Taiwan Sourcing

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Recent Tasting Notes


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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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

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

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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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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

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.

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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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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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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Winter 2019 harvest.

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.

5 infusions (10, 20, 30, 40, 60 seconds) – flax/pale straw liquor; moderate roast, faint grain, wildflowers and grass in the nose; mild creamy flavor with hints of vanilla, corn silk, and a subtle floral presence. Faint residual sweetness hints at toasted rice or waffle batter. Clean, medium-thick mouth-feel. No bitterness. Linear flavor progression from palate entry to finish and largely from steep to steep (although 30 – 40 seconds seems to be the sweet spot here).

Refreshing, mild, medium-roast oolong that would likely do well iced – while well crafted, it lacks the complexity that you can find in some high grown or mainland varieties (I wouldn’t normally dwell on these sorts of comparisons, but the hubristic name suggesting the highest rank of nobility seems an open invitation to criticism).

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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drank Master Spring by Taiwan Sourcing
16 tasting notes

A great, affordable tea! This tea has something for everyone, it’s very approachable yet has a lot of complexity that anyone can appreciate. My session moved from predominantly spicy cinnamon notes to sweeter fruity biscuity notes, though it consistently had a very nice tartness in the back of my mouth. At 16c/g, this is definitely one of my favorite daily drinker taiwanese oolongs.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Fruity, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet

4 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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My craving for a highly oxidized Taiwanese red oolong came late this year. I remember drinking a bunch of it around Thanksgiving in 2018 while picking persimmons from my aunt’s tree. The tree was pruned heavily this year so it didn’t produce anywhere near 300 fruits and therefore she didn’t need my assistance with harvest.

I’ve never tasted longan, the fruit for which this tea is named. To me, this tea tastes of overripe persimmon with no astringency. I hit the leaf with boiling water and was greeted with a balance between its nectar-syrup like body, deep fruity-floral-spicy-cocoa aroma and tastes, and a lingering perfume in the mouth. I was able to get only 4 infusions in gongfu before I had to carry on with my day, so the following day I dumped the leaves in a jar for grandpa and it was still as delicious if not more so. Certainly a tea I’d consider purchasing again. Thanks, Togo!

Boiling 6 g

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Got this as a sample with my last Taiwan Sourcing order. This is a light and sweet oolong with gentle notes of dates, toffee, and caramel. Roasted plums and cookies appear as the flavor of the tea settles. Gongfu wasn’t all that impressive so I was content to grandpa steep this one. When cold brewed, it’s greener with honeysuckle and more mineral sweetness.

Flavors: Caramel, Dates, Honeysuckle, Plums, Toffee

200 °F / 93 °C 0 OZ / 0 ML

What a creative name!


@Bluegreen Isn’t it? Taiwan Sourcing teas have some really whimsical names


Agreed! I enjoy Taiwan Sourcing’s names as well.

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[Spring 2018 harvest]

I got this tea as a free sample with my latest TS order and kept it sealed until today. I found it to be a very flavour focused tea with good complexity and a very long aftertaste, but lacking body.

The dry leaves exude aromas of baked apple, various flowers, cookie dough, and citrus fruits. The wet leaves have a meadow-like floral complexity and a much sweeter smell with notes of fenugreek, prickly pear, and popcorn.

The taste has a lot going on too. The profile is savoury, sour and floral. In the beginning, I get notes of fenugreek, grass, walnut skin, plant roots and a slightly metallic, sour finish. There are many other flavours appearing later, kumquat and cabbage to name a few. The aftertaste is also very floral, but much more sweet. One extra flavour I notice there is the one of coriander leaves.

Flavors: Apple, Cactus Flowers, Candied Apple, Citrus, Citrus Fruits, Cookie, Coriander, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Metallic, Plants, Popcorn, Sour, Sweet, Vegetables, Walnut

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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Got this tea with Taiwan Sourcing intro pack. If you like Ruby 18, you’ll like this. Same menthol/minty taste. I found the Taiwan Sourcing brewing recommendations didn’t match this tea very well (3/3/4 min, 5g tea/100ml water) I had better luck when I did slightly shorter infusions, especially at the beginning (1/2/2/2 min) then finished it off with 3-5 min steeps.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 99 ML

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A simple, light and refreshing daily drinker kind of oolong.

Spring 2017 harvest. Leaf aromas of generic fruitiness, red fruit, perfume, wood, brown sugar, osmanthus, light pine. Substantial liquor aroma. Tastes of dry grass, osmanthus, light fruitiness, clean minerality with citrus zest tingling. Buttery osmanthus and perfumey aftertaste that later becomes evident on the sip. Fairly smooth with some astringency. Maybe a bit old being Spring 2017 harvest; given another year, this would probably devolve into a perfume bomb, so drink fresh! Pretty red-brown oxidized single leaf mixed with green.

Thanks, Togo!

[5g, 100mL porcelain pot, 10s rinse followed by 7 steeps starting at 10s]

Flavors: Astringent, Brown Sugar, Butter, Citrus Zest, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Mineral, Osmanthus, Perfume, Pine, Plant Stems, Red Fruits, Tangy, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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SUMMARY: This is a very lovely well-balanced tea with a nectar-like viscocity. Despite the 80% oxidation, I brewed this at a lower temp, at a longer steep time, which really brought out the fruity flavors of this tea with hardly any astringency. After the first infusion, each steep was fairly consistent with the flavors until it started washing out. This would make a lovely cold brewed tea or brewed at a much lower temp for a longer steep time to bring out more of the fruit flavors.

HIGHLY recommended if you like your teas with a bit of fruit flavor.

I skipped the wash with this, and so glad i did.
First infusion: The tea broth is light yellow.
It’s flavors comprise of stone fruit with fruity sweetness. It’s got a very slighty plum-y flavor, but it feels like another fruit. Perhaps a hint of the longon nectar tea of which this is related? This liquid is viscous, smooth, with an extremely mild dryness on the tongue. It has a surprisngly internal cooling effect.

Second infusion: The second steep is an amber orange. It looks & tastes viscous. The sweet plum favors have really come out. The sweetness starts off sugary and morphs into a plum sweetness. The plum flavors persist even after I finish this infusion and while i brew my third.

Third infusion: This is plum nectar sweet, as advertised. There’s an extremley slight dryness in the mouth, followed by another plum aftertaste.

Fourth infusion: Bugger. I can’t remember how long I set the timer for on this infusion (2 or 3 minutes?). It still has the same plum nectar, but a slightly washed out version. I think I set the timer to 2 minutes.

5th Infusion: 3 minutes — The flavors are becoming slightly muted, and there’s only probably a few more steeps with this tea, but I’m still enjoying it!~

Tea amount: 5 grams
Times: 60s, 90s, 120s, ??, 180
Water: 190-194 deg F / 150ml

Flavors: Plums, Sugar

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Thanks Togo for the swap :)

Have a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIMKJ43TFLs

Spring 2018 harvest. Dry leaf has an aroma of malty molasses cookies with additions of baking spices and a fruitiness when warmed. Smells like a hearty banana bread, though light on the banana. Rinsed leaf aroma is dominantly woody. I can smell light florals not on the inhale but when I exhale. Drank the rinse — subtle spruce and malt. Cool in mouth, warm in chest. Throat is already tingling like a strong returning sweetness will come forward. Already an aftertaste of peach and both black and green plantains.

The tea doesn’t change much in character like other GABA oolong, which I consider a strength. Buttery, floral grape aroma. SIp hits the high tones with floral grapes. The liquor is oily and the flavors sit low, with a light malty spiced banana bread midtone, deep fruity undertone, minerals, a bit of vanilla, straw when cooled. In fact, the flavors, which are more aromatic than penetrating on the tongue, become more pronounced if the tea cools to somewhere around 160F. Tangy aftertaste like light, sweet lemon and profuse salivation, brown sugar returning sweetness. Later develops hints of baked bread and cream in the aftertaste. Final infusions end on nutty, woody impressions. Like other GABA oolong, this has great longevity. I liked that characteristics of this tea’s Alishan provenance were still discernable despite the GABA processing.

I also did a grandpa infusion with the remaining 2g for 8oz with 3 top-offs. It was even more mellow with a rock sugar like sweetness. It was honestly difficult to describe. Maybe like a salty, soft and buttery white sweet potato? Comforting. The one major difference with this preparation was a complete lack of that floral grape flavor and aroma.

I love GABA oolong teas. They’re generally accessible, mellow and sweet with no bitterness or astringency. They can’t be oversteeped and perform great as western, grandpa or gongfu infusions. So let me take this moment to 100% endorse GABA oolong to loose leaf newbies!

Drink GABA oolong!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Nutty, Peach, Pine, Salty, Smooth, Straw, Sugar, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Vanilla, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

I love GABA oolongs too, Derk :D


I have some different ones coming from What-Cha weeee


I’m honestly not sure what the GABA stands for here, but all I can think of when I hear this are my colleagues’ Masters projects, because whatever they were researching (plant agriculture – apples?) involved gamma-aminobutyric acid. And although the same thing may be what’s being referred to in both cases, it causes some pretty solid confusion for me. I should probably just do some light research on it to fix that…


You have it right — GABA does stand for gamma-aminobutyric acid. These teas are flushed with nitrogen and ‘oxidized’ in an oxygen-depleted fermentation chamber. This process, combined with shading prior to harvest, increases the GABA content in teas. There is of course a slew of research on the effects of GABA for which I’m not currently interested in reading… but from some cursory browsing, it is agreed upon in some literature that when ingested, GABA does not cross the blood-brain barrier.

That said, anecdotally, I have found that all but one GABA-processed tea I’ve tried have consistently given me a specific feeling of well being, different from the feelings acquired from other oolong teas. It could all be wishful thinking, though, given the blood-brain barrier argument and that ‘tea energy’ is qualitative.

As an aside, I used to work in produce when I was younger. There I learned that bagged lettuces and salads are also flushed with nitrogen in order to diminish oxidation, thus preserving the leaf longer. Same for potato chips and other crunchy bagged snacks.

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I’ve really enjoyed this tea.

Summary: This mild roast red oolong tea is tightly rolled and takes several steeps to open up completely. It is a semi-sweet tea that’s great as an after dinner tea or just anytime tea. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors work well together.

Dry leaf smell: I catch whiffs of stone fruit and the associated sweetness.
Warm leaf: A stronger scent of stone fruit and honey.

I’ve had a couple of sessions with this tea. WATER: 150ml
Session 1: Time (seconds) 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80…; temp: 195-205 deg F
Session 2: Time – 30, 45, 60 @ 196 deg F) | 90s, 120s, 180s… @ 199-201 deg F

Wet leaves aroma: High notes of honey, florals, and stone fruit
Broth Aroma: Sweet potato
Color: The color of orange-flower honey. This remains fairly consistent.

The broth has a nectar-like consistency, like thinned honey. It’s not particularly viscous but does coat the tongue slightly. There’s an underlying astringency that dries out the tongue a tiny bit, but it’s never bitter. I get a mild tingling sensation in the tongue from the cha qi, and I did start to feel a bit in the head after the 4th steep.

Initial steeps brought out flavors of sweet potato, mild stone fruit, a touch of honey. As steeps progressed, there’s less fruit, less honey, and more sweet potato flavors. The tea has a short-to-medium clean finish to it that’s in keeping with the flavor profile. As I extended the steep times, I also increased the temperature. I managed to get a fair number of steeps out of this tea before the flavors began to wash out. For each session, I managed to get at least 6 steeps out of the 5 grams of tea.

Since there’s very little astringency to this tea, higher temps and longer brew times might bring out a different flavor profile. (A point to experiment with!)

Overall, this is a good tea, especially for the price point and the number of steeps you can get out of it. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors are well-balanced and quite tasty. The sweetness comes from sweet potato/fruit flavor, so anyone who finds teas with fruity profiles too sweet might enjoy this a bit more.

Flavors: Honey, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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