578 Tasting Notes

2 tsp for 500mL water @ 90C, steeped four minutes.

I got two excellent infusions: lots of body and flavour. The oolong itself is mild and slightly floral. The ginseng powder is lovely, just sweet enough, with plenty of ginseng lift. I expect I could have gotten a very good third infusion, too.

Dry leaf: little green pebbles. Cute.

Wet leaf: deep dark green, shiny.

Liquor: pale yellow and a slight green tinge for both infusions. Light to medium body. Some “bite” from the ginseng, which I really like. I’ve not been able to get ginseng oolong for at least a year, so this was a treat. I’d recommend this without hesitation.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @ 95C, steeped five minutes.

Yeah. I know. Water’s probably too cool. I made the tea in a double-walled glass beaker that can’t take water over 93C, so I;m pushing my luck as it is.

Still, this tisane shuodl have a little more flavour and aroma. Very little scent, and what I do get is of rooibos, not strawberry. I’m glad this blend has no hibiscus, but it does lack something. The rooibos is not woody, but it is flat and nearly tasteless. The flavouring — artificial? natural? fruit0based? the label only says “flavouring” — doesn’t add much.

I don’t enjoy giving poor reviews. This is two in a row for Citizen Tea. Jeez, now I’ve got tea guilt.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @95C, steeped four minutes thirty seconds.

I often steep China black teas in water just off the boil to avoid bitterness, especially in lower-end Yunnans and Keemuns.

It didn’t help. This Golden Monkey disappointed me: bitter and woody. Something like … earth, I think, sort of a dank smoke. I know, that sounds terrible, and I really don’t want to slam this tea. other Yunnan Golden Moneys I’ve tried are lighter, sweeter, and give an enticing scent. This one didn’t have much scent, either. Dang.

I will try this one again with 100C water, but I expect what I object to now will only be stronger with hotter water.

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.

The packet says 100C water —that seems a bit high for an oolong. As it’s been a few years since I could drink a milk oolong, I am very hesitant to rise scalding the leaf with such hot water. So I did 90C.

I’m trying a sample of this for the 2017 Toronto Tea Festival. I signed up as a taster, said I like oolongs, and I and got in, and that meant a lovely box full of oolong samples. My last milk oolong was from DavidsTea, and, sadly, DT had gone to milk-flavoured oolong—not the same thing at all. The flavouring left an odd taste I did not like, and I’ve not tried anyone milk oolong since. I really miss it.

So this is a lovely surprise. I can’t confirm whether this tea has any flavour added. The strong butter notes make me wonder. I hope I’m wrong.

Dry leaf smells very buttery, more butter than cream. Dry leaves are tight-rolled and dark, dull green. Wet leaf after first infusion smells more faintly of butter and of mild green veggies. Wet leaves are a less dull but still dark green.

Liquor: pale gold, as one might see in a white tea. No down. Light to medium body; I expect this will lighten will subsequent infusions. Creamy mouthfeel without being heavy and coating.

Not a sweet milk oolong, but certainly not bitter or harsh. Some distant floral notes in the scent but no floral notes in the taste. Some hints of stone fruit as the liquor cools. Slight mineral finish that I really like. No astringency … but there is a gentle bite on the finish that makes me think of apricots.

This is only my third milk oolong. It’s more complex than I was expecting. I’m looking forward to further infusions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes 15 seconds.

I know, I know: what’s with that criminally long steep time?

I got distracted.

Much longer, and the tea liquor might bite back with a soapiness. It does bite back a little, clinging to the tongue. But that’s okay, because it’s also offering florals and spices and fruit and some faint incense and …

Wow.

A thickness, too, almost creamy. Ginseng notes.

A rewarding tea. I really like this one.

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1.25 tsp in 250mL water @95C, steeped four minutes.

I’ve been really slack with my tea notes. The past spring and summer got wicked busy, and I had a few health issues. Throughout the summer, however, I’ve been thrilled with the Verdant Tea of the Month boxes. The different oolongs are an especial treat for me, and I’ve learned a TON about strip style versus rolled style … and I’m developing a new appreciation for toasty oolongs. I still prefer the lighter, floral ones, but hey, please Verdant, educate me.

That said, I’m reviewing the Wuyi Gongfu Black because it’s the one I drank most recently. I did not expect to enjoy such strong mineral notes with a cocoa-bike back tea, but I did. The mineral notes are almost sweet. I’ve enjoyed this tea while working; its not so arresting that I just sit and think only of the tea. My loss, I expect. Still, a delightful Chinese black tea, gentle yet nuanced.

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75

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 5 minutes.

Not bad at all.

Dry leaf smells of ginger and peaches and … uh … dust. Something has gone to a fine powder in there and might make you sneeze.

Liquor is cloudy pale gold that clears a it as the cloudiness settles.

Good ginger flavour with some heat (not dominant, though) and a nice peach flavour, not terribly artificial. Balanced. And best of all, a blend tisane with NO HIBISCUS. They’re hard to find.

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Made for me in a DavidsTea shop. I am guessing 1.25 tsp to 300mL water @96C. I steeped it five to six minutes, as I was in a mall and making my way to the parking lot.

The scent is very malty, reminding me of as Assam. The taste, however, has none of the heavy astringency of Assam, more the lighter and smoother body of a China black tea. Chasing the scent of malt is honey. Interestingly this tea does not develop a heavy body at all. Smooth and soothing and invigorating. I loved it.

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Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

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St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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