201 Tasting Notes
From the Sheng and Shou TTB.
Brewed the gongfu method with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the tuocha a 20 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 10, 30, 40, 60, 240.
Luscious aroma: cocoa and sugarcane arise when the tuocha is newly steeped, then loam and damp earth at the end of the session.
The liquor full-bodied, delectably creamy, and very dark in color yet clear. The flavors are bittersweet, a combination of dark cooking chocolate and black coffee. I notice that the chocolate tends to rise to the roof of my mouth while the coffee sticks to the tongue. The flavors sweeten and become less bitter as the session goes on. An earthy note then appears.
The tuocha gives away a rich liquor right away, but too much too quickly, as the flavors weaken after the fourth steep, hence the really long ultimate infusion time. Now, this comes from using a ceramic gaiwan. I’m certain a yixing pot would be more generous.
Ugh, it snowed for most of the morning and some of the afternoon (just flurries but still – UGH). At this point of the year, the crocuses would be in bloom. Even spring migration is stalled! Temple Stairs is definitely a comfort in this delayed “spring”.
Thank you for the sample, Just Organic Tea!
The aroma of this one smells soooo good. I rinsed my iced tea pitcher with hot water for a few seconds and dropped in the tea bag before heating up some more water. While I waited for the water to come to a boil, the raspberry filled the pitcher. Yum!
Taste-wise, almost like the strawberry iced tea, the raspberry flavoring could also be stronger – just some more flavoring to be even more enjoyable. Even though the temperature today didn’t reach above 45 this was still refreshing!
Thank you, Tea Ave, for the sample!
Prepared with the gongfu method, using a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times: 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120.
I appreciated the aromas more than anything else. The dry aroma smells fruity, very jam-like. These fruit notes are magnified after the first steeping. It was like a giant fruit salad, with an odd combination of grapes, strawberries, apricots and kiwi. Consistently rich aroma. After every infusion, I spent a couple minutes just smelling the leaf from the bowl before drinking the liquor. So delicious! I had somewhat a hard time prying my nose away. The aroma from the aroma cup was next to nothing at first, but the more and the longer I steeped the leaf, the stronger the liquor aroma became: light and honey-light, ending with cinnamon.
The liquor is clear, full-bodied, and flavorful. The first infusion is mildly fruity with a hint of honey. It tastes of high mountain air – buoyant and stimulating. Honey makes an appearance in the second infusion.
Up until the third infusion, the color of the liquor was pale yellow. SUDDENLY – it darkens to amber, a deep honey gold. The honey note becomes a lot richer as well, and the texture much thicker. A little tingly on the tongue. This is the high point of the session.
Afterward, at the fourth infusion, the honey taste lightens, but it taste even richer, as if it upgraded to the best organic honey one could get a hold of. Also at the this point, the liquor aroma smells like the first few days in which the all of the flowers begin to bloom in springtime.
The flavors continue to lighten in the final infusions. Done at this point. Sure feels more like spring now!
Thank you, Tea Ave, for the sample! Milk oolong makes me a little sick, so I was nervous to taste this tea…
I prepared this tea three ways: gongfu, Western, and cold-brewed.
First, brewed with a ceramic gaiwan, gongfu-style. Steeping times: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180.
The dry leaf aroma, as expected, smells milky and buttery. Maybe a little gingery? The wet leaf aroma has none of that: fresh flowers rise from newly steeped leaves, then roasted chestnuts and pecans.
The liquor is a clear, pale yellow. The texture is a little thick. Medium-bodied. Though flavorful, the notes don’t evolve much throughout the session. At the first infusion the liquor was buttery, but then the subsequent infusions were much sweeter and floral, with a perfumed aftertaste. Light like a cool spring afternoon. Calming feel, a breeze in the sunny garden.
The Western method doesn’t yield the same power. Wasn’t so appealing, unfortunately (thought I’d use this method for an oolong because it’s been years since I’ve last done it). Floral, full-bodied, no ginger.
Lastly, I drank this cold-brewed, then added ice cubs. I liked this method the most. So light and refreshing! The liquor was softly floral. A buttery note also appears. It’s not so strong as it comes off when hot-brewed, but subdued, aligned well with the flowers, allowing me to to drink and appreciate it without feeling nauseated. Finished with a wonderful stone fruit aftertaste!
I’m so used to taking ginger in my tea so strongly that I couldn’t tell it was there. Weird!
I love drinking iced hibiscus, straight. Like others, I usually stay away from blends because it often tends to overpower other ingredients if the portion is off. Might as well drink it by itself! The orange peel in this particular blend challenges the hibiscus, creating a strong, tart and citrus-y combination, each equally showing its character, curbed yet by the cinnamon. Adding cinnamon to sweeten teas has never occurred to me (unless it’s masala chai), certainly not to hibiscus. Hibiscus and cinnamon seem like a strange pairing but it works really well. The dry tea bag smelled nice, too. No sign of the lemon myrtle – too quiet to stand up with these loudmouths. Regardless, I drank the whole quart throughout the day and enjoyed this blend.
Thanks to *Just Organic Teas" for the sending me a sample!
The mango flavoring smells really good! It was like a mango smoothie. As the bag steeped, I could also smell the chamomile, which, as I found out last night, makes a good pairing with mango.
I’m more than wary of boiling green tea. It has this sour, bitter taste, and that’s exactly what I get when I taste the liquor. The more ice, the better. Diluting makes the mango and citrus stand out more. However, that taste stays in the background. Still, I find the entirety of the tea refreshing.
This one isn’t for me, but I very much like the idea of a mango-flavored iced tea.
Thank you so much for the sample, Lulu!
Brewed with the gongfu method, using a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times: 60, 120, 90, 120, 150, 180.
This is my fist Oriental Beauty. As I waited for the water heat, I took the time to look at the dry leaf sitting in the bowl. Short, slightly twisted leaves, medium and dark brown (lovely shades), with a few having white-ish or golden fuzzy tips.
I didn’t know how to take in the dry leaf aroma. Freshly dried flowers perhaps. The wet leaf aroma after the first infusion was very fruity – starfruit and grapes. Following the other infusions, I smelled freshly dried flowers again, mostly lillies.
The liquor golden yellow. Beautifully clear in my white cup. The liquor also has a thick texture, a medium-body, and consistent very sweet notes. The first infusion is juicy, and there is an apricot aftertaste.
An explanation to the weird steeping times: I MADE AN ERROR. My oven timer can only be set by the minute, so I had to put it for 2 minutes instead of 1 minute and 20 seconds. I lost track of the time while think of the aroma so the leaf steeped for two minutes! I had intended to strictly follow Lulu’s instructions…. Luckily (phew), the second infusion turned out to be more than fine. Pure, unadulterated, organic clover honey. It was an enjoyable cup! Going back to a shorter steep, the third infusion is fruity sweet with prominent mineral note and nutty aftertaste. The fourth is similar, except the liquor becomes even more sweeter as I let it sit in my mouth, allowing the thick sweetness of honey to return. The fifth and final infusions also drip with honey.
A mellow qi. I began to feel like the golden yellow color sitting in my cups towards the end of the session.
This was a good first experience with Oriental Beauty!
Thank you for the sample, Just Organic Tea!
It’s very malty, to the point in which it’s bitter. I have three cups left sitting in my iced tea infuser, so I would change the instructions to fit my personal taste by adding another half quart or a full quart of water later. For this cup, I put in a splash of milk to temper the strength, and it works. This Ceylon black is nicely decent, an everyday black tea that makes for a refreshing iced tea for when I’d want something more robust.