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Recent Tasting Notes
Anxi Oolong Huang Jin Gui Lan Hua Xiang, Spring 2020
6g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f
Brita filtered tap
This came as a free sample w/ my order from TJ a few months back, but I just got around to brewing it last night.
Dry leaf is creamy and sweet, in the light oolong sort of way that I associate w/ most Taiwanese oolongs I’ve tried.
wet leaf: A floral, but dry smell. Oddly enough, also reminiscent of egg tart.
7s: Light vegetal, floral sweetness.
12s: A well rounded sweetness. Nothing too interesting to my tastes. but not a bad tea at all.
Edges of mint aftertaste, just a hint.
17s: edges of mint + medicinal bitterness. Slight vegetal and floral sweetness as well. I can’t foresee enjoying continued careful steepings of this, so I’ll be cold-brewing the rest. Not really a fan of light roasted oolongs, but I’ll take the caffeine, and cold brews of just about anything generally turn out quite tolerable.
cold brew overnight: light floral, tiny bit of honey, and a dominating soapy note. Pretty boring as far as cold brewed oolongs go. Not sure how that bodes for the rest of my order from TJ. Had low expectations going in for this tea since the packet suggested a brewing temp. of 85C-90C so I expected bitterness or something, but this fell flat for me. To be fair, one could argue that cold brews don’t generally bring out the most interesting aspects of any teas, so I didn’t technically give it a completely fair shot, but judging from the cold brew, this tea might not have had too much to offer anyway.
This Dong Ding is the last tea left for me to write about from my Tea Joint order. It is pleasant and very refreshing, but didn’t leave a strong impression ultimately.
The dry leaf aroma is quite interesting with notes of nectarine pits and flowers, followed by milk chocolate and aperol in a preheated pot. During the session, I got a kind of Mediterranean vibe from it, a bit like rosemary flowers.
The taste is sweet and vegetal, displaying flavours of linseed oil, lavender. In the mouth, I get a numbing sensation and the body is medium to light I’d say.
Flavors: Alcohol, Chocolate, Flowers, Herbaceous, Lavender, Nutty, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vegetal
A really lovely example of a GABA oolong here that has both complexity and depth that can sometimes be a bit lacking in this category. The body is medium with a lovely slick, oily liquor texture that’s super smooth at first and develops a bit of astringency in the finish. It does, nevertheless, have a subdued aftertaste. That would be my main objection with it I’d say.
As for the notes, the dry leaf aroma is a mix of cinnamon, peach, pear, danish pastries, custard, and chocolate – all blended into a pungent mix. After the rinse, scents of stone fruits, menthol, and brown sugar emerge to take over.
The taste is sweet and smooth with main flavours being represented by those of char, orange zest, and cloves. There are, however, many more fruity ones of varying intensity. In the aftertaste, I notice hints of oats, forest honey, and dried tangerine as well.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Char, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Cloves, Custard, Dried Fruit, Honey, Menthol, Oats, Orange Zest, Pastries, Peach, Pear, Smooth, Stonefruit
I really don’t seem to care for the profile of Ya Bao, all the instantiations I’ve tried were ok at best. This one is more woody than the others, but my conclusion is similar.
Dry leaves smell of animal fur, paint, old wood and meat; while the wet ones have an aroma strongly reminiscent of wood chippings and hardware stores. The taste is woody and vegetal with prominent notes of hay and dill. The aftertaste is very short and the mouthfeel is fairly boring and watery. All in all, not my jam.
Flavors: Dill, Fur, Hay, Meat, Sawdust, Vegetal, Wood
[Spring 2020 harvest]
This green tea is really solid with no obvious drawbacks and may be my favourite tea from the Tea Joint samples I ordered.
Already the dry leaf aroma is quite complex with a floral sweetness base and notes of nuts, corn, apple juice, flax seeds, and semolina flour. On the other hand, wet leaves smell quite different. I get notes like thistles, butter, brussel sprouts, garden peas, spinach there.
The taste profile then follows the latter fairly closely. It is actually somewhat bitter for a green tea, which I definitely don’t mind. There is also a lot of umami and a sort of vegetal tartness. I could detect flavours of olives, sea holly, kale and pepper among other ones.
The mouthfeel is soft and numbing, but not overly thick or heavy.
Flavors: Bitter, Black Pepper, Butter, Floral, Garden Peas, Grass Seed, Green Bell Peppers, Kale, Nuts, Olives, Plants, Spinach, Tart, Umami, Vegetal
This is a loosely Mao Feng style green tea (although it seems like a bit later picking), which is nevertheless quite unique. The dry leaf aroma especially is most unusual. Notes such as sawdust, tobacco, fish sauce, seaweed, dill, pulled pork, roasted pumpkin seeds, and courgette flowers all appear in the mix. Wet leaves throw in green bell pepper scent too, but the overall complexity is dialed down.
The taste is predominately vegetal, as well as savoury and bitter with a touch of earthiness. Flavours of sand, anchovies, clean smoke and cheese again show that this is not an average green tea. The more standard ones include spinach and cream. The aftertaste is mostly sweet and buttery.
I also like the mouthfeel a fair bit – the liquor is oily and full bodied and definitely above average in that regard.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cream, Earth, Fishy, Green Bell Peppers, Pumpkin, Sand, Sawdust, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Vegetal
Liu An is not a type of tea that one would encounter all that often, especially an aged one. That’s why I was very happy to be able to sample this tea from Tea Joint. It is indeed quite unique, but also somewhat reminiscent of wet stored shou.
In particular, the aroma has strong notes of fresh soil, dungeon, and nuts besides other ones that are harder to identify. The liquor is medium bodied, very smooth and super comforting. Mouthfeel-wise, I get mostly oily and bubbly sensations.
The taste is sweet, nutty and earthy above all else. Early on in the session it tastes of milk, later on it gets more vegetal. Long infusions towards the end specifically are very nice and nutty. The aftertaste is slightly astringent and cooling with new notes of molasses, garlic and vanilla.
Finally, I found the cha qi to be very relaxing – overall, this is more or less the ultimate wind down tea. It also lends itself very well to boiling infusion(s) at the end of fairly long sessions.
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Milk, Molasses, Nutty, Smooth, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wet Earth
This is a strange tea. It is very green for a Dan Cong, in that regard it is somewhat reminiscent of YS’s Wu Dong Chou Shi. Otherwise, it is very different though – more vegetal as opposed to floral, light bodied and not too complex. I found the taste to be quite muted as well. There are notes of fermented fruits and a hint of dungeon (a bit like what you get from some, especially wet stored shou), which makes me think that maybe this tea only went through a partial kill green. I wonder what would happen if I stored it with my pu’er, lol. I may actually do it, I didn’t get all that much from any of the three sessions I’ve had with it.
As for other notes, the dry leaf aroma is mostly a mix of honey, cream or steamed milk, and stewed fruits. After the rinse, it is a more herbal and vegetal smell with notes of courgette and peach among others. As I alluded to, the taste is kind of unremarkable, but there is a nice cooling grassy finish to it. I also noticed a strong warming and defocusing cha qi every time I drunk this tea, which I didn’t like at all.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cream, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Milk, Peach, Peas, Stewed Fruits, Vegetal, Zucchini
This Long Jing was among the teas I ordered from a new Canadian company Tea Joint. Overall, I found it somewhat average and not really reflective of the price, as it often happens with famed teas. In particular, the main flaw as I see it is its light body and a boring, watery mouthfeel.
Other than that, the aroma is decent. I could smell toasted nuts, sesame, chicken meat, and brownies in the preheated pot, and mostly sweet florals during the session. The first infusion was notably more tart and savoury rather than sweet and nutty as one might expect. It was slightly reminiscent of fresh Mengku area raw pu’er and lightly steamed sencha in its profile. The refreshing profile also included notes of milk, lime zest, bread crust, and green beans. Later steeps were then much more sweet, but still not very nutty. Some additional flavours include butter and kiwi. The aftertaste was slightly sweet and floral with a light tingling and cooling sensation present. I also noticed a mild chest warming during the session, but the cha qi was not strong in any way.
Flavors: Bread, Butter, Citrus Zest, Floral, Green Beans, Lime, Meat, Milk, Nuts, Pastries, Roasted Chicken, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Tart