Aroma Tea ShopEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Apologies – I have a bit of a tea backlog to get through because not only was my internet down most of the evening yesterday, Steepster seemed to be down as well! It was driving me crazy. So I have like 8 tasting notes/additional infusion notes written down in a Word document to paste into here (probably a good plan anyways, but it irritated me not to be able to post thing as I was drinking them).
This one’s another sample thanks to Amy Oh! :D
My notes are scarce (I was talking with/listening to drunken roommates while drinking it), but I noted that it tasted sweet and woody-ish (a flavour I find common in late infusions of green oolongs, and earlier in oxidized oolongs). I am wondering if my infusion time/temp/amount of leaf were off though; since I couldn’t access brewing parameters, I just made them up myself, and although they’re typically ok for an oolong, I think a longer infusion would have been better, at the very least. So this one tasted alright, but definitely needs some tweaking (and I definitely have enough leaf left to do that, since Amy sent me a very generous amount!) I’ll withhold a rating until then.
Thanks again, Amy!
My sister and I went tea shopping in San Francisco. Our last stop was the Aroma tea shop. The other tea shops we stopped at in Chinatown had only a few flavored teas which was a bit of a let down, but then we stepped into Aroma which had a ton of flavored teas. I chose a coconut green tea and as the gal was weighing it out she offered us a tasting of another tea. She peeked into a few gaiwans she had on the counter with wet leaves in them, choose one and poured. I sipped and at first it seemed plain and run of the mill. Then on the back part of the sip, the magic happened! A wave of sweet licorice and herbs washed over my mouth getting more powerful on the aftertaste and lingered a while. I was a little floored! The gal said it didn’t have any sweetener, it was all the licorice root that added the sweetness. Then she told me it was $39/4oz! It is good for up to six steepings and our tasting was the fourth. I must have sat staring at the wall of tea for a minute or so holding onto the last shred of my willpower before I caved and bought two ounces. On the way back to my car, I could still taste that tea and wanted more.
At home I’m discovering that to get it as strong as it was made at the shop, I have to use more tea than I am accustomed to. The gal at the shop said to use a tablespoon worth! The smell of the tea also reminds me of a medicinal chinese shop and I have always been fascinated with those stores. It’s that mixture of dried ginseng, ginger, licorice root and a bunch of other herbs. This tea is so strange and I like it! I’ll have to play around with it some more to get it to taste like the sample.
Appearance: small, thin curled grey leaf
Aroma when Dry: sweet beans
After water is first poured: vegital, soupy, sweet
At end of first steep: vegital, soupy, sweet
At end of steep: hit of green
Preferred time of day: unsure, first tasting
At first?: sour vegtial, brothy, bitter tangy close
As it cools?: gets more vegital, sweet notes mingle with the sour tang
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)?
Lingers? Yes, sour vegetal notes across the palate
Appearance: Long flat leaf tea, shades of olive
Aroma when Dry: light grass, hints of cream
After water is first poured: creamy bean notes
At end of first steep: sweet lima bean
At end of steep: clear
Preferred time of day: any
At first?: bright, soupy vegital, bean and nut notes
As it cools?: notes linger longer, sweeten, get cloying, nut notes disappear
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, sticky sweet, slightly brothy
I made more of this to compare to the Subtle Roast Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Verdant Tea’s Reserve Club.
This tea is very sweet and easy to drink. It has a a much more subtle smokiness than the Verdant offering, and the leaves are smaller and more tightly rolled. I have to admit that I like this tea much better.
This tea is delicious. It is definitely less smokey than the one other lapsang souchong I’ve had. That other lapsang souchong (which was Harney & Sons) was very smokey and had a strong piney taste as well. I enjoyed that cup at the Indian Road Cafe in Inwood, NYC. Gosh, I miss home!
Anyway, I can’t wait to compare this one to the “subtle roast” zheng shan xiao zhong that came in the Verdant Tea January reserve club shipment. I think I may also dedicate one of my “too big” yixing teapots to this kind of tea, as it’s not very expensive and would be good for serving larger groups of people.
They keep this one under the table, so you either have to know about it, or they have to offer it to you. I totally fell for the gimmick of this and decided to buy an ounce. It did turn out to be a very nice tea. The florals were well balanced with other flavors and there was a nice buttery taste to it. I’m still a new tea drinker (at least when it comes to anything besides English and Irish black tea blends), and I haven’t had many other spring Tieguanyins. I’ll have to try this alongside a couple of others soon.
I had this last night. I brewed it Western style, but I can’t remember the exact specifications. It brewed a good pot of tea, despite the fact that this one is really best using gong fu brewing. I was so tired last night that I didn’t finish it, but it’s still nice this morning. I may keep some of this before sending the rest off to greenteafairy.
Flavors: Honey, Orchids, Stonefruits
What a wonderful way to start my morning. This is my current favorite mi lan xiang oolong. This tea has just the right amount of astringency, and tolerates multiple steepings without getting bitter. The best part of this tea is the finish which lingers on and on, sometimes for hours after.
This is a great comfort tea. It will always be a staple in my cupboard because I haven’t found anything that goes as well with Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups or homemade dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts (what I’m munching on today). It is a dark-roasted oolong whose aroma reminds me of coffee, stone fruit, and nuts. Great for a relaxing Sunday.
Recently I went to the Aroma Tea Shop when they had their Living Social deal – I got a xiying teapot as well as this delightful oolong.
I haven’t been buying too many green oolongs lately; at one point I had way too many so I’ve been trying to cut down a bit on my purchasing.
I decided to treat myself to some of this today. When I had gone to the ship I was told it was a new fresh arrival. Steeped using gaiwan method for 30 seconds.
Steeps 1 & 2 (I often drink them together): this just smells so lovely, fresh and aromatic like a garden. The flavor is slightly buttery with a floral element and has a slight sweetness in the finish, what a treat. A nice gardenia aroma is coming from the wet leaves. This is simply divine.
Steeps 3 & 4 now I am picking up on the sugar cane element with a touch of fruitiness that reminds me of pineapple and pear. Still very rich with a lovely butteriness. Great for a relaxing afternoon tea tasting.
I am going to the Washington DC area for a trip starting tomorrow, if anyone knows of a tea place I should check out keep me posted!
I know I still have a bunch of teas in my cupboard for which I need to do tasting notes, but I wanted to do a quick note about osmanthus flowers. I love, love, adding them to all sorts of teas to add a floral note, or perk up a fading third infusion. While I’m not particularly a fan of straight osmanthus tea (6/10), the fun things it can do to a blend make it an 8/10. I’ve had great success with a Darjeeling black tea, a sencha green tea, and even with mint. The flavor is bright and soft at the same time, and I like the floral flavor more in osmanthus than I do in jasmine. Anyone else use osmanthus?
Aroma – Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding. Loose leaf. Appearance: wrinkled dark brown rolled leaves when dry. When steeped the leaves unroll and are still dark and wrinkled. Liquor: nutty brown, with very minimal sedimentation. Smell: soft, roasted smell. Taste: roasted oolongs may be my favorite anytime teas, and this is a really nice one. The taste is smooth, with a soft mouthfeel, roasted flavor with cherry notes. It handles multiple infusions, and multiple steeping times really well. Low astringency. Caramel aftertaste. Just delightful for drinking throughout the day. 9/10
I picked up a Keemun (black) tea recently for a friend who prefers black tea, and got some for myself. It particularly works in small batches, as in a gaiwan. Appearance: curled black leaves (broken) with golden tips. The black and gold contrast is visually appealing. Liquor: caramel brown. Smell: smoky and caramel. Taste: as with the smell, the tea has smooth, caramel notes, with smoky undertones. It is less bright than other black teas, but sometimes that’s what I’m in the mood for. It works wells on its own, but sugar can work. It is sensitive to oversteeping (primarily why I tried the sugar after a batch I oversteeped). I’m a fan of the complexity of the second infusion. 7/10 (because of the second infusion, also because it works well with my set up at work).
Appearance: the leaves are a dark brown with an almost purple hue. Liquor: rich amber. Smell: warm, roasted, with floral accents. Taste: this tea is amazing because it handles multiple infusions really, really well. I can seriously get six good infusions out of this tea, and each one has different aspects. It starts out smoky but floral, and then deepens into a rich, subtly sweet, caramel flavor. A brief infusion leads to a lighter flavor, and a longer infusion leads to a deeper one. I like being able to vary my steeping times over the course of the multiple infusions because it lets me get different things out of the same tea. While debating whether to give this a 9 or a 10, the versatility persuaded me to give this tea a full 10/10.
Aroma – Chinese Ginger (black). Loose leaf. Appearance: leaves are smaller, black, tightly wound when dry, and approximately 0.25 inch (average) when steeped. Liquour: very dark brown, almost caramel. Smell: distinct, strong ginger. Smells like Chinese restaurant tea. Taste: balanced mature ginger and black tea notes. By mature I mean that the ginger is more of a ginger syrup than a fresh ginger flavor. Mildly astringent. Decent without sugar. Sugar substantially improves the flavor by bringing out the ginger notes (be careful not to overdo sugar). 6/10
I enjoy this oolong a lot. It’s light, and grassy and green. I can steep a yixing pot of a teaspoon or 2 for several times over, while still keeping a flavorful cup. For the first cup, I tend to steep for 45sec-1:00, sometimes going shorter in the first few cups. Then, once the leaves have fully opened and I’ve gotten some peak cups out of it, I’ll start brewing for longer. Sometimes up to 3:00. It’s a very strong oolong, keeping it’s smoothness without ever getting offensively strong. Having this around in my tea cupboard makes me very happy as it’s a rare treat!
So glorious. The first Silk/Milk Oolong I tried was from Red Blossom and they stopped carrying it a while back. While I was sad about that, I found out that the awesome Aroma Tea Shop sells a similar style of Oolong which is even better. This one is very smooth and buttery. You can re-steep this several times, the packaging says 3 or 4 infusions should be good. It’s really excellent and very much worth spending a little extra to get some of this for yourself. Excellent!
A nice Oolong that has a sweet floral fragrance. It’s got a nice flavor, a little grass and smoke and a sweet floral taste that’s a part of the tea, not added. The floral aroma comes right out, takes a back seat to other flavors, and returns for an even richer aftertaste.