Last of the free samples from Fong Mong, sorry this took so long to get to reviewing this one. This is my first Taiwanese black tea so I might not have the best reference points. It is so unlike the Yunnans I have been drinking lately, absolutely no roughness or savory notes. However it does remind me a smidge of Bailin Gongfu and Laoshan Black. It definitely has cocoa notes but it’s sweetness is not chocolaty but mineral (which is something I love). Of course I am brewing this starting at 15 secs so that does bring out a lighter more sparkling quality. Looking forward to spending the day with this and I have enough to brew western as well to compare.
298 Tasting Notes
Mmm the smell of this conjures up holiday memories, its all mulling spices and whole cloves simmering on the stove. But there are other more exotic notes and it is truly intriguing. It brews up a beautiful deep warm wine in my mug and a lighter more vibrant pink when poured into my sipping cup. I’m not anti-hibiscus but this is a tad tart for my personal tastes at least this evening, I get the orange and a hint of clove but can the fennel is escaping me. It has the opposite problem that the Spiced Elderberry Pu’erh had for me yesterday, not enough spice coming through in the taste. I’m sure it can be played around with time wise and I’m sure it would be brilliant with cider. Must rebrew so I can breath in the heavenly aroma. Ooo yes! There’s that touch of licorice sweetness. Second steep at 1 min is perfect for me!
So this blend was at the top of my wish list and when I heard it was being discontinued I had to pounce and order all the other blends for good measure. Elderberry intrigues me and while I believe I’ve had it’s root in some medicinal tinsanes, I don’t think I’ve really experienced its flavor before. I was a bit unprepared for the intensity of the spice notes though. Again I don’t think I have much experience with ganghal and while I love me some ginger, for some reason I was imagining clove. The smell of the dry tea is potent and did nearly make me sneeze. The husband was actually standing next to me in the kitchen when I opened it and based on the expression on my face, he declined the offer to sniff. I inhaled again more carefully this time and found it to be rich, exotic, culinary and comforting.
I probably brewed this different than most, choosing short steeps in hopes of getting the most out of the pu’erh. The first infusion was the most spicy and I could barely make out the elderberry or pu’erh. I probably would have been happier treating this as a rinse, however I think I would have loved it as a fall/winter blend, just not what I was expecting from this one. The second infusion still carried quite a bit of heat but notes of dark tart and swee berry started coming through with a bit of earthy pu’erh. The third was probably my favorite, a nice balance of all three elements and with a nice mustyness that carried over into the fourth infusion as well.
I didn’t get to spend as much time with this tea as I would have liked, it being Father’s Day and all (brewed up the husband a cuppa Scottish Breakfast in the morning). However I look forward to experiencing this western style, maybe with a quick rinse to lessen the spice. More than anything though I want to try the 2008 nuggets this is based on and see if I can find some of these notes in it, which I suppose is the point. Really should have ordered it at the same time.
Funny that this is the first of the Verdant Alchemy Blends I am trying when it was always the one I was least, ahem, curious about. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like an interesting flavor challenge, but I don’t think chamomile and I get along. However I ordered all eight of the that were available earlier in the week and since this one is staying for the summer it would be a shame not to try it in case I do like it and want to order more.
As for why it was the first one I tried of all the blends, well I suppose thats not quite true actually, I tried the complimentary sample David included as soon as my package arrived this morning. I was trying decide what tea to brew to start off the day and kind of hoping there was some Imperial Breakfast tucked in there for me. This Laoshan Earl Grey prototype fit the bill well. I’m guessing it is the prototype for the Bergamot Rose Laoshan they released yesterday, just sans rose. It was light on the bergamot which is a very good thing for me and so very very chocolately. I seriously loved it and I’m sure what they released is amazing as well. I’ve never tried a chocolate earl grey and though I know they are available, I probably never will. This seemed like the natural version of that and I would take it any day, it was a truly delightful cup(s) I had four or five of them :)
So that put me in the mood for this tea, as well as the Lavender Earl Green. I thought surely the latter would be my evening cup but we had pizza for dinner so Laoshan Black and Big Red Robe sounded much more stout than potentially dainty perfume (I’m sure it actually wont be). In fact I think an after pizza needs to be made from Big Red Robe, a nice Pu’erh and Laoshan Black (again should have ordered the Imperial Breakfast when I had the chance, new one sounds great as well).
I’m rambling too much and I haven’t even described this. Well it smells wonderful, I love mint and the scent from the loose leaf was both soothing and stimulating. When the leaf hits the warm mug I get more of the Laoshan aroma, but not nearly as strong as the sample this afternoon. Once brewed the aroma leaves remind me of some decadent dessert more than any one ingredient. Hot I get all chamomile and mint and twinge of astringency and I thought following the 2 min suggestion was a mistake. As it sits a bit though I can pick out more of the chocolate and it is honestly very nice. Something I will have to experiment a bit on, I loved the shorter steeps with the Laoshan Earl Grey.
I’m looking forward to diving into the rest of these samples, I feel less intimidated by then than say the Golden Fleece that remains unopened. Also my Verdant drawer is officially too full, I’m keeping these eight blends in the kitchen in a nice divided gift box with Upton, Teavirve and swap samples. This should also promote drinking. Right now I wish someone would reinfuses my tea for me, I have a sleeping toddler on my lap.
Love! I want to scream out loud that I love this tea. In fact I did shout it down the stairs at the husband. I knew this was the next tea I wanted to try when I opened up the tiny tin I placed it in awhile ago when I got it as a complimentary sample. It smells so familiar though I couldn’t quite place it till the first sip. I had a moment of panic, thinking I had somehow drunk this sample, forgot to log it, replaced it with Bailin Gongfu and forgot to relabel. Not a chance, but those first few sips were so decievingly Fujian in nature, by which I mean grainy, malty, cocoa sweetness and a hint of juicy dark fruit. But then came the butter, honey and spice all also wonderful and present unlike my unfortunate Yunnan black brewing yesterday. This is a very flavorful, complex, yet balanced black and I’m only on the first five sec infusion. More to come. Three steeps in, getting darker richer and more savory, LOVE!!! Ohhh steeps 5 and 6 so unbelievably sweet and steep 7… intense sweetness but now with a dark thickness that reminds me of Twin Elephants Trail Shu, oh… my… swoons
Had some minor issues with steeping both gonfu and western style mostly due to water and teaware issues but did get some good first and later steeps with this. Can’t say I got much honey or cinnamon but a very nice linen texture that tickled the tongue and a sweet finish that lingered on the palate.
I was very pleased with this sample after having a bum session with Songyang White yesterday, though I have plenty of leaf to revisit it another day. While they do not taste similar they leave the same feeling on the tongue, a bit dry and tingly, what I am learning to identify as lineny, a trademark of Yunnan teas, this one even reminds me of some blacks. I am even beginning to appreciate this texture for what it is, though I personally prefer teas to leave my mouth buttery, juicy, sparkling or cool.
Taste wise they are very different teas, while the Songyang was very quiet for me, this one is vibrant and evokes several tea memories for me. The first steep is mildly perfumey (in a nice way) with a touch of cocoa, it reminds me most strongly of Golden Jade and now reading the description I can relate this to sweetgrass. It gets more interesting in the second steep, which is all piney and rosemary and calls to mind more pungent white teas, even Yabao. The third steep is a blend of the first two with a nice sweet kick at the beginning and gaining an artichoke note, though I totally get the basil and lime. The fourth is less sweet but just as bright.
Unfortunately I had to move on to dinner and was a bit tea-ed out, I’m excited to try the 2012 picking and all these Verdant Yuannan black teas. I also think I shall pick up a bit of Lavender Earl Green with my Alchemy Blends order. 100th tasting note, woo!
Update: Yesterday I tried the sample David sent of the 2012 first plucking thank you. I could tell as soon as I poured the water that this was different. It smelled so very vegetal, even though the steep was only 5 sec and rendered a perfectly clear liquor. The first two infusions tasted more like Laoshan green. The third through fifth reminded me more of last years Jing Shan but I wouldn’t draw the Golden Jade or Yabao comparison this time. It still has that same Yunnan texture to it but is so much more green and I dare say a bit sweeter! So it tastes like itself only more, if that makes sense. In the end I’d say its a very well balanced and delightful green.
Ohhh wow this… is… incredible. Simply yet ever so complicatedly incredible. As in my tongue and my nose do not believe what they are tasting and smelling. I have never had an orchid oolong and I wanted so very much to try this when I saw it on Steepster a couple months ago. I inquired first with David as to if it would be returning, when it seemed not, I turned to Steepster and used it for what it is: a community, a community of very generous tea lovers. So I asked around, starting with the locals and those who didn’t care as much for this one. The good lady Angrboda who is in no way local, answered my plea and sent me this and some other lovely samples from Europe! Thank you so very much for giving me the opportunity to try this, I am so grateful.
The teas from Ang arrived a couple weeks ago, but alas I had a sinus infection and put them off. However if I had known what this tea was going to do to my throat ans nasal passages i probably would have drank it right away. It is so cooling and cleansing and tea gods don’t strike me down, but it does remind me of my brew of Throat Coat and Twig Tea. However I am glad I waited to take the time to fully savor this, I probably would have thought I was crazy for that observation then anyway. For today I have the house to myself, a rare blessing, as my mother has taken the toddler to a parade. I took a shower, lay down for awhile and treated myself to this very special tea for my 99th tasting note and after this I think I may do some art!
Upon opening the pouch I was met with an unexpected aroma, true I didn’t know what to expect, but definitely not dark grassy Gyokuro. I have not found this grassy note in the cups I have brewed and infact it changed as soon as the leaves hit the warm mug, to something strange and culinary I just can’t put my finger on. I did the quickest of steps with water just off the boil and the smell changed to something more earthy and illeagal, the word hash sprang to mind, though I only have one vague years old memory that. The aroma of the liquor shape shifted in the cup as the taste did in my mouth, starting out sort of charcoaly and morphed into that cool almost medicinal brew (medicinal in the most natural herb and root sense).
I was worried at first that I had scorched the leave as it started out toasty, then came a slight sweetness, then a coolness at the back of the mouth, developing into candy and flooding my nose from the inside out. I have never had ginseng oolong, but I can understand the comparison as this is all ginseng and anise and only the slightest bit of floral, candied flowers, orchid concentrated, sweetened and made into a cough drop and a nasal spray and I love it. Yes it is sweet but it’s also intense, almost harsh at moments, but with a self-soothing mechanism built in.
So I can understand why a few didn’t care for it, but I immediately want to share it, in a tasting with Yabao and the ‘04 Yanxin’s Reserve Shu Nuggets. Me thinks this would have to be the last tea tasted though. I wish I had enough for that and a cold brew, but sharing wins out. But for now I am going to see if I can draw out more that these first five infusions, it’s getting a bit ashy, but I think there is still life in them yet. Thank you Angrboda for sharing this and David Duckler and Verdant Tea for supplying and sourcing it!
It should not come as a surprise that I have drank this many many times, at work and as well as at home (though I have never actually purchased it except in the Forbidden Kingdom Collection when it was 50% off). I’ve sold plenty of it and for that I am sorry. However I have somehow not gotten around to reviewing it.
That being said, I’m going to try not to be too negative here. I did short steeps with this one today and I must say my gongfu was pretty good, for as little water as I was using the leaves got some good motion. The leaves didn’t give off much scent when dry and weren’t anything special wet, but my gods did that first cup smell good. It smelled like the High Mountain Alishan I had the other day and I just leaned back in my chair and let myself get lost in the vapors.
There. I have said something nice, unfortunately it’s the only thing I have to say. There was no sweetness to be found in this cup, no butter or creaminess in the ones to follow and hardly a trace of orchid. To be fair the leaves are probably quite old, but I have never found any of those qualities except the orchid notes in Teavana’s MPO.
The flavors on this are a bit hard to describe, they are rather vague, not particularly vegetal nor floral nor woodsy nor herbaceous but the second infusion was more savory. For a second I thought it was going to be buttery, but it was much to dry for that. Teavana describes this tea as smooth and while I wouldn’t call it astringent, the mouthfeel on this tea is probably the most disappointing part. I steeped this probably six times today and it didn’t produce anything else noteworthy.
I will mention that the leaves were more broken on this batch than I am used to seeing. Also the color is laughably dull compared to Verdant’s Spring Harvest Tieguanyin that I brewed right after it, verdant indeed! As others have said, Teavana’s MPO is not a bad tea, but it’s also not worth the price nor the hype and is certainly not “the rarest oolong in the world”. I had the exact same reaction as JubJubs when I read their newsletter a while ago. http://bogosiposo.tumblr.com/post/22471844251/teavanas-monkey-picked-oolong
Ugh bitter bitter bitter brew. I wanted white tea last night, toddler wanted to have a tea party, this is the tin we grabbed. I made a little under 16oz hot and decided to try my hand at cold brewing the rest, knowing it was coming up on a year since I acquired it. I don’t know if it’s the age of the tea or the chamomile, but this is very astringent both hot and cold. Toddler says he loves it, after making a slight wince, go figure.
Last tea I tried yesterday, but how could I not compare? I could tell this one was special as soon as the dry leaves hit the bottom my warm mug, creammmy! I started with a flash steep on this and am glad I did. While most of the oolongs I tried yesterday benefited from higher temperatures and longer steep times, I feel this did better with short ones.
I was rewarded with a heavenly experience both in taste and aroma. I don’t think I can compare this to anything. I’ve seen other’s review milk oolongs and say they are more like milk candies or more like butter or cream than milk. I’ve never had milk candies and couldn’t be bothered with differentiating my dairy last night, because I was blissed out from this tea, but I will say it was a sweet milkiness that left a cool tingle on first the back of my tongue, gradually working its way forward with each sip. I remember calling down to the husband last night “oh dear, I think this is going to be something I crave!”
Unfortunately I did add more time to the second steep and it fell short of the first. I hoped the third would be better, but it wasn’t until I returned to short steeps that I got that special something. Perhaps it would be fine with one longer steep, but I used all my leaves and was all tea-ed out by that time last night anyway. I just revived this this afternoon and it tastes like a good green oolong with a bit more fullness and coolness in the mouth. I will definitely pursue more Jin Xuan! Thank you so very much Fong Mong Tea for the introduction!
I had to try this one as well yesterday, my first Alishan, thank you so much Fong Mong Tea! First an interesting observation. I found that I didn’t get much aroma from the leaf while it was in the bag, but as soon as I poured the dry leaf into my pre-warmed mug it came to life, so green and vibrant! I shall just copy & paste my notes from my phone from yesterday when Steepster was down:
This is oolong? Well of course it looks like oolong, little green fists, but the smell is just so green, and the taste, scandalous. There is no floral here, no orchid, no earth no wood, just crisp green goodness and a hint of nuttiness. I would swear this was a green tea in a blind tasting and a delicious one at that!
Second steep, still very green but richer, deeper, beany, and a hint of butter! Mmm and just a tinge of savory, yet in later sips still dark, cool and sweet. In later steeps the green mellowed out and this tasted more like a Tie Guan Yin. Still very exciting, I think I shall pursue more Alishans, this was a great introduction thank you!
Much thanks to Fong Mong Tea for this sample. I had mentioned to them that I had enjoyed both Oriental Beauty and Tung Ting in the past, so I was excited they included this one for comparison. However the Tung Ting I had tried was much darker (not sure if it was more oxidized, roasted or both). So while they are very different flavors, this does taste like very center green part of darker version.
It also tastes as if it has been brewed in yixing, yet hasn’t. At first I thought it was my memory tricking my sense as the Tung Ting I had tried at Essencha Tea House was brewed in a tiny yixing tea pot, but there is definitely a clay-like mineral note that is neither sweet nor metallic. I infused this many times yesterday in my make-shift gaiwan, at first with short steeps, then later much longer trying to draw out more flavors, but the steeps stayed quite consistent. I would say it might to better with long western infusions though. Mildly veg with those odd clay notes, the word bakey comes to mind, but I thought other’s used that in conjunction with bready. On the other hand it might do very well in a yixing pot! Thank you Fong Mong for this unique experience!
Thank you very much to Fong Mong Tea for the generous samples that arrived yesterday. I have been wanting to try more Taiwanese teas for awhile. In fact it was an Oriental Beauty that opened my eyes to the greater tea world and led me to Steepster, so it seems appropriate that I start with this. These leaves are a bit more varied than the other version of this tea I’ve tried. While the silver buds are slender and twisty, the bronze leaves are broader and while most are long and whole, there are some smaller and broken bits mixed in.
The smell is so lovely and familiar, yet hard to pinpoint. My mouth is greeted by a similar welcoming warmth, like embracing an old friend. This is woodsy, a soft fragrant wood, with a dusting of… powdered sugar? Yes, mmm. Later in this cup is the most subtle hint of fruit, like licking a grapevine.
Second infusion: hello flavor! There is a fleeting sweetness like cocoa powder, but it is gone in an instant. Oh, this is quite muscatel, but I so prefer it to Darjeeling. Mmm grape leaves now.
Third infusion: more herbaceous, like Shou Mei. And the next five infusions are pretty consistent with this, even though I increased the steep time by 15 secs up to 2 mins. I brewed this session in a makeshift gaiwan (curvy mug with a lid that I only used the bottom 4-5oz of) with 3 grams of leaf starting at 5 secs.
Today I brewed the other half of my sample, starting at 3 mins and increasing by a min for a total of four sessions. This tea definitely does better with more time and higher temperatures, but still never gets very strong or buttery and still reminds me more of Darjeeling and Shu Mei. Not quite what I was looking for, but lovely all the same, thank you! I may eventually order the Top Grade.
So I have been really quite angry today that I have all this great new tea that I can’t try due to infection of doom whose symptoms keep rotating (though today and yesterday’s rattling cough are new and yes I’m going to see the doctor tomorrow).
After dinner I decided to brew up a pitcher of Silver Yin Zhen Pearls, but alas it tasted awful perhaps partially due to a bit of soap and chai residue but mostly I think because it was an old tea from a clearance gift set, never cared for the pearls anyway.
So after that I thought anything would taste good and proceeded to brew this one from Angrboda, which I had actually measured out earlier in the day. I’m not liking it and I’m not sure why. It bares no resemblance to the pearls, that was all musty and stale perfume, this is fishy and metallic and calls to my mind shark (no idea). Might try a resteep but could just be my tastebuds being all wonky, should probably just go back to my throat coat :sigh:
My tea drinking lately has been boring due to ear thing, cough and sore throat, I’ve brewed various loose leaf green teas with various Traditional Medicinal tea bags, sometimes steeping the green first then using that liquid for the bag, sometimes vice versa and haven’t been pleased with any of the results until this one. Throat Coat (because that’s the predominant symptom today) with Choice Organic’s Kukicha bag tea. I steeped the former for 5 mins on its own and added the twig tea for an additional 3 mins. The result? Sweet, roasted, deep, cool spice, soothing goodness. They round each other out very nicely.
I did get to brew tea for my sister and our husband, Bailin Gonfu and Laoshan Northern Black. For whatever reason the Bailin was not playing very nicely, but they loved the Laoshan. Still on the hunt for a gaiwan, I’m torn about styles and hesitant about ordering from random online stores. Any suggestions are welcome.
On a completely unrelated note, I chopped my hair to chin length (it was long and getting so easily tangled). Weight off my shoulders for sure, husband doesn’t know yet and likely will not care, should be long again by November.
I realize I’m probably the odd one out brewing this with such short infusions, but I plan to try this longer as well with the husband, if I can ever get him to agree to sampling. Conversation last night: “Hey sweetie can I brew you a cup of really good black tea, I promise I won’t do short steeps”, husband: “No.” How do I work with that? (apparently by just brewing them and bringing them to him). So between that and me and the toddler not feeling well, these samples have been going slowly, my apologies.
I do think I am learning more about tea through this. Like I finally understand what people mean by a Yunnan having a linen like texture and for me it relates to the feeling, not the taste of pepper and cinnamon, though there are hints of those tastes in this too. The texture also reminds me of waffles, good whole wheat waffles like the ones I had for breakfast, which are really kind of linen like themselves. There is a soft sweetness here, but it does not speak to me as honey, nor as rock candy, but as sweet cream butter. However the tea is not yet buttery in this first short infusion, it does not coat the roof of the mouth until the second steep (perhaps if I did one longer infusion it would be there). Rather this is like licking a stick of unsalted butter and really tasting it.
I did brew the three Dian Hongs this evening at two and a half minutes each and got my husband to try each. All three are very nice black teas, each is different. Not so surprisingly the husband liked the lowest grade as it tasted the most “tea-like” more tannins I suspect and personally I think more malt, it had a cooler quality. What is surprising is that I preferred this, the middle. I think it was actually the most complex, but the golden tips is revealing more character as it cools. I will resteep each of these tonight at least once.
I also want to share how comforting opening the bag of this was, it smelled so rich and familiar, like opening up a huge canister of Golden Monkey and wafting it, which is saying something for such a tiny foil packet. The quality of the leaf is very good. I have not brewed the Golden Tips gonfu style yet so I will wait to review it as I am trying to figure out exactly what effects more buds have on the flavor, smooth, sweet and more high pitched are my initial thoughts, but I was getting some yam notes once it cooled. Thank you Angel and Teavivre
I get much more sweet than bitter from this, but I do get a little astringent feeling on the tip of the tongue, like I licked a reed. I’m not drinking it for pleasure and yet it is pleasurable. I’m sure it helps that I like licorice root. This, Throat Coat and Gypsy Cold Care all taste very similar to me, but Throat Coat is thicker and smoother and Gypsy Cold is more flowery (yet not floral like jasmine or orchid, more like chamomile) and this is more herbaceous, but they all have the same spice and licorice. We’ll see how it helps.
Many thanks to the Good Lady Angrboda for this, my tea of the afternoon (there was no tea of the morning as toddler had me up at 7:30 am for a bowl of cereal and I then convinced him to go back to bed and woke up again at 11:30). Rowan’s fever is gone today but I am super tired and still have ear thing. Sooo no special Orchid Oolong or Golden Fleece for me today pout
This however sounded good to me, which is odd as I didn’t like the one genmaicha I’ve tried (Teavana, but what do they know?). What encouraged me is that it is with Bancha and not Gyokuro and I figured the flavors would meld better than be such a huge contrast between green and toasty. Plus it is from Le Palais Des Thes and I have heard good things about them.
The smell brewing still isn’t my favorite, burnt popcorn and Kashi, but the taste isn’t bad and it’s even better with food. It’s surprisingly buttery! Genmaicha is definitely a unique cultural beverage, but not one that I am ever likely to get into. ::shrug:: Thanks Miss Ang, for giving me a better Genmaicha experience!
Huzzah! My package from Angrboda arrived today, thank you so much! Husband brought it in with the mail. I was surprised I didn’t have to sign for it and thus was expecting the bell to ring. This is probably a very good thing today, as the toddler is sick and clingy and has been napping on me most of the day. As such, as much as I want to tear open the packet of Verdant’s Taiwanese Orchid Oolong that I requested the swap for, there is just no way I will be brewing gongfu style tonight.
So other surprise samples! When I saw the back of this packet I immediately thought rooibos, I turned it around and read “black blend”, I opened it up to smell definitely black and rooibos and I noticed little petals of cornflower, perhaps with bergamot then? Now I am not overly fond of rooibos, though my experience with them is really limited to Teavana, I tried a straight red rooibos in their Care in Every Leaf Equal Trade gift set, but mostly it is just overly flavored blends. I have also thought at times that I may be allergic to rooibos, ironic as I want to turn to it for allergy relief, but could be any other number of ingredients Teavana uses in most of their tea.
But anywho this tea, I chose this tea as I have a headache tonight and wanted something slightly desert like, but not fruity, this fits the bill. The leaf itself doesn’t smell all that appealing to me, but I don’t care for the smell of straight rooibos, so I ignored it. I did a shorter steep that I would normally for a black blend, only a minute but it smelled good, actually really really good, hey there is smoke in here and pine/juniper (and this was my reaction before looking up the tea). I had a brief moment of worry that the smoke might be too much for the head, but it actually behaves itself quite well.
Taste wise, I do quite like this despite the rooibos, its my kind of blend actually. I’ve been reading descriptions of pu’erh online and anything that says pine, cedar, smoke etc. gets my attention, my longing attention. It’s the same things I look for in perfume and alcohol. Whatever fruit that is in here is very subtle and hard to distinguish, I think I’ve only had lychee once, in a goji berry white blend, but it rounds things out interestingly with the smoke. There is even a buttery note! So yes, I am enjoying it tonight, but I’m unlikely to ever buy a blend with rooibos in it.
Thank you again Angrboda I look forward to trying the Raspberry Oolong with my son when he feels better. Raspberry and oolong are his favorites and I had actually thought of requesting this one from you, but didn’t notice it on your page until the day you sent out the package, so am very pleased you have the foresight to include it! And of course I’m dying to try the orchid oolong ;)
I ordered an ounce of this when I noticed the stock was low a couple months ago. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to try such a highly rated tea with descriptors that sounded right up my alley. Granted this was before I had tried any shu, I had to resist ordering them all, but picked up one of the newer offerings the Yanxin Reserve ’04 Nuggets for some comparison. I tried the nuggets first as an introduction and it was a lovely one.
This does have some similarities, but where the nuggets were sparkling, this is smooth and earthy. This is more coffee cake than angel food and I’m pleased I chose this for desert. It’s sweetness doesn’t kick in until the fourth infusion, but boy does it shine. And even in the first five second steep, this is the darkest cup I’ve ever seen. The sixth infusion is a bit smoky, the ninth has a hint of cinnamon and the tenth reminds me of toffee. I definitely get Amy Oh’s twig tea reference, this is just so more more velvety and deeper.
I want to stay up all night and drink this, the boys are already asleep, I’m just hoping it will keep till morning. Me thinks I love shu and am looking forward to trying the sample of Xingyang Golden Leaf David included with this order. I also can’t wait to order the Cornfields Toucha later in the summer and Peacock Village come fall.
Update: This tea is so generous, I’m enjoying my tenth mug (8oz), twenty-four hours later. I enjoyed 6 infusions last night and I believe this is my fourth today, a couple of them were light (both in color and taste) and minty (something I’ve taken as a cue it might be spent), but I just upped the time and it is so very vibrant and sweet (I also started getting some spice in the last infusion). So here’s to another wonderful night with a wonderful tea!
Oh goodness, I feel so grateful to be sipping this tea this morning. The last two days I thought perhaps I had a sinus/ear infection and while I’m still a bit foggy this morning, my throat isn’t sore and my tongue feels primed and ready. The dried leaves smell decadent and that’s exactly the word I would use to describe the taste as well. It’s amazing that such a short steep can yield such a luxurious experience. There is sweetness yes and mild veg and nut, but more than anything it’s the mouthfeel on this that blows me away. Oh the creamyness it coats the roof of my mouth with, swoon. And I’m only on the first steep.
In searching for this page (Steepster was being slow to load) I came across I believe LiberTeas’s review of this Spring’s Laoshan Green, where she makes the comparison to fresh milk from grass fed cows on a small family dairy farm, and that really resonates with me on this one as well. I also definitely get the comparison to Gyokuro. I got six steeps out of this and I’m sure I could have done more if I hadn’t switched to pu’erh after dinner, very respectable for a green.
The first three were my favorite with the mouthfeel being the smoothest on the first and the second two being the most flavorful. The first sip of the second steep literally made me sip up straight and take notice, then mellowed itself out. The third started off mellow but built upon itself all the way to the bottom of the cup. Will have to try this grandpa style (leaving the leafs in the glass and sipping) can anyone recommend a temperature for that?
This is a general review as in I didn’t drink this tea today (I actually haven’t had anything but traditional medicinals) but I’ve had it several times at work and just last week dropped by I tried this in a blend. I remember when I was all excited for Teavana’s new tea launch and nothing excited me more than two new straight oolongs. I was not however terribly impressed by them and that was before trying non-Teavana oolongs.
Auspicious Ayame seemed like a lesser version of Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong to me and this a slightly less orchid slightly creamy version of Monkey Picked Oolong. I can now make out more differences and have a greater appreciation for both dark and greener oolongs. I also played around with short steeps at work, but now that I have tried some other amazing oolongs, I think this still lacks some complexity.
That being said, last week when writing a review for Teavana’s Detox Blend I had the idea that this would be the ideal oolong to pair with Gyokuro and Silver Needle due to its creamy and less floral nature. I was right, very well suited. But not enough to stock up on it.
Alas there shall not be more black tea tasting today. I’ve had two cups of throat coat and one of these as I don’t really know what will help, my glands feel swollen, my throat is sore and my allergies are flaring. This is soothing and reminds me of tea my mom used to make me. In fact my mom probably did make me this tea, I know she made me throat coat. Ah, that and Celestial Seasonings, how long ago it seems.
On an interesting note the neighbors came home with two huge Teavana bags. First time in I believe and she mentioned Dr. Oz. Later husband said he smelled Blueberry Bliss. I consulted with barista boy and he says they spend $250 and satiated my curiosity by listing the teas and merch. Fighting the urge to brew her better Tieguanyin than the Monkey Picked she bought, fighting it.