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Recent Tasting Notes
This Tea REALLY opened my eyes as to the potential of Oolongs. I didn’t know how to eyeball the weight, so I simply put the entire sample pack of about 10 to 13 grams in my 350ml Kyusu, with about 200ml of water. I opted for non linear brewing times, starting with a 25s first steep, and dropping down to 10 to 15 seconds on the second, adding more time as needed.
Each infusion is very consistent, and the notes you get from it are very dependant on Temperature. As you get closer to the 205F mark, All of the lovely milky notes come through, together with a vegetable, almost Umami undertone. The Milky taste and silky smooth mouth feel really pleasantly surprised me, as it was the first time I’d gotten that note from a tea. Quenching and Mouth Watering.
I added time to what ended up being 2 hours worth of infusions on each steeping, and the leaves just kept giving and giving. The tasting notes transformed a bit throughout. It started Milky, vegetal, with a hint of a fruit I couldn’t identify, and held those notes while the floral and fruity nature expanded in later infusions. Absolutely mouth watering. The liquor was a luminescent, glowing green. After 2 hours of about 1.7 liters worth of infusions, I’d decided to give it a 2 minute steeping at 210F. That last steeping held up, leaning heavily into the vegetal and floral, while keeping those Milky and Umami notes.
When it was all said and done, those tiny pellets expanded into small to medium sized leaves that completely STUFFED my Gaiwan when they expanded. While the amount of leaf was indulgently large, I didn’t regret it for a second. I was left with a calm, warming, lucid body sensation, and a milky sweet aftertaste.
This was an excellent baptism into Oolong. I’d ordered several others, which I cannot wait to try! I want to take a moment to recognize this Vendor, as well. With hundreds of teas to choose from at any given time at good prices, I regard them as the Top vendor in all of North America, let alone Canada. They are true tea experts that know what those of a discerning taste want in their cup.
I very highly recommend this Oolong if the tasting notes are in your lane. It is very consistent in its milky/vegetal notes, with pleasant floral/fruity nuances that pop up through many, many infusions. Now that I’ve totaled the sample pack, I am going to order a big haul!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Milk, Vegetal
I prefer to brew this one Western Style in my tea basket, when I want a mug of something good and invigorating to sip on. Usually 3 to 4 grams of leaf per 400ml, 4 minutes each steep.
This Black Tea is complex, yet not finicky. On the first infusion at 200f, I was pleasantly surprised. It is silky smooth, with very little astringency. Dark Chocolate married with a Woodiness, nuttiness, and a slight malt. It goes down very easy, because it’s absolutely delicious. Absolutely devoid of any bitterness, despite the heavy handed nature of Western style brewing.
On the Second infusion, I dialed up the temperature to 205f, and used about 300ml water, and let it steep for close to 5 minutes. While the liquor was a touch lighter, it was a delicacy on my taste buds. Milk chocolate now, still married with the Woodiness, but the Nuttiness really shone through and is persistent in the aftertaste, even 10 minutes afterward.
This is a great tea to wake up to and to brew western style when I’m feeling too lazy for Gong Fu, as it is incredibly forgiving and hard to overbrew. It also gives me an great caffeinated zip to put some pep in my step.
I highly recommend this if you want a Black Tea without much bite, that is very savory and sweet both in aromatics, and taste.
Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Milky, Woody
Drank this session in the warm glow of the rising sun!! Even though green tea isn’t usually my jam, I wanted to try this one because of it’s more unique terroir! My initial thoughts were pleasant surprise at both how buttery and bean-y the medium bodied liquor was. Definitely on the softer side, and the delicate vegetal notes had a quality that almost gave the illusion of them “melting” on the palate. Alongside those notes were flavours of Timothy hay and straw that I would usually expect to taste in white tea. It was a curious session, in an almost exciting sort of way. I’m rather unfamiliar with teas from Bhutan in general, and I would love to explore further – something tells me other tea types, like black tea, from this region could be strongly up my alley!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CnP0BeBOrGO/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=325NwgCMdMg
Sipdown! (56 | 403)
Okay, so this was obviously a must-try in my recent Camellia Sinensis order. Any tea with evergreen elements, I’m here for it. And this is hojicha, which sounds even better.
To be honest, the first couple of cups of this left me wanting a bit more of the cypress. I could taste it, especially at the tail end of the sip, but the hojicha was overpowering it a little bit. This last cup seems much more evergreen-forward, maybe there was extra cypress hiding at the bottom of the bag? Either way, I can taste more of those refreshing piney notes, and also a lovely resinous sap-like flavor that I don’t think I’ve tasted before in a tea. Not sure if that’s down to the cypress compared to more common evergreen ingredients like fir, cedar, and juniper. Actually it’s reminding me a bit of cardamom, which feels like an odd thing to say. Regardless, it’s lovely. The hojicha adds a lovely sweet, roasty-toasty, woody, autumn leafy foundation that really brings home that feeling of sipping tea in an evergreen forest.
What a perfect winter tea! I’ll definitely have to order more of this at some point.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cardamom, Dry Leaves, Earthy, Evergreen, Forest Floor, Menthol, Mineral, Nutty, Pine, Resin, Roasted, Sap, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted, Woody
Sipdown! (47 | 394)
So I finally made a Camellia Sinensis order recently. Even though I’ve been trying not to buy much tea, I got a notification that their wintergreen was back in stock so I jumped on it immediately. I mostly chose their Quebec herbal tisanes, but a few flavored tea samples also hitched a ride.
The apricot here is on point. It tastes so natural, with a juicy sweet-tart flavor. Maybe closer to a dried apricot than a fresh one in terms of intensity? However, there’s something about the oolong that I’m just not loving. Mostly it tastes like a fairly standard green oolong – lightly grassy/leafy with a smooth minerality and hints of stonefruit and flowers. However, there’s some other note here that almost reminds me of spirulina, or maybe moringa? It’s like a little punch of vegetal-mineral flavor that throws the whole thing off.
Lovely apricot aftertaste though. Probably not one I would reorder, but I did enjoy sipping through my small sample size.
Flavors: Algae, Apricot, Dried Fruit, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Moringa, Smooth, Spirulina, Stonefruit, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Vegetal
Borderline decent tea that just falls short. I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent CS order. Beautiful leaves with a nice but slightly weak aroma and decently vibrant liquor. The flavour is decent but could use more potency, and the texture is average to decent. Character is average, not a lot of steep variability. Finish & aftertaste is decent as well, nice malty note lingering at the tail end. Cha-qi is unnoticeable, and steep longevity is relatively decent, topping out at steep 8-9.
Flavors: Acidic, Citrusy, Honey, Juicy, Malt, Mineral, Oily, Roasty, Spices
Very nice green! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my CS order, and it’s one of the better greens I’ve had. Beautiful beautiful leaves with a great buddy look, paired with an absolutely rich aroma both in the dry leaf, which displayed notes of nuttiness, and the wet leaf which displayed potent notes of vegetalness. Liquor is decently vibrant and thick, flavour is decent to pretty good with a nice delicate balance of floral vegetal and bittersweet. Texture is decent, nicely smooth and juicy but could do a bit of work in potency, character is average to decent with some steep variability but pretty unidimensional. Finish & aftertaste is pretty good, nice elderflower bitter-floral lingering aftertaste with a slight astringency to boot. Cha-qi is almost non-existent and steep longevity is decent, lasting up to steep 8 or potentially more.
Overall, a good green which would be a 80-85+ tea if it had a better cha qi and better character.
Flavors: Almond, Bittersweet, Elderflower, Floral, Grassy, Green, Hay, Honeysuckle, Juicy, Nutty, Pastries, Smooth, Spices, Vegetal
Decent Oriental Beauty! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent order with CS. Beautiful leaves with a great proportion of buds, rich rich aroma in the dry and wet leaf that is complex and nuanced to the max. Liquor is a vibrant orangey red. Flavour is decent, lacking a bit of potency and nuance. Texture is juicy with a slight astringency, but really nice. Character is mediocre, the session was pretty unidimensional. Finish & aftertaste was decent, great lingering muscatel and spice note with a nice airy finish. Cha-qi is almost non-existent, and steep longevity is mediocre to decent, topping out at steep 8.
Flavors: Acidic, Elderflower, Fennel, Fig, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Muscatel, Spices, Stonefruit
A little worried that these leaves have been tainted. The dry aroma is nowhere near what it should be. The first taste was fruity. Apples and almost a fruit cocktail drink without sugar. Still no aroma worth mentioning :/ This is probably one of the ..weirdest? oolongs I’ve ever had. As you steep longer you find charcoal and roasty notes. The apple stays but it doesn’t mix that well with the other notes. I wish I could find myself enjoying this tea but I just find each sip is somewhat of a grimace…
An okay to decent oolong! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent Camellia Sinensis order, and it was nice but it didn’t last long. Very nice leaves albeit slightly dull and slightly broken, creamy and milky aroma that was extremely delicious but not potent enough, liquor was vibrant and active with a bright greenish-yellow hue. Flavour was decent for the first few steeps, reminds me of a Jin Xuan, creamy and milky and overall flavourful. Texture is decent, smooth yet with a slight bite. Character is lacking however with poor performance in the cup in later steeps, finish & aftertaste was quite nice, good airy finish with a slight milky aftertaste. Cha-qi was almost non-existent and steep longevity was mediocre to poor. Overall, a good tea but nothing too amazing especially past the first few steeps.
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Floral, Jasmine, Milky, Spring Water, Sweet, Sweet Corn, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami, Vegetal
A very Complex Green Tea worth muliple infusions. Gong Fu style is enjoyable, but I tend to brew this one western style with A LOT of leaf. Aromatics of steamed spinach, steamed cabbage, with a bit of a nuttiness to it. The taste itself transforms through multiple infusions. The first infusion I did at 175f with about 5g of leaf gave me those vegetable notes mentioned in the aromatics. The second steeping at the same temperature gave me the same, giving way to a bit more nuttiness and a fuller body. The last infusion at 195f steeped for 4 minutes completely transformed it in a thicker textured tea with sweeter notes meeting a brothy kind of tea. The perfect amount of astringency throughout, and very hard to over-steep. This is by far the most enjoyable Chinese Green i’ve ever had. The Theanine hit was immediate in the first infusion, relaxing me completely.
The body/heady sensation is a very calm alertness. I very much enjoy this tea, and for the price point, it’s a must have.
I’d tried it Gong Fu style in my gaiwan as well. It draws out the experience, starting vegetale, moving into a nuttiness, and then a sweetness through the infusions. It’s a fascinating tea.
Flavors: Brussels Sprouts, Cashew, Spinach, Sweet Corn
This is the most unique Black Tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. I find it’s best brewed western style, and it’s generally a one steeper. I get notes of Malt, transforming into marinara sauce, a caramel sweetness, with hints of dark chocolate. It’s a very savory black Tea, and a wonderful way to start your day. It’s not nuanced enough for multiple infusions. I’ve tried it in my Gaiwan, and didn’t enjoy it enough to warrent that kind of effort. No, this is definately mean to be put in a steeper basket for about 3 to 5 minutes at 195f. It releases its infusion very quickly. So if you want a quick cup, at this price point, I’d say its worth it given the complexity of the aromatics and tasting notes of what this tea has to offer.
Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Malt
Not a great green. I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent Camellia Sinensis order, and it seems to be the first review for this tea in 9 years, so it seems like the anji baicha this year is a downgrade from a few years back. Beautiful leaves with a vibrant green colour yet boasting a yellow sheen, wet leaf aroma is rich and complex, dry leaf aroma is nuanced but not rich, and empty cup doesn’t boast much of an aroma. Liquor is a vibrant rich greenish yellow. Flavour is decent but somewhat short-lived in the mouth, and doesn’t highlight much complexity but is quite delicate. Texture is disappointingly slaty but tends towards juicy with slight astringency towards the end, character is pretty one-dimensional which was unfortunate. Finish & aftertaste was negatively impacted by the short-lived flavour, but improved as the session climaxed around steep 3. Cha-qi is unnoticeable, and steep longevity is average to poor, with the session reaching its end at around steep 5.
Overall, not the best green tea and probably not worth the price tag.
Flavors: Chestnut, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Mineral, Nutty, Rich, Roast Nuts, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vegetal, Watermelon
The early steeps have such a distinctly sweet and tangy umami snap to them that makes me think of honey mustard. It’s very unlike anything I’ve tasted in a yellow tea before, and also wickedly delicious. The back end is nuttier and more traditionally like the yellow teas that I know and love, and as I pushed the session and the mustard seed elements waned I found the nuttiness slowly built along with a more bean-y vegetal note.
I’ve wanted to try Mississippi grown tea for a whole now, as currently the only other US grown Camellia Sinensis I’ve come across is from Hawaii. I’m definitely glad I snagged this at the MTL tea fest because I think it was worth it just for that striking mustard note alone!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CjN85A6OiSa/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my6zHC-5MDM
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The first of many samples from my recent swap with Courtney! ❤
This is her favorite Earl Grey cream, and it’s definitely the best one I’ve had as well. There’s a nice level of bergamot, strong but not too strong, and the base is very smooth. The vanilla is somewhat subtle, but adds a gentle sweet creaminess that sort of rounds the edges of the overall taste. It’s a a very aromatic tea without being perfumey.
A very lovely tea. I’m not sure I feel the need to have an Earl Grey cream in my cupboard as I tend to reach for Earls with extra citrus and other flavors. But if I did want one, this would certainly be at the top of my list. Thanks Courtney! :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Creamy, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood
Twisted balls of various jade greens reveal an aroma of sweet honeysuckle and gardenia. A fresh aroma that reminds you of a tropical jungle. The initial aroma is creamy for a second and then changes to garden notes. I’m seriously surprised at the 4 – 5 minute steep time on the package. Granted I always drink my oolong gong fu style now but that just seems like way too much time. Also if you are steeping with a gaiwan you’ll want it cooler. Almost burnt my fingers trying to pick it up at this temp. The longer steep reveals some mineral notes and astringency. Not heavy astringency but enough to make it not completely pleasant. The garden notes and floral notes are a bit muted by the slight bitterness you find when it first hits your palate. But when brewed with proper gaiwan style the tea really shines. The mineral notes make your mouth water for more. I’ve licked the most delicious wet rock. The veggies garden notes and the floral notes of gardenia. The way you brew your tea matters.
Love me a good hojicha. This one has the expected roasted flavor, but it also has a delightfully unexpected gentle sweetness. The steeping instructions are different than what I usually use (these are 195f for 4-5 minutes, I usually go for 212f for 30 seconds to a minute). Now I’m curious to prep other hojichas this way and see what happens.
Another hit from the TTB, and excited that I got to try out a new-to-me tea company!
Steeped and paired with a handful of ripe raspberries! To be honest, tieguanyin has never been one of my favourite kinds of oolong. However, when you find a good one it tends to be reeeaaallllyyy good! I love the more caramelized sugars, toasted grains, and coffee like notes of this more medium roasted TGY. Of course, in my books, a roasty toasty and mineral tasting tea is always a welcome and comforting cuppa. What really sets this one apart for me is that sitting under the surface of those delectable flavours in such a beautiful and complex array of fruitier notes: grilled apricots and other sweet ripe stonefruits, candied orange peel, and maybe even a hint of papaya. I love how the raspberries add to sweetness of those undertones while giving more brightness and acidity. They can be pretty intense though, so it’s best to keep the snacking in between infusions and just let the tea wash down the lingering aftertaste of the berries!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CgcmWEVuSMh/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSj2SgAuvgo
I hate how gross and swampy the steeped liquor of this blend is, but the taste was pleasant albeit grassy and green tea heavy. I love the pairing of jasmine and blackberry together because it’s quite surprisingly sophisticated while still coming off as very fresh, summery and light. The addition of mint is interesting; it does slightly mask some of the intricacies of those flavours but the cooling crisp finish was so pleasant and I could see how it would really shine if you were to ice this tea – which is actually how it’s intended to be made as per Camellia Sinensis’ marketing.