9 Tasting Notes
Brewed in glass teapot.
If you’re fond of Darjeelings, this is a tea you’ll enjoy. It has the ‘fizzy’ top note of a Darjeeling but the body and finish of a Fujian red, slightly biscuity.
Although the tasting notes suggest a ‘jammy’-ness, I actually get something a bit more floral, maybe honeysuckle with a touch of champagne grape, hence the comparison to a Darjeeling black.
I steeped it a second time at the same temperature, probably a little longer, and received the same information. The second infusion was quite consistent with the first.
Flavors: Champagne, Honeysuckle
There is a gentleness to this tea that makes it very easy to drink. It is vegetal without venturing too far into grassy and has a subtle nuttiness. The first infusion has an exquisite floral topnote while subsequent brews mellow into this nuttiness.
My first infusion was at the recommended 80C for 3 minutes but I find a little cooler (70C) and shorter (2 mins 30 secs) makes the brew sweeter. This tea is good for about 3 infusions, 4 if you don’t mind it a little weak.
Flavors: Nutty, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vegetal
Bought this from the Twinings store at The Strand in 2014 and had a couple of cups at the tea bar. Was impressed by the vegetal notes, which was quite different from other green teas I’ve tried, so I bought 50g and took it home (to Australia).
The packet recommends four leaves per cup, which is what I started with, brewing at 80C for about 3 minutes. This produced a rather weak brew in which the flavour was barely discernible. I upped the dosage and left the tea to steep indefinitely and found the brew matched my experience in the Twinings store. The second infusion, also at 80C brewed indefinitely, was just as good.
The large flat leaves of the tai ping hou kui don’t seem to get bitter like other green teas and the flavour has a roundness to it that belies its sharp, bright colour.
I’ve since tried another tai ping ho kui at a Chinese teahouse (the variety is quite difficult to buy in Australia) and found that to have a more fragrant, grassy top note. This tea is not unpleasant but it is too easy to brew bland. I will enjoy the remainder of this packet but I won’t seek to buy it again.
I mistakenly pressed the ‘oolong’ button on my fancy tea kettle so ended up brewing this at a higher temperature than usual for green tea (90C) but it didn’t suffer for it, I actually found it increased the vegetal elements and gave the tea more character than my previous tastings.
The thing I like most about Mao Feng is it tastes refreshing without having a real top note. The tone of the tea is grassy without being ‘freshly mowed lawn’ grassy; it simply sits pleasantly on the palate like a good little green tea. I would recommend this with soy-based Asian food as I think it would complement well.
I’ve not had any other loose leaf Mao Feng (my only comparison is the Teapigs version in the UK) but I found this was a little too delicate in standard measures; I recommend more tea than usual and a slightly higher brewing temperature than usual for green to maximise the flavour.
Flavors: Grass, Vegetal
The amazing thing about Adore Tea is its ability to make its chocolate flavoured teas actually taste like chocolate and this Turkish Delight tea is one of my favourites for its uncanny ability to taste exactly how it smells—and very close to actual rose Turkish Delight covered in chocolate.
The balance between the chocolate and the top note of rose is well done and the black tea gives the beverage a satisfying volume that makes it easier to say no to dessert and ‘yes’ to tea. A friend brews this with hot chocolate and loves how seamlessly the tea combines with the heavier milk-based beverage.
I often brew less tea and don’t stop the steeping until the pot is finished and it rarely overbrews but if you stop at 3-4 minutes you can get another infusion.
A must for sweet tooth tea drinkers and chocolate lovers.
Flavors: Chocolate, Rose
This is a beautiful, light tea with a lot of natural sweetness that makes a great substitute for actual dessert. I infused it three times with very little loss of flavour between infusions so it is also a tea that keeps on giving and would be a great post-dinner treat.
Unlike Adore’s Turkish Delight (black tea with cacao and rose), the sweetness here tended more towards a honey caramel note rather than chocolate, with the taste and fragrance of rose to brighten it. I would certainly drink this interchangeably as a lighter alternative to Adore.
The recommend brew time is 3 minutes at 80C so my first brew was a little oversteeped at 5 minutes+ (oops) and I could taste a little astringency behind the tea, but subsequent brews at 85C for 4 minutes and 90C for 5 minutes worked well.
Highly recommended for those with a sweet tooth.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Rose
This is generally a pleasant brew, a good alternative to hot water on a cold night. The sweetness doesn’t taste like rose to me, which I find a little disappointing because there’s no real flavour to the top note, and the white tea is much smokier than it at first appears.
Not being a fan of smoky teas, I wouldn’t drink this very often but I think because it is more delicate than smoky black teas it is far more palatable and makes a good change every now and again.
Washed at 85C, glass teapot
1st infusion (2 mins at 85C)
A light, smoky sweetness.
2nd infusion (3 mins at 95C)
Smokier with more complexity. Still a tiny bit sweet but rose flavour mysteriously absent.
Flavors: Smoke, Sweet
Yixing teapot. Tea poured into ceramic balancing pot when brewed.
Washed at boiling.
1st infusion (2 mins at 90C)
Beautiful meadow-like aroma but tasted overbrewed. Sharp tannins on the finish.
2nd infusion (3 mins at 90C)
Flattened out the tannins but also erased the flavour. Hints of vegetal notes with an underlay of nuttiness.
3rd infusion (10 mins at 75C)
I think this was coloured water.
I’m sorry, I wanted to like this but I can’t get the brew right and I’ve certainly had better oolongs.
Flavors: Nutty, Vegetal
Washed at boiling.
1st infusion (more than 4 mins at 90C)
Forgot about it and overbrewed it—oops. I usually only brew an oolong for 2 mins on the first infusion. The tannins of the oolong came out strongly and the citrus finish fought hard which made for a tea that felt like a rude alarm clock.
2nd infusion (3 mins at boiling)
Much better. This infusion lengthened out the tannins and allows the lavender and fennel notes to emerge. The tang of the citrus had mellowed with the end of the first brew so this was like sunlight playing on a pillow.
3rd infusion (4 mins at boiling)
The real flavour of the oolong had started to weaken but the citrus, lavender and fennel managed to carry it. Quite a refreshing brew more akin to pleasantly flavoured water than tea.
Flavors: Lavender, Orange