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Bonsai Hill

Recent Tasting Notes

73
drank Coconut Oolong by Bonsai Hill
183 tasting notes

Another tea that is approaching sipdown status. I got my sample size of Coconut Pouchong from Golden Moon tea a few days ago, and it will be interesting to compare these two side by side.

I steeped this twice today and made sure to include a lot of leaf. The first steep was very coconutty, but the second steep was a little less, with a little more of the oolong poking through.

This _was_my very first oolong tea purchase, though, so I’m a little bit sentimental, even though I’ve found oolongs to be hit-and-miss for me.

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73
drank Tai Ping Hou Kuai by Bonsai Hill
417 tasting notes

~10 leaves used

Smokiness in aroma. The aftertaste reminds me of the feeling in my mouth after having eaten a walnut or almond- kind of dry. Smoky note with a hint of leather.

Thanks to Kittenna for sharing with me!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 13 OZ / 375 ML

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I received this from nxtdoor a while back. Bonsaii Hill is a local store for her, and I don’t have much info on this. I steeped it like I would any other darker oolong.
This one is quite good in my opinion. I would say this is about a medium oxidized dark oolong. It’s fairly mild, but not green (no grassy and only the barest hint of floral)., there isn’t much of what I consider classic oolong taste. It’s fairly sweet with definite honey notes. I would like this more if it were more oxidized, but all in all quite good.

Nxtdoor

They really need to do a better job with their website if they want to sell tea. I doubt that the tea drinking population of Aurora, ON is enough to keep him going.

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73
drank Coconut Oolong by Bonsai Hill
183 tasting notes

I’ve finished the 2nd and 3rd infusions now. Both were good, but not as strong as the first one. I also used more honey in those than the first one, so they were sweeter.

Both later infusions had a nutty taste to them, but the liquor colour got successively paler, and there was also a much more floral, lilac-y, even hazelnutty taste to them. The aftertaste was also lingering, sometimes into sourness. I don’t know if the sour aftertaste is a result of the honey or not.

This is really nice, but considering how the tea got lighter and sweeter, when I was expecting the coconut flavour to last longer, I wonder if I underleafed the whole thing.

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73
drank Coconut Oolong by Bonsai Hill
183 tasting notes

And now my final purchase from the Toronto Tea Festival!

I’m going to be straight up front and say that I have almost no experience with oolong teas. I know that they can withstand a lot more infusions than other types of tea, and that they have a nice roasty flavour, but that’s about it. But trying this tea has been quite the conversion experience!

Packaging/Instructions: This tea came in a plain paper bag resealable with one of those flexible metal bars. The label just said the name of the tea, the name of the company, and the company’s phone number. It does NOT include any instructions about how much leaf to use or how long to steep it for, or the water temperature, so I guessed using reviews written here about similar Oolongs.

Dry leaf: the leaves are dark green/brown, spindly, and curled up like an arthritic hand (yes, that’s how poetic this tea made me feel). The smell of this tea is absolutely lovely – the roastedness of the oolong complements the coconut, and the whole thing smells really round and fresh. There’s even a hint of vanilla scent in the dry leaf. Unfortunately, the bag doesn’t contain any information about the ingredients or the varietal of oolong tea, so your guess is as good as mine about what’s inside. I didn’t see any dried coconut chunks, though.

1st infusion: The brewed tea smells more oolong-y and less coconutty than the dried leaf. However, it is still quite pleasant. The liquor when poured out is a light gold. The taste is light and unassuming at first, but don’t be fooled: there’s a long, lingering aftertaste of coconut, which I like. I added a bit of honey to the cup to amp things up, but I’ll have to see what it’s like when adding some almond milk.

Long story short: I think I’ve converted! Consider me a fan of oolong! I’m really looking forward to how the taste changes over successive infusions.

Flavors: Coconut, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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drank Tai Ping Hou Kuai by Bonsai Hill
2221 tasting notes

Picked up 25g of this tea at the Toronto Tea Festival – it possibly has the largest leaves of any tea I’ve tried yet! (Or, largest intact leaves). Anyhow, the leaves smelled a bit like cucumber in the little sampling dish the company had out, and I found that intriguing, therefore decided to buy some.

The brewing process is rather interesting – I suspect that this tea is supposed to be brewed like a dragonwell, keeping the leaves in the cup and adding water. I don’t drink my tea hot, so can’t do that without oversteeping, so I just brewed this as a normal green (although it was a bit tricky to make sure the leaves were fully submerged, since they are so long! Nearly 3 inches, I’d say.)

The end result was definitely interesting – I hoped for a bit more cucumber, but instead it was on the smoky side, and more of a grassy sort of vegetal than the beany I’m more used to. It was definitely interesting; I’ll need to give it another go to figure out exactly how I feel about it. Certainly not bad, but not sure about buying it again (although I now want to try some from another company, perhaps Teavivre if they carry it.)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
K S

I liked Teavivre’s version but tai ping hou kuai seems to be an acquired taste. Not bad but not a favorite for me.

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8

I bought this in the fall from one of the local tea houses I’ve been meaning to check out. I can’t say I dig pu’erh (the only exception was the one that tasted exactly like a Cinammon bun and no pu’erh taste in site) but vanilla mint pu’erh I might be able to handle, I thought to myself.

I sent some to dexter3657 without trying it beforehand. It’s a good thing I did because had I tasted this, she wouldn’t have gotten any. Cause it ain’t that good! It’s really minty. I don’t find it muted like I thought it might be. And gosh, it smells so dirty. I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish this cup, my stomach lurches every time I bring the cup to my nose. OMG. How do people drink this stuff. Lol

ETA: the cup cooled a little so it’s a lot less aromatic. The taste is not bad, it’s just the smell that’s revolting. I can’t even tell you if this is good pu’erh or not. I might be able to finish it, I’m halfway through.

Cavocorax

Did you rinse it first? I guess that helps sometimes with excessive ‘dirt’.

Dexter3657

Hmmmm – all I got from this was mint, I didn’t really taste much pu’erh. I understand that the flavors we DON’T like are usually the ones that stand out the most, but if your “stomach lurches” with the smell of this – me thinks you should start really gentle with pu’erh.

Nxtdoor

these guys were probably clobbering it with mint in hopes to disguise. because yes, there was loads of mint. but when when the cup came closer to the nose, there was the puerh. also, dex, is there such a thing as gentle puerh? I know those samples you sent me from Mandala before were not offensive at all but I also wasn’t thinking that it was tasty.

Dexter3657

Yes there is – The white silver buds is really gentle – at least Mandala’s is – I’ve got some Tealux too – I’m going to try it first and then if it’s decent will send you some. Working on finding you a decent shu too. :))
Was it grace (?) I think so – said that Noble Mark was gentlemanly… loved that line. Not offensive and not tasty are two different things. You may not be a pu’erh lover. I’ll send you a couple of “non offensive” and you can decide if they are tasty or not. :))

cryptickoi

most people have bad shu cha and decide puer is not good stuff…sheng and shu are completely different animals…

cryptickoi

in my experience there are far more bad ripe teas than raw…the fermentation to make shu has to be done correctly or you end up with just plain bad teas…

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75

Thanks nxtdoor for sending me a sample of this tea.

I wish this had more cherry – but then again, I wish all cherry teas had more cherry. Nice green base, no bitterness, a little cherry, a little floral. Thumbs up. I like it. (Second cup I added some cherry tisane and it’s really good like that.)
Thanks nxtdoor really appreciate it.

I went and to get some cherry tisane to add to this, and realized that I don’t have very much (3-4tsp). OMG what am I going to do without cherry tisane in my house? I’m on a strict no tea buying hiatus. I am going to HAVE to find someone with cherry tisane to swap.

TheTeaFairy

Sorry, I don’t have any :-(

Dexter3657

That’s ok – once the holidays are over I’ll start begging everywhere. :))

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75

Thanks to nxtdoor for sending me this sample.
It’s a nice, light, fruity white tea. I’m getting more mango than pear, but real rather than fake fruit. If it wasn’t so cold here, I would have tried it cold steeped (wrong season for that). I would like this in the summer.
A little overleafed – 80C – 4 minutes = fun little fruit tea. Thanks nxtdoor.

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I received this from nxtdoor. Thank you for sending me some samples from Bonsai Hill. It’s a local shop for her, they don’t really have a website. I don’t really know anything about the tea.
I like pu’erh, I don’t mind vanilla, not so crazy about mint.
This is minty vanilla. I’m not getting much pu’erh but there is a richness or deepness (almost cocoa notes) in the back that could be the pu’erh.
I can’t rate this, it’s not really to my tastes, but do appreciate the samples. Thanks nxtdoor. :))

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68
drank Pear Mango (white) by Bonsai Hill
226 tasting notes

I don’t even know what white tea they are using for this blend. The more I drink and think about their teas the less enthusiastic I am. On one hand I feel they are a gold mine, a good quality tea purveyor right in my back yard, on the other hand, half the time I don’t know what I’m drinking.

In the store you can ask questions but unless you have a notebook with you and quiz the man behind the counter, once you get home with the stash, well, it’s all “up in the air”. Also, teas never taste the same when you’re out vs when you make it home. Is it because outside you are distracted by surroundings and also feel self conscious at times that you are not as in tune with your taste buds?

This tea smells great in dry form. Once steeped, all the aroma is gone. It just smells wet. Not grassy, not fruity, just … Wet leaves. The flavour is more pear than mango which is fine I suppose, they do call it pear mango, not mango pear. But I’m barely getting any mango and errr… I can’t be sure but it tastes stale. Or something.

I steeped at 160 for 6 minutes because I forgot about it, meant to do more like 4 min. Nonetheless, it is forgiving. Not bitter, not astringent, brews quite a bit darker than I expected. Maybe it’s the fruit skins because if you didn’t tell me this was white I wouldn’t guess looking at the liquour.

Some is going to dexter3657, see if we agree or if it’s just me. 25 grams will go fast if shared. Am just thinking, given the prices, there’s something about Bonsai Hill that makes me go hum. But maybe I’m just a pleb.

ETA: resteep not worth the time. I left it probably 15 minutes. Same color, less taste. Examined the wet leaves. They look like tree leaves, not like tea. Upon closer examination I found exactly four recognizable white tea leaves. Explains lack of flavour I guess.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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82

This is my first Red Robe. The description is rudimentary because Bonsai Hill is not on Steepster, their website doesn’t have a description of products or anything aside from store hours, location and the types of products sold, so I can’t retrieve any information. I can look up Red Robe on line, as can you. I don’t know much about Bonsai Hill’s Red Robe so I can’t in good conscience make stuff up and pass it off as legit.

This reminds me a lot of Tao Tea leaf’s Shui Xian Lao Cong. A lot.

It smells roasted, has long dark twisty leaves, and it brews pale brown. I suck at describing oolongs and I think I overstepped this one a bit because there’s slight bitterness. And the nice thing about it is that it does taste like you would expect it to after smelling the dry leaf. A nice cup, will likely restock for those days when I feel like straight tea. I can’t do straight blacks yet (shudder) and straight greens don’t do much for me.

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