Thailand Winter Frost Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Molasses, Raisins, Roasted, Smooth, Toasted Rice, Toasty, Almond, Butter, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mango, Marine, Mineral, Passion Fruit, Peach, Plum, Salty, Seaweed, Spinach, White Grapes, Stonefruit, Floral, Sweet, Apricot, Nuts, Nutty
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Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec 6 g 5 oz / 148 ml

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11 Tasting Notes View all

From What-Cha

A smooth and sweet tasting oolong with a honey and gentle nectarine notes combined with a lingering nut finish.

A rarely seen oolong that has been produced outside of the normal harvest season in December, the coldest of month of winter when a frosty mist envelops the tea plants and causes the leaves to brown in reaction to the cold. These unique climatic conditions and the reactions they induce in the leaf, result in creating a Jin Xuan oolong which is quite distinct from its spring form, in particular honey and gentle nectarine notes can be prescribed to the frosty winter conditions.

Produced in Northern Thailand in what was once the hub of the ‘Golden Triangle’, the opium farmers in the 80s abandoned their poppy fields in favour of a more ‘addictive’ crop, tea! The farmers first cultivated wild growing tea plants native to Thailand before in 1994 importing a range of tea plant varietals from Taiwan’s famed tea producing region Alishan.

Tasting Notes:
- Smooth texture
- Honey and gentle nectarine taste with a lingering nut finish

Harvest: Winter, December 2014
Altitude: 1,200-1,800m
Cultivar: TTES #12 Jin Xuan (Imported from Alishan, Taiwan in 1994), cross between Ying Zhi Hong Xin and TTES #8
Origin: Doi Mae Salong, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Sourced: From a specialist Thai wholesaler

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11 Tasting Notes

2958 tasting notes

I did 3 steeps using 1.5 tsp leaf and 300 mL hot water in a gong-fu teapot

Steep 1: 1 minute – nice deep roasted flavour, bran, grain
Steep 2: 2 min – toasted rice, raisin, molasses
Steep 3: 2 min – more of the same, very smooth each steep, main note is roasted oolong with some fruity notes, slightly sweet in the aftertaste
-overall fairly smooth

Flavors: Molasses, Raisins, Roasted, Smooth, Toasted Rice, Toasty

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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1048 tasting notes

Since I put in the time and effort to finish the last of this sample before calling it quits for the day, I figured I may as well post a review/tasting note while I was at it. In truth, I had hoped to get to this tea much earlier, but I had some others that I needed to finish off first. When I finally got around to seriously giving it a shot, I found this tea was not at all what I had expected it would be. Honestly, it was quite strange and bore little in common with any other Jin Xuan I have tried.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of nectarine, grass, roasted almonds, and honey. The rinse brought out even stronger aromas of nectarine, honey, roasted almonds, and grass, but it also introduced scents of hay, sea salt, seaweed, butter, and peach. The first infusion introduced hints of cream and white grape, but the mouth was very mild and straight-ahead. I picked up hints of honey, grass, butter, nectarine, and roasted almonds underscored by a slightly salty, marine quality. Subsequent infusions brought out the notes of cream, seaweed, sea salt, white grape, and hay, but I also noted impressions of minerals, spinach, mango, plum, and passion fruit. The later infusions were mild, yet also quirky and deceptive. They opened with smooth butter and nectarine notes, but quickly gave way to minerals, damp grass, roasted almond, sea salt, and seaweed.

Yeah, this was one weird oolong. Part of me enjoyed it, but another part of me also fully realizes that it is hard to justify a high numerical score for a tea that I would likely be in no rush to reach for again in the near future, if at all. To say this tea would appeal to a niche market would be an understatement. Who would keep something like this around for regular consumption? I guess if I were the sort of person who regularly looks for a tea that combines the creaminess and butteriness of Jin Xuan with the fruitiness of Gui Fei and hints of sheng-like brininess, I would fall into that demographic. Unfortunately, I do not. I’m glad I tried this tea, and I think it is good for what it is, but at the same time, I’m happy to move on to something else. It’s most certainly worth trying, but just be aware that it is more than a little odd.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mango, Marine, Mineral, Passion Fruit, Peach, Plum, Salty, Seaweed, Spinach, White Grapes

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

The Sheng brininess was what detracted me personally, though I loved the other influx of it.

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46 tasting notes

Prep: 60cc gaiwan, enough tea to cover the bottom of the gaiwan, boiling water, steep x1 then let it sit with the gaiwan lid on for 5 minutes so the leaves open up. Then 10s, 15s, 20s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 8

Taste: Ok a lot of people are describing specific notes for this tea. There is maybe a vaguely citrusy opening note and a vaguely nutty note after you swallow. Later steeps have a more vegetal note, lettucey.

Body: thick, coating, pleasant

Overall pleasant.

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536 tasting notes

Nectarines prominent in this tea. Comes through clearly, consistent and lasting. Nectarines and honey. I should try this cold brewed.

Flavors: Honey, Stonefruit

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62 tasting notes

A slight oiliness on the tongue leads into a distinct note of peach cream and somewhat overripe honeybell orange, but without any acidity. The aftertaste is mildly drying and has a buttery green floral character that lingers. Enjoyable.

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1705 tasting notes

This one is interesting. I definitely get the nutty finish and tangerine body that Alistair mentions with a savoriness that I did not expect. Like a mineral, green tea savoriness. I’m thinking seaweed like other reviews wrote. It was a tad bit salty, but still pretty good. I can adjust for that through shorter steeps, but not too much since it worked out for me.

This one is unique, and it looks like a lighter roast to me. It does have the nuttiness that I associate with lighter roasts along with the honeyed aftertaste that I’ve often seen describe them. The combo with the tangerine fruitiness is what makes this stands out. That said, not exactly sure who’d this appeal to other than a person trying different kinds of tea. You’d have to try it yourself to see if you like it. The bitter, salty quality could be off putting for some, but the natural sweetness is welcoming.

I’m glad Alistair was nice enough to offer this sample. Samples make my world go round.

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46 tasting notes

My first steep of my new batch had a slight floral scent, and a somewhat nutty apricot-like taste. Second steeping the nutty taste was gone and apricot was stronger.

I like how the scents/tastes are distinct and change so much between steepings. You won’t necessarily get the same thing as you tasted before, but what you get next will be good too.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Nuts, Nutty

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28 tasting notes

Very sweet (I tasted sweet corn), fragrant, and creamy, with a big, round mouthfeel. A little bit drying in the back of the throat at the finish. A seaweed-like savoriness came forward in the 2nd and 3rd steeps as the sweetness faded.

I drank this tea back-to-back with two other What-Cha green oolongs which don’t seem to be listed in Steepster. The Taiwan Ali Shan Jin Xuan tasted very clean and creamy with a sweet, nutty flavor from the start. The 3rd steep brought lots of floral and milkiness that I recognized from other Jin Xuans (particularly those from Tea Trekker, Maitre de Thé, and Teavivre). The Taiwan Ali Shan Qing Xin had a lovely round mouthfeel (I’d say even a slight bit more than the Thailand Winter Frost) and seemed the most floral in taste and aroma of the three teas.

I’ve learned that I prefer oolongs with more roasting and/or oxidation, but these have still been fun to taste!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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921 tasting notes

Well, I finally got an email from Fujifilm, they plan to have my camera fixed and shipped back in ten days. Ugh, waiting sucks! I am pretty sure everything is going to be covered by my warranty and such, and Ben is telling me not to worry too much because he will make sure things get handled, I just miss my camera. While it is away on its little vacation, I am only drinking teas I have logged notes for in my notebook pile and photographed, basically time for a giant sip-down.

Today’s tea from What-Cha is a bit of a magical one, or at least I think it is, Thailand Winter Frost Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. This fancy Jin Xuan is picked during the cold time of the year, allowing the leaves to be covered in frost causing the leaves to turn brown which changes the taste of the tea. Like bug-bitten teas but being bit by Jack Frost! Ok, I admit it, I have a thing for ice and frost, I want to be like Sub-Zero and learn Cryomancy, but since I can’t I get my magical frosty fix elsewhere. Also known as Hoarfrost Tea or Dong Pian (winter flake) this tea is quite fascinating, and currently seasonal! The aroma of the dry leaves is surprisingly fruity (unlike what I usually expect from a creamy Jin Xuan) with notes of nectarine, honeydew, and orange blossoms. Along with the fruit (and fruit flower) is honey and a touch of chestnut and a finish of gentle vegetation. This tea smells immensely sweet, and not really like winter, but that is not surprising.

Into the gaiwan the leaves go! The aroma of the now soggy and slowly unfurling leaves is a combination of necatrine and honeydew melon with a strange slightly rank undertone, it reminds me ever so slightly of rotten fruit being both sickly and sweet. The liquid is all sweetness, very citrus with notes of nectarines and oranges with orange blossom and honeysuckles.

The first steep is pleasantly mild, it starts with a gentle mineral note that transistions to sweet cream and then BOOM! Nectarines! it is like I bit into a juicy sweet nectarine (a warm one, mind you) it is smooth and a little citric sharp and immensely sweet. I love tangerines, they might be my favorite citrus (other than lemons, but I eat them wayyy differently than more orange-like citrus, I cover my lemons in salt) so having a note so reminiscent of tangerine in a tea is delightful.

Second steeping time, the aroma of the kinda rank fruit leaks into the aroma of the liquid this time, though giving it a good sniff, it isn’t rotting fruit…it is one of those more foul smelling orchids. Not the rotten meat orchid, but certainly one of the ones that smell like a weird mixture of honey and decay. Of course there are also notes of nectarines, and a tiny hint of cinnamon which adds a level of warmth. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, a slight sharpness reminiscent of biting into a citrus fruit. The taste is light and buttery with a blend of nectarine and gentle honey, it is sweet and very light, an especially gentle Oolong.

For the aroma of the third steeping, there is only a little bit of that slightly rank orchid, along with honey and nectarines. The mouthfeel starts out smooth and ends with a crispness, like biting into a pile of lettuce. Tasting starts with gentle sweet honey and spice with sweet nectarine juiciness, this moves to a slight hint of cream and spice, and the finish is lettuce (specifically butterhead if you want to know the varietal) with a light aftertaste of nectarine. This tea was very light and pretty much always sweet, I admit the rank orchid aroma was a little off putting, but since it did not show up at all in the taste it was easy to overlook, similar to how I have run into a Sheng puerh that smells like a barn floor but tastes nothing like one, which is always a relief.

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