Taiwan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Summary:

I left this Spring 2020 tea “age” a tiny bit to let the roast settle for a while.
While drinking this tea, I totally forgot this was supposed to be a tieguan yin until I started writing this post. It’s totally unlike any other TGY that I’ve ever had — it’s totally unlike a roasted TGY and absolutely nothing like the greener floral TGYs

If I were blind tasting this, I would almost say it’s a gaoshan or a fruity dan cong. Because when they said this tasted like jackfruit, they weren’t kidding. I grew up eating jackfruit, which I like, so this was a pleasant and different experience.

It’s a very different flavor profile from other Taiwanese teas with a very different mouthfeel. It’s viscous from a short 10 second steep and continues on with its viscocity throughout the session. This tea loves hot water. But, no bitterness and only a very mild astringency at the back of my throat

The longevity of this tea is fairly acceptable, especially with the jackfruit flavors present. By the 4th infusion, the flavors were diminishing, but definitely present.

Total steeps: 4+ with grandpa brewing after
Steep Times: 10 seconds, 20, 30, 60, 90 seconds
Water: Temps from 200+
Tea: 5grams in 100ml gaiwan
Brew style: Gongfu

Photos and more detailed notes:
https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/05/tea-tasting-shihmen-tie-guan-yin-stone.html

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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96

This is a subtly unique and fascinating aged tea. Unfortunately, as things tend to go, it is also the most expensive from the TS sheng samples I got. The cha qi is fast and warming. The tea also induces a long lasting mind clarity that’s just exceptional.

The liquor is soft and gives slightly fizzy numbing sensation and mild astringency in the mouth. The taste is very strong and pleasant with a sweet peaty profile. There’s notes of plants roots, parsnips, walnut shell, brown sugar, and wood. The aftertaste is likewise pungent and very protracted with an expanding fragrance and strong huigan. One interesting flavour that comes up early in the session is a sweet fruity one a bit like persimmon.

Aroma is not generally the key aspect of aged sheng. Here, there’s some very interesting ones though. It is elegant, nicely vegetal and nutty. Main notes are those of hazelnut, bread, beeswax, and dried dates.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Dates, Hazelnut, Nuts, Parsley, Peat, Sweet, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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83

I drank my sample today and I found it very much in line with Nate’s experience, unsurprisingly. The tea is really very smooth across the board and has no mustiness at all. Ultimately, however, I also found it to be lacking that special something. I’m not sure, it may be a case of a tea that requires multiple sessions to be appreciated and to unravel its subtleties in full.

As for specific notes from my tasting, the first infusion was sweet with a vegetal finish and hints of cream, coriander seeds, and some char-like bitterness. The liquor had a buttery mouthfeel, at times a bit effervescent. The protracted aftertaste was somewhat spicy, but not overly distinctive.

I oversteeped the third infusion, which brought out some metallic sensation akin to a dark chocolate and tree bark flavour. Rest of the session didn’t present too many surprises, the tea got quite mineral at times with hints of dry earth and walnut shells.

Flavors: Bark, Bitter, Char, Coriander Seed, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Earth, Metallic, Mineral, Spicy, Sweet, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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85

Taiwan Sourcing has some very nice red oolongs. This one is fairly subtle, but I like it a lot. The aroma is on the sweet and fruity side, while the taste is more woody and nectar-like. It remains quite sweet throughout though. There is also some warming star anise spiciness, chicory-like sour bitterness, and sweet potato earthy sweetness. The mouthfeel is a little astringent and bubbly with medium body and soft presence. Interestingly, the aftertaste stays warming for a while – it’s a good tea for colder rainy spring days.

Flavors: Anise, Astringent, Bitter, Cookie, Flowers, Fruity, Nectar, Sour, Spices, Sweat, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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I really like this one, especially after resting a few months in my storage after being shipped in harsh winter conditions. Smooth, deep, rich and sweet with hints of wild cherry, vanilla, old oak barrel, pipe tobacco and leather. Not much camphor or forest notes one finds in the burlier eastern Yiwu teas but a smoother affair. I realize that very few have tasted a 20-40 year old bottle conditioned English old ale/barleywine but there are several similarities. For a somewhat similar and possible to find beer experience I’d compare it to Fullers vintage ale only much less aggressive. Everything about this tea is mellow and smooth. The storage is very clean yet fully fermented. The qi is deep, relaxing and meditative. Not stupefying or jangling, just nice. Pure yin energy. A silk hammer of a tea. All the TS aged sheng are worth sampling (although many samples I’ve tried were dried out, astringent and in need of some rejuvenation opposed to the cakes) but this is my favorite of the bunch. Early on I preferred their 2000 Mansa but as I continue to live with these teas the subtle beauty of this one won me over. It’s very difficult to find a clean 22 year old Taiwan stored Yiwu for $.65g these days. This tea is a must try.

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92

My impression of this tea mostly parallels Nate’s review. This tea is as good as the best aged shengs I’ve tried thus far, but it is a tad more expensive than those. It also seems to lean a little more on the sour and fruity side of the spectrum. I actually found the mouthfeel to be quite nice – plump and colloidal – especially in the first half of the session. However, the most memorable aspect is the fast, introspective cha qi for sure.

The one thing I found lacking in comparison to some other teas at similar and higher prices was the fact that after steep 6 or so, the tea lost most of its dynamicism and the session became a bit dull. Also, don’t expect an immortal tea, one can push it to get about 300ml/g, but not really more than that.

The taste is sweet and tart throughout, with a leathery and woody undertones. There are notes of sea buckthorn juice, cumin, fireplace, oak and citrus zest. Aftertaste is very long-lasting and not overly sweet. Indeed, the sour flavours linger for quite a while.

Flavors: Alcohol, Fireplace, Fruity, Leather, Oak, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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87

I had a pretty much the same impression of the tea as Nate described in his note. It is indeed a very clean and smooth tea with mostly woody character. Brewing the whole 10g in a 150ml gaiwan gave about 20 infusions, which was a lot to drink in one day, but at least it was the only tea today for me.

The aroma is comforting. It reminds me of wooden cabins, moss a lot, to a lesser extent also dungeons and apricot pie. Taste is sweet and woody with notes of cedar, forest floor, fireplace, and a camphor-like finish. Towards the second half of the session, I also found notes of sourdough, nuts, earth and garlic. Liquor has a medium body and a slick, slightly metallic texture.

Flavors: Ash, Camphor, Cedar, Earth, Fireplace, Forest Floor, Metallic, Moss, Nutty, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
tea-sipper

Oh how I’d like to be in a mossy cabin eating sourdough and apricot pie right now. :D

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81

[Winter 2019 harvest, light roast]

A free sample with my recent order, this is a very respectable oolong that carries a lot of freshness and sweetness to it. It also has a very smooth, buttery texture and a mellow relaxing energy.

Upon starting the session, one is greeted with a sweet floral aroma of fruit orchard coupled with that of freshly cut grass. The taste is rather a touch more savoury and tart than the aroma would lead one to believe initially, but in the aftertaste a lot of caramel-like sweetness unravels along with a strong mineral feeling. Otherwise, there are flavours of fresh coconut / coconut water, orchid, grass, nectar, rosewater, mussels and blueberries to be found in this mixed bag of a tea.

I like it on all fronts, but ultimately it isn’t more than “real nice” in my book.

Flavors: Blueberry, Caramel, Coconut, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grass, Marine, Mineral, Nectar, Orchid, Rose, Sweet, Tart, Umami

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Not saying I’d pay $300 a cake for this. Not saying I wouldn’t either. I will say that if all the cakes of young Jinggu that I bought thinking I’d drink up quickly perform like this tea in 18 years I will be a happy camper indeed! First 2 steeps show light smokiness, sandalwood and spice. Next few steeps and the wild character peeks through with hints of grapefruit and tangerine peel. By steep 6 my face is numb and this stuff is much darker. Could be that I oversteeped it while grinning and staring at the floor. Anyhow no biggie. No astringency at all and now an oaky, fruity, funky taste that reminds me of a well aged Armagnac (minus the acetone) emerges. From here out it’s wood, spice, leather and citrus peel. My only gripes are I’d prefer a heavier body, although the huigan is long lasting. One can’t expect syrupy body from a wild tea… and the price…which means I’m trying to talk myself out of paying $300 for a cake of wild tea that I know I want. For a comparison, this stuff knocks the socks off the Qianjiazhai teas from EOT and those are excellent wild teas. I still have one session left with which to decide…one thing for sure, 4 years ago when I was new to pu I bought lesser teas for more money.

mrmopar

You ever tried the 2003 Changtai Bamboo Spring?

Natethesnake

Haven’t tried that one. I have had the 1999 white cotton Yiwu

mrmopar

Bamboo Spring is another nice one.

Natethesnake

Which vendor carries it?

mrmopar

Personal stash of mine. I have invested in 4 tongs of it so far. Excellent 03 tea. Same one Clouds carried.

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For teas in the $100ish a cake range, this gets my vote. I’ve only had Yiwu teas from BGT in the past so this Menghai area tea is new to me. This is smoother than most Bulang blends I’ve had and there’s just a touch of orange peel in the finish so I’m guessing it’s got some Nannuo in it as well. It still has plenty of bite and sharp woody, tobacco notes. Calm focusing energy and pretty good stamina. I actually think I’d prefer this stored in Hong Kong as I think it would make it much sweeter. As it is, it’s rather dry and burly. Im learning that I prefer Taiwan storage with Yiwu as it preserves some top notes and wild foresty character while I prefer the sweetness a HK aged Menghai tea provides. Of course Taiwan Sourcing is a great place to get Taiwan stored Yiwu as well. Not sure, I may cake this. I don’t drink much Menghai area and I have a fair amount already but this stuffs a deal.

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74

Unique and tasty! I bought this in early 2021 on the YunnanSourcing.US website, which I understand to be the same company as Taiwan Sourcing (TaiwanOolongs.com) distributing within the USA. Said to be made in Spring 2020. This is my first Osmanthus tea as well as my first GABA tea, so I’m not sure how it’s SUPPOSED to taste, but I do like it. Sweetly fragrant with a deep floral, almost fruity, flavor I’ve enjoyed this both mornings and evenings. A second steeping was almost as mouthwatering as the first. Do I taste mango? More like peach, I think, and a melange of others. Physically, the tea is a mix of tiny blond particles which I assume are osmanthus flowers, and tea leaves rolled into small balls. I used 2 teaspoonfuls in a stainless straining basket with 10 oz boiling water, Western style in a big, comfy mug. Upon steeping, the tea leaves expanded into large, whole, thick deep green leaves and produced a deep orange liquor. I have added the sellers description to the listing and attached a photo I made, showing the blend before and after steeping. Not sure if I’ll buy more, but will definitely drink the rest of my 150g bag! Note that I can’t say whether the supposed GABA content had any effect on me, maybe I’m already calm enough. And I don’t give a hoot about it being organic.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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96

30 seconds in a porcelain gaiwan. First steeping tastes like buttered toast, the second steeping (~45 seconds 190 F) adds some fruitier “jam”(fruity) like notes but still retains the creaminess found in the first steep. Has a very nice energy. 3rd steep is a combination of the first two but much more mellow and subtle in flavor. 4th steep (~1min) has a very prominent jam like taste. Buttered toast with Jam is what comes to mind. 5th steep (~2min). Flavor isn’t as prominent but the tea color is still rich. Still drinkable but original flavors (and creamy texture) have tapered off. I’m not familiar with oolongs and a lot of them seem very expensive in comparison to other teas. But, this one was a very enjoyable drinking experience and worth the cost. Lives up to the name of “butter longan”.

Flavors: Butter, Jam, Toast

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g

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Woody, thick and on the dry side for the area. Very clean storage and steeps forever. Not much florals or fruit. This ones about the wood, tobacco and maybe sandalwood incense. A contemplative brew for a dismal day. Deep relaxing qi and overall smooth vibe. $220 for a 21 year old cake of tea of this quality is pretty reasonable. This is not a tea to knock your socks off but rather to soothe and warm. Nice yin vibe.

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70

Received in Taiwan Sourcing intro pack

Not sure about this one. It does well when brewing in a mug, but doesn’t hold up to gong fu brewing – it’s a bit too weak. By no means a bad tea, but not the quality I expect when paying such a premium ($29 for 75g) .

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75

very lush, dense (as in compacted in a small space) deep flavor that hits more of the back of the throat and tongue, – smooth and buttery mouthfeel. There’s a flavor of fruit but while the fruityness and juicyness is obvious, the actual fruit is had to discern, it’s a delicate, gentle whisper of citrus and the feel of a non sweet banana

Flavors: Forest Floor, Fruity, Green

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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87

Sipdown 56-2021
The ratio of osmanthus to actual oolong was so skewed that the last couple cups were almost entirely osmanthus, with just a small bit of oolong. This resulted in a less than favorable flavor.

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87

This didn’t taste quite as delectable as I remember it being, but it was still decent. Working on sipping through this.

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87

Steepster seems to be running smoothly! I’ve missed my daily visits, so it’s nice to see it back and without 504 errors. Hopefully this continues.

I’ve been buying almost no tea. I’m trying to get my cupboard to under 200. It’s also been 100+ degrees daily, so I’ve only been drinking 1-2 teas/day rather than my normal 4+. I just can’t justify buying too much new tea right now. My Taiwan Sourcing order was the exception, as there were some Spring 2020 teas that I wanted to try.

This is one of those! Looking at the dry leaf, there is way more osmanthus than I was expecting. The flavor is definitely reflective of the appearance. It’s packed with the sweet, creamy, floral of the osmanthus with an intense caramel sweetness. Some golden raisin and candied fruit notes. This definitely tastes like a dessert in a cup.

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84

1st infusion: Liquor fragrance: gorgeous pungent fragrance cempedak, jackfruit + malt barley. Taste: not flavourful or sweet.

2nd infusion: Now we have flavour!

Rating: 84

Flavors: Malt, Roasted Barley, Tropical

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 220 ML

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Filtered Santa Monica tap water just off the boil throughout. Poured from a pear-shaped purple clay tea-pot into a glass cha hai, and served in a porcelain (“peony”) cup.

6 infusions (20sec, 20sec, 40 sec, 1min, 2min, 4min) Jasmine to pale gold liquor; mild grassy/floral aroma; grass/wildflowers/weeds on the palate leading into a medium-dry, not quite dusty finish. Roast/fermentation are mellow. Low bitterness; Medium thick mouthfeel.

My personal tastes lean towards more robust expressions, but there are no glaring faults from this leaf material if one prefers a mild, low roast oolong.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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(for the 2019 version)
Prominent jasmine flavor, as you’d hope. Nice sweetness. Noticeable astringency but not unpleasant. Oolong makes a good base for jasmine teas as they don’t tend to develop the aggressive sharpness you can get with green teas. This one’s nearly impossible to oversteep. I made a big pot (grandpa style, set and forget) for the family at Christmas last year and everyone enjoyed it.
Still, while this jasmine oolong is on average one of the better jasmine teas I’ve had, it doesn’t seem to reach the same heights as some green jasmine teas when you’ve managed to brew them just right. In my personal experience that’s a very rare occurence though (and maybe I just haven’t found the right parameters for this one yet!).

If you’re looking for a “convenient” jasmine tea, one where you don’t have to fuss too much about brewing temperature and steep times, this might be a good option. It’s pretty well priced too.

(I did notice the jasmine aroma fading over the time I finished my 50g sample so good, dry, airtight storage seems to be extra important — or finish all of it while it’s still fresh, of course.)

Flavors: Honey, Jasmine

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85

Agree with LuckyMe, sweet, caramel, pecan all there. Part of Taiwan Sourcing intro pack, best one I’ve had from them so far.

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80

Sweet, light, stonefruit. I usually find Taiwan Sourcing brew recommendations to be a bit on the long side, but worked out well for this one.

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