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Recent Tasting Notes
I think I like this one a lot. It has big leaves that are relatively lightly oxidized with quite some green shining through. The color of the brew however is a deep red. It seems like an exemplary shai hong (sun-dried black tea), lacking the caramelly honeyish notes of ‘normal’ oven-dried dianhongs and aimed more towards the darker fruity notes.
This one does have the plummy/apricot dried fruit thing that I like about shai hong, but it is relatively subtle and the brew isn´t too sweet or thick. It feels fresh and clean, but a bit subdued. I am guessing that, since it is still very fresh (less than a year old), it should be expected to attain the deeper sweetness and dried fruit characteristics in the coming few years. I am considering buying a coupe of these nicely priced cakes to keep.
My original plan was to have an oolong but then I opened this up curious if I could use it for dinner tonight. But that is not like any Lapsang I’ve smelled before. In fact, it’s almost like they forgot to smoke it….. Actually the more I look at the picture of the tea leaves they have versus what is in the bag I am pretty sure I am drinking a Yunnan Gold.
There is such a thing as an unsmoked lapsang, but it’s also possible they sent you the wrong tea ha ha. Although from the look of the website entry, the smokiness is meant to be very subtle?
That was my original thought as well, unsmoked Lapsang. But as I took a better look at the leaves and compared them with what is online I realized the golden tips were a hint that it was something different. But who knows maybe they also have golden tipped unsmoked Lapsang but its just different from whats pictured. At least its still a good cuppa =D
I’ve had this in dry storage for 3 years and it is supposedly a 2013, so now an 8 yr old ripe (wet pile process) tea. Rinsed 2.5 g in hot tap water for 10 sec, then steeped in 8 oz boiling water, in a steel straining basket. Odor of fresh fish, compost and forest floor at first put me off, but my persistence was rewarded with a smooth sweet taste. As I sipped down the second steeping of this portion, the fishy aroma had mostly dissipated, and halfway through I got a distinct flavor of chestnut, much to my surprise! My third and final steeping continued to be smooth and presented leather and toasted hardwood (not smokey).
Surprisingly good! This was a gift to me 3 yr ago and has been in dry storage until the time of this tasting. Although it comes in paper wrap AND a decorative tin , the metal has vent holes to ensure proper aging. The vendor says the cake was compressed in 2014 from maocha from 2008, making it now 13 yr old and I believe it. The larger outer leaves pressed in the 100g tuo disguise a seemingly smaller chop inside, as I carefully pried apart the side of the tuo. I used 4 g of dry leaf and steeped in 90 ml boiling water after a 10s wash under hot tap water. I sipped across 12 steepings of gradually increasing length starting at 15 sec. Color ranged from a bright orange the color of the top of the tin, to a deeper orange matching the middle of the tin.
The tea had a very pleasant taste of light spice and modest astringency on the middle of the tongue with notes of chestnut and a pepperiness, and the leaves started as a deep olive green. By steep 6 a vegetal flavor had emerged, but distinct tea flavor remained and the leaves darkened. Although diminishing by the 12th steep of 2 min., the tea still had good flavor, but the leaves had turned to mush and the tasting concluded. Overall a stable flavor and good aroma, and I’ll buy more of this treasured gift.
It didn’t taste like pu erh nor citrus to me : the only thing I felt and smelled was a very smoky, almost burnt ‘aroma’.
I ordered and tried only one, and maybe I got ‘an old one’ or ‘the wrong batch’, but bottom line, it was as little enjoyable as a random tea bag : not good enough for the price.
I tried with and without the skin, 30 seconds as well as 3 minutes… It’s possible I didn’t prepare it right, but I really tried – and won’t try again.
Not this brand anyways.
Flavors: Burnt, Smoked
This tea while good overall is, unfortunately, not really Jin Jun Mei. Or is at least, of exceptionally poor quality for a Jin Jun Mei.
In both appearance (over-abundance of gold buds, excessive dust, and slightly too large) aroma, and taste this falls short of a genuine high-quality Jin Jun Mei. The difference is very great. This is unsurprising, given the very low cost of this tea (actual Jin Jun Mei would be at least 4 times as expensive). Still, Teasenz is generally an honest company and it is disappointing to see this product marketed as such.
Flavors: Cocoa, Fruity, Honey, Potato
Hi Yboc, we respect your opinion, but we would like to clarify that an authentic Jin Jun Mei should consist mainly out of gold buds, so we think the comment ‘over-abundance of gold buds’ is actually a good thing, though it doesn’t make up for the taste you don’t like. The ‘excessive dust’ is actually the ‘hairs’ on the small young leaves, which become dusty when roasted. The review is from a while ago, if you’re interested to try our new harvest then free free to email us, and we can send you a free sample.
I appreciate your reply. I am aware of the commonly claimed notion, that JJM ought be mostly gold-coloured. Numerous experts, however, agree that this is generally false and often an indication of mass-market, lower-quality tea (e.g., see: https://youtu.be/ueniI3aHNmE, https://youtu.be/9D8-ETra0sM, https://www.wuyiorigin.com/collections/wuyi-black, https://www.zhentea.ca/jin-jun-mei/, https://onemansteajourney.home.blog/2020/05/12/comparing-two-kinds-of-jin-jun-mei/, etc.; N.B. I do not endorse Mei Leaf and also dislike many of their practices, but their comments on this topic is, I believe, accurate and increasingly widely-accepted).
I am also well aware that an abundance of tea hairs is often a good thing, though I maintain not in this instance. I really think you ought reconsider your JJM evaluation and selection. Notwithstanding, I do appreciate your offer, and would be happy to try your current sample. I will email you my mailing address.
Hi Yboc, I appreciate your feedback! I think as sellers of tea we are always somewhat biased, as in we are providing the information of the teas that we sell ourselves. I do not mean this in a bad way as Zhen tea, Wuyi Origin, and Mei Leaf are all excellent and very knowledgeable vendors.
It is true that ‘traditional’ Jin Jun Mei in the past is more black with less golden buds. But more golden buds can be seen as a process in ‘luxury’. Just like traditional matcha is less vibrant green, as the ceremonial matcha quality today. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will taste better for the individual, simply due to individual preference.
We do disagree with this statement:
‘Numerous experts, however, agree that this is generally false and often an indication of mass-market, lower-quality tea’
Just as we can’t say a less golden jin jun mei must be bad, we also can’t say, just because it has many golden leaves, it must be bad. Whether you like the taste better or not, more golden buds does mean a higher grade, higher difficulty to harvest, and a sourcing higher price (ceteris paribus). When we get the Jin Jun Mei price list every Spring, the prices are sorted by grade as in the amount of golden buds. It’s then up to us to taste all the grades, and pick the one that we like the most.
Of course, quality of the raw material is not everything, and a less golden Jin Jun Mei could taste better and processed very well.
After playing with brewing times and steeping methods I typically use more leaf than usual with this tea, as it can steep a bit lighter than other keemuns I’ve tried.
I’ve been looking for fruitier keemun teas and this definitely ticks that box nicely. The flavors of smooth grape and dried fruit dominate, with intriguing hints of smoke and perhaps mineral floating overtop. If pushed with hotter water, notes of wet wood and a slight, pleasantly drying astringency emerge and give the tea a little more punch.
I tend to add an extra pinch of fresh tea to the second steeping just to keep the flavor going. The result is still lighter, with light juicy grape and dried red/purple fruits with an interesting swirl of light mineral and floral flavors lingering after the sip.
While lighter in flavor than I’d like, this tea is still smooth, sweet and hydrating, perfect for the morning or afternoon.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Mineral, Smooth
This is seriously delicious tea! The creaminess is buoyed by a light floral undertone that’s more evident in the aroma than the sip. There’s something in the lingering flavor which reminds of a toasted marshmallow – difficult to put my finger on, but it’s quite unique, and even more evident as the cup cooled.
The leaves themselves unfurled into large, whole, deep green leaves during steeping. I’m glad I got plenty of this particular harvest – I think I’m going to enjoy having it around.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Marshmallow, Milk
Looking for something a little more significant on the caffeine scale this morning, so I filled the newly-gifted gaiwan with some Black Dragon Pearls and practiced a little.
The tea gives up a beautiful copper liquor with a distinct malty note. Flavor doesn’t seem to linger long, but is very enjoyable, nonetheless. As a bonus, I think I got the hang of the gaiwan now.
Came across this tea on the Teasenz blog described as a sun dried Dian Hong that is supposed to get better with age. Since Dian Hong is my daily drinker of course I had to try it. As I understand it, this was never officially sold through their store but was available in a limited quantity if you contacted them. There is a 2015 brick version (which I also have a sample of) though this is the 2017 loose leaf version of the same.
Used 7g in a 150ml gaiwan and steeped for 10 seconds the first 6 times at 85 degrees. The soup is a nice dark red after just 10 seconds, similar to what you would get from a shou puerh. Tastes like a Dian Hong but different. The maltiness is subdued as are the floral/peppery aspects. I would say that all the flavors are mellower and the tea is smoother than a normal dian hong. Slightly reminiscent of a shou in its smoothness. It’s definitely good overall but I almost feel as if all the characteristics that I enjoy in a dian hong are not quite there. Will have to try the 2015 version to see if the extra 2 years have made any difference.
I did get 6 very good and strong steeps out of this at 10 seconds each and maybe 10 or 11 steeps in total whilst staying quite flavorful. Examining the leaf after the fact, there are some whole leaves but a lot of broken leaves as well as stems. Not many buds at all. So definitely not made from the best raw material which may also explain the subdued taste.
This tea has the most fascinating look I have ever seen! The leaves are flat, large and long, with different shades of green. It was fun watching the leaves unfold in the glass as they were waving like a bunch of seaweed. Will definitely recommend it.
Liquor color: light greenish yellow
Taste: mild, vegetal with a floral note
Aroma: sea breeze
Flavors: Ocean Air, Orchid, Soybean
I had it this morning and it was delightful! I used a gaiwan which was perfect for the long and thin leaves. The taste was fresh, delicate and quite smooth. The flavor didn’t change much even over 5 steeps. I also enjoyed the aroma a lot, super refreshing!
Flavors: Bamboo, Freshly Cut Grass
Tried this in my unending exploration for the perfect jasmine pearl. I was excited about this company but the tea arrived looking burnt. I wondered if they had pawned off the bad batch on me but I had purchased 2 bags and both turned out to be over processed. I have seen this with McNultys before as well but this was worse. It was a power punch with flavor but no subtlies, not fresh, overprocessed. I wont’ order from them again
Sorry, but this tea is not for me. I didn’t know what to expect (I just grabbed this cause it was a green) and was shocked to taste strong smoke. I do not care for smoky teas unfortunately. I gave the rest to the husband but it wasn’t for him either. At least it was just a sample though!
I can’t remember the last time I drank a Tie Guan Yin, which is something of a surprise as it’s become one of my favourite oolong varieties. I was more than pleased when I came across this one, not least because it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself. This particular Tie Guan Yin is from the Anxi Nature Reserve in Fujian Province, a major Chinese tea growing region (although one I seem to associate more with black tea than with oolong, strangely enough!)
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/26/anxi-tie-guan-yin-from-teasenz/
Okay twice now I’ve deleted my review of this part way through. This is why I started handwriting back when.
Okay so the dry leaves are whiter than any green tea i’ve ever seen before. I started an instagram for tea so you can see them for yourselves:
the dry leaf aroma is reminiscent of a lovely, subtle jasmine, some sweet grassiness, slight earth, and a wet-rock sort of a smell. It smells much better already than other jasmine teas I’ve had.
in the warmed gaiwan, I get a very similar aroma, just significantly sweeter
In the early steeps, there’s a creaminess, with strong jasmine notes, with a lot of dandelion tastes, and a good amount of sweetness, In the third steep, astringency and bitterness start to creep in, and it makes me feel as though the tea’s very.. genuine. I think the bitterness really helps to give the impression that you’re biting into a flower petal, the dryness in the mouth only adds to this effect. If I were someone who drank flavoured teas with any sort of regularity, and I was also someone who really liked florals, then this would be just what I’d been looking for in a tea. Of the few jasmine teas I have had, this is vastly superior. I got a peach-like note entering mid-late into the session. The jasmine flavour on this one was really well-done, no doubt numerous successive flower batches. The flavour never fades.
If you’re a jasmine tea person I think you’ll appreciate this
the dry leaves of this TGY looks and smells very nice, a lovely floral buttery aroma, the leaves are nicely balled and vibrant in colour.
The package says 100C for temperature, which I’m a bit uncomfortable with (is this typical for tie guan yins? I honestly don’t know, I’d never think to do them this high though). Well whatever, I’ll try and brew it there.
I think I’m a really atypical example, I have a lot of experience with green oolongs, mostly from taiwan, but very little experience with tie guan yin, this is my second or third ever, and it’s been a looong time since the last one, this should be interesting.
I get a nice buttery creamy grassy, spinachy aroma from after the rinse, the aroma’s very powerful, I can smell it from like a foot away,
The taste is very smooth, with a cooling sensation, there’s a very grassy taste to it, but it’s sweet like peas, like very freshly cooked peas, it’s incredibly aromatic, lovely fruity orange notes, sweet like candy my goodness this is delicious, I get candied lemon-lime notes, a nice thick body, some grape notes, there’s something so satisfying right when I swallow, it’s so thick and creamy in texture, it just coats the mouth, and the sweetness is just perfect, it’s like drinking cream right from the .. cream thing. It tastes like it should be really unhealthy. It’s just such a dessert-like tea.
I get further notes of green beans and cabbage entering in steep 3, there’s this teeny bit of that acidity that really bothered me in verdant’s mao xie, there’s also a tiny bit of astringency that enters here, but it’s so pure, there’s absolutely no bitterness with it that makes it really pleasant.
It loses a bit of complexity, and just becomes this fruity vegetal sweet soup, which actually happened on steep 4, increasingly on steep 5, also by this point the leaves had unrolled entirely, which seems a bit fast, but this could be the 100c brewing temp or maybe the leaves are just loosely balled, either way, this brewing style for this tea gave me a really concentrated sweetness and fruitiness in the first few steeps and then it sort of faded, creaminess and thickness are still there though.
There’s sort of a spiciness that comes forth, raddish notes,
I got maybe 6 or 7 steeps in until the sweetness faded and it wasn’t really enjoyable for me after that, I think this would be appropriate for quick dessert sessions, also this one might do really well western because it lacks some of that longevity, but damn that was tasty for those 3 steeps. It had me thinking it might’ve been the best green oolong I’d ever had, and if it lasted a bit more it would’ve been replacing the dayulin in my hall of fame.