1998 Tasting Notes
I wish I had another tea bag of this to see if making it differently would make it more palatable. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t something I would reach for again.
I like Ceylon tea grown at lower elevations but not particularly the high grown ones. I don’t know what this is, but the base was a little harsh. The orange and passionfruit flavors were somewhat redeeming, but I honestly though the orange flavor Twinings uses was better. And don’t even think about comparing this to the orange flavor in Nina’s Tea!
They are not kidding when they say this is a light oolong. It is very light indeed compared to Magnolia Oolong. I drank this tonight with hubby. He even put forth an unusual amount of effort…for him, you know! He jokes that he can only say TEA GOOD! or TEA BAD! Last night he said the magnolia oolong was TEA GOOD!
His extra effort tonight was…“is this a…vegetal and nutty…tea?” Yes, dear, but only a hint, a ghost!, a smidgen of walnut. And not leafy greens vegetal, but rather “early springtime view of a hillside” vegetal.
The dry leaf kept its aroma a much closer secret than the magnolia did. I had to really dig in to get an idea of what we were in for. The liquor is pale, the scent is light. There is no biting ginger here. If you want ginger’s heat, look elsewhere. Her sweetness alone will be found in this cup.
I found this to be immediately creamy, while Magnolia developed her creaminess on the third and subsequent steeps.
I pulled some of the wet leaves out and found beautiful examples of the classic two leaves and bud and on impulse I popped a big leaf in my mouth and ate it. Not the first time I have ever done that and usually there is a slight bitterness to a wet leaf. This time, however, the spent wet leaf was very sweet and quite delicious. I even ate another.
If you like a light, sweet oolong, here you go! And you can get a serving of greens out of it when you are done steeping. :)
Thank you, Tea Ave. I am having a grand time with the aroma cup and loving the tray set. I hope to buy some more for guests to use when you open next month!
I revisited this tea today with my best friend. I am aware that the scents I got from this tea are not mentioned in the description, but I really do initially smell chocolate, milk chocolate specifically, which is also true of Da Hong Pao for me. Then I smelled vanilla, and then I smelled cake. Not a bready, sensible cake but a sweet and fluffy bakery cake.
I was somewhat justified I think today when I had my friend smell the aroma cup. I asked her if she smelled chocolate and she said, “No, honey. Maybe because I had honey this morning earlier it is on my mind, but it smells like good honey.” That made sense, and it hit me that I also detected butter. When asked to sniff again she said she got butter also. Ah ha! Thus the impression of cake! What could be more cake-y than honey and butter and the sweetness of the magnolia?
Bottom line, today’s snow day from school turned into a really nice visit with a friend who agreed that this is a tea for enjoyment, for real inspection, for paying attention to, and not a tea that you steep in a mug and sip while you work or watch tv.
Tea Ave was so generous with their sample packages! I am so thankful to have been part of this sampling for their opening, and I believe they will be successful if they maintain this quality in their products and service. I would not hesitate to say if I didn’t like a tea. What you will get here is my honest evaluation of the tea I had tonight.
I invited hubby to join me tonight to taste this. He was very fond of a Li Shan not long ago so I thought this would appeal to him. We used the aroma cup to experience the tea to the fullest.
First we smelled the aroma of the dry leaf, which was very true to the steeped tea. It was sweet, with chocolate and vanilla overtones more than floral ones to me. It smells incredibly fresh. These are not flavors mentioned by the comoany but I consistently smelled milk chocolate and real vanilla in the aroma cup, the dry leaf, and even some steeps of the tea.
I made about seven ounces of tea at a time, pouring into a fair cup first and then quickly filling the aroma cup. The first aroma was quite sweet and reminded me of delicious cake more than of flowers. The liquor is pale yellow. The leaves unfurled to tremendous size and were deep green.
The taste – first steep was so sweet and still reminded of a cake, really delicious cake.
Second steep went a bit longer and had that edge that immediately makes a sweet aftertaste spring out. Second steep was hubby’s favorite but then, he has always been fond of second steeps!
Steep three was still sweet but now I am tasting more oolong and less cake, and the flowers are beginning to become more evident. At no time was this tea overly floral. Hubby even mentioned that he doesn’t care for very floral tea, and he was glad that the level of this one was just right for him.
Steeps four and five had an increase in the creaminess of the liquor. There is the taste of green oolong with very light floral undertones.
In short, this tea is making me vow that I will keep fresh – truly fresh – oolong on hand. There is nothing else quite like it.
A thousand thanks, Tea Ave, for the generous gift!
I went in Tin Roof Teas and told Ryan I needed a birthday gift for my best friend, and loves double vanilla tea. He told me that this is his proprietary blend and he nearly named it Double Vanilla but thought that might sound corny, so here we have the result!
Naturally, I bought a bag for myself as well to make sure the quality as up to snuff for my friend. I knew she preferred Mariage Freres to Harney Vanilla, so I thought this Chinese base would be better for her than Harney’s Ceylon base.
I think it hits the spot and achieves double vanilla status. My friend thought it tasted a lot like the more expensive White Lion Vanilla. Youngest thought it might be a tad drying but said it was not astringent to her, and I like it very well. It isn’t going to last long. At least they are close enough for me to pick up more when I need it!
We had a soup and game night with Superanna and her husband and ChelseaR and my son. My daughter, Superanna, gave me this as another gift from her Toronto trip and we all shared it. It was loved across the board!
The puerh flavor is definitely light. If you drink it really hot you taste puerh and mint, but let it cool a little and the vanilla and cinnamon spring forth. A little longer and the licorice root comes out and rounds the whole cup with sweetness. It is fantastic. I am drinking a third steep right now and it is so flavorful. I actually forgot it and left it who knows how long, but it isn’t bitter at all. I intended to share it with a friend who is coming over but I will need to make a new pot because this one will be gone by the time she gets here.
They say it is delicious iced, and I bet it is! I need to try that soon, but it is really cold outside right now and I need pot after pot of hot tea.
The fire is going, Pandora Meditation Radio playing, the diffuser is blowing Citrus Passion, the candles are lit, and with this tea in hand it is cozy and blissful.
The packaging on these book teas is so pretty! These will be going on my bookshelf to hold little doodads once the tin is empty.
When I opened the pouch of loose tea inside the aroma rushed out and enveloped me with summer! White rum, pineapple, and coconut – all there just like the company said. And the pouch has a nice sticky zip closure to keep it fresher in this tin.
I mixed a first and second steep together and it was still nice and strong with no washing out of the flavors. This would be amazing iced, too. I can seeing lounging in the sun with a glass of this, with a little umbrella in! These flavours are spot on, too. Very nice!
Many thanks to my daughters, Superanna and youngest, who bought this for me in Toronto and gave it to me on Valentine’s Day!
Once again, I am looking through today’s tasting notes and I see that all my “likes” are gone, though comments I made are still there. Sorry, everyone, I AM reading your notes.
This is a tricksy little shu. Yesterday it was good but a little weak and didn’t last as many steeps as my usual shu do. Today I simply added the Ernest of the sample packet to yesterday’s leaves which I thought were pretty spent, and I thought I had divided the sample pretty well in half.
Today this is a shu that just keeps going. I made three steps before leaving town and told youngest to have all she wanted. There was no bitterness or untoward strength in what I drank this morning, yet youngest said her next two steeps were as dark as coffee, but still tasty. I think she made one more after that and then left the leaves to me. My opinion of this shu has gone up due to its gentle flavor with the oily high note and it ability to resteep.
This is a sample that my daughters picked up for me at the Toronto Tea Festival.
I may have under leafed a little but it was still good. It had that oily shu feel that I like, the one that makes me think of cedar oil or Murphy’s Oil Soap. It was milder than a lot of the puerhs that I drink and did not go for as many steeps. I think with more leaf it might have.
All in all, very good. Not really horsey, not at all fishy, nicely earthy. A nice, non-frightening pu for the beginner, I would think.
I drank this with hubby and now I find myself relenting on an earlier statement. I said I didn’t think I would ever order the tins because I did not see how they could be worth as much as is being adding to the cost of the leaf. Indeed, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Look at the prices of various teas, figure it by the ounce, and then check the price with tin. The tin doesn’t add the same cost to different teas! And I am accounting for amount of leaf as far as I can tell.
But I went into A Southern Season and behold, they are carrying this brand now in bags. They have the tins sitting out as testers to sniff, and they are magnificent. I don’t think they would dent if an elephant stepped on them, and the double lid is STRONG I tell you! WANT!
The problem is that I don’t want to spend a fortune for the large tins but the small ones only come in yellow and I really want the French blue. You only get those in small if you sign up for the year of teas which is very high and includes a few teas I know I wouldn’t care for. Based on some old links, it looks like they used to sell the tins separately but there is no longer an offer of that on their site.
Sigh. I may call them anyway just to see if they will consider it.
Hubby liked the tea, and liked it well enough that I made my own similar blend to use up some shou mei that was getting a bit of age on it. I have served it, too, and we liked it.