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Recent Tasting Notes
Sometimes I wonder if I still have a little of that ornery soul most little boys grow up with where raining on everyone else’s parade is the height of wit.
Seven came before me and drank this tea, and essentially it received unanimous acclaim. So I got a sample since BTTC was good enough to show up to Midwest Tea Festival (thanks BTTC!) and today, I drank it.
With all the accolades, I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I found in my cup.
It was even better than they said.
If such notables as boychik and LP can’t capture this greatness in the limited format of mere words. far be it from me to attempt. But I echo what others have urged – try this tea if you like oolong. Try it if you haven’t had traditional processed Dong Ding, even if you’re not a fan of current style DD.
Or you know, don’t. It’ll leave more for me.
I am sitting in a very big ball of anticipation, ready to explode at any minute…because ARK!! Oh yeah, it is update day! My update is busily downloading and I am waiting for the big surprise, they will be streaming some massive announcement from PAX West in about 30 minutes (maybe the update will be done by then, it is a big one) and I am very excited to see what it is. The ‘mysterious mysteries’ teasers for the past couple of months all lead towards a desert biome, and the loading screen is what looks like dragon eggs, so yeah I am super excited.
Today’s tea is Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Farmer Changs Green Oolong, their fluffy Baozhong which is the greenest of the Oolongs, with its subtle oxidation. I love Baozhong, but often get stuck with ones that are uninspiring so I tend to overlook it for more traditional Oolongs, but when I find one that is good I get practically giddy! Before I get into the smell, just look at those fluffy emerald leaves, no amount of photography could do these beauties justice and I apologize, take my word for it though they are luminous. So, the aroma, it has a slight chestnut sweetness, which might be a first for a Baozhong, me likes! There is also a potent burst of lilacs and hyacinths, distant orchids, and the most wonderful herbaceous sage and fresh oregano note. I was really liking the tea until the herbaceous notes kicked in, then it was love! Fingers crossed that sticks around through the steeping!
Steeping the leaves, the aroma after the first steep, well there is a little bit of fresh spinach, some mellow sweet chestnuts…oh yea, and a small explosion flowers, it is like summer burst out of my gaiwan and become a sentient cloud wafting around the tea desk. There are notes of peony, lilacs, hyacinth, orchids, and a tiny bit of apple blossom. Luckily the herbaceous notes of oregano and sage survived after the cloud of flower dissipated a bit. The liquid is very sweet, with notes of lily, lilacs, peony, and hyacinth with a tiny touch of spinach and fresh oregano at the finish. I am loving those herbaceous notes, it kinda makes me want to pair this tea with a salad or something.
The first steep is light in both taste and mouth, a delicate airy mouthfeel which goes well with the light first impression. The tasting notes present are gentle hyacinth and lilac with an undertone of orchid, like one that has just opened and not really turned into a floral explosion yet. Towards the middle a lettuce and cucumber note pop up with a lingering chestnut and lilac aftertaste.
Where the first steep was light, buds just beginning to open in the morning, this steep was a heady afternoon hothouse! Holy wow, I feel like I was hit by a wave of flowers, it makes for some comical mental images, just removing the lid of the gaiwan and swoosh flower wave! The taste is wonderful, for all its heady floral notes it is not perfumed, it is like drinking flower nectar…I have become a hummingbird. Lilacs, peony, hyacinth and finally orchid dance throughout the entire sipping experience with bursts of oregano blossoms, fresh sage and cucumber adding a depth to the flowery notes. The aftertaste is honeysuckle, it came out of nowhere and I am ok with that.
One thing that really surprised me with this tea is how thoroughly and quickly it got me tea drunk, I was pleasantly loopy by the third steep and getting a bit poetic in my notebook (and no, I am not sharing my tea drunk poetry or handwriting, both are awful.) I will however share that this tea is still delightful! The flowery notes have calmed down a little, or the spinach, cucumber, sage, and oregano notes became stronger…not really sure, but it really works! At the time of writing this I can safely say this is my favorite Baozhong to date!
The dry leaves and the brewed tea smelled absolutely wonderful. I brewed this deliberately on the lighter side and it showed in the taste but even so needed a touch of sugar to overcome the tannins. I think that brewed stronger this would be a very bold pick-me-up for a morning tea.
Flavors: Malt, Tannin
Sweet, candy like milk aroma, it tastes much like it smells, but with a surprisingly sturdy body and oolong base that reminds me of a stronger tieguanyin, but with some of the floral character of a high mountain oolong.
I I leafed this quite hard as I received a sample from a teafriend and was too lazy to measure it and so just dumped the whole bag in, probably about 6-8 grams. Was surprisingly solid even once the milk flavoring had faded, although the next day had a weird plastic taste to it that I assume was stale flavoring. Overall was quite pleasant though, looking forward to trying the others!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Milk, Roasted
Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company stated everything accurately in their notes regarding this tea, but there may have been some attempt to “bury the lead” regarding the degree of storage flavor onboard.
Now, I’ll be perfectly honest here. I don’t have the most experience with the traditional or “wet” storage teas, so perhaps I’m a bit oversensitive. But if I had opened the pot lid after a few steeps and a kappa, a naiad, and a water elemental sprung out, the only surprising thing would have been the culture clash.
The early steeps, insofar as I could detect any other flavors, tasted like a smoothie made of turnips and a bit of raw radish. I’ve never had such a smoothie, so you may be wondering about the aptness of this comparison. Well, so am I. If you try the tea and have a better one, please do drop me a line, I’ll be curious to read it.
I have read in various locales that bought some aged oolongs and some wetter stored teas may have durability issues. This tea laughs at such reports, as I can say to my palate the storage taste was finally mostly off after a rinse and a mere ten steeps, but continued to produce reasonably thick and incredibly smooth brews for some time thereafter. The tale of a long, smooth steep out the website claimed was not exaggerated.
I’d say this is a tremendous educational tea, as it exhibits something I would call “clean wet storage”, which to some folks probably makes less sense a tall midget or a caring politician. I also found it a deeply soothing tea to drink, once it had progressed past the point of me wondering if swamp water was safe to ingest.
I intend to air the remainder out for some time. If the storage clears, I suspect this is a bargain at the price. If not, then those with a taste for such things should still enjoy it. I found my enjoyment increasing the more I drank, but whether that is relative to accustimization to the flavor profile or merely its lessening will require at least one more session to determine.
However, in what is perhaps a final telling arbiter in my overall thoughts, I look forward to that session.
Tangy with some fermentation flavor, but not like a shou at all. The sheng flavor is still prevalent.
Depending on the steep, the leaf sometimes had a tannin and bitterness flavor of a light black. On other steeps, it was light and maybe a little fruity.
Toward the end, it got cooling on the tongue, with an almost minty feeling coming out my nose. It became mineral tasting. The taste reminded me of autumn.
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Mint, Tangy, Tannin
I am told this is the same as the 1998 White Tuo from W2T, but since I bought this sample from BTT, I thought it only fair that I review this here.
Whew! Talk about earthy! Brewed this gongfu style from 212 all the way down to 160 and back up. The strongest flavor is earthy and tastes very much like green peanuts. Green peanuts are a southern delicacy that barely taste anything like regular peanuts, so don’t go thinking I am calling this a nutty tea! That being said, since green peanuts are often moldy, I wonder how much of this tea’s flavor comes from mold, ha.
As the temperature of the water lowers, the peanut flavor reduces down to really, really old books.
As I keep stating, it was intellectually stimulating, but not a flavor I would seek out. In addition, this tea also gave me that shaky, over caffeinated feeling. I wasn’t a huge fan of that.
It seems like it’s been days since I’ve had anything that didn’t come in a bag or in CTC form. But I’ve made a sizeable dent in my pre-good-tea-education now, so I’m treating myself to a new and interesting experience.
And this tea lived up to my expectations of being an interesting experience. It is odd that this tea tasted exactly like what it was, with no additional flavors: a pile of old wet leaves. And while that may not exactly sound appetizing, it was something I could appreciate.
Imagine a slow moving river in the swamps of Florida. The water is black with tannin; the banks are muddy and steamy with the Florida humidity. This isn’t a place that has that gassy smell, more the scent of decaying detritus at the river’s bottom. The sharp tang of minerals hangs in the air as the sun bakes the brown soupy mix.
That’s what this tea tastes like.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mineral
Everything about this tea was subtle. This tea seemed to have all the flavor profiles of a black tea with all the strength of a green or a white. Almost all the flavor was washed out after the first steep, which was disappointing. There’s quite a bit of astringency, which I’m also not a huge fan of.
There’s a bit of molasses, or maybe a dark, dirty sort of caramel? It’s faint, but pleasant. There are hints of chocolate, and more than hints of maltiness. The brew is slightly on the smoky side, though it’s a natural flavor of the tea; I don’t think the leaves were actually smoked in any way. There’s a nice hint of tobacco in there as well, which is a nice touch with the smoke and molasses.
It was nice, but the single steep of flavor doesn’t make it worth it. It reduces to watered down minerals after the first western style steep.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Chocolate, Malt, Molasses, Smoke, Tobacco
Nice milk & cake dough aroma from the steeped leaves, which are nice and juicy & green.
light soup colour with subtle milk & dough aroma. Milky taste, much less fruity than the WP one imo, more vegetal/normal high grown taiwanese taste (not that thats a bad thing at all, on the contrary). A bit sour green when pushed, but at least nice and natural tasting. Nice fresh steamed veg aroma from the steeped leaves.
Great stuff, nice & green & natural tasting with a bit more thicker body than the usual high grown lishans ive tasted
I’ve had the flavored version of this oolong several times, and it’s one of my favorites (not from Beautiful Taiwan, though). So I thought I knew what I was expecting when I brewed this.
It doesn’t taste at all like I would expect. This oolong was more like a Sencha with a meaty, buttery, umami sort of flavor. The mouthfeel was creamy, but the flavor of the liquid wasn’t at all sweet like I was expecting. Still very tasty though. There’s a hint of vegetable in there, but a heavy savory vegetable, like asparagus.
The leaves seem to lose most of their flavor after 2 steepings if you’re brewing western, which seems a little low to me.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Creamy, Meat, Umami
I’m still surprised that this does not have a higher rating on here. I’m enjoying it on a cool summer morning with breeze in the trees and the tropical grass aroma blowing into my nose. I steeped this at 3 min, 4, then 5, and I’m pretty sure there’s more to come. It really is similar to Whispering Pine’s Golden Lily, but not quite as tropical. It does, however, have the same creamy texture and sour fruity after taste.
At the same time, I shouldn’t be surprised at the reaction to this tea at all. Jade oolongs on here are really strong hit or misses-most often because of the teas being too vegetal or too floral. I’m certainly generalizing, but those are the trends I see. And given that I enjoy a healthy dose of florals and vegetals, it’s no surprise I prefer them.
I’m not surprised that I liked this one at all. I like BTTC a lot, and this one has a similar sweet profile to their other jade oolongs. I’m pretty sure the note is what a lot of people call honey, but either way it ends with a fruity aftertaste similar to something tropical, peachy, or closer to osmanthus.
The teas body is highly vegetal, but a very fresh and sweet vegetal. However, it also packs a healthy floral background with the spinach body and actually quite fragrant. I did oversteep the second brew at 8 minutes, but it was still good maintaining that honey osmanthus sweetness with something that reminded me of celery. The aroma though is so nice. I’m not quite sure how to accurately describe it other than fresh and floral.
Third steep, no idea how long I’m brewing it, but I took a sip and it was still nice. It was more floral, but continuously vegetal and fresh with something that reminded me of plumeria.Andrew was wanting to sell me a good quantity for a reason. It is a very refreshing green oolong that tastes a lot like freshly cut grass, but with some floral and maybe fruity sweetness. I’m glad that I asked for a smaller sample though since I already have so much tea.
I think that it is closer to an 80-85 in terms of subjective rating. Solid price, great body, nice vegetal tasting notes, nice sweetness, slightly durable if over steeped, and better than a lot of the Jin Xuans that I’ve had.
Found a sealed sample of this sitting in my tea trunk. Purchase records indicate I bought it about 9 months ago.
Brewed a small (I forgot to record how many grams) amount in a 150 ml gaiwan, 208F water.
Steep 1, 5 seconds: Rich roastiness, hint of sweetness. Light, smooth aftertaste
Steep 2, 5 seconds: Roastiness starts giving way to a bit of nuttiness. Sweetness still there. Aftertaste becomes more prominent and sweet.
Steep 3, 10 seconds: Roast still present but now more nutty with some floral notes. Smooth, sweet aftertaste that lingers for a short period of time.
The roast fades away increasingly with each steep as the aftertaste becomes stronger. There’s a light dryness to the aftertaste that’s quickly followed by some sweetness on the sides of the tongue. I was worried that the floral would become more apparent (I’m not a huge fan of florals) but it’s just been lurking quietly in the background providing some support to the roast (that’s starting to taste a little mineral) and nuttiness.
While not my favourite Muzha (the aftertaste is a little weaker than the ones I’ve had previously, though I’ve admittedly only tried a few), this is the only one that’s still available for purchase (the others I loved have long been sold out).
Backlog: bought this tea at Midwest Tea Fest. I really enjoyed talking with Beautiful Taiwan Tea and the presentation he did.
212F, 100ml dry leaf smells – yeasty, malty, fruity
20s- raisin and prunes, 30s,40s- fruity, prune.
Getting some hints of astringency as I push out the time up near 1min30s. Wonder if I pushed it out too fast? I enjoyed drinking this tea, though my notes are sparse.
Flavors: Astringent, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Yeast
Sipdown, and its always with a sad smile when its a Da Yu Ling/Pear Mt Oolong, with the area being conservated by the government I’m bothered what will happen to the prices of the real Oolong.. Theres already fakes about & this will get worse..
But anyway, i digress -
Seriously, how nice is this tea? Da Yu Ling, Li Shan, Ali, all these mountains have a serious place in my heart. Got to be the some of the nicest, most subtly vegetal-y fragrant, soft, buttery ‘green-tasting’ tea available. Its such an accessible tea for when you dont want something with punch..
This bag was getting on a bit, I think its two years old now, and has lost some of its presence & I didnt get any apples or pears, but still has a lovely vegetal flavour & huigan, although a lot more watery in the soup. Chaqi is nice as well, relaxing.
Flavors: Butter, Green, Vegetal
I am excited! Currently on Coursera (my go-to site for online free courses) is offering three courses on Paleontology! The University of Alberta is the college presenting them, they were the same who offered Paleontology 101 I took a year or so ago, so I was pleased they were continuing the series. The current course I am taking is about early Vertebrate evolution, specifically the lecture I am listening to is about Placoderms, everyone’s favorite bony faced fishes! Gotta love the Dunkleosteus! The other courses are on Cretaceous Theropods (my personal area of specialty) and ancient marine reptiles, another favorite area of study.
Two of my favorite things in the tea world are bug-bitten teas and hong cha (though depending on my mood the location where said hong cha originates changes) so is it any real surprise that I just freak out over Honey Black Tea? No, it really isn’t, and Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s was super high on my list of ‘to-try’ so I am super glad I got a sample at the Midwest Tea Festival. Mixiang Hongcha (or Honey Frangrance, that Xiang shows up a LOT in tea, especially Dancongs where all their different names are ‘something’ fragrance) is nibbled on by adorable little green leafhoppers which causes the tea plants to release an enzyme, in turn making it super sweet. The aroma of these curly long leaves is unlike any other tea, it has the rich yammy and malt quality associated with Hong Cha, but with underlying raisin, pumpkin, chestnut, and of course honey notes I associate more strongly with teas like Oriental Beauty, clearly the little buggies have done a wonderful job! It is sweet and rich, and the notes seem vaguely autumnal to me.
Into my clay pot the leaves go, because of course I have a pot dedicated to specifically Taiwanese Hong Cha (though not Red Jade, that gets its own pot!) The aroma of the leaves is yummy, strong notes of malt and pumpkin with underlying notes of honey, peanuts, yams, raisins, and chestnuts. At the end is a note of cumin seeds that have been roasted in a pan, it adds an almost savory quality at the finish and no joke, makes my mouth water. The liquid is almost sweet cream, it smells creamy (but not milky, more vanilla creamy) with strong notes of honey and raisins and a finish of malt and pumpkin. Keeping the sweet and still reminding me of autumn.
My goodness that first steep is sweet! I even went a bit heavy handed with the leaves, expecting a tiny bit extra briskness, but nope! The mouthfeel is thick, almost syrupy, like warm honey water, and honey is a fair comparison since the taste has strong raw honey notes. There are notes of yam and pumpkin, with accompanying notes of chestnut, and a finish of rich raisins and brown sugar. I feel as though I am drinking a dessert!
I wasted no time to move to the next steep, the aroma of the tea has a stronger pumpkin note, along with a slightly stronger malt, it is still very sweet though. Again, no briskness to be found, just smooth thick mouth and sweet rich taste. It starts with warm honey and vanilla sweetness, then moves to more rich yam and raisin, with a finish of chestnut and brown sugar. The blend of nuttiness and sugar reminds me vaguely of nut brittle, and I want chestnut brittle to be a thing now!
BTTC is not wrong when they say you can get three good steeps from this one, after steep three it really starts to pitter out, but the three steeps you get are pretty wonderful. Aromatic and flavorful, and never brisk, bitter, or watery…just sweet, smooth, and thick in the mouth, though this steep is a tad less sweet. This steep takes on the notes of yam and adds oats and stronger chestnut, the honey taste is replaced almost entirely with brow sugar, and there is a touch of pumpkin at the finish that lingers into the aftertaste. One thing I found surprising was this tea’s Qi, it is very mellow and I am so chill after drinking it, it is also a bit cooling in the chest which is nice on a warm day.
Cinnamon meets clover honey with a touch of jasmine; some happy yams and sweet autumn leaves at the end. 7g, 180ml Jingdezhen, 200F, 10s to open the leaf, another 10s first infusion and counting up in 10s intervals upwards to 90s for at least a half dozen infusions.
The briefness of this tasting note in no way reflects the awesomeness of this tea. I absolutely loved every sip and every steep. Those leafhoppers always know how to show their love. Tea that Pooh would approve of, this is pure "hunny " happiness!
Confession: Shan lin xi is my favorite variety of rolled green oolong, though my experience is somewhat limited. I’ve had spring and fall harvest from Eco-Cha, and found that I was enamored by the spring harvest but the fall harvest (which I ordered by mistake) ended up being dismissed to my bowl steeping stash after a few gongfu sessions didn’t really tickle me the same way. I have no idea what harvest this sample from BTTC is, but I’m excited to try it either way.
The aroma of the dry leaves in a prewarmed gaiwan is buttery and nutty. The wet leaves smell buttery and grassy with hints of alpine plants. The taste of the first infusion is very clean, grassy and buttery, really smooth. I’m mostly captivated by the cleanliness of the tea. It’s just so crisp and feels good on the tongue. There’s a warming camphor-like quality in the back of the throat.
The aroma of the wet leaves is intoxicating after the second infusion, it’s dripping with honey and sweet flowers, and alpine air. I’m really impressed by this. Man, this second infusion is something else. There are some honey sweet notes to it now. The body is really thick and buttery. The taste reminds me of the aroma of warm grasses and flowers in the afternoon sun. There’s a lingering aftertaste that is floral and almost fruity. This tea has the kind of complexity that I can’t even describe the flavor very well. I love when this happens. It’s an adventure tea. I feel I’m being transported to its origins and taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds.
One thing I’m enjoying about this tea, on the third infusion now, is that it doesn’t have the floral soapiness that is hard to avoid with some of these green high mountain oolongs. Some are quite susceptible to overbrewing. This one can brew up pretty rich in flavor without punching me with those heavy floral notes. Flavors here are similar to the second infusion but not quite as lush.
Fourth infusion now, similar to the third, mellowing out some. Still pretty buttery. I think this tea will push out many flavorful infusions to come. I’m going to go ahead and give this the Lion’s Seal of Approval!!! (there is actually no such thing, and I am a dork) This really is one of the best rolled oolongs I’ve had, and definitely stands up to the best Shan Lin Xi I’ve had. Great stuff. Going to give this the rating it deserves, since it had me swooning over it.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Pine
The scent of these black wiry leaves in a warm gaiwan is of dark chocolate and malt. After the first infusion, the wet leaves smell like dark chocolate and raisins. The liquid is a honey gold color and smells like mashed potatoes.
The first infusion tastes like malt quite a bit, and sweetened oats, and little bit of chocolate. I’m reminded of malt-o-meal cereal.
Second infusion is more of the same, but with a sweet honey overtone, relatively thick body. The flavor of this tea is rather mild for a black tea, tending to stay on the light side. There’s an aftertaste of raisins.
The third infusion is more rich, with a stronger sweetness. The flavors are the same as before. I brewed this infusion more strongly, and I definitely prefer the flavor this way. It has a lot more assertive flavor, notes of dates now in the mixture.
A good and easy to drink tea. Honey blacks are not generally my thing, as they tend to be really sweet and often mild in flavor compared to other black teas. This one has a very clean taste and mouthfeel, great for people who avoid the stronger and potentially more biting red and black teas.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Dates, Malt, Oats, Raisins, Sweet
Yay! I love Jin Xuan, so I’m excited to try this. I recently came to the belated conclusion that the one I recently loved and raved about from another vendor is artificially flavored, so I am looking for an authentic replacement. Maybe this will be one that I really enjoy! :3
The dry leaves are very green, so this tea seems very fresh. I’m not sure what harvest date this is from, but it looks and smells quite recent. The aroma is floral and buttery. The aroma of the wet leaves is very nice, rich and buttery, very floral, lots of lush aromas of vegetation.
I’m gongfu brewing this. The first infusion has a nice cream flavor and tastes lightly floral as well. In that regard it reminds me of magnolias, or maybe even a really mild lotus flavor.
The second infusion is much more floral, but still has a creamy body and flavor to it as well. There are notes of coniferous tree sap. The taste is less floral as the tea cools.
The third infusion is quite a bit floral as well, but still has that thick creamy note running through it. Flavorwise, it hasn’t change much. It’s more in the balance of the flavors that this tea changes during each infusion.
On the fourth infusion the floral flavor is more of an undertone, blending with a vegetal grassy flavor, and still has a creamy richness to it.
Overall I would say this Jin Xuan was more floral than I expected it to be, and not as milky as the renowned nickname of “milk oolong” makes me think it should be, but it was a nice tea, definitely a crisp and clean one as far as green oolongs go.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Pine, Vegetal
Finishing this tea today. While green oolongs still aren’t my most favorite, I must be in the right mood today because this one is tasting pretty good. Creamy with a vegetal flavor of something like fresh snap peas. I’m upping the ranking by a few ticks.
Flavors: Creamy, Garden Peas
Update: As I went through and got to about the 6th steep or so that lasted 10+ minutes, I was able to reflect on the journey that I had while drinking it and reading American Gods. This tea is better than I gave it credit for originally. It is a smooth drinker and it has a good flavor that lasts far longer than it has any business doing. So, I am bumping the rating up.
This tea is fairly good. A very fresh vegetal/green flavor. Very low on the bitterness factor. I’m getting a pea/green bean type of flavor with perhaps some fresh grass. I wish I could say more about it but… I’m really starting to realize that greens are not my favorite. Give me a roasty, toasty oolong and I am pleased. Whenever I drink more green oolongs and teas in general, I am more often than not left disappointed. I wouldn’t say I am disappointed with this tea as I can tell it is good for its style but it certainly isn’t my favorite BECAUSE of its style.
Flavors: Creamy, Garden Peas, Grass, Green Beans