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Recent Tasting Notes
Bought this sample last Spring from a local tea shop that has since closed.
I probably should have attempted to resteep it, considering the bag said I could get 5-9 steeps, but honestly I wasn’t overly interested.
It was kind of floral and kind of tasted like wet leaves. It’s probably way too refined for my tastes. As far as tea goes, I’m still about as refined as a seasoned salty sea captain, spitting tobacco on the ship deck and stomping around on my wooden leg. Oh, I guess I’m a pirate then.
Anyway, I forget what I was going to say.
Wet leaves, not really my thing.
It wasn’t terrible though….I just think sadly, I couldn’t appreciate this as well as some could. I’m kind of feeling guilty for tossing the leaves though.
Pirate’s remorse. It’s a thing.
I wasn’t really paying attention to the instructions so as a result the 1st infusion was steeped for 1.5 min rather than 1 min. I gave the leaves a bit of a rinse first to open them up, which I normally do with rolled oolongs. The first steep was alright, perhaps a bit too woodsy for my tastes and it had a distinct roasted, almost charcoal-like taste – more like your typical dark Formosa oolong than a Tie Guan Yin. The second steep was better with more of the smooth, buttery flavours I usually associate with green oolongs and with the roasted notes more subduded. The tea seems to lack sweetness though – I know Tie Guan Yins aren’t heavily perfumed teas, but they usually have some honey notes that appear as the tea cools – but I’m not getting any of that.
I’ve noticed that oriental black teas tend to have these cocoa notes to them, but if I didn’t know better I’d swear that this tea was flavoured the cocoa scent was so strong. I brewed the tea following the directions on auraTeas website as closely as possible, though making 150ml of tea at a time looks a bit pathetic in my big coffee mug – maybe I should invest in some more authentic teaware.
I could be wrong, but I think this is the first Taiwanese black tea I’ve tried and it bears similarities to a keemun but there’s also some distinct differences as well. The tea does have a lovely bitter cocoa flavour but there’s more to it than that. There’s a smooth, sweet, honey-like undertone that keeps the tea from turning into something harsh.
It’s unusual to see a green oolong that doesn’t have rolled up leaves. These are more like little loose twists. The tea has a smooth, cooked-fruit (peaches or apricots maybe?) flavour and a sweet scent that remind me of lilacs. It has quite a few similarities to the Aged Wuyi Variety oolong that I tried from this company earlier, but it’s a bit sweeter and fruitier and lacks those bakey notes and roasted scent that the former had.
EDIT: Apologies for leaving the note unfinished last night – I got distracted. :D
Brr, yesterday it was a balmy 25C degrees outside and today it not even breaking 15C – it’s like Mother Nature said, “Enough summer for you!” and flipped a switch. So right now I’m curled up on the couch wrapped in a blanket and the hot mug of tea I’m drinking is very much appreciated.
This tea smells very much like I’d expect a Formosa oolong to – with a strong roasted, bakey scent. The flavour of the first steep (1 min) is quite unexpected however; yes there are some of those bakey notes but this tea is lighter and sweeter than I expected with some lovely fruity notes.
The second steep at 35 sec was richer and more rounded. This time I could taste some bakey notes in the flavour as well as a smooth honey-and-fruit finish. It also doesn’t cross the line of becoming too sweet like some green oolongs do (like certain Ali Shans for instance).
I’m really liking this oolong as it seems to combine some of the best qualities of a typical Formosa oolong with those of a Chinese Wuyi oolong with great results.
90ºC seems like a hot steeping temp for a green oolong, but the short length of time seems to keep the leaves from getting scalded, I suppose. It’s a tea more suited to a gong fu style brewing, I think, and maybe one of these days I’ll get the proper utensils to give that a try, but not today unfortunately.
The first steep at one minute brewed up a nice gold colour and had a lovely lilac scent. The flavour was floral and sweet with a slight fruity note. I think I can pick out the osmanthus, but it’s quite subtle and mixed well with the natural floral notes of the dong ding base.
The second steeping at 45 seconds was lighter and more floral and the third steep at 35 seconds took on more of a vegetal tone with an slight peach-like aftertaste. Each time the tea never lost its smoothness and refined character. Overall it’s an interesting-tasting, good quality oolong, but if you take away the osmanthus notes what’s left isn’t anything really unique.
I recently received an order of samples from auraTeas – they seem to specialize in oolong teas, but they have a good selection of chais (both herbal and tea based) as well.
I was surprised by the smokey scent that wafted up from the dry tea when I opened the packet – that mixed with the usual spicy chai scent made for an interesting combination. I brewed it up lighter than I normally would for a chai and had it without milk or sweetener so I could get a sense of what the tea itself was like.
There was still some smoke in the flavour, but not as much as the scent would suggest. The spices were mild with a slight herbal undertoneand I could pick up a touch of sweetness from the licorice root, but they were thankfully quite subtle with it. At the tail end of each sip I got the rose – lightly floral but not too perfumey. In my opinion they’ve put together a very nice blend.
Finishing off the last that I have of this tea. You can read my full-length review of it here: