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Recent Tasting Notes
I had the 2020 version of this tea and did not care for it. The leaves are of decent quality and the aroma is pleasing, but the taste is overwhelmingly an almost acrid, fake coconut flavor- the closest thing I can compare it to is suntan lotion. I have encountered this sporadically in other oolongs, but never a dong ding. Disappointing.
A great oriental beauty that stands out is not easy to come by. This one has a relatively complex and mineral profile that distinguishes it. The smooth, velvety and a little heavy mouthfeel adds a nice softness to the permeating bitterness and drying sensation. The cha qi is warming throughout. I like the tea a lot, although it is not one I’d reach for too often.
As one would expect, the aroma has a string nectar vibe. Other than the sweet florals of fruit tree flowers, I also detect a woodsy eucalyptus, curry leaves, prunes, tulips, and savory.
The very first steep is very mineral and mildly sweet and bitter. It has notes of stonefruit and nut shells, somewhat like an apricot pit with a hint of pale ale. Subsequent infusions bring about flavours of wood, burnt food, eucalyptus and later on also various fruits and nuts. Aftertaste is long-lasting and numbing. It offers a strong tension between cooling and warming sensations, which is not quite resolved. The dominant flavours are sweet and woody.
Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Bitter, Burnt Food, Drying, Eucalyptus, Floral, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Herbs, Mineral, Nectar, Nuts, Nutty, Perfume, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Wood
This is a somewhat simple tea in a sense. It is perfumy, has a syrupy texture and lasts for quite a while.
Dry leaves smell of a mix of wood and baked apple, while wet ones are more like eucalyptus and caramel. The taste is sweet and woody with a blue grapes flavour and a sugary aftertaste.
Flavors: Candied Apple, Caramel, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Perfume, Sugar, Sweet, Wood
At one and a half years of age, this green baozhong is definitely starting to loose its fresh notes. The aroma is warming and perfumy with notes of peach, rose and caramel. Honestly, during the session it mostly smells like a stale green tea.
The taste is a bit muffled and predominately sweet and vegetal. There is a juicy bite to it which reminds me of dandelions, but otherwise I can’t remember much about the tea :D
Flavors: Caramel, Dandelion, Peach, Perfume, Rose, Sweet, Vegetal
Warm Elephant is a fascinatingly aromatic black tea with very good longevity. The range of aromas is quite impressive with notes of black cherry, chocolate, wood, winter honey, tamarind, and caramelized onion in dry leaves. When wet, the associations are those of banana, cedar wood, medium roast coffee, vanilla, rice, and cranberries.
First infusion has some coffee sourness and mineral sweetness with a biting finish to it. It has full body with a sort of slimy mouthfeel and once again a very aromatic aftertaste with hints of hazelnuts and fenugreek seeds. Subsequent steeps show some woody (cedar) and fruity (peach) notes with even more sweetness and a lightly numbing and astringent mouthfeel.
I’d highly recommend this tea to any black tea lovers out there :)
Flavors: banana, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Coffee, Cranberry, Hazelnut, Honey, Mineral, Peach, Rice, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood
As with many Taiwan Sourcing oolongs, this one doesn’t have enough going for it for me to be able to recommend it. With their tea, I find myself feeling that the storytelling is more interesting than the “experience in the cup” more often than not.
Dry leaves present a sweet creamy aroma with hints of brown sugar, cinnamon, root vegetables. During the session, it’s rather a mix of gooseberry, black locust flowers, and a grassy meadow. I also detected scents of celery and fermented fruits to some extent.
The taste has an unusual amount of woody bitterness which I find is not very well integrated. It also reminds me of hazelnut skins a little. Otherwise I get a decent plum sweetness and a vegetal finish which is a bit like fenugreek leaves. A residual lemon flavour shows up in the aftertaste too. The disintegrated nature of the liquor is underscored by its thick, cooling and a little rough mouthfeel.
Flavors: Berry, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Celery, Cinnamon, Cream, Elderflower, Flowers, Grass, Hazelnut, Plum, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood
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:
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
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
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
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.
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
Night Jade is a very warm, mineral, and nectar-like tea. My main issue with it is the somewhat light body. I am also not the biggest fan of the profile, but there are times when it would fit well. On the other hand I enjoy the super calming qi and the tea has a good longevity too.
The association that comes to mind when smelling the leaves is peach blossoms and beeswax. During the session I also detected aromas of mussels, hazelnut, cardamon, strawberry, and kale.
As I mentioned, the taste is mineral and nectar-like, but not very complex at all. There are notes of rapeseed, wood, berries, and caramel. The aftertaste is then quite sweet with a strong beeswax note and a mild cooling sensation.
In spite of the lighter body that doesn’t fit the tea well imo, the slightly effervescent liquor has a pleasant soothing and numbing mouthfeel.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9kGpx88MoE
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Cardamom, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Hazelnut, Honey, Kale, Mineral, Nectar, Strawberry, Sweet, Wax, Wood
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
[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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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