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Recent Tasting Notes
Strange, I’m down to the last few grams of this tea and I’ve never written a tasting note for this prepared gongfu style.
Sipping from the first steep, the rose floral notes are very powerful. Tea body is a nice smooth, deep earthy flavour, with notes of spice and pepper.
Second steep, much of the same flavour remains but now it’s slightly sweeter. I’m also adjusting to the floral notes. So that doesn’t bother me as much now.
At the third steep, I feel that the flavour is starting to weaken but it’s still a good cup.
I took a break here and sniffed my gaiwan. It smells like wood and soy sauce. Strange, but that’s what came to mind.
Fourth and fifth steeps continued to weaken in flavour, but were enjoyable and the rose floral notes remained.
I gave up at the sixth steep because I could start to taste the original water. Otherwise, not a very interesting cup flavour-wise.
Not a favourite, but the flavour from this tea and another one (Zhao Bai Jian Hong Gong Fu) from the same province have piqued my interest. I’m looking forward to try more tea from Szechuan in the future. I’m happy to have tried this tea once, it was a good experience even if I’m not in love with the tea.
If you dislike tea with strong floral notes I would avoid trying Chuan Hong.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +10s resteeps)
I’ve had this a few times so far, but didn’t bother to write a tasting note.
Anyway, today used some extra leaf today (not much) and extended the steep time to 4 mins (usually I start with 3). I got a nice strengthened chocolatey flavour, floral notes, and a nice little nip of bitterness. All of those properties combined makes me think of dark chocolate while I sip.
Sometimes when I add extra leaf I dislike the results, but this one turned out favourably. Very happy with this one so far.
I still have a bit of this, so I decided to short steep some. Not really a fan of the results, as it’s still a really strong tasting tea. With the short steeps, I tasted a bit more of a zesty flavour which reminded me of the dan cong black tea I tried recently.
See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this one.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 3 steeps (30s, +10s resteeps)
Lately this has been my go to tea in the morning. It’s a bit rough and harsh, but I like that sort of thing when I wake up. ;)
Usually I just do 2 steeps, starting with 1 min and then either 2 or 3 minutes for the resteep. The suggested 3-4 minutes for the first infusion is way too strong for me. If I were the sort of person that puts milk or sugar into tea, this one would be a candidate. Unfortunately I usually hate added sugar and I am lactose intolerant. So I adjust steep times to my liking.
I’m about 2/3’s the way through this bag, and I still pretty much feel the same as when I drank my first cup. It’s a nice tea, but I primarily bought it to try something new and develop my palate.
See previous tasting note for more comments on the tea flavour.
200ml glass teapot, 1 generous tsp, 2 steeps
From the aroma of dry leaves, I picked up on a nice nutty fragrance. And with the wet leaves and liquor, muscatel and floral notes. There was also something there that reminds me of white tea scent and the “springy” nature of FF.
Onto drinking the stuff, I immediately taste strong bold flavours, astringency sensation, and bitterness (the sort within my liking). Which kind of surprised me, because the aroma from the dry and wet leaves makes me think it will taste very delicate. The aftertaste is quite mellow, with no trace of the bitterness from before.
I can definitely sense the grapefruit flavour mentioned in the description. I think it’s a combination of the bold, bitter, and astringency I’m picking up on.
The second steep was much tamer. Along with the original tea flavour, there is a nice spiciness. I especially liked the experience of inhaling the tea aroma just before sipping. A very captivating tea for the senses.
All in all, I like this experience. It turned out to pack quite a punch, but in a good way. And it was nice to taste a tea from Sikkim, an area so close to Darjeeling, and taste the difference. I may have added a bit too much leaf, so I’ll see about toning down the tiger by adjusting my tea leaf/water ratios.
Could have sworn I made a second tasting note for this tea, but I guess I didn’t. Oh well, here is tonight’s experience;
First steep was lovely, with the flavours of spices, honey and light bodied black tea. The aftertaste had a sensation of sugar syrup on my throat.
Second cup tasted much earthier and had a hint of cocoa. Mmmmm…
Third cup shifted, bringing out more cinnamon and grains.
Fourth cup was very light, and together with the previous flavours it made me think of white tea or Oriental Beauty.
Fifth through six were pretty light, but not bad. I stopped because it satisfied me enough.
Not my favourite resteeper, but a very flavourful tea. Next time I make this I’ll add more time to the resteeps.
100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
The scent of dry leaves inside the pouch remind me of that Grape Nuts cereal (like wheat? barley?). Other than that, nothing else really grabbed my nose.
Onto brewing the first cup. Aroma from the liquor and wet leaves makes me think of fleshy tomato and thick wheat bread, with the liquor having more floral and “tea” notes.
Taking in the first sips, I taste notes of malt, wheat, cinnamon, pepper, honey, and “flesh” or pulpy texture in my mouth. With a lingering kind of cinnamon and sour note. Such a lot of flavours in one cup, it definitely gives my mind a lot to think about! Besides the flavour, I really like the fleshy texture combined with the otherwise light body.
In the second steep, the honey aroma really stands out. Tasting the liquor, notes of cinnamon and honey grab my attention right away. Following with the same flavours from the first steep.
At the third steep, the flavour is still staying pretty strong. Just the fleshy texture is fading.
Steeps four to five: Mostly tasting sweetness and spice
Sixth steep: Sweet, muted flavours but still going
Seven and Eighth steeps: Hardly anything resembling tea, mostly just sweet, honey water
Overall I thought this tea was a nice surprise, because I didn’t have high expectations going into this purchase. For me, it was a nice balance of sweet, spices, texture and just enough floral notes. Like a lot of black tea from this retailer, resteeping black tea is totally worth it.
Ending note: This reminds me (minus the sweetness) very much of Camellia-Sinensis’ Zhenghe Hong Gong Fu. So if you’ve enjoyed that one it’s worth checking out Huiming Hong Cha (or vice versa). Also, the sweetness (honey, cinnamon) found in this tea kind of reminds me of the sweetness you find in roasted tea. Perhaps it’s like what I expect a black tea version of Oriental Beauty to taste of. A bit of a bold claim, but at the 2nd steep onward you get a really fantastic sweet/cinnamon flavour.
I should really give white teas a more extensive run. I don’t own many. I’m using up the last of this and playing with parameters on each steep. I’m really enjoying how much the flavour can vary based on temperature. This has been delicate and sweet, floral, and then a bit grassy and woodsy on different infusions.
I am drinking this in celebration.
First, it’s a celebration of getting through the final for a pretty intense summer class (and thus having a month of actual summer ahead of me between summer class and regular class). I ordered myself a little sampler set from Camellia Sinensis and made myself wait till after the exam (which ended at 10 pm!) to break into it.
Second, it’s a celebration of a discovery I think some here might be interested in unless it’s already widely known: cream of tartar is nothing short of a miracle for teaware. It has removed some truly disgusting, seemingly permanent stains from my Breville with little effort. I’ve had baking soda help somewhat, but nothing like this! My Breville hasn’t looked so good since I first bought it. It’s shiny and beautiful again.
Anyway, that’s worth celebrating not just because stains quite bother me, but because it had really been affecting my tea drinking. I use the Breville to heat water even if I’m brewing in something else, and I found that teas were really starting to pick up an off flavour from the tea buildup. I’ve been avoiding more delicate teas without really noticing it. I tried a Huang Shan Mao Feng from this same set and it was totally ruined by the Breville water. So, drinking a white tea is liberating and exciting!
As for the tea: I’m not too often in the mood for whites but this is hitting the spot now, even as my first tea of the day. It’s vegetal and green, and sweet. It has a nice and surprising fullness, too, which I’m really liking. I’ve had three infusions in the pretty little gaiwan I also let myself buy, and it’s going strong. Sweet and fluffy.
I forgot about this tea until I noticed tonight that my cat had somehow chewed on the bag, presumably in one of his fits of hunger. He will go for anything even somewhat resembling the bag his food comes in.
It is so nice! Really mild, sweet, and a little smokey. I love it, and am glad to rediscover it. The package suggests a surprising 4-7 minutes, so I went for 4 and am surprised at how much I like it that way.
Now that I’m down to the last few grams of this tea, I’ve come to appreciate rose flavour. Whereas initially, I was a bit put off by how floral this tea was. If you’re looking for a more in depth review on the flavours, check my previous tasting notes. Anyway, it’s not a tea I’m in love with but overall I found it to be a very positive experience. This tea, along with a cheaper one from the same province have really peaked my interest. So I’m looking forward to trying more black tea from Szechuan in the future. :)
Looking at the CS website, this tea is “sold out”. However if it becomes available again, I recommend trying it if you enjoy black tea with strong floral notes.
160ml water in a 200ml glass teapot, 2tsps, 2 steeps
Used a bit more leaf today, and I like the result. Still has a rose flavour, but now I get some notes of chocolate. There’s a bit of maltiness and fuzz that lingers in my mouth, which I find pleasant. Next steeps had more notes of lichee, just like I experienced in my previous tasting note.
Overall I find the flavours very “rich”, so not the sort of tea I’d want to drink too often. Definitely a nice treat to make up for that ripe puerh and osmanthus from yesterday. :D
Sniffing inside the bag, I’m suddenly reminded of the tea description mentioning notes of rose. I don’t always think back on those descriptions, but wow does it ever smell of rose! Normally I don’t like rose flavour, but it’s not as strong when you brew it. I guess in general I dislike floral notes, especially lavender. But if there’s just a hint of it, I’m ok.
Anyway, most of the “tea” flavour reminds me of their other black tea: Zhenghe Hong Gong Fu (Fujian). Smooth, Light body, malty, with floral notes, and ending slightly bitter (in a good way). The wet tea leaves look like a bunch of thin long hairs (all bud and hardly any broken bits).
On the resteep, the rose flavour was still present and much of the original flavour was there along with the lichee flavour mentioned in the description. Third steep was even more light bodied and an interesting new flavour. I can’t quite describe it, but it came across as kinda zesty. I stopped at the fourth steep, because it was getting too light and watery. There is still some flavour but not enough for my liking. (Unfortunately, not every tea can be an awesome resteeper like Jin Die!)
I’m not crazy about this tea, but I always enjoy reaching for this in my cupboard. Although lately I have just been trying to get through older teas instead of drinking my newer stuff. :/
Before I purchased Bai Mu Dan, I’d only tried flavoured white teas. I kept hearing good things about white tea but it never really impressed me. Now that I’ve had this I can see why some people like it so much. It has a light body, with notes of fresh vegetables (but not vegative like green tea). Not to say I don’t like flavoured white tea, Champagne from DAVIDsTEA is one of my favs.
Happy to have tried this once. I think I’ll try another white tea, Bai Hao Yin Zhen sometime in the future. So far I like what Bai Mu Dan has to offer, and I’m more open to exploring others now. :)
Steep notes: I’ve tried the suggested 5-7 mins and multiple shorter steeps, they’re both pretty good.
I am not a big fan of Qimen/Keemun black tea, but out of the few I’ve tried this is my favourite. Rich velvety texture, deep pungent black tea base, and the floral, smoky, and spice notes combine well. The main characteristic I like most about it is the deep pungent flavour (and I mean this in the best way possible), but I know this is not something everyone enjoys.
To finish off the last of my 50g purchase, I brewed it with short steeps. Given the appearance of the leaves I was pleased with how rich and complex Qimen stays throughout all the steeps. Usually I do not have such excellent results with broken leaf.
Not sure if I would recommend this if you are looking to get into Qimen, (as there are much cheaper options out there), but I found this to be a wonderful experience.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 30s, +10s resteeps)
My first impressions of this tea: floral, smoky, malty, touch of bitterness (in a nice way), deep smooth texture that lingers in my mouth. Hubby was reminded of pine needles while he drank it.
Overall a very gratifying experience, the malty-ness reminds me of Camellia Sinensis’ Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong.
This is the second time I’ve had this tea and wow, I have noticed so many changes just in the aroma! The smell is like a raisin or maybe a prune, pungent but still sweet and moist.
The liquor is like a mead color almost. a little more on the orange side but still quite light (and this tea is 25 years old!) The wet leaves amplify the dried fruit aroma and add more honey and nectar notes
The first infusion only has a slight hint of its age. dry but not sticky, still enough moisture to carry the flavors through the palate.
The second Infusion comes alive with strong notes of fruit and sweetness. the leaves expand quite nicely in my aged Yixing pot, this shows the sign of good roasting!
The third infusion brought a more dry, sweetness than previous infusions. I also needed to brew this one a little bit longer so I’m sure that’s why I tasted these notes.
Infusions 4-9 were more or less the same in terms of aroma, flavor and liquor. The age of the tea, that underlying depth and history started to overtake some of the sweeter flavors during these infusions. The color remained an amber/crimson/peach nectar sort of hue.
After another infusion or two, the tea was taking 4plus minutes to really get any flavor out, and while the color remained, the temperature of the tea was luke warm at best by the time it reached its desired flavor.
When I pulled the leaves out of the pot, they were sturdy but pliable. I saved one full leaf for my tea journal.
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…
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.