191 Tasting Notes
My first taste of Jing Xuan which comes off to me as a lighter green buttery oolong with a medium floral taste. While I do not have enough experience with Taiwan oolongs to tell between different varieties this Jing Xuan has been the first time that I have encountered a buttery and floral green oolong combined together into one instead of the either or that I’ve often encountered. This is truly a very good quality oolong with an enjoyable sweet smoothness in the aftertaste, which I am glad that I ordered a 1 oz bag with my last order. Although quite honestly I am not sure what to fully think of it as while it is unique and difference I personally do not find it worth the $100 a pound price tag but then again I generally lean strongly toward the darker oolongs.
This one also came as a free sample from a different order with Ten Tea (Ten Ren’s online sales site). This one really surprises me by how good it tastes as quite honestly it tastes almost too good to be coming out of a teabag, especially one that contains a lot of really finely chopped leaves. The brew produces a taste of a very nicely darker roasted style of Ti Kuan Yin with both some smoothness and sweetness to balance out the brew. This would make an excellent office or travel tea for a dark oolong lover to have on hand for the situations where one’s options are limited to no tea or teabag tea.
I did not buy this tea but a box of the bags came free with a past online tea order with Ten Tea. Not bad for a teabag green tea, it has some slightly astringent notes and is a tad on the grassy side but luckily neither of them are too overpowering. Regardless I gave away the rest of the box to a friend who drinks mainly teabag teas.
After a double rinse and dumping the first 2 infusions in the hopes that the later ones would be better I gave up on this tea when the 3rd infusion was not any better. Way too smoky and reminds me a lot more of really bad green tea than raw puerh.
Wuyi Amber stands out as a nice surprise of its pleasant flavor and quality as it is not only the cheapest Wuyi oolong that I’ve had to date it is also likely the best quality one as well. The brew has a pleasant burst of spicy flavor which while contains some traces of smoke is not that strong so don’t be cared away if you do not like smoky teas. The robust initial taste is hard to really describe but I think the vendor’s attempts of hints of chocolate and spicy does it justice and butter and caramel for the lighter and lingering sweeter after taste. Although without the suggested flavor profiles I would probably just say an initial robust spicy roast taste that fades away into a smoother sweeter aftertaste. A very wonderful wuyi that I plan on sticking to when it is time to reorder for as long as this one is around.
Honestly I had very low expectations coming into this sample given a number of bad experiences with so called bargain cakes. Lacking an entire cake, I am not sure if this is a blended cake or a pure gongting cake as if it was blended with a cheaper grade of puerh it was done very well. As with the other gongting puerh that I’ve had before as it lacks any off tastes and has some smoothness to it but not enough that I would call it creamy or silky. I would say that this cake represents the quality mid-range ripe puerh well as it is a fairly good tea overall but lacks the extra quality that comes with the upper end premium cakes for an added price.
Brewed from a free sample from the vendor which was unfortunately too small of an amount for my larger ripe puerh yixing so I brewed this one in a gaiwan. The sample also contained a lot of dust and crushed leaves which I am not sure is at the fault of the cake or the person who broke up the cake. Even though the vendor claimed that rinsing was not needed for this extra clean puerh I started out with a quick rinse anyway for consistency purposes. The first infusion was clean and very light with a slightly fresh minty taste to it; which I think I might have under brewed. The next infusion I brewed longer and it was still on the light side with some smoothness and a light taste that reminds me of being a bit like Liu Bao. Depending upon one’s overall preference Liu Bao either comes off a as a cleaner taste than most ripe puerh or as a more plain and boring taste. Personally I am not that fond of Liu Bao overall so unless you do or you are curious about it I would not recommend this cake to you. I’m guessing that it probably would have been possible to get 2-3 more infusions out of the leaves but I had no desire to drink more of it so there was no third infusion.
This is probably one of the darkest rolled oolongs that I’ve been blessed to drink that was not overroasted to the point of having a burnt taste to it. This Premium Tieguanyin tea brings a wonderful sensational experience upon each sip in the range of flavors that roll upon my tongue. During the initial start of the sip I experience the initial roasted taste before it fades away into a sweet mellow smoothness that lingers in my mouth. The later infusions maintain the same shift, although it slowly becomes less subtle as the roasted taste slowly fades out and the sweeter mellowness becomes more predominate in the tea. In the end I lost count of how many infusions I was able to enjoy out of the leaves but I can safely say that it was over 5 which was really impressive for such a dark tea.
This one brews up a very beautiful golden amber color brew with a very enjoyable fresh flavor without any smoke or strong bitterness commonly associated with young green puerh. The background has a very faint astringency but in a good way that adds complexity to the brew that is well balanced out by a sweet smoothness. At around 3.5 years old this is a very nice puerh that has the extra “puerh notes” that set it apart from the stronger green teas and greener oolongs. It is wonderful sheng puerh samples like these that make me lament my body not being able to tolerate too much sheng puerh but in the end I conceid and admit that it is better to abstain for the most part than have my stomach complain for indulging in them too frequently :(
I wish I could have also tasted this tea when it was young to be able to understand how aging during the last 7 years has affected it. Like the other aged ripe puerh teas that I have gotten to sample it is not that impressive to me. While it lacks any off tastes of being overly musty, earthy or malty, it does not have that much else going for it. Overall the taste comes off to me as bland and washed out without much to be desired. Yet another example to support my view that beyond a year or so to let a new ripe puerh air out from any lingering off smells and tastes after postfermentation it does not make sense to age already artificially aged ripe puerh.