1336 Tasting Notes
I think Andrew might have given this to me years ago during his oolong mentorship with me.
I’ve got mixed feelings about Aged Teas, and I only get them from Andrew or if it’s from a vendor I trust. I am a basic tea drinker in that I look for teas with decent energy and a tasting profile that lets my brain imagine flavors akin to dessert so I don’t have to eat or drink said dessert. Sugar is bad for a type one diabetic. Tea is good for health, therefore good for a diabetic. Aged tea…is mummified tea. I need some flavor when I resurrect it from the dead, and this one does have flavor.
The description is fun with this one since I remember his quest for finding the smoothest aged tea possible. Unlike a lot of other Aged Teas, it doesn’t have the paint stain funk most do and has qualities very similar to an actual rock tea. Andrew pegged the profile is being like Rolo Candy, and I can see it. The dry leaf reminds me distinctly of coffee and caramel without bitterness or harshness. Drinking it up, caramel, roast, woodiness, and a little bit of nuttiness are prominent. Some notes that remind me of a lighter roast coffee, but incredibly smooth. The second steep gets out a little bit more dark chocolate/cocoa, though not as strong as the caramel and coffee notes.
Later notes have some florals, but in the way that coffee is “floral” with some light acidity. It’s age and char are more prominent in the later rebrews, getting woodsier into dark oak, some cedar. Here comes the woodstain resin and paint notes. The later brews are also a lot more drying with some bitterness.
Getting to the point, Andrew found a tea that’s aged particularly well and one that I can enjoy in my basicness. I’d recommend this to Wuyi fans and Tea nerds looking for some aged tea that is feasible in a heartbeat, but I can still see some people being detracted by the woodiness. Again, aged teas are bit of a niche thing that mega tea nerds invest a lot in, but I do think this one is a lot more approachable for intermediate drinkers than most.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Cedar, Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Wood, Drying, Dust, Forest Floor, Oak, Resin, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth
This one and the next few notes are going to be quick (after reading the length I wrote-LIES), as they are late submissions of teas that were released and out of stock last year.
First of all, this one is a bit unusual. It’s a Chinese Meizhan varietal processed as a greener oolong, and it’s very comparable to a Baozhong in its buttery body and array of florals. I’ve had it grandpa, western and gong fu. Gong fu would give me 5-7 servings using 20-30 second increments, Western 3 brews with a 2 minute beginning, and grandpa 2 rebrews in the tumbler. Gong fu is best to pay attention to the nuances in the tea, but it can do well with the other two styles as well since it’s fairly forgiving.
Like most of the green oolongs and Baozhong like teas I’ve reviewed so far, honeysuckle, orchid, and butter notes stands out. Some osmanthus, but it’s mixed with something softer I can’t quite pin on. There’s something kinda tangy I can’t put a word on yet, which contradicts the overall soft profile. Gong fu, there was more hyacinth than I anticipated. I could see some people using vanilla as a note, maybe coconut (texture, NOT FLAVOR) due to the creamy texture. Some grass, but more floral and creamy than vegetal. Soft sensation on the tongue, but thick enough to be viscous. There’s also a little bit of fruitiness, but it’s faint, and likely my brain telling me it’s a little bit sweeter when it’s probably just floral.
I probably would have guessed this was a Baozhong blind, yet the overall profile is a different direction with its softer florals and flavor. It’s not as vegetal, “tropical” or “acidic” as a Qing Xin oolong, and bears a lot of similarities to several Zhangping Shuixian I’ve had in its softened floral quality. I feel like I’m missing something in my description. I know it’s due to me constantly reviewing green oolongs, but I feel like there’s more to this one than its similarities to other teas.
Either way, I was really happy to get to try a greener version of this varietal. Meizhans tend to have a lukewarm reception on this site, and even when they’re darker, I tend to really like them without prejudice. Liking this tea was a given for me. I know that traditional styles of oxidation and roasting are better to preserve tradition and prevent a nuclear wave of green monotony from happening, but I like being able to try teas in different forms. Most of my 2020 tea selection were experimental teas that I really enjoyed, and some of which I’m excited to see again in the future.
I’m not sure if this one will come out again, but I do recommend Liquid Proust for unique developments for Tea Nerds.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Orchid, Osmanthus, Vanilla
I westerned this one up and had a third accident of brewing too long, but the flavor of this one is incredibly rich. The roast is fairly prominent, but it adds to the flavor rather than taking anything away. I’m picky with darker roasts since they can be too harsh, cooked, or lean way too much in the roasted honey direction. This one was a lot more even, and I’m just going to use the notes What-Cha described, adding on what I tasted:
- Sweet honey and grapefruit taste
- Background roasted hazelnut notes”
The last two are very prominent. It starts off lightly floral, then immediately leans into acidity with honey and grapefruit, middling and ending with distinct roasted hazelnut. There some smoke splashed into the aftertaste too, and I occasionally got vanilla in steep 2 with some malt every once in a while. The later rebrews are smokey with some lingering citrus and acidity.
Yet again, I will write another note when I’ve drank this properly with less leaves or shorter steeps, but the flavors were still rich and distinct without being overwhelmed by oversteeped bitterness. It’s very good, and I’ll savor it during the last few weeks of cold fronts during the opening of spring.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Grapefruit, Hazelnut, Honey, Roasted, Smoke
Finally! I tea I didn’t have to newly add? Who added it? OF COURSE EASTTEAGUY BECAUSE WE HAVE NEARLY THE SAME TEAS! Lol
I edited out some ranting. Essentially, Covid cases are up in my town, and we are in a weird position for the future since so many kids are behind and going through some tough stuff. Kinda put some glum on my birthday, and I am looking at what I can control over what I can’t.
I was extremely excited What-Cha offered some white Qing Xin. I’ve enjoyed some of the white tea I’ve had from Taiwan, but some of them can be a little bit too strong for me, especially if they are the usually black used variatals. Wang Family tea had two selections of the white of this varietal that were fairly limited, and now What-Cha has one. The leaves are HUGE, and vibrant with different bright shades of green, white, yellow, brown, red, and silver. The leaves smell like sourdough bread and honeysuckles.
Brewing it up western, Honeysuckle,Freshly Cut Grass, Bready Sourdough,Dry Pear, Mango, and lemon are the notes, getting a little bit fruitier as it cools down. Really enjoying this one. Will be writing more in the next few days to come. As of now and for the last two days, it kinda lost some lustre. I will have to be more careful since these are fairly delicate.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Drying, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Mango, Pear
Holy crap-a scented Andrew Liquid Proust Black! I was stoked for this. It’s been a few years since he’s barrel scented some stuff, the last being Rummy Pu which was so good. I was also stoked it was a Laoshan-I haven’t had these in a while. I’ve skipped them for a few seasons since the last batch I had from Verdant wasn’t as good as other years.
As for this lovelyness….it’s good and it drives me nuts that it’s going to be a limited release. I got two oz when I should have gotten more. Cherry Cordial Chocolate is what comes to mind, and it’s sooooooooo good. You can smell it from the bag, and then taste it from the tea.
I was going to do it western, but ended up gong fuing it because I used too many leaves by accident. 15 sec, and it’s boozy heaven. Later steeps lasted between a minute and 4 minutes. The alcohol is present, but it’s not overwhelming or overly flavored. Again, smooth chocolate, cherry, rhubarb, vanilla, scotch, and a little bit of sweet lingering taste with the perfect amount of drynesss and slight bitterness to off set the sweetness. Like many Laoshans I’ve had, it’s also buttery in texture. The rye fades in the rebrews, but the overall flavor profile remains as this tea gets more buttery.
Either way, I frickin love this. I’m holding off rating it before I jump to an immediate 100 due to my basicness when it comes to chocolaty black teas.
Flavors: Alcohol, Butter, Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Rhubarb, Roasted, Rye, Scotch, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
From Whiteantlers envelope dump! I look forward to these. I am going to be honest that I will have a hard time with some of the Pu-Erh leftover from the LP group buys (I’m having a hard time getting through some of my own), but they will be drank and they are deeply appreciated. The oolongs are my first hit.
Being the basic snob I am, I began with the 2018 Alishan. Dryleaf is extremely floral and fruity and peachy, bordering on scented from a distance, but nice and woodsy close up. I’m guessing there’s a hair of roast or more oxidation than the usual green Alishan. Brewing it up slop-fu-ly, 15, 30, 25, 33, 25, 35, ?, 60, ?, 3 minutes as of now…? means I lost track, and could have overbrewed it, but it turned out nice.
A lot happens. The rinse had slight honeysuckle, and the tea transitioned in the second and third steeps from creamy florals of hyacinth and a hint of a young red fruit I usually don’t get like cherry, to slight grassiness, melon, osmanthus hint, honeysuckle, then lingering sweet finish. Steep 25 sec is was sugarcane sweet, but floral and the remaining steeps were fuller and thicker with a nice deep yellow.
Later steeps got sweeter and fuller, and more of that weird red fruit. Some honey, still floral and creamy, but mostly sweet. It almost reminds me of a young cherry. I know I’m appropriating that from the notes of Camellia Sinensis’s Shanlinxi-unoriginal Daylon. Yet there is something fruitier about this one in later steeps. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an Alishan that has fuller fruit notes. Most of them from the last few years have been more vegetal, floral, and creamy than anything else-this is a good change of pace. It’s like a lighter greener version of Wang’s light roast Alishan.
While not super bold with its flavor, the balance and aroma of it is really nice. I was very pleased with this one. I wonder where you got this from Whiteantlers. It made my morning.
Only three teas or so left from the Swap Box.
Again, stoked about a Wuyi Origin Tea. This note will be shorter since I decided to test it out in my Phoenix Spirit Tea Tumbler, which was an early birthday gift. I know it’s a risk to grandpa a dancong, but I divided up my sample so I’d have just enough for a smaller vessel gong fu….don’t get me started on the teaware I have that is incomplete because a cup or a piece of it was broken in some divine accident.
This dancong actually took quite a bit of time to fully diffuse, starting off floral and lightly fruity-like honey and lemon in fresh hot water. The fruits further developed 8 minutes in, going back and forth between a floral orchid to honey, apple, apple juice, nectarine, and guava. Despite writing “lemon” in the beginning of this paragraph, this tea grandpa is not as citrusy as other Dancongs I’ve had, and I haven’t gotten the usual lychee note, though I may gong fu. There are some roasted nuts in the profile and some acidity, but it’s a heck of a lot smoother. It must be the 12 oz to 3 grams ratio.
I’ve gotten 3 brews of it so far, the first one having the most change and diversity in the notes. The other two are fruitier and a woodsier orchid, but still sweet and honeyed leaning more into apple as far as fruit goes, with some tartness or flavor acidity you get in things like peppers. There’s a little bit of “moss covered earth” rocks, and mineral for me, but it could be due to steeping in the vessel long. It’s super light and likely superfluous, yet I don’t see a lot of people getting it as a note for themselves. I think it’s my imagination popping images from my other senses, and I could just use "wet rocks "that’s already in the pre-set notes for steepster.
Overall, this one is very easy going and very mellow. Astringency or bitterness never showed up. I’ve seldom had a Dancong that works this well as tumbler fuel, though it could be because I lowered the ratio. I’m satisfied either way and very pleased. Not sure what to rate it, so I’ll wait until I gong fu it.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Guava, Honey, Mineral, Nectar, Nutty, Orchid, Roasted Nuts, Wet Rocks, Wet wood, Wood
One of the top teas I was looking to from our trade!
I’ve only had Wuyi Origin a few times, and always miss out on the season of teas I like from it due to indecision with shipping and which tea to pick. Most of the Wuyi Origin Teas I’ve had were from swaps, though I have a feeling that some of the black teas I’ve had from Trident were Wuyi origin teas.
First off, the dry leaf gave me some deeply woody impressions of maple and oak treas, and deep savory qualities of freshly baked crescent rolls. Testing it out after 10ish seconds, the flavor combo was awesome. Transitions were from floral, to oak, to maple, and then some lemon rind thrown just before the finish as it returns to malty and bordering breadsy. Second steep was 4 seconds longer, close to 14 sec, and the same flavors continued but with a really nice malty quality, being mostly savory and sweet. They pegged potato, which I can taste a little off like yams or sweet potato.
It inspired me to cook some maple miso teriyaki tempeh slices. It complimented the third brew of the tea so well, with some of the malt notes matching the weird salty sweet savory white miso and the dark maple I added in the sauce. As for the steep, it’s got a interesting minty finish after the floral oak, malt, pine in that order.
I ran out of drinking water, so I lessened the serving to 2.5 oz and released after 20 sec, and have yet to exceed that amount in brew five. I could have let it steep longer, but it was still rich. The oak and pine were heavy, bordering on resin or tree sap,. This tea reminds me a lot of the Floral Lapsang I had from Trident, which of course was more floral than what I’m drinking as the malt is heavier in what I’m currently drinking.
I’m going to push out more of this tea, but I’m really digging the malt and tree combo. I get picky with woodsy notes, but this one has such a nice combo between the florals, mint, and lemon rind notes that makes it really nice. Looks like I’m going to have to get more Wuyi in the future.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Mint, Oak, Pine, Resin, Sap, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
Really interesting flash steep one that keeps giving for days. I was a little concerned it would be tricky to brew, but flashing the hot water when I’m not paying attention was fine and it gave me plenty of variety in flavor.
While a bit sharp and bitter with it’s char, it’s got a pretty complex character that meshes smoke with some bright red and orange fruity elements amidst water stream minerals. My brain likes the combo because it gives me a lot of sensual output in my imagination, and adds atmosphere while I play Ghost of Tsushima. I know they drank Matcha and most teas were green from the Kamakura period, but the constant onslaught of rain, mountains, sunsets, fire and smoke vibe with this one.
Getting into more precise lingual abstractions of taste and smell, the flavor of the first cup came up with a note I very rarely taste in natural teas: goji berry. I got general fruitiness from the dry leaf, but it was not as pronounced as it was in the cup wet. It was after 10 seconds, but it was rich, a hint floral( orchid-it was not too obvious), incredibly honey sweet, and then finished with nice wisp of smoke in the finish.
Second steep amps up the minerals and the roast bordering on salty, but remains fruity broadening into gooseberry and tropical fruits like guava with the biting acidity of grapefruit. More steeps had more gloshes, and I amped up the steeping time to a minute in steep five, but it was too bitter, so I returned to quick flashes. The flavor improved, and while it had some sharp bitterness that was a little bit more floral, the denser notes of the fruits and charcoal remained.
Currently, it’s leaning more into fruity acidity, but the midtaste is kinda grainy and woodsy reminding me of dried bamboo. Leafhopper nailed the hops and grain.
I’m going to end the note here. It reminds me a lot of David’s Teas old Supreme Oolong they used to sell because of its mineral, fruit smoke “mead” combo. I really liked this tea, but I don’t see myself drinking it often because it can become pretty harsh even with flash steeps gong fu. I do think it’s a lot easier to brew than some dancongs that will take a lot longer to coax some flavor out of since this is consistently amped up in aroma and flavor even in the later steeps.
Definitely a more intermediate to advance drinkers tea that like flavor. As for rating, it’s a tossup between 84-87 for me. It satisfies my needs for what I like in Dancong, though I wouldn’t drink it often due to its sharpness. I’m really glad I got to try it. Thank you Leafhopper!
Flavors: Astringent, Bamboo, Bitter, Char, Charcoal, Citrus, Dried Fruit, Drying, Goji, Grain, Grapefruit, Guava, Honey, Mango, Mineral, Salt, Smoke, Tropical, Wood
Love this tea, and one that I thought I added and wrote about on Steepster, but alas, no.
I am working with the same year, 2019, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s got all the notes I associate with Shan Lin Xi-coconut, pineapple, pineapple skin, fresh greens, creamy texture, lingering after taste, and floral aroma that’s so lush and soft that it’s akin to a fabric softener sheet. It’s a little bit more vegetal than some other Shan Lin Xi’s I’ve had, but it’s definitely sweeter and more floral. It’s got enough complexity to boot gong fu going from floral, green, woodsy (slightly), dew, mountain air, jasmine, hyacinth, fruity, to honey and more floral mid steeps, and then sweeter, and it’s well rounded western or even as tumbler grandpa fuel if you are light on the leaves. I got asian pear in steep three yesterday, and it made my easter morning.
What I like about this particular Shanlinxi of the many I’ve had is that it’s incredibly forgiving and has a great energy. The L-theanine-caffeine combo is great and gets me through my mornings. It’s also got decent longevity going up to ten or twelve brews if you really leaf it and flash steep it, but it’s better to have a medium approach and medium to longer brewing time. It’s rarely astringent or too green.
The only downside is price. It costs $10 American Dollars for 25 grams, and though the price is lower as you go up to $28 for 75 grams, it’s still an investment for a tea that is worth the amount, but something that will hurt the pocket if it’s drank daily. Although it’s been my regular ShanLinXi for the last year and a half, it’s mixed in with the other assortment of teas I spend too much money on just to try. I do want to at least keep 25 grams of it around at a time because I like it that much.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruit Tree Flowers, Green, Green Beans, Honey, Jasmine, Pear, Pine, Pineapple, Tropical