579 Tasting Notes

93

I love straight teas that taste flavored. This one smells and tastes very tropical and fruity. The wet leaf has an strong aroma of juicy fruit and honeycomb. The tea starts off with white peach and coconut, gentle florals and a soft body. Steeped further, pineapple and a little creaminess develops. There’s a bit of minerality and a delicious lingering fruitiness. The pina-colada flavors remind me a lot of WP’s Golden Lily. Come to think of it, it has some milky tones too.

Only negatives are some rather large twigs and the flavor runs out pretty quickly. By the 4th steep, most of the flavor had been wringed out. All in all, a very pleasant and satisfying tea!

Flavors: Coconut, Floral, Milk, Peach, Pineapple, Tropical

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Rasseru

twigs arent necessarily a bad thing, they add sweeter flavour

LuckyMe

@Rasseru – interesting, i thought all the flavor was in the leaf. they’re just a little annoying because the gaiwan lid won’t stay closed

Daylon R Thomas

Now I know to get that one.

Rasseru

the stem part has catechins that add ‘mellow sweetness and aesthetically undesirable’

LuckyMe

@Daylon – let me know if you’d like a sample. it really is a good tea.

Daylon R Thomas

I’d love a sample. I’ve been debating on whether or not I wanted to try more from that company.

White Antlers

If you want a mind changer regarding twigs, get some Malawi Satema Antlers white tea from What-Cha. It is almost all twigs and sweet as your first kiss.

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98
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
579 tasting notes

After months of anxiously waiting and dreaming of this tea, I’m ecstatic to be reunited with it once again. And it’s just as good as ever. The dark green leaves scattered with pink buds are visually stunning. The scent of the dry leaf is pretty intense, but the cherry blossom and sencha are in perfect harmony with each other. You can tell they’ve used a high quality sencha base. The tea is grassy and buttery with a hint of floral cherry flavor. Nothing fake about the sakura flavor either. It’s light and very natural, similar to salt-pickled sakura blossoms but without the saltiness.

I underleaf by a lot but otherwise closely follow Den’s steeping times and temps. The cherry comes out more in the first two infusions while the 3rd is mostly sencha. Lately I’ve started blending it with other teas with great results. I cut it with regular sencha when I want to tone down the sakura flavor and genmaicha for added nuttiness. And it’s incredibly refreshing cold steeped.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Of the five teas I purchased from BTT, this was the least impressive. I have to agree with the other reviewers, this Golden Lily pales in comparison to Whispering Pines. It has a very buttery quality, as in someone dropped a pat of butter in my cup. Steeped gongfu there is also a bit of floral and a touch of sugarcane sweetness. But there’s no real complexity to this tea. It’s drinkable, but kind of forgettable.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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99

My go-to tea right now and one I foresee becoming a perennial favorite. This isn’t just tea, it’s an experience – one I would describe as walking through a fresh meadow of flowers on a spring morning. It’s very versatile and forgiving to any steeping method. Different brewing times and temperatures reveal different qualities and flavors. Grandpa steeped, it brims with lovely florals, creamy vegetal tones, and a luscious aroma. When gongfued, it transforms into a high mountain tea with a richer, full-bodied flavor and that distinctive gao shan aftertaste. Other times, it can resemble a light TGY. Personally, I think continuous steeping gives the best flavor and is economical to boot.

I’m impressed by its longevity. I get 4-5 awesome steeps from just a smattering of leaves in a tall glass. To me that speaks volumes about its quality of the tea and makes the price point more palatable.

I can’t help but compare this to the other competition-grade bao zhong I tried from Taiwan Tea Crafts. That too was an excellent tea but to me BTT’s has a more complex and ethereal flavor. Then again, the other one is a spring harvest so it’s probably not a fair comparison.

Flavors: Flowers, Gardenias, Orchid, Rainforest, Sweet, Warm Grass

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Zennenn

I’ve never done continuous steeping successfully but I want to try it again after reading your review! With this tea of course. :]

Daylon R Thomas

How does it compare to the main stock on BTTC? That one was too vegetal for me personally, but I’ve really enjoyed Baozhong’s from the past especially in coconout/pineapple blends.

LuckyMe

@Zennenn – try using slightly lower temp initially and refilling with boiling water when its 1/3 full. works for me with most teas

@Daylon – never tried their regular bao zhong, but this one is more floral and buttery

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57

If I had to describe this tea in one word, it would be broccoli. That’s literally what it tastes and smells like. It’s very strange, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tea with such a strong vegetal flavor before. I’ve experimented with temperature and strength, but no matter what it always ends up tasting like a cup of boiled broccoli. What makes it all the more unusual is this is Yuuki-Cha’s highest grade of matcha yet tastes very different than their other less expensive matchas which are actually pretty good.

Despite the flavor, all is not lost because this still works in matcha lattes. It has a vibrant green color and whisks up thick and frothy. There’s none of the bitterness that you find in low quality matcha either. It’s just not something I can drink straight.

Flavors: Broccoli, Vegetal

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C

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88

Backlog.

One of the more interesting BTT oolongs, I enjoyed how the flavor evolves from steep to steep. The tea starts off vegetal and flowery with a light body and clean taste. A wonderful orchid and honeysuckle aroma wafts up from the gaiwan. A pear like fruitiness develops in the second steep growing stronger as steeps progress, followed by a lingering floral aftertaste. Lots of sweet notes and an occasional hint of tropical coconut. Around the fourth steep, the mouthfeel becomes thicker and more minerality comes into play but it loses some complexity.

To me, this tea straddles the fence between light and high mountain oolongs. Earlier steeps are lighter, and closer to low-oxidized oolongs in taste and goes on to become fuller and more viscous later. Just an all-around wonderful tea and a keeper for sure!

Flavors: Coconut, Flowers, Fruity, Pear, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

Thanks to Stephanie for letting me sample this tea. I was feeling under the weather last week and reached for this to soothe my sore throat and cold. Although my tastebuds were a little wonky from being sick, I found it quite enjoyable and vastly prefer it to run-of-the-mill medicinal teas.

This tea is herbaceous and spicy, both in taste and smell with a hint of mintiness. The herbaceousness dominants the first steep but remains pleasant, never medicinal. A mellow ginger flavor accents the tea and gives a nice peppery finish. The second steep was even better. Lemony, less spicy and slightly sweet. I didn’t detect the rose or goji berries though that’s probably because I didn’t scoop any in my tea spoon.

This is a great tasting tisane whether or not you’re sick. I think it will appeal to people who don’t like herbals. Really wish Verdant still carried this tea.

Flavors: Ginger, Herbaceous, Mint, Peppercorn, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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78
drank Lishan Oolong by Tea Ave
579 tasting notes

Backlog.

Thanks to Tea Ave for providing a sample of this tea. The dry leaf has a fantastic sweet floral aroma that’s heightened after steeping. The first infusion is vegetal with bitterness masking the high mountain flavor. Some sweetness and mineral notes start to emerge with the second steep. The tea really begins to unveil its flavor with the 3rd and 4th steeps. Most of the bitterness has faded and the tea develops a thicker mouthfeel. Nice balance of nectary sweetness and vegetal. There is some honeysuckle although the floral aroma doesn’t really come through in flavor. Not a whole lot of complexity but enjoyable nonetheless. By the fifth steep the bitterness is gone as the tea transitions to a smooth, well rounded flavor with a hint of citrus. A seaweed flavor greeted me on the sixth steep signaling the tea had reached the end.

Overall impressions – an enjoyable everyday jade oolong with more of a vegetal character and wonderful aroma.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Nectar, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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91

Another stellar oolong from BTT. I am surprised at how good it is considering this is a budget tea.

Steeped grandpa style, it bears a resemblance to bao zhong – flowery, light bodied, and very fragrant. Gongfu style though is where it really shows off its flavor. First steep bursts with lilac and gardenia and an unexpected sugarcane like sweetness. Intense floral aroma and honeyed notes. As the steeps progress, the sweetness subsides, a subtle milkiness sets in and it develops a slightly thicker mouth feel. The florals continue to get stronger leaving behind a lingering orange blossom like aftertaste.

Really enjoyable and miles above the four seasons oolongs you’ll find elsewhere. A great daily drinker at this price point.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sugarcane

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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58
drank Ginger Lily Oolong by Tea Ave
579 tasting notes

If I could sum up this tea in one word, it would be bland. The flavor is neither bad nor good it’s just missing. Seriously, it tastes like you’re drinking hot water. I tried brewing it western style and gong fu to no avail. Western style does however gives a glimpse of what this tea wants to be. There is a faint gingerbread-y, cinnamon-y flavor that reminds me of speculoos cookies. I just wish this flavor were stronger. There isn’t much actual ginger flavor though, nor does the jin xuan come through. Pretty forgettable and my least favorite tea of the TeaAve samplers.

Flavors: Cookie, Ginger, Spices

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Teaave

Thanks for sharing your Ginger Lily experience, it is too bad that you did not enjoy this tea. Each person has a different palate, and hopefully there was something you enjoyed among the sampler. Please feel free to send us an email and let us know if there’s anything we can do to improve your Tea Ave experience.

Cheers,

Heidi

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Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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