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Recent Tasting Notes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
One of the more interesting BTT oolongs, I enjoyed how the flavor evolves from steep to steep. The tea starts off vegetal and flowery with a light body and clean taste. A wonderful orchid and honeysuckle aroma wafts up from the gaiwan. A pear like fruitiness develops in the second steep growing stronger as steeps progress, followed by a lingering floral aftertaste. Lots of sweet notes and an occasional hint of tropical coconut. Around the fourth steep, the mouthfeel becomes thicker and more minerality comes into play but it loses some complexity.
To me, this tea straddles the fence between light and high mountain oolongs. Earlier steeps are lighter, and closer to low-oxidized oolongs in taste and goes on to become fuller and more viscous later. Just an all-around wonderful tea and a keeper for sure!
Flavors: Coconut, Flowers, Fruity, Pear, Sweet
The name of this tea reminds me of the book by Kerstin Gier (translated by Anthea Bell), which I re-read last month. It’s a kind of corny time traveling adventure (and seriously, the poetry did NOT translate well from the German) but it made my re-read list so there must be something about it. (On Goodreads last year I completed a 365-book reading challenge, although I did cheat a little at the end by reading some short novellas because I got a bit behind. Anyway, of those 365 books only about a dozen books/series made my re-read list, not counting the ones that were already re-reads, of course).
Anyways. I tried a tea from Taiwan yesterday and liked it, so I thought maybe trying another today would be fun, although I notice they have very different flavors listed. And unfortunately this one was about gone; there was only half a serving left. Oh well. I used about half as much water as usual to make up for that.
It brews up a lovely reddish-goldish-brown color and has a very bold flavor with almost a bite to it. It’s mostly smooth with a little astringency and a little bitterness (at least on the first steep). And it has a jumble of other interesting flavors too that are hard to sort out. The strangest one that I detected had almost a menthol feeling to it, which is new. I also think I can taste a little of the sweet potato flavor that I found in yesterday’s Taiwan tea, but maybe I’m just imagining that. It’s okay (though admittedly a bit strange) with milk and sugar too, and holds up to at least two steeps. I’m not really liking the menthol flavor so much though. I don’t think I’ll put this on my re-read list.
I had this tea a few days ago. Looks like I am the first to review it.
At first I didn’t even know this tea was green. With a name like Wild Ancient Tea, I figured it would be a black tea. I checked out the website for a little insight into why it’s called Wild Ancient Tea but nothing there. I am guessing it’s come from some old trees that’s gone wild.
It’s a very smooth green. Not astringent at all. A bit nutty and green bean tasting. No grassy or green taste to this tea at all. Good for those ones who enjoy a non-astringent green. I like them either way.
There is just a trace of bitterness in this, but it’s not unpleasant, and it’s not the sort of bitterness I associate with oversteeping. It actually reminds me of the bitterness that you get in salted caramel, and while this tea is salty, it’s definitety not that salty. It’s vegetal, with spinach and seaweed notes.
This is particularly flavorful for a green tea, so if you’re looking for a green with lots of character, I’d recommend this one.
I woke up craving some greens, so I decided to brew this up. Its taken me a long time to figure out where this tea came from, for the packaging has no name only the company’s logo, but with some good detective work I figured it out. The tea consists of some very small tightly rolled green pebbles. This tea gives off a fragrant scent of flowers and dry grass. This is a very “springy” tea. I warmed my gaiwan up and dumped a decent amount inside. I shook the gaiwan up and took in the syrupy aroma. My senses were filled with a nice thick nectar and grassy scent. I was noting a little bit of watercress and hydrangea in the background. The taste is sweet, crisp, and smooth. The flavor is dominated by floral qualities and grass. The taste progresses to a slight astringency and drying sensations. The body is healthy and full with spring qualities. The pouch was vacuum sealed, but it still has faltered a lot in the past year. I enjoyed this tea, but it was far too floral for me.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Geranium, Grass, Nectar, Smooth
Hooray, TheLastDodo sent me a nice pouch of this, and I bet it will tide me through till the spring harvest, so I won’t be dragonwell-less after all :)
So this looks a bit different from the dragonwells I’ve tried before. The leaves are REALLY long and they’re a dark jade green. The taste, though it still predominantly has that chicken broth note that dragonwell is known for, also has a slight floral aspect that you don’t normally see in this type of tea.
I think Teavivre’s buttery approach to dragonwell is still my favorite, but this is a very nice one, glad I got to try it :)