560 Tasting Notes
The first steep was very vegetal, with a touch of floral and buttery notes. This steep reminded me more of a green tea, than an oolong- I was trying to figure out what steamed veggie this reminded me of (asparagus, maybe)!
That steep, at 4 minutes in 180F, was a little too long for me with the amount of leaves I used, so I cut the second steep down to just under 3 minutes. Now it’s smoother, with my ideal butter to veggie ratio.
So far the third steep is just like the last steep- rich butter and heady florals, with a touch lightly boiled asparagus, and a sweet melon finish.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Floral, Melon
I made up the rest of the sample, without destroying it this time (2 min. at boiling for first steep), and the balance of jasmine and milky oolong is now perfect. I’m not big on jasmine, but I can’t deny how smooth it is here: the cream, fruit, sweet, and floral notes work well together. Huge improvement from last night’s session (which was still pretty satisfying).
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Jasmine
On the first steep, This oolong has light roasted notes of nuts and barely, with a vegetal taste which is kind of minty, and almost like it’s lightly spiced with sweet cinnamon. The aroma is on the smooth side, hinting at fruit and nut flavours.
Third steep is my favourite so far. All the flavours mentioned about have been smoothed out to a sweet, nutty silk.
For me these notes are filling- I can almost forget I haven’t eaten anything yet. It’s a satisfying cup and quite the contrast to my two other Tea Ave samples, which are both flavoured/fragranced and use the Alishan Jin Xuan as a base.
On a side note, I love that Tea Ave includes the altitude, as well as the roasting and oxidation levels with scales, on the packets. It’s incredibly helpful and informative to an oolong newbie like me!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Mint, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Stonefruits
I forgot I had this steeping in the kitchen. It probably sat for 10 minutes while I was eating sour keys and staring into The Void. That’s exactly the last thing I wanted to happen with a jasmine tea (I find less is better with this flavouring). Luckily this tea appears to be a particularly light and forgiving one!
The jasmine scent and flavour is now akin to a Body Shop jasmine frangipani candle (extreme flower and slight cream). There is also a hint of floral/veggie bitterness, but it’s still drinkable.. and enjoyable.
I’m looking forward to the subsequent steeps, and a second session, so I can get a better feel for this tea. Right now it’s promising!
Addition— getting to my unconventional fourth steep now, and there is a substantial amount of pepper spice to the finish.
Flavors: Cream, Jasmine, Pepper, Vegetal
Tea Ave went above and beyond with their sample packages and labeling. I wish I was more gifted with words- I’d offer something besides a huge THANK YOU! I’m grateful there are people like Roswell Strange to make up for my lack.
‘Ginger’ made me decide to try this one first. It was a good choice. I re-steeped this about six time last evening (at a time I shouldn’t have been drinking tea), plus once more this afternoon, and it’s probably one of the best and most soothing tea sessions I’ve had since last spring.
The ginger is a vibrant, sweet finish to this silky Jin Xuan. I second the person who says they now want to try this base oolong unflavoured. It’s been so long since I’ve had a milk oolong.. my roommate doesn’t understand right now (she’s giving me a weird look as I go pacing about the apartment with my tea mug). It’s an exciting thing.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Ginger, Sweet
This is goodbye, Lemon French Macaron. I didn’t always get it right with you, but you never failed to be that warm, “in front of the fireplace with no deadlines” comfort tea. You came from an awesome joint order with OMGsrsly- forever associated with randomly buying quince, and kangaroo burger patties. Good times, old Macaron.
Please don’t leave yet.
Flavors: Almond, Cake, Lemon Zest, Meringue
I kind of like this one. I find the flavouring to be slightly boozy and absent of actual tea base, but at the end of the day it delivers on the chocolate macaroon front. It’s a decent dessert substitute/craving cutter. The aroma is nice, and it went well with milk too.
My new, tea-drinking roommate picked this up and insisted on making it today (this is a novelty). The only downside is now we no longer have a steeper/pot that hasn’t marinated in a dessert black tea; I’m going to have to find a new home for my fruity-green, white, and oolong teas again!
Flavors: Alcohol, Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla
This is labelled as a Nilgiri variety, the implications of which go completely over my head.
I don’t know how this stacks against other Nilgiri teas, but it does make me want to give the wide variety of Indian black teas another thorough chance. (Golden Tips Tea has a crazy all-encompassing sampler on their website).
The medium length leaves are mostly black with some golden-white, and red speckled throughout (could be a blend?). They steep up ruddy brown and green.
The tea has a fruity aroma and flavour, coupled with a smoky woodsy note that may very well come from the box- the things you realize after you’ve dumped the tea into a flaky-painted wooden box.
Flavors: Fruity, Nutty, Pepper, Smoke, Wood