16 Tasting Notes
This is a perfectly tasty but not terribly exciting oolong. The flavor is that of pleasant, nondescript fresh fruit, with an underlying cinnamon sweetness characteristic of Taiwanese teas. The body is medium, falling short of a good Chinese TGY, and the astringency is on the heavier side for this style. I try not to let cost factor into my ratings, but this is a very pricey cha (I paid $33/25g), and the disconnect between that and the experience in the cup is disappointing. I would recommend this if you’re an oolong fan and can get it for a significant discount, but otherwise, there are plenty of more worthwhile purchases one could make from Taiwan Sourcing.
Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Grapes, Plum
I snagged 25g of the autumn 2021 version of this tea, and am writing from November 2021. The leaves are a dark and vibrant green, more vibrant even than a Taiwan high mountain oolong; they’re not the biggest, and are a bit roughly cut, but they expand substantially, and 5g quickly filled my 150mL gaiwan to the brim. This tea has a full body and pleasant fruit sourness- green apple or grape. I’d highly recommend it if you can get it fresh, but it seems like something that would suffer from age.
Flavors: Grapes, Green Apple, Sour
I’m not quite a gyokhead, but I can tell this one is of superior quality. It has very little of the butter and sesame flavors you’ll find in cheaper (but still good) gyokuro, with instead an intense sweet and sour tang and spectacular body. I’ve noticed that pricier gyokuro tends to exhibit a citric note, and this one has that in spades. Like many other high-end green teas, this one is much more fruity than it is vegetal.
I had the 2020 version of this tea and did not care for it. The leaves are of decent quality and the aroma is pleasing, but the taste is overwhelmingly an almost acrid, fake coconut flavor- the closest thing I can compare it to is suntan lotion. I have encountered this sporadically in other oolongs, but never a dong ding. Disappointing.
Right off the bat this is one of the thickest blacks I have had. The nose is floral but the taste is much more fruity and creamy, with undertones of cinnamon and sea salt, and a bit of Ruby 18-style mintiness. There’s some noticeable astringency, and the finish is long and dry. The flavor dies off earlier that I would have hoped, but the texture remains strong. At 50 cents a gram I can’t quite say it’s worth the money, but it’s at least quite a nice tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Floral, Mint, Salty
This is a very mellow and approachable young sheng, one that I have been burning though because it really seems best drunk sooner rather than later. It’s a pleasant contrast from the 2019 autumn Lao Man’E cake I bought along with it, which is a promising but powerfully bitter tea that will need to do some hard time in storage to temper it. Individual flavor notes are hard to pin down, but the texture is silky and perfectly astringent and the hui gan is very pleasant.
My order came with a 20g sample of the 2018 version of this tea, which I have not yet tasted. I’m curious to see how that one handles aging further.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Sweet, White Grapes
Tastes like a slightly weaker and more astringent Drunk on Red, which isn’t a terrible place to be. Chocolate is prominent, but it’s drowned out by a somewhat camphorous taste I associate with Taiwanese blacks, as well as a very strong hibiscus note. I picked this up from the .us site when pickings were slim, and all things considered I’m happy with it.
This is a complex and interesting tea, but not the sort I want to drink very often. The nose is overwhelmingly of suntan lotion, a note I haven’t encountered elsewhere. The taste is disconnected, with very little of that coconut lotion coming through- finish is long and dry, and there’s some sourness as well as sweetness, but the dankness of age overpowers.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Coconut, Sour
This one really surprised me. The nose is robustly roasty, almost chemical, and that roast definitely translates to the cup. Taste is unexpectedly sweet, at times resembling some sort of coffee ice cream. The hui gan is remarkable- thick and lingering. My boyfriend, a much more casual drinker than I, tells me this is the best tea I have shown him so far. At $62/357g the price is remarkably good for a sheng this distinct.
Flavors: Almond, Coffee, Roasted
This was the only white from its YS order that disappointed. The flavor isn’t bad, but the astringency is immediate and intense, oddly so for a white tea. Maybe it would be better brewed some other way, but it’s not great gongfu style.
Edit: I considered throwing out the rest of my supply, but instead have been adding some to rooibos whenever brewing the rooib a second time, and it does a decent enough job of perking things up.