Mountain Stream TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Rich florals dance off the palate as the unctuous, springwater-sweet liquor moves with grace. The taste is at first ethereal and subtly blooms with rich notes of honeysuckle, passionfruit-cream, jackfruit-vanilla and spinach, hints of mango and marzipan. The aftertaste is tangy and lemony. I feel both spicy chili pepper warmth and some camphorous cooling. Clean.
This tea is on its way to greatness. Initial few steeps are beautiful but the later steeps are more difficult to balance. Does well with very hot water and both gongfu and western, though I prefer gongfu. Best tea of the white, oolong and black tea bundle! I found a strand of moss in this bag :)
Flavors: Camphor, Chili, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Garden Peas, Grain, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Lilac, Mango, Marzipan, Oily, Passion Fruit, Spinach, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical Fruit, Vanilla
Decent Dong Ding! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my MST order, and it was going very well until it fell off around steep 4. Beautiful leaves, beautiful aroma in wet and dry leaf, liquor is vibrant but a bit thin. The flavour was delicate and nuanced, nutty and warm which was amazing, texture is decent, slight astringent and juicy yet smooth. Character is decent, finish & aftertaste is average to decent, cha-qi is average, and steep longevity is mediocre, ending at steep 6-7. Overall, a promising tea that was really good at the start but fell off, hence the sub 80 rating.
Flavors: Alkaline, Allspice, Almond, Anise, Citrus, Creamy, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutty, Roasted, Spices, Stonefruit
2022 sipdown no. 59
I feel terrible because I somehow made it through my entire order of this tea without ever making a note. I had this three times today (first, second, and third steeps) with every intention to thoughtfully consider what I would write in a note and didn’t. However, I can say that I have never tasted gardenias, but I can’t say I could taste anything specifically gardenia-like here. This was a delightful green oolong that I thoroughly enjoyed and would order again.
1st steep 200°F, 1 minute
2nd steep 200°F, 2 minutes 30 seconds
3rd steep 200°F, 4 minutes
A nice taiwanese black! I got this tea from my MST order, and it’s decent but nothing special. Beautiful leaves with some buds, aroma was not very rich but quite complex, liquor was a beautiful vibrant red. Flavour was decent but felt a very prototypical taiwan black malt honey sweet flavour. Texture was smooth but that’s about that. Character was okay, the session adding a bit of complexity as it went on. Finish & aftertaste was mediocre, cha-qi was unnoticeable and steep longevity was mediocre to poor.
Nice, but eh could use your money elsewhere maybe.
Flavors: Beer, Chocolate, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Limestone, Malt, Mineral, Stonefruit, Sweet
Very interesting tea! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent MST order, and it’s taiwanese oolong that gives me a dianhong vibes. Beautiful leaves with a great aroma (again reminding me of dianhong), and a vibrant, thick liquor with a semi-golden sheen (i had to subtract points for heavy amounts of dust in the liquor though). Decent flavour that had a decent richness but could’ve offered more, especially in nuance and complexity, paired with a nice juicy texture that leaves a minty refreshness in the mouth. Average character paired with an average finish but decent aftertaste. This tea lacked any noticeable cha-qi and the steep longevity is average to good I’d say. Overall, an interesting tea probably worth that price tag.
Flavors: Acidic, Chocolate, Coconut Husk, Creamy, Fig, Malt, Mint, Molasses, Plum, Prune, Root Beer, Spices, Stonefruit, Sweet
Edging between recommended and not. I got the 2019 harvest of this tea from my recent Mountain Stream Teas order, and to be honest I’m trying to utilise my short memory for this review as this tea was drunk yesterday after chugging a bunch of alcohol. Beautiful leaves with a nice aroma and liquor. Decent flavour but lacked potency, decent steep longevity and average texture, finish & aftertaste. The tea lacked a nuanced character and I can’t really comment on the cha-qi due to the possible effects of alcohol :) All in all, I drunk this tea with my extended family and they liked it, so I’ll give it the benefit of doubt and put it as a ‘recommended’ tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Charcoal, Creamy, Floral, Leather, Malt, Plum, Roasted, Stonefruit
Worth it for the price. I got the Spring 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent Mountain Stream Teas order, and it generally is quite a nice tea. Beautiful rolled leaves with a rich and complex aroma both in the dry and wet leaf. This tea had a relatively vibrant liquor with a very nice flavour to boot. Its flavour isn’t the most complex but it really is quite well rounded if not oversteeped. The tea had a decent texture with a decent complexity and range of tastes as the session goes on. Nice character paired with a very nice, refreshing finish tops off the plaudits for this tea. However, this tea lacked any noticeable cha-qi and the aftertaste was quite average. It also had slightly less than average steep longevity and can be quite tricky to brew it to a right balance. Overall, a nice, decent tea worth the price tag.
Flavors: Acidic, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green, Nutty, Roasty, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tangy, Vegetal
A nice and easy drinker! I got the winter 2022 (according to the packaging) harvest of this tea from my Mountain Stream Teas order, and it is nice, but the characteristics the tea possesses feels quite ubiquitous to most other Taiwanese black teas out there. Beautiful, consistent leaves with a nice and potent wet leaf aroma, topped with a beatiful, vibrant liquor and a nice, smooth texture that still leaves an interesting hint of something in your throat. This tea has a nice flavour but it lacks any potency or complexity, and it just feels quite… plain and normal really. Okay aftertaste with a relatively decent finish, while having a lack of noticeable cha-qi and an average steep longevity. Borderline recommend.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Floral, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Grapefruit, Hay, Hibiscus, Honey, Lychee, Smooth, Spices, Sweet
Just, not good. I got this 2021 winter pick tea from my Mountain Stream order, and compared to previous Sanxia greens, this falls way short. Bland and poor flavour with a lack of noticeable character, finish, aftertaste, and cha-qi. This tea also lacks in steep longevity and has a less than average aroma and average texture. The only redeemable thing about this tea was its looks in terms of loose leaf and liquor. This tea may be a bit better when not brewed in gongfu style, but other Sanxia greens can handle the style, so I can’t see why this one couldn’t. All in all, just bad, and almost offensive in terms of how much it lacks.
Flavors: Asparagus, Green Beans, Vegetal
Spring 2022 harvest
The scent of the dry leaves is much more satisfying than the tea itself. Mediocre prepared gongfu. Brews strong in the first three infusions but rather thin with flat, undefined taste. Malty, and tangy in a stewed vegetables way. Not much of the spice or blackberry fruitiness in the dry leaf comes through in taste. Fourth infusion on, the tea does well enough with long and hot steeps, producing many more cups. I can’t recall an aftertaste or any cooling or sweet huigan.
I’ll try this out western one day this week and if it doesn’t work out, cold brew for Kiki it is.
Update: it’s better prepared western. More aromatic, as smooth as a tangy, thin-tasting tea can be. Tastes more like cedar this time. I notice a cooling finish. The aftertaste is sour like lemon or oxalis. I do think this tea has great potential. Perhaps refinement of processing will transform it into a truly enjoyable cup. I made a few pitchers of cold-brew for Kiki and she had very positive words :)
Side note: one of the 2 tea plants I found at a local nursery has produced a flower. If only the other plant would flower so they could pollinate each other and produce a few seeds. Patience.
Flavors: Blackberry, Carrot, Cedar, Chili, Cinnamon, Citrus, Eggplant, Flat, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Malt, Menthol, Moss, Orchid, Rosewood, Sour, Tangy, Tannin, Thin, Tomato, Vegetables
GABA! I got this tea from my recent Mountain Stream Teas order, and it is the first time I’ve tasted GABA tea. Beautiful leaves and liquor with a punchy aroma that surpassed my expectations, really a wonderful and complex aroma. Unique malty, fruity and sweet taste with a tangy bomb in the first steep. Coating texture and lasting finish and aftertaste that leaves the mouth with a nice tang. Unfortunately, this tea lacked a bit in character as it fell down a slope a bit early, as well as lacking in steep longevity, and the cha-qi, albeit having a noticeable digestive effect, didn’t really affect much in terms of calming as mentioned many times when reading about GABA tea. All in all, a wonderful tea especially at this price, just lacking in a few areas to really make it an exceptional tea.
Flavors: Beer, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Leather, Malt, Nectarine, Orange, Savory, Sweet, Tangy, Umami
An interesting black tea! I got the 2022 harvest of this tea from my recent Mountain Stream Teas order, and this tea really is quite nice, but lacks too much to say that it’s great. Beautiful leaves and liquor with an invigorating wet leaf and empty cup aroma. Interesting character and a refreshing zesty aftertaste. While the flavour is nice and pleasant, it is mild & one-dimensional and straddles the line of wanting to be delicate and wanting to be intense. The texture is relatively thin with little mouthfeel, and the cha-qi and longevity of this tea is almost non-existent. If you want an easy drinker that doesn’t offer much other than aroma and a pleasant taste, this tea may be for you. However, there are probably better teas at this price range out there.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Creamy, Floral, Hay, Honey, Lime, Ocean Breeze, Rose, Sweet
2022 harvest of Taiwanese white tea made from Qing Xin cultivar grown with permaculture methods, along with the other two teas from this Snow Mist Farm series, an oolong and a black tea.
I prefer brewing this in a large gaiwan with less leaf than usual. For one, it is huge and unruly! It refuses to be crammed into my small porcelain teapot and will fit only in the the largest of steeper baskets for western brewing. I haven’t tried bowl.
Why I really prefer it brewed in my large glass gaiwan, though, is because there is an initial spicy, fresh-leafy, astringent edge to the leaf that is best mitigated in this manner. Once that fades, it takes long, hot absent-minded steeps beautifully and lasts forever. Smooth and deep herbal hay and dried leaf spice, peonies and floral sweetness, creamy-juicy swallow.
Maybe I’ll pay more attention to its character with the remaining leaf but I probably won’t because I’m enjoying it without diving into analysis. Fun find: a long strand of moss, lime green, stood out amongst the leaf.
Side note: my tea plants have developed an aphid infestation. The assamica variety has been hit the hardest; the Black Sea sininsis variety less so (these 2 represent the bulk of the plantings, I think around 100 plants). The lone surving sinensis from Fairhope Tea Plantation is untouched, as well as the Large Leaf sinsensis. A few have been spotted on the 2 unknown variety plants I found at a local nursery. I washed the plants with soap, let them dry, split a container of ladybugs between the two large raised beds, then zipped up some enclosures to keep the lady bugs mostly in to work their magic. Fingers crossed. Damage has been done but hopefully the plants bounce back.
Flavors: Astringent, Bread Dough, Chrysanthemum, Creamy, Dry Leaves, Floral, Herbal, Honeysuckle, Hot Hay, Juicy, Meadow, Moss, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Tree Fruit
A disappointing Jinxuan. I got the 2021 harvest of this tea from my recent Mountain Streams order. It is the first time in a while that I got to try one of my favourite teas, Jinxuan Oolongs. However, this tea was quite disappointing. Yes, it has beautiful leaves with a smooth yet unique texture and aroma, but the flavour was lacking in potency and complexity, and the finish just wasn’t that present. Little cha-qi with horrendous longevity, as well as a character that leaves a lot to be desired. While this tea isn’t bad by any means, it isn’t great and it isn’t something I’d recommend either.
Flavors: Brown Rice, Butter, Creamy, Dry Grass, Floral, Milk, Roasted Barley, Roasty, Spinach, Stewed Vegetables, Vegetal
A relatively mediocre Dong Ding. I got the 2021 harvest of this sample from my Mountain Streams order, and it kind of just reminds me of a typical supermarket roasted oolong, but with a few things done better. Beautiful rolled leaves, with an incredibly vibrant and semi-active liquor, with a deep and rich aroma in the dry and wet leaf. However, the flavour albeit decent, lacked complexity and strength, and the texture as well as finish & aftertaste was quite thin and lacking. No noticeable cha-qi and an average longevity brings this tea down to something that is just… mediocre.
Flavors: Beans, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Coffee, Cream, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mineral, Mushrooms, Roasted, Stewed Fruits
This was a confusing tea to drink. Overall, I liked it, but as a previous reviewer noticed, there’s no nuance. The adjectives are all generic: Butter, Vegetable, Stone, Sweet, Bright. It was like a drink with all the rough edges sanded off. The result was pleasant to drink, clearly good tea, but not something I’d ever go out of my way for.
I will say, if you like “buttery” teas, I’ve never tasted something that hit that note as hard. As always, might be your cup if not particularly mine.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Mineral
This was a freebie so fresh it wasn’t even on Mountain Stream Tea’s website when I received my latest order. Thank you :)
The leaf aromas are fresh and floral, cool grassy and creamy, blue-green in scent-color, scalded milk and millet. Warmed leaf smells more like a nutmilk with fruity pineapple-guava tone and some plumeria.
The liquor is glassy-viscous. Squeaky clean young grass and gentle sweetness mix seamlessly with a jackfruit and unripe tropical fruit taste that holds a savory undertone of orange-flesh squash and cooked peaches, carrying through into the aftertaste. Slightly creamy floral perfume of moderate intensity sits above and settles into all the spaces. The floral quality interestingly expresses itself most fully in the later infusions where I can differentiate plumeria, honeysuckle and jasmine.
It does very well grandpa style and also with very hot water.
Overall, it’s an wulong of moderate intensity and well done. More perfumey floral and grassy than fruity and creamy. As long as you’re not expecting a ‘scented’ flavor bomb, can we agree that this is a nice Jin Xuan?
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Grass, Grassy, Green, Guava, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Macadamia, Milk, Peach, Perfume, Pineapple, Plumeria, Squash, Tropical, Viscous
I think this is now the third harvest (March 2022) I’ve had of this tea (others’ notes listed here: https://steepster.com/teas/mountain-stream-teas/85471-orange-blossom-oolong ).
This has been pleasant steeped up western style during the workday. Not complex by any means, just an upfront sweet and zesty orange blossom note atop a mildly milky, muted vegetal taste. It’s a surprisingly substantial brew, chewy and sometimes heavy.
This morning’s gongfu brew caught me off guard. The first several infusions, in retrospect, should’ve been used to water the garden. Due to the amount of orange blossom petals, my mouth was overtaken with floral bitterness. The 8 infusions or so after, though, have been pleasant. Reminiscent of western brews but with less intensity and with a more pronounced yeasty-biscuit note.
I’ve never been sure what to make of this tea but I keep buying it so that must mean something — perhaps it’s only that I’m hopeful one of these harvests will truly impress.
Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Floral, Heavy, Milky, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Yeasty
2022 sipdown no. 16
Thank you Cameron!
This is a really smooth tea. There is an upfront light vegetal flavour, followed quickly by a subtle buttery note. The flavours are soft here, but still delightful. I have been enjoying two steeps of this and somehow made it through 25g without making a note!
Decided to bust this out whilst playing some Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I wanted to sip on something casual and unique. I threw one of these into the Ingenuitea and let it sit for 3-5ish minutes. It’s a flower, so it tastes like a flower; a sweet flower. It doesn’t seem to open up into anything amazing; slightly mushy. Ha-Ha.
I always get sleepy when sipping this flower. I know that the properties can cause drowsiness and the possibility of hallucinations (per Google, only if smoked, so I’m safe). I have one last flower left, so I’ll save it for another day this week or whenever I need a restock/wait for more CBD tea.
Side Note: This does pretty well gongfu’d, too.
This is the final tea in an order I made from Mountain Stream several years ago. Given my well-known penchant for bug-bitten teas, it was inevitable that I’d pick this up, especially given Derk’s glowing review. It isn’t currently on their website, so I’m following Derk’s parameters of 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, 90, 120, and 240 seconds using 6 g of leaf in 120 ml of 195F water.
The heady dry aroma is of honey, grain, and citrus. The first steep is very light and immediately indicates by its strong cereal aroma that this is a roasted tea. I get lots of honey, citrus, rose, and wood. The next steep is stronger and has citrus, cherry, grain, mild spices, rose, and lots of honey, but also a touch of astringency. The aftertaste is woody, drying, and a bit sour, though the honey aroma at the bottom of the cup is mouthwatering. The next couple steeps feature the same flavours, but the fruit starts to disappear by steep five, leaving honey, grain, and roast. The end of the session is much like a black tea, with notes of malt, honey, and tannins.
While I enjoyed the fruity flavours and beautiful aromas in this tea, the roast was quite noticeable and I didn’t think it was well integrated. I’ve had many bug-bitten teas and am a bit spoiled regarding this type, and my rating probably reflects that. The tea also lacks longevity. I won’t have trouble finishing my 25 g pouch, but am glad I didn’t buy more.
Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Citrus, Drying, Grain, Honey, Malt, Roasted, Rose, Spices, Sweet, Tannin, Wood
Found a sample of this in my sample box. Yay sipdowns! Super roasty, with a bit of a charcoal note that lingers. More sweet and caramel than I would have predicted, but the roastiness is still the focal point. A bit vegetal in the aftertaste- like roasted artichoke.
Flavors: Artichoke, Caramel, Charcoal, Roasty, Sweet