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Recent Tasting Notes
LiShan Winter Premium High Mountain Oolong 2014
Origin: LiShan, Central Taiwan
Dry Leaves: The leaves are less uniform then the Special Reserve’s, but they have a much nicer blue and green color. They had a light minerally scent, compared to the Special Reserves I think this was a much prettier tea.
Temperature: Boiling (then 190oF)
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Floral and Citrus
Flavor: Citrus, Floral, Cinnamon, Fruity and Vegetal
Tasting Notes: I used about 5g of tea in my 100ml JianShui whereas I used about 7g for the Special Reserve because I tend to find Winter Oolongs tend to have much more flavor. This was a much more subtle oolong then though Special Reserve, although I am not that surprised. A lot of winter oolongs I’ve tried have been blunter then their spring counterparts, whereas the teas BTT sources tend to be more nuanced and complex than the earlier harvests. This had a nice buttery mouthfeel, much nicer than the Special Reserve on par with similar winter oolongs grown at this elevation. I liked the cinnamon and vegetal notes in this tea, it was a nice contrast to the citrus and floral ones. In later infusions it became more vegetal than anything else.
The winter leaves are a little smaller, but considerably thicker. I almost want to say they are in not as good shape as the Special Reserve; they look like they have been rolled tighter and you can certainly see even after ten infusions the leaves are still somewhat furled although I did notice that this tea had a lot more leaves per stem, whereas the Special Reserve had two to three leaves per stem on average. This time I got seventeen infusions. I definitely am going to buy some more before it sells out, $19.99 for 2oz is an amazing deal for this.
[Pictures and more at: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2015/01/beautiful-taiwan-tea-2014-lishan.html)
LiShan Special Reserve 2014
Origin: LiShan, Central Taiwan
Dry Leaves: The leaves are absolutely beautiful, while mostly green, there is tons of blues in there, as well as stems. I could tell instantly this was going to be a beautiful Taiwanese tea. There was a slight scent, but I had trouble describing it, my best description was oolong-y
Temperature: Boiling (then 190oF)
Brewing Time: One Minute
Flavor: Lilac, Mineral and Cherry
Tasting Notes: This was surprisingly thin, not that I am disappointed, but I was expecting a thicker mouthfeel for a tea grown at such a high elevation. Regardless this was quite nice, it was pleasantly floral and it had some nice cherry notes that I don’t often see in oolongs, especially Taiwanese oolongs. The liquor was rather attractive, I used my favorite chawan and it almost looked like it had specs of gold in it, which I found was a nice contrast to the brown and white of the chawan, although I have made this tea in other cups and it doesn’t have that same effect.
If BTT still had any stock of this I could easily see myself buying again, I don’t remember it being that expensive, I think it was a little less than $10 an ounce. This used to be my favorite High Mountain Oolong from Beautiful Taiwan Tea, but then I tried the Misty Mountain and some of their newer teas causing me to rethink this, although I suppose the question is do I prefer this LiShan over the Winter LiShan. Unlike the Misty Mountain, this is hardly a daily drinker and compared to the Winter LiShan its leaves took much longer to unfurl. I got twelve infusions out of this tea.
Thank you for the sample TheLastDodo! This is so something I wouldn’t have picked for myself but when I was cooking supper tonight I suddenly found myself with such a craving for green tea. How odd for me! But, this was the perfect thing to satisfy that craving.
The dark twisty leaves are beautiful, first off. Dry I didn’t get much of a smell – it kinda smelled, to me, like most straight greens do – a little grassy. That is, if they don’t remind me of seaweed – which this one didn’t. I made very sure to steep it at the correct temperature, though my steep time was dreadfully inaccurate. I was aiming for two minutes – but I got distracted chopping up peppers, and I think what I ended up with was closer to a five minute steep?
Still came out spectacularly though – not even a little bit bitter or astringent which, to me, was shocking given that I personally have the most trouble brewing greens and am usually very receptive of bitterness when it comes to them.
Most notably, this was a very, very creamy and buttery green tea. It reminded me strongly of buttered green beans – sweet, creamy and so smooth going down. Something I used to eat all the time at my Grandma’s house during the summer. And following the same sort of mindset, when you got past the rich flavour there was a gentle earthiness underneath and extending a little into the aftertaste – like beans straight from the garden which haven’t been washed yet. Fresh, raw, and natural. For me, this is something you’d drink in the early afternoon outdoors right when spring is on the cusp of becoming summer.
And I loved it. I really, really did!
So far it’s the only tea I’ve had today – yesterday I got more dental work done (only nine fillings left to go – yay?) and afterwards could really only stand cold things, so I just had my daily cold brew. Good news is that today my mouth feels perfectly fine! Usually I’m in pain for the next couple of days following getting work done, so it’s a welcomed change.
Today, I had to spend a few hours running around getting stuff done like getting my new work pants hemmed – ‘cause they were like a foot longer than my legs. Major tripping hazard! I also didn’t sleep a wink last night, so I spent a LARGE portion of today taking long naps. Not much has been accomplished; oh well…
Although the infused leaves smell heavenly, the infused liquor leaves much to be desired. Too thin, and lacking in flavour, for my taste. This is a nice tea, but nothing special.
First infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz water, 70 deg., 1:30 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 70 deg., 5:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 70 deg., 10:00+ min.
Beautiful Taiwan Tea’s Golden Lily Oolong 2014
Unlike What-Cha’s Jin Xuan this is unflavored. This was the first of BTT’s that I have tried and this is the tea that sold me on the company, while it isn’t as nuanced as the other GeoShanCha at BTT, it is wonderful, I almost want to say it is my favorite, but whenever I purchase this tea I always drink it all within a week and I won’t want to drink anything else besides this tea.
This feels like a more traditional Jin Xuan, and unlike the Fujian Milk oolong from What-cha, this has a very thick mouthfeel, almost syrupy. This is primarily milky (more a sweet creamy butter then milk though), but I can taste a little bit of nutty vegetables, and some strong floral notes. While I don’t have as much to say about this Jin Xuan, I’ll just say this leaves me breathless and when I am done I regret not having more.
(“Breath Taking” photography at: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2014/11/what-chas-fujian-milk-oolong-jin-xuan.html)
I was so excited when the owner of Beautiful Taiwan Tea announced he secured a small batch of DaYuLing and immediately bought a small sample of it. The question is, “Was it worth it?” Yes!
This is the first tea that I have got tea drunk off of the first steeping. I imagine if I drank the water I used to rinse the tea leaves I’d probably have gotten tea drunk off of that as well. Generally I avoid teas that make me feel drunk off of, but I may have to make an exception for this one in the future. I am only going to post my first four steepings, I got to twenty three and the tea felt like it still had more to give sadly I just had to much tea by then. I’ve had DaYuLings before, but none have tasted like this (I am starting to suspect those were not true DaYuLings) and the dry leaves looked fairly typical of a hand rolled oolong. The dry leaves had a slight floral scent.
After I rinsed the tea with boiling water, I steeped at 190 °F for one minute. Immediately I could smell a very strong orchid aroma. The liquor was a light yellow, but it was like syrup! The mouthfeel was so nice! I’ve had thick feeling tea before, but this was absolutely wonderful as it coated my throat. It was very buttery and it had a slight edamame taste, but it was very sweet. I got very tea drunk off this steeping.
For my second infusion I brewed at 190°F for one and half minutes. The aroma became more intensely floral (still mostly orchid, but there was some other flowery scents in there). The mouthfeel is slightly thicker and it is starting to become creamy. The taste is largely the same although it had honey notes this time rather than general sweetness.
Next I brewed at 195 °F for two minutes. The floral aroma started to become distinctly orchid and violet. The mouthfeel is still thick, but from here on it becomes slightly thinner with each infusion, although it was still creamy. This time I was getting a little roasted chestnut, there still was the edamame and honey notes to it and there was a mineral aftertaste.
For my fourth infusion I brewed at 200 °F. The aroma is starting to become more mellow, mostly violet by now, but there is a little spicyness now; still very creamy and has a pleasant feel. A new orchid flavor started to show here, the roasted chestnuts and honey from previous infusions are still there, but the edamame was gone completely.
In my subsequent infusions the chestnut started to wane and the floral and honey notes lingered on to the end. I loved this tea, it was very typical of the High Mountain Oolongs from beautiful Taiwan Tea, but there is something in it that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes it very different from BTT’s other teas. It might be my new favorite Taiwanese oolong. I can only imagine how the earlier harvests tasted. Definitly worth checking out; Taiwanese oolongs are always very easy to love and hard to hate, but this DaYuLing is simply amazing. My only advice is drink it slowly and savor it.
I’ve been avoiding green tea for awhile, only because it’s not something I really crave in the winter. But I have been dying to try this tea and I figured, “Oh what the hell. Why not?”
I am glad I decided to try something different than what I have been drinking lately. This was like the complete opposite of Christmas in July. July in Christmas? Nope. Not the same ring to it. Drinking this just transported me to a breezy summer afternoon. It’s carefree and fresh af. I loved how it smelled, especially. There is nothing I love more than the fresh, vegetal smell of dry green tea. I think I may like it more than the actual brew. The bright, deep green of the dry leaves got brighter and brighter green as I steeped these leaves. They were especially friendly, I was able to get 5 long steeps in my large (150ml) gaiwan. I got a light and bright infusion of lima beans, vegetable broth and lemongrass in each infusion. The liquor was thinner in my mouth than the unctuous darker teas I have been craving like mad lately. Coming from BTTC, I felt like this was more of a quasi-oolong than a green tea, because of it fragrance and infusion durability. And that, is the very shit I like. I can’t wait to revisit this tea in the summer!
Flavors: Hay, Lima Beans, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetable Broth
The tea that I had was called “ShanLinXi Highest Moutain” but the descriptions are the same so I’m going on the belief that the Special Reserve = Highest Mountain.
Anyway! This is a fabulous Oolong! The dry leaf has an intense aroma: strong, sweet, floral. Once brewed, the liquid has a softer scent, but there are still obvious notes of fruit and flower in the fragrance.
Yes, I got notes of butterscotch. Nice! Sweet, smooth, not bitter or astringent. Smooth from start to finish. As I say in my full-length review of this tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/10/07/shanlinxi-highest-mountain-oolong-tea-from-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company/ – it’s kind of like having one of those butterscotch candies in your mouth and allowing it to melt over the palate. This tea is like that.
I also pick up on notes of flower and hints of spice.
This tea keeps on going, too. I got eight very flavorful infusions out of it. I highly recommend this one.
Although this is a gorgeous-looking tea, both dry and infused, it is typical of gaoshans in that its taste is rather thin and light. What it does have (taste & aroma) is very pleasant, mind you, but there is not much of it.
First infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 7:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
Call it Red Jade, or Ruby Red, this Taiwanese black tea is heaven to my five senses. The long twisted red-black leaves are delicate and produce a blood orange-colored liquor. It smells and tastes slightly malty for not being an Assam. Grown just above Sun Moon Lake In Taiwan, which happens to be the largest lake in Taiwan. I did not detect any astringency at all during all of my steepings. I got a scent of wet wicker, and dry autumn leaves. It was slightly sweet with notes of stone fruits like apricot and plum. This tea glided down my throat like dark caramel soft candy. Smelling the wet leaves was like smelling hot, wet, tart raisins. This tea imparted peacefulness in me and filled the air with the comforting smell of excellent red tea. Another one of my new staple black teas.
Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Malt
Wow. This tea is great! My girlfriend asked me if it had honey in it, that’s how much that flavor comes through in this tea. Also has some pleasant mineral quality to it but, boy, I really am blown away by that honey flavor. Delicious. I got a couple good steepings western style. This company has some great oolongs!
Time for a lovely black tea! This sample came from Nicole (she was sending me a sample of Earl Grey Polish and generously threw in a couple of other things I wanted to try). Her samples always make me smile, I love the way she labels them! Adorable. Anyway, I was particularly excited for this one because I love Taiwanese black teas, and I haven’t gotten to try a new one in a while now. The leaves have that gnarled tree branch thing going on, they’re jet black and surprisingly curly. The dry scent is very light, but I can smell bread and honey.
The steeped cup has a strong honey aroma with some malt and green bean notes. Wow, I’m very surprised by how vegetal this tea is! It straight-up tastes like green beans. It’s maybe even a little bit mushroom-y? The honey comes out mid-sip and has a strong presence until the end. The aftertaste is pure honey with cinnamon. I’m very glad I got to try this one, it’s so different from other Taiwanese blacks I’ve tried. Thanks Nicole! :D
Flavors: Cinnamon, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Mushrooms, Sweet, Vegetal
As a lover of oolong, I tend to shy away from the higher oxidized ones as much as possible. Their flavor has always been weakly barley-esque. The one note teas that might as well be weak black teas. This oolong though may be the one to change my mind forever. This higher oxidized oolong has just as much complexity and subtle balance as any of it’s lighter cousins. The dry nose on this copper penny colored brew was light and fruity, like nectarine and honeysuckle. The result brew was a different story. I got a smell of warm cinnamon sugar on buttered multigrain toast. That was a theme that stayed consistent throughout 4 steepings in my gaiwan. On the second infusion I thought I detected a butterscotch element, but I lost it on the rest of the infusions. Oddly enough, I go an acidic smell from the brewed leaves that never transferred itself to the liquor. Lucky me! Although I was not able to brew it as many times as my other lightly oxidized oolong, I did have fun with this one until I got to that mellow black tea quality.
Flavors: Butterscotch, Cinnamon, Honey, Toast
This is my second oolong form BTTC. It definitely had the biggest oolong pearls of all the oolongs that I own. The bright blue green wads of wavy mossy leaves felt nice and silky in my hands. The leaves themselves smelled very fresh, with vegetal and buttery notes. I also detected hyacinth floral hints. Funny enough, I did not know that this was a milk oolong when I drank it. I enjoyed the melted butter and heavy whipping cream quality I held in my mouth. It stayed consistently floral and sweet, playing around with candied orange peel and lilies throughout all my steepings in my gaiwan. Although not as fragrant or refined as their BaoZhong or a Lishan, I had a lot of fun watching the leaves explode in my cup.
Flavors: Artichoke, Butter, Cream, Orange Zest
So got a sample of this one from LiberTEAS! Actually was tempted to buy this one since this company had a great sale last week, but I resisted.
Glad I did, because I am not such a fan of this cup. I can’t pin point the flavor. It is kinda mineral-y, earthy, kinda grape-y. It is a very weird tea. xD
No flavor is really popping out of this tea. There doesn’t seem to be much of a main flavor. So it’s okay, but just not the best. Glad I got a sample of it instead of wasting my money though!
Flavors: Earth, Grapes, Mineral, Wet Rocks
Talk about ‘Spirit Food!’ I had a lot of fun with this tea. When you sit down with no distractions and just drink a couple infusions, it is quite meditative. I am almost appalled at how BTT calls this a ‘daily drinker.’ This is almost too good! The leaves are a deep forest green with tinges of grass green. All throughout the steeping process I noticed a couple of developing flavors. First was a rich buttery smoothness that made each infusion up to the last velvety smooth. With each infusion, the butter seemed to melt. Also on the dry noise was the scent of heady flowers. That carried on into each steep. The last was a light vegetal note like fresh spinach. That kept me from being tossed overboard from the strong floral notes.
I really liked this tea, and I totally wished I had gotten more than just a sample size.
Flavors: Butter, Cucumber, Osmanthus, Spinach
I really enjoyed this Asian Beauty Oolong – and the other teas that I tried from this company as well. Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co. has some wonderful teas!
My full-length article will go into depth about each of the infusions that I experienced from this lovely tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/09/03/asian-beauty-oolong-tea-from-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company/
The earliest infusions start out light and refreshing with notes of honey and peach. Notes of wood, earth and spice were also detected. As I continued to infuse this tea, I noticed the woodsy/earthy tones beginning to emerge somewhat. The tea is sweet with the aforementioned notes of honey and peach – and I like that this sweetness remains in the aftertaste. Lovely.
This would be the tea that I’d recommend to someone who is looking for an Oolong that’s a little less floral focused. This has a nice balance of sweet honey notes and peach and not so much of a vegetal or floral taste.
This is a tea from my secret pumpkin Cheri. Thank you.
I think Cheri needs to be my tea shopper. She picked out some amazing teas for me. Sometimes I get in kids where I want to try everything new and I just don’t order things that I really love. It was so neat to get an entire package of teas that look absolutely wonderful. This is my 2nd tea from the box. I am falling head over heals for Oriental Beauty Oolongs. For one this tea resteeps so well. I am sitting here writing this note while I am waiting on western style resteep #5. The first two infusions offered creamy, honey with enough hints to remind you this was an oolong, but the smoothness and depth of black tea. The third and fourth infusions offered the baked bread flavor with dribbles of honey and caramel. This last steep I am tasting bread, and a tad bit of astringency that rounds out the flavor. What a wonderful experience this morning!
I have Butiki’s Oriental Beauty in my cupboard still and I hope to compare the two. I have also added TeaVivre’s Oriental Beauty to my wish list to remind me to pick this up the next time I stop by TeaVivire and it is in stock.