17 Tasting Notes
Goodness. This one is a keeper. I had to wait until my second time tasting this before adding a note, just to make sure I do like it this much.
Looks: My sample came in a purple package with the leaves vacuum packed inside. The tea itself is sticky with honey and brew up a medium green.
Fragrance & Taste: The aroma is characteristic of Tie Kuan Yin, but the addition of honey make it more..comforting, somehow. There is a little more sweetness, and the flavour is more mellow. I find I crave this on morning when I’m sore and tired.
Brewing note: This tea is not great for resteeping, in my opinion, because the honey is pretty much gone after the first steep. Sure, you can resteep and the TGY flavour is still fabulous, but I find myself missing the delicious honey flavour. I brew at just under 200F, for 2 minutes. There is a slight astringent flavour if I overbrew, which I imagine will get worse the longer you steep.
Disclaimer: I got this as a free sample from TeaVivre.
When I opened its bag, the tea did not smell as flowery or fragrant as other green Oolongs that I have tried. A plus for me, actually, as green oolongs can be a bit rough for me with its overwhelming flowery-ness.
Looks: Medium sized, full very green. Quite beautiful and typical of a green oolong in terms of looks. The leaves oxidized to a brown once I left it sitting for a bit.
Fragrance & Taste: I did not find this that fragrant sitting in the cup. However, the taste is full in my mouth, so it’s probably my allergies affecting my ability to smell external aromas. The tea starts out quite floral, then eases into a smooth creaminess that fills the whole mouth. I’ve never had a milk Oolong before, and it surprised me that the liquid texture is also creamy, because the colour is totally golden and clear! There is also a lot of sweetness, and an almost nutty flavour detectable when the tea cools to room temp. Overall a very comforting drink.
Brewing note: I steeped it a little low, as the hot water dispenser at work can hardly reach 200F, but that didn’t seem to affect the tea flavours at all. Also, due to interruptions of a coworker, I accidentally overbrewed on the second steep, but did not experience any astringency or bitterness. The creaminess is greater on the second steep than the first. I suspect it can go for at least one more without losing flavours.
Disclaimer: I got this Oolong as a free sample from TeaVivre.
I have to add, this tea is absolutely beautiful to look at. Cocoa nibs, chamomile flowers, marigold petals..I’m glad I brewed in a clear container!
I brewed it like a green, fearful of what the first cup would taste like. It smelled minty on the high note, a little spicy, with a light cocoa base. I tentatively took a first sip..to my surprise, it was smooth with no minty harshness. This is definitely a minty tea, but the marigold and cocoa really help to round out the flavours. I think I like this better cold, because I can really taste the sparkling on my tongue and the sweetness. I’ll probably save the rest for summer. Right now though, I wish the warm notes were stronger, since it’s still cold outside.
Well, this one was a bust for me. Someone else described it as “dusty”, and I have to agree. I knew I would dislike it as soon as I smelled the dry leaves because it smells of vanillin and not vanilla beans. The smell is very flat, lacking the subtlety and full bodied-ness of the beans.
Once brewed, the leaves look great. Full green leaves. Definitely a Chinese green base, and the tea itself actually tastes great but the fake vanilla smells terrible. I even tried adding a piece of vanilla bean that I had, and some vanilla sugar, but the damage was done. The only reason I didn’t give this a lower score is because if you let it cool so that the smell goes away, it’s actually an ok green tea.
I’ve developed a bad habit of taking this with a teaspoon of condensed milk, much to the dismay of my waistline. Usually I drink my teas with nothing mixed in, but this tea is so smooth and well bodied that it begs for the richness of condensed milk. It ends up tasting like a weak Hong Kong milk tea..which is fine by me.
Usually I don’t drink black teas throughout the day because I find them too robust, but this one is very smooth that I like it even in the late afternoon.
Looks: Leaf texture is pretty typical of black teas. They look shredded, and a chocolate brown once brewed. Honestly, this is a tea to brew for the taste, not for looks.
Fragrance: This tea smells awesome. Very rich, caramelized fragrance. When I smell it I can taste it right in the back upper palate, it’s rich with a little astringency.
Taste: Very mild, for a black tea. With the smoothness of a smoky green tea. Full bodied with full aroma, but not so much that it makes you heady. As I said, I like it with the condensed milk because it adds richness, but you shouldn’t try it, or your waistline will cry too.
Brewing note: I cannot get as many multiple steeps out of this one as my other teas, two or three at best. The flavour degrades very quickly. Oversteep will result in extreme astringency.
I first enjoy tea with its looks, then I smell it, then I drink it. So that’s how I’m reviewing my teas.
Update: I find myself reaching for this one again and again. For me, the sweetness is irresistible. It’s my “I need a looong quiet sip to escape the madness” tea.
Looks: Very very light green toward yellow. The pearls unfurl into a bunch of twisted buds that look like tiny dragons battling it out in your cup. I have to resteep at least 3 times to get the leaves to fully unfurl due to the quick steeping time of this tea.
Fragrance: The jasmine scent is mellow and well rounded. Sometimes jasmines can get cloying with its high notes, but this tea was fantastic. The best I can describe is that it is a sweet, warm jasmine fragrance. Like getting a hug from a big jasmine flower.
Taste: Mild vegetal flavour with slight sweetness. A quick steep is necessary to get a good brew. I have accidentally steeped too hot as well as too long and either way results in an overly astringent tea. It was not undrinkably bitter, but not too tasty either.
Brewing note: I find a quick rinse of the tea helps greatly with the flavour of the first steep.