Camellia Sinensis

Recent Tasting Notes

92

Very slight in its aged oolong taste. perhaps the first i’ve had that wasn’t charcoal roasted in successive firings? to me it tastes a little like an Ali Shan black oolong i’ve had, very sweet almost bai hao like but it also has a hint of sour gaba sort of tones and flavors. i’ll be interested to see how the flavor changes. who knows maybe i’ll have it around long enough to require my own firing session.

the first infusion was the least flavorful but still very nice. the second through fifth were all pretty solid. each infusion had one of the subtle flavors come to the forefront.

i probably could have gotten another 3-4 infusions but i was quite tea-ed up and my cha xi collective was disbanding. as a looked through the wet leaves, i noticed that they were still rolled for the most part. the color of the wet leaves was about as dark a fresh ti kuan yin in terms of roasty brown to green ratio. very interesting for an aged tea. i’ll have to think about this one more…

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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89

Oh the agony of finishing off a pouch of tea! I used the last 3 teaspoons to make a nice big pot of tea (ok not BIG big, but bigger than what I normally do).

Delicate, silky, muscatel, comforting.

It’s hard for me to use up special tea like this, so I’ll be resteeping the leaves until the flavour says good bye. :) And I can’t wait to say “hello” to a new FF tea next year.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Still drinking this and working my way through the 50g bag. Speaking of the bag, this tea is light so it’s taking me a while to go through it all. Which is a shame because I thought to myself, oh after I finish this first flush I can get some second flush or autumnal (d’oh!).

Anyway, still loving how light and refreshing this one turned out to be. It kinda reminds me of my Bai Mu Dan (light, crisp, “spring” veg). And I like the velvety texture of the tea liquor going down my throat. Finally, there is always that familiar darjeeling flavour in each sip. :)

The leaves are a mix of big green whole bud/leaf and some broken bits (not dust). Sometimes I have to play around with time settings/leaf amount to get the brew I like, but it’s an otherwise easy tea to brew (never a disappointing flavour). Looking forward to buying the 2012 FF version of this or another similar looking one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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89

I love drinking this in the evening, it’s light, fresh, uplifting, and full of that familiar darjeeling flavour. A bit of spring time in my cup. :)

Totally going to be sad in winter when this is all gone.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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89

This met my expectations nicely. Light bodied, full flavour darjeeling. Nothing to complain about here!

As an added bonus, most of the leaves are quite whole so I can enjoy this in my gaiwan or small glass teapot. I’ve tried this with the normal 3 min steep time, and also with short steeps with many infusions. Both are delightful in their own way.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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100

Best Earl Grey I’ve had by far. A little on the pricey side for an Earl Grey, but well worth it. Good quality leaves and the perfect amount of real Bergamot.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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85

Using up the last 2 teaspoons worth from my 10g purchase. The dry tea leaves have a nice sweet aroma to them. Once brewed in the gaiwan, the wet leaf has a pleasant bright emerald colour (pic: http://i.imgur.com/yUdL2.jpg) to it. I’m really glad that I did this last batch in the gaiwan, it’s a great vessel for looking at the leaves. Plus it just works out better since I’m doing multiple short steeps today.

Throughout the 5 quick steeps, I’m really enjoying the floral, spicy, sweet, “oolong” flavours.

Not really sure why I didn’t enjoy the other brews I had of this. Liking it much more today. You know it’s not something I’d buy again, because it’s a treat ($20 for 10g). But I’m happy to have been able to purchase and experience it once.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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85

Light bodied, soft, mellow flavour with a spicy finish. The resteeps were enjoyable, and the quiet flavours gave me a lot to think about. It’s the sort of tea you have to pay a lot of attention to, to notice the mild notes.

I’m not in love with this tea, but it was an enjoyable treat to purchase once.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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91

I don’t always brew this perfectly, but when I do it’s simply amazing. It tastes very “complete”, like all the flavours are in balance. Loving this purchase so far, nothing to nit-pick. At first I felt a bit silly to splurge on this, but this will be another tea I’ll dread to use up.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
TeaNerdette

May I ask you a stupid question? I say its stupid because I know that I could probably just look it up instead of ask, but since you have experience drinking this…what is the difference between an Oolong and a Wulong? I love my Oolongs but the description on the Ali Shan Mr. Chen describes it as a Wulong. Does it taste very similar to Oolongs? Thanks for the time.

Dorothy

Wulong and oolong are the same thing. According to wikipedia, wulong is just a more direct translation. I believe it is all pronounced the same way.

Don’t worry about asking questions. Many of us steepsteries are happy to answer them. :)

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91

This turned out to be everything I expected. Enchanting creamy oolong, with a lot of different flavours working together in harmony to keep my taste buds happy. It tastes very “complete”, I’m not sure what could be done to make this any better. (Awesome job Mr. Chen!)
After unfurling, the tea leaves are a happy shade of green, and they have quite the thickness to them.

My only advice for brewing this is to give the leaves plenty of water to unfurl in. With a small tea vessel like a gaiwan, you won’t need a full teaspoon. I’ve tried this with short steeps and the regular +/- 4 mins.

edit: here’s a photo of one leaf and a quarter (sorry for image quality, I have an old camera) http://i.imgur.com/0JXZ3.jpg

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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99

This tea has been a favourite of mine since the first day I brewed it. It’s also one of the few teas I’ve ever repurchased. For the most part, I like buying a tea once and then moving onto something different. Since it’s a favourite, I opened bag #2 only recently even though I purchased it in August. ;)

Today I prepared 8 short steeps of it in a gaiwan. The first 8 were very flavourful (strong tea body, great roasted flavour) and 9-10 were pretty good too, although I mostly just tasted the sweet and roasted notes. I don’t usually short steep this one but I think I’ll make a habit of it now.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 10 steeps (30s +15s resteeps)

See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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99

The first time I tried this tea I was blown away at the complex flavours. Now that I’ve had a few more teas similar to this, it doesn’t feel very unique but I’m still quite impressed.

With each sip I treat my taste buds to some of my favourite flavours/notes; deep roasted character (reminds me of roasted oolong), honey-barley (reminds me of Oriental Beauty), and a rich black tea body are the highlights. There is also a fleshy/pulpy/grainy texture to the liquour which gives it a nice weight in my mouth. And as noted in the description there is also a nice floral fragrance and fruit flavour going on. If that wasn’t enough please my palate, the roasted tea flavour lingers on in my mouth and my mind for a long time.

I’ve tried this with short steeps before, but I enjoy the rich tea body so steeping at 4 to 5 mins works best for me. Anyway it’s one of my favourite teas, and I love to drink it on rare occasions to treat myself. (I don’t like drinking my favourite teas too often, otherwise the taste becomes ordinary to me. Therefor not as special!)

200ml glass teapot, 2 tsp, 1 steep

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

I’m the same way with my special teas.

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99

When I ordered this tea, I had no idea what to expect. I’m a big fan of black tea, and I enjoy the wide range of flavours you can experience with it. Sniffing inside the bag, it reminds me of roasted oolong and honey.

Onto drinking the stuff, I’m just blown away by the flavour. I couldn’t really imagine “black tea” tasting anything like this. Sweet, grainy or pulpy (sensation of chewing pear), heavy, “roasted” flavour, raisins.
It has a very pleasant lingering aftertaste, and the thoughts of flavour stick in my mind all day. Not an amazing resteeper, but 2-3 are good without becoming too light. Spent leaves reveal a lot of whole leaf and no debris.

Sometimes I don’t appreciate or fall in love with a tea right away (or even until the last few grams in the bag). This was love at first sip, I’m so glad I had a chance to try this.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Jessie

I’m crafting my next Camellia Sinensis order, and I think I might have to add this in!

Dorothy

This one is full of flavour and easy to like, I’m sure you be pleased with the purchase.

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89

Steeped this 12 times, all while chilling out and listening to Drone Zone from somafm.com

A very enjoyable tea and quite a unique experience that I’ve savoured over the months.
Next time I brew this it will probably be a “sipdown”.
See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 12 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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89

Wow, this is my fourth tasting note for this tea. I usually just make one if it gets the point across or if I don’t change the steep parameters much. Anyway, today I am using my gaiwan to quick steep this tea.

Drinking the first cup was a treat, I tasted something tangy, malty, earthy, kinda sweet and with familiar black tea flavour.

Second cup continued to get stronger, with a new flavour sneaking in which I couldn’t quite describe. It gave me a nice resonating sensation throughout my body. (Sometimes I feel like great tea rings me like a bell!)

Not much change with the third steep, except the flavour is stronger to the point where it gets pretty bold.

The fourth steep is my favourite. Along with the familiar flavours there is an emphasis on cherry, with a bit more tangy/zesty going on, and an amazing sort of menthol sensation with the aftertaste. At this point I took a break to brew more water, and that sensation stuck around quite a while. Very pleasant.

With such a good experience from the last cup, the fifth while good… couldn’t really top it. The main quality I liked about this one was the reduction in the boldness of the tea. Three and four were a bit “in your face”, kinda boldness and this one is more friendly.

Flavour in the sixth cup shifted a bit, again I can’t really describe it well enough but it was a different feeling. Still tastes enough like a good cup of tea.

Finishing up with the seventh and eighth cups, I can finally taste the original water. (Usually this is my indication of where to stop.) But the brew still has a nice light, zesty, tea flavour going on.

I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for a while now, and today gave me a lot to reflect on. I think this tea comes out too weak or delicate if you use too much water, and today’s session with the gaiwan was my most pleasant. My favourite thing about this tea is the sensation it gives me, along with the combination of interesting flavours. It does a good job of keeping me captivated. Overall, a charming black tea with sweetness that does not overpower the wonderful earthy flavour.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsps, 8 steeps (45s + 15s resteeps)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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89

Tried this again with 2 teaspoons in my gaiwan (I prefer it a bit stronger), starting at 3mins. Resteeps were 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (so 8 steeps total). On the last steep, my husband had just come home from work and tried it out. He was pretty surprised it was the 8th steep and still flavourful (although at this point I can taste the water more than anything).

I have to say that this one has really grown on me, and the resteeps have a nice spectrum of flavour. Like Jin Die, I think it’s a must to resteep this all you can. I’m looking forward to trying this with the same settings next time, and to write down the notes of all 8 steeps. Today I was just trying to enjoy it, not worrying about writing down the tasting notes. ;)

edit: Forgot to mention that this is a black tea, which is why the extra steeps impressed me.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

I’ve been trying out a few different steeping methods to get the best possible flavour out of this. Normally I don’t bother so much with a tea, but this one seemed a little too ordinary at first. With a bit too much water or leaf, the unique flavours are too subtle. I found that with about one teaspoon and only about 100ml (the volume of my gaiwan) of water yielded the best results. On the note about using a gaiwan, I didn’t have any problems with small particles getting in my drinking cup, even though it consists of big broken leaves (no strainer required).

With those settings, it reminded me a lot more of the other guangdong tea I have (Mi Lan Xiang Feng Xi, oolong). The once subtle notes have strengthened a bit, and its beautiful core flavour (terroir flavour?) is more apparent.

It whispers gently to my senses and commands my full attention to appreciate it. Not to say it’s my favourite, and it certainly hasn’t awed me. The best aspect of this tea is its core flavour, which is very different from other black teas and probably due to the location that it’s grown in.

I’ve still only made a small dent into the 50g tea pouch, but I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. It’ll probably be another one where I’m not sure of my true feelings about it until I’ve got just a few grams left.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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89

Bought this in my last order with some other black teas. Lately I’ve been trying black teas from different regions, this one is from Guangdong, China. A little pricy, but I am willing to spend extra money to try something new once. :)

The tea leaves smell sweet and slightly earthy and malty.

Drinking the tea, it starts out slightly sweet and tangy, quickly fades to a earthy and malty flavour. The tea liquor is dark enough, but it’s a light tea, not “heavy”. About the sweetness, it’s mild like an apple or a pear, not sugary-sweet.

Second steep seems much tangier, kinda like if someone squeezed a bit of lemon or lime in your tea.
Third steep was weak, maybe I’ll try more tea leaves next time. Alternatively, maybe I will do a lot of quick steeps in the gaiwan.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this tea, but this wasn’t it. I’m happy with the flavour but this was an unexpected drinking experience. It’s certainly given me a lot of flavours to contemplate. Looking forward to getting to the bottom of the bag and figuring out how I really feel about this one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

To celebrate our 5th anniversary married together, I prepared one of my husband’s (and mine) favourite teas: Jin Die.

Drinking from the first steep, I’m greeted with the familiar flavours of Jin Die: deep rich, earthy tea body, cinnamon, spices, tomato (not like SML), the liquor ends on a smooth-velvety feeling. An odd characteristic also makes it’s appearance here, the flavour of ripe puerh. It’s not something I expect from black tea, but I quite like it!

The second steep is much the same with some chocolate and pepper showing up.

As I keep drinking through the steeps, the flavour just keeps intensifying. Fifth steep brought out some caramel flavour, and was our favourite steep.

In each resteep the flavour started to weaken very gradually. I could taste the puerh flavour up until about the 9th, and much of the spice notes stayed up until the 15th.

I ended on the 16th steep because I really couldn’t drink anymore tea. It didn’t even have the taste of my water, just really weak, earthy, fuzzy, slightly sweet tea. The liquor had a yellow-amber colour, which is still pretty dark for so many resteeps I think.

Overall, I have always found Jin Die to be an amazing black tea, but this short steeping experience has heightened my enjoyment of it. As of writing this review, it’s my best black tea resteeper (Ying De Hong Cha from Jing Tea Shop had 14, Yunnan Dian Hong golden tips from Teavivre had 12). My husband isn’t obsessed with tea like I am, and he doesn’t always remember the flavour or names of our teas (especially if they are foreign), but Jin Die has left a powerful impression on him and it quickly became one of our favourites.

See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 16 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Up’d rating slightly

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Happy Anniversary!

Indigobloom

Congrats on 5 years!!! :)

Ninavampi

Yay! 5 year Anniversary! Congrats! : )

Dorothy

Thanks everyone! :)

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

Still drinking this quite often. A few days ago I had a cold, so I made a nice big teapot of Jin Die and drank it all day. It’s a terrific resteeper, so I used the same leaves for 6 steeps. I like the feeling of hot black tea going down my throat when I’m sniffly.

Anyway, same sort of deal this morning. 6 steeps in my tiny glass teapot. The last two were a bit weak but still enjoyable. Especially since some black tea of mine isn’t very good on the second steep.

I’ll probably buy more of this again sometime. Depending on whether or not I just want to try different teas in my next order. It’s certainly a favourite, and has a good price considering the flavour and resteeps.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
DaisyChubb

This tea looks gorgeous! Thank you for the note, it’s now added to my list of teas to try :)

Dorothy

Their black tea from Taiwan: Hualien Feng Mi, is also excellent if you’re looking for something new to try.

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

Jin Die continues to amaze me. It starts out like a typical smooth, earthy, almost kind of sweet or zesty, then subsequent steeps are a deep earthy flavour similar to pu-erh. I’ve also never had a black tea that was such an excellent resteepter (previous note had 6 steeps, and 1-5 were very dark).

This is another black tea in my collection that I enjoy steeping in a gaiwan (or my tiny glass teapot), because they are just tea buds with no debris, and it’s ideal for resteeping often. I’ve tried both long and short (start :30, then +:30) steeps, either way it’s a tasty treat.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

(This is a continuation of my first tasting note today.)

After the first steep, the flavor changes pretty dramatically. Jin Die starts off like a typical black tea, but my second to sixth steeps all tasted like pu-erh!

So I used 3:30 for the first steep, and then 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30 and finally 6:30. I gave the six and last one a bit longer because the color faded on the fifth steep.

I’ll absolutely be resteeping this one from now on. It’s like I get 2 different teas with just one teaspoon of leaves. I can’t believe how on the second steep it suddenly becomes so earthy, smoky, slightly malty and just pu-erh`y. I used a small teapot for this, next time I’ll do shorter resteeps with my little gaiwan. :)

Up’d the rating due to the awesomeness of this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

I originally bought this because the tea graphic looked awesome. And looking into my tea pouch, it’s full of these cute little golden curly leaves. In the teapot, they unfurl to reveal long buds.

Tea liquor is velvety and heavy in my mouth, the flavour has a bit of spice (like pepper), it has an almost smoky quality to it, and a mix of other interesting flavours. (I’m not great at picking out the more subtle flavours, but they are nice!)

Looking forward to giving this a lot of resteeps.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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83

This reminds me of Black Needles from DAVIDsTEA, but this is a bit “spicier”, more earthy and slightly less sweet. When it comes to black tea buds you really can’t go wrong. Yunnan Da Ye Hong is another easy to enjoy tea that can be drunk multiple times a week without getting boring or sickening. Also I think it’s a shame not to resteep teas like this, the second and third steeps are very tasty.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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