Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

85

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.

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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).

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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

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90

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.

Noms

Flavors: Butter, Green, Vegetal

Daylon R Thomas

Isn’t that tea the same as their Li Shan?

Daylon R Thomas

Nevermind. I checked one of the notes on it and it was a part of their kickstarter.

Rasseru

ive got no idea what the Li Shan is like

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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.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-honey.html

MissLena

Hooray for U of A :D (where I got my degree from)! I miss school!

Alexsia 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

That is so cool! I love their Paleontology program, if I was going to go back to school I would possibly go there

MissLena

WIN! You unfortunately would have to deal with our terrible winters haha (minus this winter, surprisingly mild) but it is a pretty good school :)

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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!

The Leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BFh6b1bhUoE/

The Session:
https://instagram.com/p/BFiDXtoBUoV/

The Liquor:
https://instagram.com/p/BFiIDAghUvm/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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100

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

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75

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

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83

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

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78

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

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Sipdown. Rest of sample packet, 212F, 100ml gaiwan. Pretty consistent steeps. Honey and malt. Solid tea that lasts a long time.
Using 100ml gaiwan, I drank approx 10 steeps (I think). Wasn’t counting, just drank until the tea was done.

Flavors: Honey, Malt

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80

210F 150ml gaiwan, 5g-ish
20s-honey, clover, smooth. 30s-honey, malt, smooth. Tea reminds me of when we used to go eat those purple flowers (clover blossoms) in the field. Juicy. I ended up getting 8 steeps from this tea.
Very good, but similar to some other teas I’ve had. I don’t think this will be a restock for me. 80

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Smooth

Fjellrev

Interesting! Never had a clover blossom before.

Lion

Wow, great description. I used to eat clover flowers as a kid all the time, and I can see the connection.

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82

This is only the second or third silver needle tea from Nepal I’ve had the pleasure of trying. I’m already quite surprised by the scent of the dry leaf, which has some smokey notes and hay and earthy tones to it, quite different from any other silver needle I’ve tried before. These needles look very thin and delicate. The aroma of the wet leaves is smokey and perfumey at the same time with a sort of tart grape scent. It’s really intriguing.

The taste of the first infusion is not at all what I’d have expected. It’s really sweet, woody, and a little smokey. If you blindfolded me I’d probably think this is Ya Bao, a white tea made from plump, moth-like winter buds from wild tea trees. In some ways this reminds me of wite whine, something spicy and crisp like a Pinot Grigio.

The second infusion of this tea is more sweet and grape-like, now reminding me more of champagne. The smokey element is nearly gone. The taste is a lot more clean in this infusion than the first.

In the third and fourth infusions, the smokey aspect really cleared out and gave way to a really sweet and clean brew, while the flavor stayed somewhat similar, reminding me a bit of white grape with some sweet grassy undertones.

This tea had a rough start by my tastes, but after the initial infusion I was really enjoying it. That said, I never rinse teas except for Shou Puer. Maybe this is a rare case of a tea that I feel could be better with a rinse? Then again, I may not have appreciated those more delicate sweet later steepings without the smokey, earthy tastes up front with which to contrast them. This tea produces many flavorful steepings and really goes a long way.

Flavors: Champagne, Earth, Grapes, Hay, Smoke, Sweet, White Wine

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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83

Picked this up with a handful of other samples from this company at the Midwest Tea Fest. Was told by the vendor that this tea is a “well-kept secret”, so with not much more of a prologue than that, into the gaiwan it goes.

The dry leaves in a warm gaiwan smell like buttery mashed potatoes and cacao. The aroma of the wet leaves very much surprised me. It’s a much more perfumed, fruity and floral scent with notes of plum and lychee and a little honey.

I’m a little surprised by the flavor. This tea sure is full of surprises. The flavor actually tastes more like what the dry aroma would have led me to believe it would taste like, rather than the wet leaf aroma. It’s got a nice honey sweetness to it, but is underlaid with notes of malt, cacao, and potato. There’s a fruity floral aroma on the tea but it doesn’t come through much in the flavor, though there are some subtle hints of plum, more so as the tea cools. The sweetness of this tea is very long-lasting

The color of this tea’s liquor is a honey-gold color, much lighter than usual for a black tea. The taste of the second infusion is very sweet and has a flavor like oats and molasses with a slightly bitter dark chocolate aftertaste and a lingering sweetness as well.

The third infusion is just as sweet as the second. This tea has a rather creamy, airy body to it. It’s light for a black tea. I haven’t read any info on it yet, but I would assume this is made with an Alishan oolong cultivar (edit: checked, and yeah it is). It has the lightness and cleanliness that Alishan oolong usually exhibits. The flavor of this third infusion has slightly more floral and plum or prune, but still underscored by an ending note of bitterness. In contrast to the creamy and light body while drinking it, the finish is a bit dry in the mouth.

I hesitate to weigh in on whether this tea is truly a “well-kept secret” because it simply isn’t my tastes in black tea. It has a really interesting display of sweet high notes and some dark bitter low notes, but I feel like it’s missing the middle, and this causes it to taste overly sweet to me. For me, it lacks the richness and depth I crave in black teas. It’s like hearing only the top and bottom notes of a chord on the piano. It sounds nice, but it needs that middle note to give it character. That said… it’s a good tea and tastes very clean. It just doesn’t stand out against other high mountain oolongs gone black that I’ve tried, which have tended to have some very uncommon notes and impressive complexity.

Flavors: Cacao, Floral, Honey, Plums, Potato

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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95

My tea from yesterday.

This tea is a masterpiece. Not quite as floral as some oolongs I’ve had but it’s the way the floral blends into the whole picture. There’s so much in the floral aroma and taste. My taste buds are not as sensitive as some so I couldn’t name all the floral notes but osmanthus was definitely there. There was a sweet osmanthus finish with each sip. The tea was smooth and oh so sweet and buttery. I reminded me of a Tie Guan Yin but not a cheap one —a very fine Tie Guan Yin.

Really an amazing tea. A must try tea.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Osmanthus

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Rasseru

so many good scores for this one.

Doug F

I don’t drink much Oolong but I might have to give this a try.

Ubacat

It really is the most amazing one from this company so far.

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86

Flavour is not as strong as the scent but the first few sips reveal a wooden character that dances on my tongue and becomes sweet through the after taste. The sweetness is honeyed, not overly strong but beautiful and pure; it just trickles elegantly down my throat, coating my mouth with sweetness.

A few sips more have an increase of dryness with a touch of leather and smoke. On the whole the strength is still medium and though there are some strong sounding flavours they are not thick nor too much ie. A nice balance of combinational notes.

At this point I’m halfway down the cup and I am still finding the sweetness very pleasant, it has not lessened in any way; though the dryness is more apparent.

Now with a few mouthfuls left there is an added sour quality to a thickening strength but throughout it has been a wonderful steep.

More info and longer review on the blog: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/05/09/red-jade-black-tea-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 11 OZ / 320 ML

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80

I am enjoying this twisted green tea this morning. It is very delicate, vegetal , and light. Perfect for a spring morning. There’s a bit of green bean in there and a faint chestnut. As I take a sip it’s followed by a light sweetness too. I really like it but it’s not my favourite type of green tea. I prefer ones that have a bit more greenness, umami, deeper & sweeter chestnut. However, I would soon get bored with all my greens if they were all alike. This one is definitely different.

Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is probably the most delicate green oolong I’ve ever seen. The smell and taste both make this a green tea to me though. It may have some viscosity that I would say oolong has in character that green tea may not, but that’s about it.

Really enjoy cup of tea during the spring and summer for sure, but I think I’ll stick with the normal baozhong BTTC has because I don’t foresee having the time to sit down and just enjoy sipping at this as it has subtle notes that need concentration to notice and I will miss out on them for the moment. However, I was able to rebrew this four times which I wouldn’t do with a green tea so that makes it more valuable to me as I look for a nice tea for spring when I do have the time for a hike; which will always include BTTC dragonwell because it’s hands down the best I’ve ever seen, tasted, or heard of.

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70

Of the five teas I purchased from BTT, this was the least impressive. I have to agree with the other reviewers, this Golden Lily pales in comparison to Whispering Pines. It has a very buttery quality, as in someone dropped a pat of butter in my cup. Steeped gongfu there is also a bit of floral and a touch of sugarcane sweetness. But there’s no real complexity to this tea. It’s drinkable, but kind of forgettable.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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82

Thanks for this sample a while ago, Nicole! These ominous leaves, large and twisty, sure make for a light, sweet and fruity green tea! Somehow this is the starchiest green tea, I’m not sure why. The color of the brew is the palest of yellow. The second steep also becomes buttery, while still tasting sweet. I love a green tea like this type once in a while!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 32 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep

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99

My go-to tea right now and one I foresee becoming a perennial favorite. This isn’t just tea, it’s an experience – one I would describe as walking through a fresh meadow of flowers on a spring morning. It’s very versatile and forgiving to any steeping method. Different brewing times and temperatures reveal different qualities and flavors. Grandpa steeped, it brims with lovely florals, creamy vegetal tones, and a luscious aroma. When gongfued, it transforms into a high mountain tea with a richer, full-bodied flavor and that distinctive gao shan aftertaste. Other times, it can resemble a light TGY. Personally, I think continuous steeping gives the best flavor and is economical to boot.

I’m impressed by its longevity. I get 4-5 awesome steeps from just a smattering of leaves in a tall glass. To me that speaks volumes about its quality of the tea and makes the price point more palatable.

I can’t help but compare this to the other competition-grade bao zhong I tried from Taiwan Tea Crafts. That too was an excellent tea but to me BTT’s has a more complex and ethereal flavor. Then again, the other one is a spring harvest so it’s probably not a fair comparison.

Flavors: Flowers, Gardenias, Orchid, Rainforest, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Zennenn

I’ve never done continuous steeping successfully but I want to try it again after reading your review! With this tea of course. :]

Daylon R Thomas

How does it compare to the main stock on BTTC? That one was too vegetal for me personally, but I’ve really enjoyed Baozhong’s from the past especially in coconout/pineapple blends.

LuckyMe

@Zennenn – try using slightly lower temp initially and refilling with boiling water when its 1/3 full. works for me with most teas

@Daylon – never tried their regular bao zhong, but this one is more floral and buttery

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A very nice return to tea after two weeks without the ability to taste or smell. The complexities of this red jade’s flavor notes bring a smile to my face as I am reminded how much I missed my tea and my senses. Rum raisin, yams, cloves, frozen pudding ice cream and even a crazy little note that reminded me of Jolly Rancher, this is one of my favorites. Multiple infusions never losing much of it’s beautiful red color even when it’s flavor started to wane. Hong Seong-il Tea set, boiling, with many very short 15-30s steeps leading up to a couple minutes before it could give me no more.

https://instagram.com/p/BEW90VlhUg7/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
boychik

I have a question if you are on IG?

CWarren

@boychik Message sent.

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60

I am brewing this gongfu style. Putting these leaves into a warm gaiwan, the scent is of chocolate, earth, and a little but of must. The wet leaves smell like red wine, grapes, and prunes.

The tea tastes a bit woody, and like bread or oatmeal. It’s smooth and subtle. There are tiny notes of cocoa and mushroom. This first infusion is so light and I really enjoy it.

On the second infusion this tea still has a somewhat light flavor. It’s enjoyable in that sense. I have to say though this isn’t the type of flavor I’m used to in dianhong. This one has more of the muscatel and wood flavors I’m used to in Assamica varietal teas from India and Sri Lanka.

I infused it more strongly on the third infusion. I have to say at this point I’m feeling a bit let down, flavorwise. Even brewed more strongly, it’s awfully light, and while the flavor is smooth, it’s also rather two-dimensional. Still getting wood and muscatel flavor mostly. The tea is not very sweet, and only has a tiny bitterness in the end.

The fourth infusion yields must, wood, and squash flavors now. It’s still smooth and easy to drink, but not particularly intriguing.

As for the age-old inner battle of how to numerically rate this tea, and using those little smiley faces as a prompt, I will say, this tea was just above mediocre to me. The first infusion was the most enjoyable and beyond that it didn’t open up to reveal much more complexity or flavor like I’d hoped it would. And if I’m comparing this tea to every other dianhong I’ve had before, I feel even more secure in not rating it more highly, unfortunately.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cocoa, Muscatel, Mushrooms, Musty, Wood

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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