Dry tea is a fine, light tumble of thin curls with white tips – a promising sight. Use more than a teaspoon per cup. A pleasant green sweetness rises from the liquor as an aroma, and the taste follows suit. Not bitter or astringent. A buttery, salty sea-scent and flavor runs along underneath. Second steep just as good. I like it.
211 Tasting Notes
Dry tea is tightly rolled, small nuggets, dark olive green and khaki, and smells very fresh. At 190F, 3 gm in 3.5 oz pot. I poured water in, and then over the pot (which was seated in a small shallow bowl) to increase and maintain temperature, as in Chinese gongfu chadao. Steeps of 2 min, 30 sec, 1 min, 1, 1.5, 2 min.
On to the drinking! The maker of this oolong tea has coaxed a lovely sweetness from the leaf. It is accompanied by orchid notes and low astringency, a combination which spells happiness for me. There is a base of lightly roasty deep-greeness, characteristic of a rolled oolong. Successive steeps mellow the experience, as notes of caramel emerge. A most enjoyable series of cups!
This tea didn’t impress me as outstanding in any way, despite its pretty blue malva blossoms. The complexity I look for in an oolong just wasn’t there. Toasty taste without sweetness or florality, not even the promised (and hoped-for) violet. A bit of spice and caramel emerged in the third steep. However, it must be noted that added flavorings, such as (in this case) violet, weaken with age faster than the innate flavor of the tea. My sample came from a swap, in a well-worn bag, which might indicate an old or ill-kept bit of tea. So I moderated my rating accordingly.
I didn’t get much aroma from the dry tea, but the hot liquor greeted me with a sweet, flowery scent. Tasting happened immediately, because I grabbed the gravy ladle (which scoops and cools off a tbsp of tea very rapidly), blew, paused, and slurped. Yum! Brisk and piquant, without being outright bitter. And the astringency is mild, as well. There’s a toasty component alongside the muscatel brightness. This may be the first time I’ve drunk a first-flush Darj. The ones I’ve had were sometimes oversteeped, too (back when I thought all black tea needed to brew for 5 minutes). Whatever the cause, I’ve been leery of Darjeelings because bitterness puts me off rather quickly, and the only one I’ve really liked was a 2nd flush from Mim estate. This doesn’t have the maturity and complexity of that 2nd flush experience, but its lightness and clarity are really enjoyable, letting the fruitiness shine forth.
If you gift this Wedding Tea or serve it at a wedding, you can hope the marriage is as durable as these leaves! Admittedly, I used a generous amount of the voluminous stuff, but getting five (5) good infusions from green tea was quite impressive. The first couple of infusions were one minute, with the last one (still tasty) going 5 min. The hand-tied mini-rosettes are made entirely of buds. The loose leaves are big and dark green. Stash claims there is yerba mate in small part, which may account for the touch of bitterness which didn’t vary along the steeps. The citrus rind flavor held up all the way, as did the melon flavor, and the green tea flavor, too. I added a dab of light agave nectar to a couple of the cups, and it was good either way. The dry tea blend is beautiful to behold, but I’d drink this to experience it’s uncommon and delicious melon flavor and its inspiring and amazing fortitude!
At 180F temperature, as directed by Adagio, the cup I got was so light as to be almost tasteless. Bumping up the temperature got me a couple of steeps of a mild, unremarkable green tea. Lightness of color is okay, but this was sorely lacking in flavor and aroma. I want more out of my tea than this.
This Arjuna fellow may be a warrior, but beneath his armor he is an epicurean sensualist. The sweet scent and long, twisted leaves of the dry tea are striking and alluring. The spear-like leaves went 5 rounds, heroically keeping their twist through the first three. The smooth liquor evolved through luscious shades of caramel, from toasty to mild, with soft floral notes. As tea-drunkeness enveloped me, I stroked the hero’s back and squeezed his lovely brown buns! Arjuna now ranks in my top few oolongs. Thank you, Zhi Tea, for an unforgettable drinking experience.
Caramel and hay in the scent of long, twisted, dark-brown dry leaves. I put a lot of leaves in my little clay pot, so 30 sec was long enough to make tea. A very ‘yang’ taste, but low astringency. Found definite cinnamon and a touch of bitterness in the finish. The golden liquor shifted from allspice and leather, early on, to a deep, pu-erh-like, peppery taste in later infusions. Sweetness was mostly in the aroma rather than flavor, with richness imparted mainly by the body of the liquor. By the 6th infusion, at 2:00 min, with temp raised to boiling, the big leaves were still going strong, with the tea mellowing out to a sweet, faint linen and leather, and the bitterness vanished.
Dry tea is glorously tippy, with an aroma like toasted angel food cake with raisins. Medium-hued liquor with notes of brown sugar and vanilla is smooth and self-drinking. Not as brisk as some Yunnan blacks, but clean finishing, nonetheless.
Buttery, sweet and smooth, with honey and cucumber aroma. Astringency is very slight, but enough for a clean finish.
I shared a small pot of this with my son. No rinse before the first steep, which was mild and unremarkable, with only a slight lemon scent and very little lemon flavor. The second steep was no better, yielding only a little of wood, caramel and honey tastes, and a dearth of aroma. It was the thin body, dry mouth feel, and unpleasant lingering astringency which put us both off the most. Very disappointing.
An unusual, interesting blend, but I’m not sure it’s an improvement on plain white tea. You see, I find plain white tea to be anything but plain. Of course, teabag-grade tea could be expected to be less flavorful than its full-leaf forbears. Maybe it’s the lime zest. Unlike lemon, which accentuates the floral notes, the lime seems to bring out something more earthy. And then there’s cucumber. If you omit the skin, what flavor is cucumber? It has a vegetal freshness, I think, but it’s a shy, retiring essence, overwhelmed by the lime. I wanted the lime to surprise me, to wake me up, but it wasn’t punchy enough to do that. It adds a savory dimension, but I think the lime would give a better effect when paired with a base other than white tea. Plus, I kept wanting to add a dash of salt!
Good pu-erh for beginners with this type. Not exotic, but mild. Earthy enough to introduce new folks to the type — black tea which has gone on to the next incarnation. Notes of toasted grain, black pepper, leather, tobacco (faint). More leather in the 2nd steep, and sweeter.
To my delight, this beautifully made tea greets me with a fruity, toasty nose. Two tsp of the loose, open blend are measured into my pre-heated, closed infuser for a 12-oz mug. The golden medium-amber liquor is smooth, with just a hint of astringency. The tea’s description begins with Keemun, so the smoke and fruit notes must hark from that Chinese region, rather than an Indian Darjeeling (more commonly used in EB blends). Quite good plain, there was only a tablespoon or two left when I added a tsp of vanilla soy milk. The result was a bit more richness and sweetness, without detracting from the true black-tea effect — a nice mix. The wholeness of the brewed leaves was attested to by how quickly the infuser rinsed out. The use of Keemun in this English Breakfast blend makes it stand out amongst the better ones I’ve tasted. It’s flavor and aroma lingered in my satisfied smile!
This dry tea is very loose, indeed. Long, graceful leaves with only a bit of twist, accompanied by long sections of stems make this one difficult to measure without a scale. Ten second rinse before first steep. Notes of spring meadow, asparagus, and lemon. A sweet, creamy taste and mouthfeel made me sip again and again. This is a delicate tea which requires time. Some things cannot be had from the liquor — try sniffing the steaming leaves. Then, in the 2nd steep, open your senses for artichoke, lilac and new-mown hay!
The calendula and chamomile lend the fruity notes, I think, with lavender leading the floral ones. Underlying these is a mild straw-green base with a slight mint finish. A very pleasant drink, one which did seem to settle me a bit, both tummy and nerves. All organic, all pretty darn good for me, and I enjoyed it all, just as-is! If an infusion can be said to be reassuring, then Mountain Rose’s Fairytale Tea provided me a reassuring cup!
This obviously has ingredients other than black tea and bergamot oil, hence it might more correctly be compared with Lady Grey teas. It seems to include a citrus other than bergamot. The bergamot is a bit less flowery than my favorite Earl Grey. The tea is better quality, more piquant than that used in most flavored teas. For bergamot, I prefer another. For black tea, this Earl Grey Bravo from Adagio comes out ahead.
Aroma of dry tea is sweet caramel. Very enjoyable. Golden amber liquor has toasty taste, slightly smoky, amazing sweetness. Perhaps, if I’d added milk and sugar, it would have tasted like creme brulee. Next time …….
190F, 3 min, liquor is clear medium-gold color with scent of fruit and spice. Flavor starts with vanilla, flows into cardamon and nut. I kept wanting another sip, so much that the whole cup (nothing added) was quickly finished and I viewed the empty mug with disappointment. A second steep was lighter than the first, but still flavorful enough to serve to guests. This white tea blend is exotic and complex enough to even be a good complement to dark chocolate or tiramisu.
190F, 4 min, dark amber liquor, aroma has mysterious peppery note which must be the basil. The lemon plays well against the toasty chestnut of the oolong. There is a sweetness which I don’t often find in a darker oolong. More!
165F, 2 min, yielded a pale yellow cup with a light, sweet aroma. The liquor, fresh and smooth with reasonable depth and body. The cherry flavoring and subtle rose hints give the tea a wonderful exotic character.
A pale amber liquor. This herbal blend is so balanced that none of the flavors dominate. The scent is mainly chamomile and apple. I especially appreciate the raspberry leaf taste, which is softly green and a tiny bit tangy. Overall very smooth, so I drank my cup happily, without a thought of adding sweetener.
Exactly 170 F, for 1 minute. Glass cup, metal basket infuser, covered. I found in this tea a sweet green aroma and a buttery artichoke flavor. Second steep was the sweetest. A cool tingle lingers on the tongue, requesting another sip. Quite delightful. I prefer it warm or hot, as the richness of scent and taste is muted in the cooled tea.
Boiling water 3 min, resteeped 4 min. The liquor is red-amber, rosy, almost orange — a beautiful shade — with a chocolate aroma. I am tasting caramel, toasted almond, bittersweet cacao, with a sweet plum finish. A perfect accompaniment to the Walkers shortbread I brought home yesterday!