827 Tasting Notes
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been working on getting through all of my oolong samples lately. I think it’s partially because I feel bad for ignoring them and partially because trying all of my free TeaVivre samples has made me want to try new teas rather than drinking ones I’ve already tasted. This sample came from boychik (who still hasn’t gotten back to me about what she wants me to send back!). I confess, I’m unsure what exactly “Formosa Oolong” is supposed to mean. I thought I read somewhere that it’s equivalent to Bai Hao, but these leaves look nothing like other Bai Hao teas I’ve seen. Hm, oh well! The leaves here are a dark chocolate brown and quite broken up, and there are a few stems included. Dry scent is heavy on the autumn leaves and roastiness.
The steeped tea smells very roasty, similar to a heavily roasted tie guan yin. It also tastes roasted, although I would say it’s more similar to a medium roast than a heavy one. I can see a bit of similarity to Bai Hao underneath – there’s a light raisin flavor and some nuttiness. Overall, this tea is a bit too one-note for me, it mostly just tastes like roasted autumn leaves. Not bad, but not great either.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Nuts, Raisins, Roasted
Another TeaVivre oolong! This was one of the free samples that Stephanie chose, and she was sweet enough to share a sample packet with me. I had such a good time trying my free oolongs, I figured why not one more? This one is not roasted, and the pellets are a lovely medium olive green with their usual widely varying size. Dry scent is very sweet with strong peach presence, light grassy notes, and a bit of floral.
The steeped liquid shares the strong peach aroma, and the floral aspect is now a bit heavier. I must admit, this is not my favorite flavor profile, and this is the reason I have been avoiding green oolongs for a while now. It’s heavily floral and it me, it sort of tastes like perfume. There’s a background flavor of steamed greens and butter, and the texture is quite thick, as I have come to expect from greener oolongs. I don’t get much peach here, surprisingly, perhaps a bit in the aftertaste. Not my style!
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Peach, Spinach, Thick, Vegetal
Time to try another lapsang! I must say, I’m a bit nervous for this one after not liking the lapsang from TeaVivre, but too bad! This is a sample from Dexter. The leaves are extremely small and short, and quite thin as well. They so smell quite smoky, but it’s a pleasant smoke like a campfire combined with smoked meat.
Hm… The steeped tea has a much stronger smoke smell, and it’s veering more toward charcoal but still has some of that savory character. Hm… Well I definitely prefer this one to the other lapsang I tried. I still don’t love it, but it’s better. There’s a strong woody flavor (which makes sense) and it reminds me of scotch a bit. I wish there was more of that smoked meat that was in the aroma, the smoke here is much harsher and it’s almost mineral. I added a touch of maple syrup, and it definitely does make this much more tasty.
Flavors: Mineral, Smoke, Wood
This sample is from Dexter. I’ve had a couple of golden needle tea before, and I must say this one looks completely different visually than the others. When I heard golden needle, I expect to see pure buds that are slightly puffy with pointed ends with an allover golden color. This tea is definitely not that. The leaves are medium size and quite thin and wiry. They twist and curl around quite a bit, and they’re half golden and half dark grey/brown. Dry scent is slightly sweet and bready with malty notes.
Mm, the steeped tea certainly smells very Yunnan. It has that slightly savory bread and sweet potato combination with perhaps a touch of smoked meat. Wow, this has quite a powerful flavor after 3 minutes. It’s not bitter, but it’s approaching those lines. Definitely a savory tea, with the substantial sweet potato notes that I generally find in a pure bud Yunnan. There’s a bready thickness along with a touch of smokiness. I can taste a touch of raw oats in the aftertaste.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Meat, Oats, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes
This one came from Dexter. I’ve never had a mulberry leaf tea before, so this promises to be interesting. The leaves are twisty and curly, they kind of remind me of bao zhong. The color is a medium-dark green with blue notes, similar to evergreen. There appear to be some chunks of macadamia nut or something similar mixed in.
I must say, the color is the steeped tea is somewhat… alarming. Honestly, it looks like swamp water and the fact that it’s a touch murky isn’t helping. :P It has an interesting sweet, almost creamy aroma that reminds me of sugar cookies. This is an interesting one. On one hand, it kind of does have a cookie-like taste to it. On the other, it also has a seaweed/steamed spinach flavor about it, and the two together is a bit of an odd combination. I’m not really sure what to think of this one…
Flavors: Cookie, Nuts, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet
This sample came from Sara. I find myself liking rooibos (and caffeine-free in general) blends more and more recently for some reason. It’s interesting how tastes change. Anyway! Visually, this tea is just red rooibos with some yellow cornflower petals added in for flair. It smells vaguely vanilla-esque.
The steeped cup mostly smells of red rooibos, with a bit of an almond extract flavor added in. Hmm… It tastes like straight rooibos. There’s a little hint of an almond flavor at the end/aftertaste, but otherwise it’s just woody rooibos. Since I’m unsure how old this sample is, I’m going to withhold a rating. Sad face.
Flavors: Rooibos, Wood
Well, after having that lovely bai hao earlier, I wanted more! This sample came from Blodeuyn, and I’ve had it for a while as well. Clearly I’m a slacker when it comes to tasting swap teas in a timely manner. The leaves look almost identical to the other bai hao – they’re medium-length and twisty and quite fragile. Dry scent is hay and autumn leaves with a touch of sweetness.
Steeped aroma has strong hay notes, but also something resembling pastry and some honey. The flavor is also strong on a combination of hay and pastry notes. There’s also a roasty autumn leaf flavor here. I must admit, I’m missing the strong honey notes that I found in TeaVivre’s version, and it’s hard to enjoy this tea as much after trying that one. This isn’t a bad tea, it just can’t hold a candle to the other. :(
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Hay, Pastries, Roasted
For some reason, I never tried this one from my Select box in… September? Whenever it was. I put it in my little oolong baggy and it’s been there ever since. Oopsies. Admittedly, the super heavy roast style of oolongs is not my favorite, but I do find them interesting and enjoyable every so often. These pellets are fairly large but irregular in shape, and the color is a familiar dark brown with some greenish hues. Dry scent is heavily roasty with some grassiness.
Hm, this one smells different from other heavy roast oolongs I’ve had. It’s slightly sweet with pear-like fruit notes along with the obligatory roastiness. Flavor-wise, there’s definitely a strong grassiness alongside the roasty, autumn leaf sort of taste. I can taste a hint of sweetness but I’m not really getting the pear from the aroma unfortunately. There’s definitely more sweetness in the aftertaste, but it’s more along the lines of honey rather than fruit. Tasty, but not my favorite.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Honey, Pecan, Roasted, Roasted nuts
It had been a while since I’d had a bai hao, so I thought I’d pull one out today to sip on while I made scones. This sample came from boychik (sorry it’s taking me forever to try all of your lovely samples!). Bai hao is definitely my favorite oolong so far, although the medium roast dong ding and tie guan yin are up there too. Anyway! The leaves remind me a lot of Darjeeling, with their myriad of colors (browns, silvers, slight purples). They’re about medium size and twisty, and very light in weight. Dry scent is haylike with sweet honey notes.
I confess, this cooled a lot while I was distracted with my sticky banana hands. So by the time I drank it, it was pretty much room temperature. However, that doesn’t seem to have put a damper on it at all! It has the most amazing sweet and luscious honey flavor, along with a lovely nuttiness and slight roastiness. So delicious! There’s also a baby touch of spice, perhaps cinnamon? This tea is so autumnal.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Honey, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Sweet
Another black tea sample from Dexter! The leaves are very thin and wiry, similar to jin jun mei. They’re about half black and half golden. Dry scent is malty and a little bit savory, which makes me a bit excited since I haven’t had a yummy savory Chinese black for a while.
Oh my… The aroma of this tea makes my skirt fly up a bit. It’s very heavy on the savory smoked meats with a touch of a bread accent. I hate waiting for tea to cool! :P Mm, definitely very smoky, but not in a harsh charcoal way. This tea reminds me of smoked beef jerky, and it’s making me extremely happy. There’s a bit of bready taste and thickness supporting the smoky flavor. So good…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Meat, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes, Thick