327 Tasting Notes
Acquired through the Regional Group Buy.
The directions say 195 degrees, but since I don’t have that setting on my kettle, I went with 190 and then lowered it to 185 in the middle of the session. Prepared semi-Western, semi-gongfu method, with a glass tea pot. Steeping times: 2, 3, 4, 6.
I don’t know when the tea was processed, but the dry leaf aroma smells very fresh and interesting. It’s both savory and sweet, with notes of buttered boiled beans, peaches, and sea salt. I let the leaf sit in the pre-heated pot for a bit and smelled a more vegetal aroma, which reminded me of Lu Shan Yun Wu. The wet leaf aroma – still savory – is also sweet, this time in a high mountain oolong way.
Overall, the liquor is light green, clean, and full-bodied, having a bright and crisp personality. The texture is creamy. Infusions one through three taste like the wet leaf aroma – savory with the sweetness of a Taiwanese. Wenshan Baozhong specifically comes to mind. The last sips leave me with a dry mouth, but a long-lasting nectarine aftertaste. A minty note makes an appearance in the aftertaste after I finish the third infusion.
I then took a longer break that lasted a couple hours. The fourth infusion tasted completely different – sweet and grassy like a young sheng.
This kind of green tea doesn’t suit my tastes. I prefer the sweeter varieties over the savory. And after having tried a few Wenshan Baozhongs, I concluded that while I can stomach them and do like how they taste, I don’t particularly go out of my way to experience them over and over. Regardless of these thoughts, I do think that this green tea is good quality. But it has flavors that someone else would appreciate more.
Purchased for summer cold-brewing purposes. Didn’t sample before.
I had only one Magnolia Oolong prior to Tea Ave’s – from Tea District – and loved it. I immediately declared this floral oolong to be my favorite cold-brewing tea. I looked forward to trying Tea Ave’s. The base is a higher quality Alishan oolong, which is light and sweetly floral, blending very nicely with the magnolia flowers. (I’m not one to pick out specific flowers in floral oolongs, and that’s as detailed as I’ll get.) Neither overpowers the other.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed. I got exactly what I wanted: an incredibly delicious and refreshing Magnolia Oolong that detracts from the feeling of high humidity suffocating the self.
Cold-brewed every bit of what I had – just what I had bought this for. It is summer…
I had only one Osmanthus Oolong before – three years ago, belonging to the Tao of Tea – and I didn’t take to it because of my newb-ish tendencies to overleaf in a Western teapot. It came off as overpowering and sour, turning me off from Osmanthus Oolong. (I’m in no way bashing the Tao of Tea’s blend since the manner in which I prepared theirs was due to improperly brewing it.)
I decided to give it another shot this late-spring and try 25g of Tea Ave’s – without sampling beforehand. At that time, I thought that I should have checked the base tea before purchasing it, and before the package arrived. Jin Xuan. I don’t like Jin Xuan. I can’t stand how buttery it tastes. It makes my stomach feel ill. I had this variety from three different companies and ended up not changing my mind.
That was infusing Jin Xuan in hot water. Of course, I was willing to give Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong a shot. Live and let live. This time, I would only be cold-brewing it. At first, I first noticed what I dreaded: the heavy buttery quality. But it was more muted. I continued to drink my first glass without a problem.
The more I drank, the more the more I tasted Jin Xuan’s floral flavors, and the buttery flavor blended with the osmanthus flowers. The cold-brewed Jian Xuan produces a full-bodied, very flavorful, and thickly creamy liquor. I think I was able to withstand it even more because the osmanthus was just as strong. Not to say this Osmanthus Oolong is strong – though full with flavor, it feels refreshingly delicate.
Overall, this is tasty and very, very refreshing on ice. I enjoyed every sip. If a floral oolong has Jin Xuan as the base, I won’t hesitate to try now. Additionally: Osmanthus Oolong now rivals my love for Magnolia Oolong, which I consider to be my favorite, go-to cold-brewed summer tea.
I have tried another Osmanthus Oolong since. I concluded that Tea Ave’s is more high-end. Theirs is more expensive than others I’ve researched, but it shows in the quality of the Jin Xuan. However, it is still affordable. I look forward to buying more next year. If you want a more special floral oolong, you can go for this one.
Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. Ratio of 1g of leaf per 20ml of water. I followed Bitterleaf’s infusion instructions before switching to my own. Gave the leaf a 7 second rinse. As was promised, I got more than 10 infusions (14) even with a higher ratio: 10 sec, 10, 15, 22, 29, 36, 40, 60, 90; 2 min, 4, 7, 15.
This is my first experience with Moonlight White. While I’m unable to compare this other Moonlight Whites offered by other companies, I do know that I had a fantastic experience with this one.
First off, dat leaf: https://www.instagram.com/p/BIcp9kABWr5/
I was floored by how aromatic the dry leaf when I opened the pouch. Incredibly sweet with honey and a hint of blueberry! My kettle spent a good time reheating itself because I couldn’t tear my nose away. After resting in the pre-heated gaiwan bowl, the leaf smelled like – oh yes, it did – marshmallow fluff and toasted marshmallows. I thought for a second they may have added some marshmallow root the scent was that uncanny. When I rinsed the leaf, the aroma had more of a baked quality, resulting notes of blueberry crumble and gooseberry cobbler arising from the gaiwan. In spite of this richness, the aroma was very light. Later in the session, the wet leaf aroma became less complex and generally smelled of tart berries.
The first couple infusions produced a pale yellow soup with a light body, delicately tasting of hay and marshmallow root. Following the third infusion to the end, I was hit with a creamy, thick, and medium-bodied soup. It was so rich with a honey!!! Plus the marshmallow root note strengthened (though it didn’t even come close to the same intensity as the honey). I was so surprised how sweet this tasted and how creamy it felt. I let my piggy tea pet Georgie Pie down this session because I was so stingy xD (I did eventually pour some on him)
Also, the color had changed to bright orange and continued to deepen in shade. Beautiful in a white porcelain cup no matter the color.
I’m not much of a white tea drinker (can’t remember the last time I drank some). Moonlight White blew me away. Or keeping Bitterleaf’s elephant theme, swept me up and charged away!!!
Brewed with a Western method, in a ceramic tea pot.
I had to purchase this from reading the ingredients list. I like trying interesting herbal bends, and this blend seemed too irresistible not to purchase. I’ve been drinking down the two ounces since last October.
When I had my first cup, I didn’t know what to make of the taste. The combination of flavors created something very knew to me, and I was confused. I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I’m not good at picking out certain flavors for certain teas, and this one was one of those teas. But the more I drank from my initial ounce, the more it grew on me.
The infusion is purple-brown dark and opaque. It feels thick in the mouth. It tastes fruity and sweet from the elderberries, and like licorice. (I’m not licorice fan, but I also don’t dislike it. For any licorice-haters, you might want to take the chance anyway.) The chicory and marshmallow root contribute a bitterness to counteract the sweetness.
The interactions among each of the ingredients must have been what tripped up my taste buds the first few times I drank this blend. I now consider Elder Grove a permanent addition to my stash. It’s a wonderful winter evening drink. Comforting and warming. A must-try for herbal blends lovers.
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a five second rinse, let it sit for five minutes, and then gave it another five second rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 25, 40, 80; 10 minutes. (whopper of a jump, right?)
Dry leaf aroma: leather, earth.
Heated bowl and wet leaf aromas: sweetness of cocoa. Holy cocoa!
The soup right off the bat is dark red in color and has a creamy texture. It takes the first several infusions for the sourness of fermentation to disappear completely. Traveling in the box may have helped some. There is an underlying sweetness that totally takes over at the fifth infusion, which is clear of fermentation and in appearance. Five to the end taste very much the same, of loam and leather and a bit of chocolate. The aftertaste is very sweet and tastes like Raisinettes.
This shou doesn’t taste or feel rich – it’s a milder one. One could drink this in the summer no problem (regardless of the fact that today was overcast and cooler summer day). Aptly named. I think this is off to a good start for aging. Good beginner shou, too.
Gongfoolery with my tea pet, Winona: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHNMeUbB9bC/
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf two 5-second rinses and let it rest for 10 minutes. Steeping times: 15, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50; 2 minutes, 4, 8, 20.
Dry leaf smells of chocolate and leather. In heated gaiwan bowl, of hot cocoa and sticky rice. The wet leaf aroma changes: begins with sticky rice, then evolves to prunes, then to a chocolate-fruit note reminded me of those dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.
This is originally from the regular pu’erh TTB, added by Rich. Having written the only other review, he commented on how bitter this shou was he tried it around a year ago. I think this is aged OK. While there was an under-note of bitterness until the seventh cup, this tastes nicely sweet and chocolately.
The soup is clear dark orange-red, clean-looking. The first cup is sour, with some fermentation, but tastes of chocolate just a little. Following the second cup, the sweetness and the chocolate note strengthen. They reach a plateau with the seventh cup and continue to be present at the last cup. From the eighth cup to the end, I can also taste fresh cedar wood.
The soup is full-bodied but feels light. Not a rich shou. Easier on the stomach, too (also in his review, Rich commented he got a stomach-ache). To get a better sense of an unbiased session, I should have used a porcelain cup, but I wanted to use a ruyao cup, which affected the soup in that it was creamy and very smooth.
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times 2 x five, 5 x five, 8, 10, 10, 15, 18, 20, 30, 45; 1 min, 2, 4, 10.
The dry leaf on its own smells of tobacco, clove and fennel; resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, of fresh leather and red grapes. The wet leaf aroma evolves throughout the session. Beginning: grassy and muscatel. Middle: tobacco-y, smoky. End: very grape-like.
The soup color starts off as light orange but is deep yellow by the end. Thick texture; creamy at certain points. Cup 1 is very bitter, tasting of sour smoke. 2 through 7, unexpectedly, taste like smoked salmon. I need a bagel and cream cheese to go with this!
After this, there is a turning point: a grape note appears with menthol, replacing the salmon. Feels cooling in the mouth. The soup continues to become sweeter and fruitier. No more bitterness. At cup 16, the grape note is traded with apricot, and the menthol stays as an aftertaste.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the sample!
Gongfu session with a glass pot. No rinse. Steeping times: 10 sec, 15, 10, 25, 45, 35, 45, 60, 90; 2 min.
Based on the website’s description, I expected a soft-going aroma, but that is not the case. The leaf – dry and wet – is very aromatic. Beany, buttery, grassy, and a little sweet. Fills the pot easily and escapes. Additionally, I smelled a little tobacco in the wet leaf after the second steep.
The liquor is pale green, thick, and full-bodied. Full of flavor from beginning to end. For the couple steepings, I taste strong and creamy notes of buttered vegetables, beansprouts. A little bit salty. They are very much like a thick sencha, having umami like a gyokuro. Beginning with the third steeping, the flavor becomes gentler and sweeter. Each cup finishes with a cooling mint leaf. I felt considerably more energetic after drinking the sixth steeping (I consumed 1-6 within two hours, about 12 oz worth).
Buttery green teas aren’t to my taste – they tend to be too heavy for my stomach. However, while this tasted rich, it didn’t feel rich. It was tolerable. Even though I did not take to loving this, I appreciated the mint finish and aftertaste most. I recommend this as an excellent summer tea. The brewing temperature may be a little high for summer, depending, but it’s worth it for the cooling note.
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Brewed semi-gongfu/semi-Western method with a glass test tube steeper. Amount of leaf leaf is actually 1.8g since that was all that was left. No rinse. Steeping times: 1 min, 1’ 30", 2’, 4’, 8’.
This Dian Hong has the most hot cocoa-like aroma I’ve encountered thus far. I smelled malt the first second I stuck my nose in the packet but it quickly paved the way for a powerful chocolate powder. I may be fooled if I were blindfolded. Having sat in the heated steeper, and being washed with water after the first infusion, the cocoa is magnified. Chocolate deluxe. Death by chocolate.
The liquor is beautifully golden orange, having a full body and creamy texture. The fannings and small bits were about a fourth of the amount of leaf I took from the packet, and I had thought they contributed the strong malty note one would in certain Assams. However, that seems to be a characteristic of this Dian Hong. The malt stays the entire session, but gradually lessons a little. Inverse proportion: there is hint of honey-molasses sweetness in the second infusion but the sweetness strengthens.
Overall, rich and strong. A good Dian Hong for every day, especially when one’s spirits need lifting and you’d want a nice hongcha.