91 Tasting Notes
This green tea struck me as interesting because if it hadn’t been labeled I probably would not have known it was a green tea just by looking at it. It looks more like a raw loose Puer or some other dark tea. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it tastes more like a raw Puer than a green tea. It’s rather on the dark and earthy side for a green tea. The notes are very nutty, with green bean and a bit of black pepper. This doesn’t have the brighter vegetal notes of most green teas and I was almost expecting a roasted flavor to accompany it, but it didn’t exactly. This tea is not suited to my tastes in green tea. I am sure others will find it more interesting.
Flavors: Earth, Green Beans, Nutty, Pepper
I could swear I have reviewed this before… I’ve had this tea quite a while now, and though I had some technical difficulties when I was first learning to brew it, I feel I’ve definitely figured out my preferred method to get the most of the tea without making an overpowered cup. I have gone through quite a few shifts in the method I use to brew red/black teas in the gongfu style before I found one that really worked great for me.
Anyway, this is one of the best red teas I’ve had. There’s an interesting light floral quality to the scent resting atop some darker notes of earth, baked bread, cocoa, forest floor, and yam. The darker, mustier qualities are well balanced by a lightness that comes through in the flavor as yam and honey. The tea is tangy with a hint of bitterness on the back-end like dark chocolate or coffee, but to be fair I brew this a bit on the full-bodied side, while I’ve noticed most practitioners of Gongfu Cha I’ve met will brew red teas more on the light side, making a honey-colored liquor rather than a red one. That tends to yield more of the subtle notes present in a red tea. I prefer a bit more strength since repeated infusions will eventually yield a lighter liquor anyway. Not that this tastes exactly the same as if you had brewed it light to begin with, but it’s similar.
On a final note, I absolutely love the tin design and its designation as a “Year of the Horse” tea. I know A&D have done some teas like this before and I really am eager to see what comes out next year for the Year of the Goat. My only complaint is that the tin is basically a small paint can, so you will need something handy to pry the lid off if you purchase a tea tin from these guys. I keep a quarter resting atop the lid as it works well to do the trick and doesn’t take up any extra space while the tin is in the cupboard.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Yams
I haven’t reviewed on Steepster in a bit, so I figured I’d write a new one.
This Master Grade Tie Guanyin has all the makings of a Tie Guanyin, the buttery vegetal quality, the foresty and floral notes typical of Taiwanese high mountain oolong. As Tie Guanyins go, this one registers on the softer and more mellow side of the scale. There’s a gentle (and I really mean gentle) honey sweetness to it and a really soft vegetal flavor, reminding me slightly of spinach and zucchini. It is definitely floral. I can see the ideas others have offered of orchid or honeysuckle, but they are not quite on the mark from what I’m getting. Anyway, it’s hard to attribute other flavors to a tea in any case, so those are probably close enough, maybe a bit of a jasmine-like quality is there too.
What’s odd to me about this tea is that it is the Master Grade variant Tie Guanyin that Yezi offers, and it has less prominent and memorable qualities to me than the High Grade Tie Guanyin, which is a step down in grade and pricing. I’ve drank both today, so I have them fresh in memory to compare. Where the High Grade had the unmistakable scent of holiday spices and hints of camphor, the Master Grade is more round and no flavor or scent sticks out to me distinctly. It does seem more buttery than the other.
If it comes to personal recommendation though, I actually prefer the High Grade to this one as I think the “spiced” quality and camphor notes are what make that one really wonderful to me.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Vegetal
One of China’s 10 Famous Teas on many iterations of the list, Liu An Gua Pian is also called “Melon Seed” tea because the puffy leaves look like melon seeds.
The flavor and scent are both incredibly sweet at first. There’s a lot of vegetation and grassy taste and the usual hints of green bean you get in a lot of chinese green teas. The taste is really nice and complex with a hint of mineral in the background. I am not in the mental state to flesh this out with notes today, but I do like the tea a lot and think that it is a pretty unique tasting green tea. I overbrewed it a bit the first time using my usual green-tea steeping parameters, so you may need to use slightly less leaf or time than usual.
EDIT: Teavivre recommends 3g per 85ml water for 30 seconds if you are brewing gongfu style, then adding 30 seconds each time. That sounded a bit strong for my tastes so I used 3g in a 100ml gaiwan for 15 seconds, adding 5 each time and got really incredible results.
Flavors: Grass, Green Beans, Mineral, Sweet
Okay, tried a new brewing method with this one! Aaaaand I overbrewed it… just a little… add some hot water. Now it’s just fine. Hehehe.
I am picking up a lot of sort of smokey flavor in this one. It reminds me a lot of a Jun Shan Yin Zhen I’ve had before. It’s delicate and a little bit sweet and has a strong aroma and flavor of green beans and spinach. I am not gonna go into too much detail here because Amanda’s review is very well written and covers pretty much the same points.
Flavors: Broth, Green Beans, Smoke, Spinach, Sweet
This Shou Mei has a surprising smoky, earthy taste to it, with hints of spice.
By the second steeping it has mellowed out some, with a subtle sweetness similar to dried fruit and slightly earthy gourd-like flavor.
I am not terribly experienced with a diversity of white teas, as a local company here specializes in white teas and has many award-winning offerings that are of wonderful quality, so I do not shop around for white teas much. Thus, I will not rate this one. I find the flavor agreeable but would not likely purchase it.
Just popping into say something short and sweet about this tea.
It tastes like cake icing and cake. Well done! The array of leaves and flowers is beautiful and festive. It makes me feel like it’s my birthday when I sit down to drink it. I feel special.
It’s not my usual cup of tea to drink flavored tisanes, but this one is nice if you like this type of flavor. Myself, whenever I see something flavored like something I like better, it just makes me want the something better… i.e. spare me the caramel creme brulee coffee creamer and give me some caramel creme brulee! Or… rather than cake flavored tea… give me some tea!
I mostly requested this sample out of curiosity and because it is beautiful. But… if for some reason I couldn’t eat cake… maybe for dietary or health reasons, I feel like this drink would satisfy my craving more than not having anything at all. I’d drink it on my birthday!
Flavors: Cake, Frosting
Alright! Here we go! This is my first time drinking Tie Luo Han, or “Iron Warrior Monk” Wuyi oolong. It came to me as a sample from a friend at an opportune time because I’m just getting into the traditional Wuyi oolong Gongfu method and needed some test subjects. That said, I am using a gaiwan with 4g of leaf per 100ml of water at 203F/95C. No rinse, first infusion 10 seconds, then flash infusions afterward.
I’m immediately surprised by the very complex aroma of the leaves after the first infusion. There are so many bold scents: fig, licorice, spearmint, and mineral are the most evident, with a bit of roasted scent. The flavor is out of this world! There’s a strong minerality that could almost be mistaken for smokiness and a very wonderful fig-like sweet fruity flavor which outlasts the other flavors and really stays on your tongue for a long time, becoming more of a raspberry or blackberry kind of flavor. As it lingers it becomes even more delicate and sweet, reminding me of sweet cherries.
On the second steeping it tastes much more roasted and I’m getting less of the sweet flavors. I may have overbrewed it, but it still tastes good. On the third infusion, more of the sweetness is there, but mostly a mineral and roasted flavor. The sweetness is mostly in the scent. The fourth is much like the third but a little more subtle.
I almost jumped the gun on this tea and gave it a perfect 100 rating, which I don’t do often. I absolutely would have if any of the later steepings tasted like the first one, as that was one of the most incredible and complex tea tastes I’ve ever enjoyed. After that though, it seemed to mostly yield a darker and more roasted flavor with just a hint of sweetness and none of the particularly fruity flavors.
I would buy this tea though just for a chance to taste that initial steeping each time, not that the later steepings are bad! They’re just quite a shift towards a more dry, earthy flavor.
Flavors: Cherry, Fig, Mineral, Roasted
First thing’s first. This tea has a WONDERFUL smell and taste, very sweet and with a lightly roasted taste. I’m definitely getting something fruity, nectar-like, and like a sweet and mild floral… like orchids.
On a second steeping, the toasty flavors emerge even more, and so does the sweetness. There’s an almost berry-like fruitiness and the toasted flavor and sweetness blend exceptionally well together with it. I’m really enjoying this! It is very complex in its flavor. There’s a subtle floral and a creamy finish resulting in a lasting flavor that reminds me of soy milk or a malted milk shake.
Third steeping brings out even more of the mellow creamy, roasty, malty, subtly fruit-and-floral sweetness. I am not going to try to do it justice with words. This is just wonderful.
This is truly a comfort tea. The lightly roasted flavor is very relaxing and very well balances with the other flavors. The flavor is long-lasting and stays in your mouth for quite a while. Everything about the aroma and flavor is gentle. I really recommend this!
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Malt, Orchid, Roasted, Sweet
Sleeping dragon is a good name for this tea. There is just a hint of smoke, but it is subtle and rests behind layers of sweetness on a bed of subtle vegetal flavor. The subtlety of the smokey flavor does indeed make me think of a sleeping dragon softly exhaling smoke in his sleep.
It gets little astringent if you let it cool too much, so definitely drink it warm.
Flavors: Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal