, although a little rougher than it started. Might have been better western steeped, judging by the other comments, but it wasn’t bad, although the syrup like-honey quality of this was almost… a bit overwhelming of the other factors of this tea, I think. Could have also been due to overleafing, but it was a solid upper middle of the road oolong, in my opinion, although not really what I prefer in tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Mineral, Sweet
This is my first Da Hong Pao. No real expectations here as a result, although a cursory sniff of the dry leaves smelled like roasted oolong, kind of like the tieguanyin I tried earlier this week, got a bit of a cool wild dry fly away look to the leaves. It also does NOT taste like the tieguanyin at all, safe to say.
3.5 grams to 100 ml gaiwan. Just off boiling water. 30 seconds to start.
The aroma of the amazingly thick, darker gold liquid that comes out of this is reminiscent of roasted floral oolong with notes of honey. The soup is rich, thick, and lingering in the mouth, with a very heavy buttery, mineral-y, honey taste, but without the intense sweetness of honey. There are also floral notes/tastes in the aftermath of the initial, as well as an increasing sweetness across the steeps. A lot like what I would expect nectar to taste like. Very interesting, I like the richness, I’ll be trying this again.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mineral
Got this as a part of their sampler deal, not entirely sure if it’s this specific Laoshan Green (the labeling on the bag wasn’t terribly specific), but the flavor notes look close enough.
Steeped about 2-3 of the tightly twisted long leaves in a ~100 ml gaiwan at 180 F to start, added some hotter water in later then back to cooler (I think the hotter water actually brought out some really nice flavors in this). The aroma was nice, crisp, grassy and the color was a light gold green. The taste was a wonderfully refreshing nutty, creamy and quite sweet for most of the steeps with some grassiness in the beginning and more sweetness and vanilla towards the end with a really long lasting sweet aftertaste. Overall, I really enjoyed this, it was hardly astringent at all and held up for a surprising number of steeps (I think 8+).
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Vanilla