Canton Tea CoEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This was another of the teas that came in my first Canton delivery. I was super excited about it but, unfortunately, it’s not a tea for me.
It’s just so vegetal. Amazingly so. All I got, after 4 or 5 Gong Fu steeps in my Gaiwan, was asparagus and broccoli. It was almost unbelievable. There was quite a refreshing, and quite cooling, after-taste of cucumber, but it did little to bring me around.
I then tried it Western style, to see if I’d like it more this way, but I encountered much the same – it’s just so exceptionally savoury :O I’ve really never drank a tea that was this savoury.
I think I could probably get used to a tea like this. And, with certain meals (or just after them) I imagine it would be great.
On the bright side, the quality of the tea was readily apparent – the leaves were lovely and full and became a wonderfully deep, bright-green colour after the first steep (and the colour lasted through many more). The flavour, too, barely changed in its intensity through multiple steepings – this is a tea that just lasts and lasts and lasts.
Flavors: Asparagus, Broccoli
Treated myself to another Gong Fu session with this tea the other day – it really is just so good. I can imagine this is a tea that I’ll order again, before their stocks run out. It’s delicious, treacle-toffee sweetness, coupled with its creaminess and smoothness on the palette, just make this tea a real treat.
After an hour’s work, or so, this morning, I was beginning to flag… And my gaiwan, still holding the leaves from yesterday’s infusion, was just sitting so close to me… It seemed like fate :P
Either way (and pithy back-story aside), I quite fancied trying these leaves again. I was particularly curious to see if a 24 hour gap would leave them affected in any way.
I did four steeps in total (25", 45", 60" and 90") in my Gaiwan (which, I measured, does only hold 100ml liquid, if filled to around where the lid sits in the rim).
Pleasingly, all four steeps were delicious – no issues at at all! The tea still retained a lovely golden-brown-cum-mahogany colour and its delicious treacle fragrance (and, I realised on this second session, a lovely, mild leather-smell). On the palette it was still very sweet and smooth, with figgy/vanilla notes. It also left a clean, refreshing after-taste.
I also gave them another quick rinse before the steeps – I dunno if that’s a regular thing, but I worried that after 24 hours just sat out, damp, they may accumulate a few nasties/stale flavours. It didn’t seem to do any harm, anyway!
So, after 7 infusions, these lovely leaves were still going strong. Not wanting to waste them, but certainly having drunk enough for one session, I thought I may as well try a cold-brew – I’ve left it in the fridge, under ~500 ml water, and will check on it after ~4 hours. Maybe I’ll have a delicious afternoon drink from it. Or maybe I’ll chuck it because my first cold-brew was a disaster. Who knows :P
Well, my first Pu-Erh… To say I was on the apprehensive side would be a bit of an understatement! These teas attract so much attention (and money) that I was vary wary of jumping in head first, particularly given all of the emphasis on smoky, earthy flavours, which aren’t my usual cup…
But people strongly recommended this as a ‘new-to-Pu-Erh’ Pu-Erh, and the review on Canton’s site seemed encouraging. So, out of curiosity more than anything else, I ordered myself a 50 g pouch.
So, in my gaiwan (the box and site say 200 ml, but I’m not convinced it’s volume is that high…), I brewed up 4g (to be on the safe side). The leaves had a very heavy, dark smell that I, admittedly, wasn’t all too impressed by. The rinse, too, made me worry slightly – it came of a fairly non-interesting brown, with a deep, dark aroma. Still, I didn’t want to give up yet!
My first steep was for 10" only and I poured it into a small, porcelain jug. The colour was much more impressive – a beautiful, deep mahogany colour. The aroma of the tea wasn’t overly strong – a nice, “earthy” (!!), surprisingly sweet smell. The aroma of the leaves, however, was truly special – a strong, beautiful treacle-like (molasses, for the Americans) smell! It was incredible – the change from the rinse was huge! Encouraged, I poured out a little cup of the tea and gave it a smell (still nothing much, but still very pleasant). Then the taste…
… well, what a marvellous surprise! A really well-rounded, sweet, vanilla-and-cream like tea! It had a charmingly light body and was very easy on the palette. And it was delicious! I demolished my first cup and topped up my gaiwan for steep 2.
For the second steep, I did another 10" (the first steep was still rather strong, so I didn’t want to push it) and finished off the first steep in the mean time (still delicious)! This second steep was somewhat darker, but still a deep mahogany colour. The leaves still had their warming, sweet treacle aroma and the liquor had its light, delicious smoky-treacle-toffee smell. The tea was even sweeter, but still so tasty and pleasing on the palette.
I prepared one more steep from the same leaves (~12") (still much the same as the second steep, pleasingly) before getting too “full” (I had just finished my lunch, after all), with a view to maybe try these leaves for a steep or two more in a couple of hours.
All in all, consider me well impressed! All of my reservations proved (thankfully) unfounded and this really did produce a delicious cup of tea! I’d strongly recommend it to any fans of sweet, dark, strong black teas. As this was my first Pu-Erh, I have nothing to compare it against (hence no score – YET), but I can’t imagine anyone could be disappointed in this tea. It was really delicious.
Flavors: Cream, Molasses, Smoke, Toffee, Vanilla
This tea was the accompaniment for a really great day at the Hospice – we had a lovely group of singers in, for Christmas songs/carols, and had a really nice buffet lunch, followed by a marvellous (but very rich!) chocolate gateaux. I had one cup in the morning and two in the afternoon, from the same leaves.
Ah, I forgot how delicious this tea was! I brewed it up quite strongly today (~2 tsp in a fairly typical British tea cup) and it was just perfect – delicious, gentle malt and chocolate notes, maybe even a reminder of freshly baked bread. Perfect! :D
Flavors: Baked Bread
Treated myself to another round of this tea today. Just what I needed this morning – I missed breakfast and then had to wait 40 minutes for the bus (which should be every 10 minutes…), meaning I was late to my volunteering shift :(
Thankfully, a few cups of this and a couple of rounds of buttered toast later, all was well. This tea was a really perfect accompaniment for the toast, actually.
I’m also about half-way through my bag of the stuff… It’s still on sale, so maybe I’ll get some more before it goes/gets dear again…!
Marvellous black tea – I brewed myself a nice cup-full (~250 ml) around lunchtime (3’ steep), using 2 generous teaspoons of tea, and prepared two subsequent steeps later in the day (6’ and ~15’).
The first steep was fairly strong, giving a golden-brown liquor reminiscent of caramelising sugar, but totally without any bitterness. It really was a delightfully smooth cup of very warming, sweet black tea – I got a lovely malt flavour along with a caramel or honey-like after-taste. It had very mild astringency, but far from that I’m used to for a black tea that had been brewed for so long.
As the tea cooled, there was a mild chocolate and a mild vanilla note that came through – the cooler tea definitely came across as sweeter than the hotter stuff!
The two later steeps were milder in their malty flavour, but were (as promised) sweeter, with the caramel-honey notes really shining through. I also got a very pleasant fig/date after-taste. The tea was still wonderfully smooth.
I would add one thing: this tea definitely did not, at least under these conditions, brew very strongly. For people who love particularly powerful or dark black tea, I’d either recommend using another tsp or so, or leaving the first steep for another couple of minutes. It is a really delicious tea that I can’t imagine would ever become particularly bitter or overly astringent.
Still, I really enjoyed this tea and will be brewing it up for many days to come! Maybe I’ll try it in a Gaiwan at some point…
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Dates, Fig, Honey, Malt
Holy lychee! Brewed up the last of this tonight, and my goodness, is it delicious. I should have figured out by now that “mi” seems to mean “leafhopper” (or something to that effect), so I should have remembered that this tea would be all sweet and delicious PLUS dancong roasty goodness. And wow, is it ever sweet tonight. Honey and lychee, with a bit of roasty in the background. Probably better lychee flavour than lychee-flavoured teas. It’s ridiculously good. I only wish that my palate was a bit less… pre-flavoured… so I could taste it more clearly (I have had some snacks). Anyways, noms.
Oh….. bad bad bad. I haven’t tried this one before? Agh, I’m so sorry MercuryHime! I thought I’d tried everything at least once, but I suppose that explains why there were two servings in this bag…. Anyways, finally getting to trying this today (apparently), and it is quite good. Long, full leaves (a miracle given how long I’ve had it!), and although I think a bit of flavour may have been lost, a 4-minute or so infusion gave me a perfect cup of broth, umami, roasty oolong. This is kind of like the da hong pao I had from 52teas the other day – similar flavours (duh, roasted oolong). Anyways, I clearly had forgotten how much I adored this flavour profile. So incredibly good. So smooth, no bitterness, just deliciousness. Going to have another infusion shortly.
The only reason I ended up tasting this cooked puerh from Canton was because I ordered the recently reviewed 2013 Menghai Dayi brick from them, and for an extra £5 why not just try out a 50 gram bag of their own blend? After all they look really cute as well…each 5 gram Tuo is individually wrapped…so yeah curiosity got the better of me. However the burning question is will this cute little Tuo deliver on taste? Here are my notes…
The first thing I decided to do would be to air out these Tuo’s for a few days, to release some of that light fermentation aroma. The next thing to decide is how much to use, considering that these are 5 gram Tuo’s. Personally I prefer my brew a little stronger so I went with using 2 Tuo’s (10 grams) in my 140 ml gaiwan. After 2 rinses the Tuo breaks apart rather nicely, revealing the chopped leaves.
Now this is when I get a rather nice surprise…the wet leaves to me smell really good. Very earthy, woody, rich and bold. With my first proper steep I decided to push the shu a little at 30 seconds. The liquid comes out very dark, almost black, with a thick sticky appearance. I like what I see. I was even more surprised with the taste…it’s rich and bold, I am getting the earthy, woody flavours that I could smell in the aroma, yet overall it has a nice sweet, smooth finish. “This tastes pretty decent” I think to myself. Perhaps a little better than the Menghai Dayi Brick on initial tasting. I steep it two more times and I get mixed results; the richness and boldness is still there but is nowhere near what it was on my first proper steep. Unfortunately this is where the buck stops…
For me this shu simply does not have the power or aggression to last more than a few steeps which is a real shame. Canton recommends up to 8 steeps, however I think this is wishful thinking especially if you have tasted a really good quality, aged shu that lasts “forever”.
My next issue is price. Although this only cost me £5 for the 50 gram bag, and appears relatively inexpensive for a tasting teaser, for a 250 gram bag you are looking at £22.50 which I think is very overpriced. You could almost get two 2013 Menghai Dayi 250 gram bricks for the same price, or treat yourself and get one 2002 7581 250 gram brick from pu-erh.sk (review on the way at some point) for £20.
So, overall my feelings are very mixed. On the one hand I loved the first initial two steepings, and if the rest of the tea session had lived up to the initial taste I would probably rate this higher than the Menghai Dayi brick. It is by no means a bad shu, but when you take into consideration the price and the fact that you can get nicely aged shu for less it is somewhat of a raw deal.
Would I recommend it as a tasting sample to see its potential? Yes. Would I recommend that you buy a full bag of it? No. Lesson learned; it is not how you start but how you finish…
Flavors: Earth, Sweet, Wood
I’ve had this for about a week, and I’ve made quite a few cups of it now, but I’m still having difficulty getting the steep time and amount right.
It has a very strong aroma – of new leather, which fills the house when I brew this. It’s pleasant, but a little overpowering.
I steep about 3-5g in 250ml for about 30s a little longer in later steeps, but not by much; the taste and smell really are strong enough, and maybe a bit too strong, for me – even at short steeping times, and even in later steeps.
For the first two or three steeps, the smell is overwhelmingly of new leather, and it overpowers any other scent or flavour. After these first few steeps, it mellows, and becomes sweeter, with some forest-like hints and woody flavours. I’ve re-steeped the leaves many, many times in one sitting – probably as many as 10, and I could have kept going, I think.
Overall, I think this is a very good puerh, but the strength of its brew is an acquired taste that takes quite a few cups to get used to.
I’ve uploaded some pictures of the cake; the leaves are in good shape, and there’s no muddiness – and, yes, I’d already started to break bits off before I got around to taking a pic, so the edges are raggedy – It was perfectly round and perfectly wrapped when I got it!
Flavors: Forest Floor, Leather, Wet Wood
Another aged tea in my line up today. I’m doing bursts of house cleaning whilst cooking a large pot of chilli to aid my craving of chilli cheese fries. So I want aged teas and chilli cheese fries….an odd but pleasurable day.
These Oolong balls are medium/large in size and are very dark brown in colour. A quick sniff-spection reveals a sweet wood, leather and dry earthen concoction that leaves my mouth salivating in anticipation.
Ok this is interesting, it tastes milky but not overtly sweet or creamy which I usually find with fresh Tie Guan Yin. Milky but also buttery though mild and not fresh, which sounds horrible as non fresh milk is sour and disgusting and this is not like that but I can’t think of another way to describe it. Perhaps to say like uht milk, not fresh but still ok.
Enough about milk. It has a little sweetness to it and is more floral than I was expecting. Also has a toasted quality which comes through more in the later steeps, though it remains lighter than you expect an aged Oolong to be.
A nice Oolong but unfortunately it doesn’t stand out as much as I was hoping, it just tastes like I bought a pack of Tie Guan Yin and left it in the cupboard for a few years before finally digging it out and trying it.
This is a fantastic Oolong tea which I unfortunately only get an adorable sample given by Adagio Breeze. thank you very much for sharing.
The Oriental Beauty teas come from Taiwan and are quite oxidized. Such oxidation is due to the presence of an insect, kind of tea leaves eater … in reaction, and for their protection, the leaves begin an intensive oxidation process.
At first glance, you think more of a black tea as an Oolong because the leaves are dark and long and not rolled like most oolongs. But Oriental Beauty are like that. It is therefore classic. The leaves of this one do not have a very strong scent, hard to decide about this tea at this stage.
I like the Oriental Beauty teas in general, but this one is especially tasty. May be less smooth than those I have tasted so far but with different and very harmonious fruit notes: apricot, peach, plum .. they are definitely there. Delicious. And Honey would you ask? There is also there as in any good Taiwanese tea.
This tea, in my opinion, is more lively in the mouth than other Oriental Beauty teas with more roundness and mellowness. This is another aspect of this type of tea that does not displease me.
A cup of tea I highly recommend.
When opening the package of tea, I was surprised to find that there was just a hint of greenness in the scent of the dry leaves, along with a nice maltiness. Steeped for a brief 2 minutes, this cup or Rwandan tea gave a lovely balance of baked grain with a touch of malt as bottom notes. There is also a caramel midnote and somewhere in the cup is also a vegetal taste….almost like asparagus and similar to Butiki’s Crimson Horizon tea. This morning I’m just getting a touch of astringency from this tea, which for me is good, as I shy away from very astringent teas. With this Rukeri, Canton Tea Co has found a nice smooth cup of breakfast tea that offers breakfast blend drinkers a bright tasting alternative to start their day. Definitely worthy of a try!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Green, Malt
My first day of spring break….the BEST day to choose what tea I want on any given morning is the one that starts a vacation! (or in this case a stay-cation!) I reached into the trusty (but overflowing) tea cupboard and out this came. I’m not gambling today… I KNOW I’ll have a great cup of tea with this one in my cup.
Canton English Breakfast is a hard one to nail down. The description states " A sophisticated blend of high grade black teas from prestigious estates in Assam, Ceylon, Rwanda and Yunnan." Intriguing? Very much so. Throw the words ENGLISH BREAKFAST in there and I’m all over it. But is a blend of too many teas too much of a good thing? After the first sip, this thought is gone from my mind.
I can easily identify 2 of the teas mentioned: the Yunnan, which gives this breakfast blend a nice solid base note of earth, topped with honey. The Assam states is presence with the malty/grainy midnote. Perhaps the Ceylon is the brightness that holds the honey as a top note. so what is the Rwandan tea doing? Probably the happy dance, because it’s included in this unique and pleasurable breakfast tea! (my guess is actually the Rwanda adds the biscuit note, but I’m just guessing) This is a tea that all breakfast blend lovers should try. It is a hearty and smooth alternative to traditional breakfast teas, that tastes like no other. If you think you want to try this tea, you WANT to try this tea.
The above was from an earlier review, and I stand by every word. This is a solid citizen in a cup. If I lived in the UK, this would be my “everyday” go-to. The full flavor palate (without being too complex) and the round mouthfeel create a lovely breakfast blend with depth and deliciousness. It’s a happy morning already.
Flavors: Earth, Honey, Malt
This tea is a hard one to nail down. The description states " A sophisticated blend of high grade black teas from prestigious estates in Assam, Ceylon, Rwanda and Yunnan." Intriguing? Very much so. Throw the words ENGLISH BREAKFAST in there and I’m all over it. But is a blend of too many teas too much of a good thing? After the first sip, this thought is gone from my mind.
Steeping this was a math test. Because it’s from the UK, all instructions were in different measurements that I was used to, but it boiled down to 2 teaspoons of tea at 203f steeped for 3 minutes. There were a few more “bits” (or what I call residue-due) in the bottom of my finum than there normally is, which made me think perhaps this wouldn’t be as quality as I was hoping…. but quality, schmality, let’s get to the cup!
I can easily identify 2 of the teas mentioned: the Yunnan, which gives this breakfast blend a nice solid base note of earth, topped with honey. The Assam states is presence with the malty/grainy midnote. Perhaps the Ceylon is the brightness that holds the honey as a top note. so what is the Rwandan tea doing? Probably the happy dance, because it’s included in this unique and pleasurable breakfast tea! (my guess is actually the Rwanda adds the biscuit note, but I’m just guessing) This is a tea that all breakfast blend lovers should try. It is a hearty and smooth alternative to traditional breakfast teas, that tastes like no other. If you think you want this tea, you WANT this tea.
Flavors: Earth, Grain, Honey, Malt
The weather is boiling here and I have had trouble coping with it, as soon as the sun comes own I start sweating and get very red faced. I’m sure some of you will understand. Despite the hot weather I’ve managed to get some things sorted today and after being accepted for a mortgage we will be viewing our first house on Saturday.
Busy life aside it’s tea time and I chose this Ali Shan as an after dinner tea to pair with my vegetarian prawn Thai green curry. The Oolong has a beautiful sweet and creamy, floral scent.
The flavour is mild and I waited for it to cool so I can gulp it down. Dry after taste but as a whole it’s satisfying. Subtle flavour with milk and flowers being the two dominant tones. Also perfumed and sweet like brown sugar.
I want to love it but it’s not as fresh as it could be, it did make a nice, average, every day type Oolong though. May try another Oolong next.
Origin: Arya Estate; Darjeeling, India. April, 2013
Dry Leaf: Scents of dried peach and apple, nutmeg. Twisted threads with multi-colors; moss greens, cream, dark brown, light brown.
Method: Western – 22oz ceramic classic shaped teapot – 1 tsp tea per 8 oz water – 200F – brewed 2 cups in the pot – steeped 3 minutes.
Wet Leaf: Delicate, young brown/green colored leaves—small to medium size. Scents of hay, spices, vanilla, and dried apple peel. Somewhat chopped.
Liquor: Golden/light orange color with scents of honey, vanilla, hay, spice.
Flavor: Very multi-flavored!! Notes of nutmeg, vanilla, dried apple, honey, maybe a tiny touch of dried pineapple as well. There is also a champagne-like brightness, making this the ultimate Darjeeling lol!
I haven’t tried too many Darjeelings but this is definitely the best one I have tried. Very delicious, many layers of flavor, nicely balanced, no astringency (maybe because this is a 2013 and it has mellowed out). Would love to try a new first flush from this year to compare. Will have to taste some more to gain knowledge of this lovely tea!
Later in the day, I resteeped these leaves at 180F for 4 minutes. Delicious and still carried lots of the tasting notes, especially pineapple!!! I would not resteep them a third time bc they have given their best now :)
Having a pot of this with an Indian dish today! Today, I brewed Western at 190F for 3 minutes.
The wet leaf has the scent of pineapple rind bc it’s not quite as sweet-smelling as the fruit but has that scent.
Liquor is golden color also with scents of pineapple rind.
Flavor also has the pineapple rind with cashews, a tiny tiny touch of saffron and turmeric. It’s funny how the spices of India are really coming thru in this Darjeeling. I AM eating Indian food, however. I tried the tea before my food and I cleanse my palate with water when tasting the tea in between bites but it could be influencing my tasting today. It certainly pairs perfectly with the foods of its origin!!!!
After my Indian dish, I kept drinking the tea as I ate a Black Mission fig fresh from my garden and a vanilla cookie. This tea sang with the fig, another food from his homeland!!
Oh and also, my tea is now gone. I see people using the term “Sipdown” and I do not use that term bc it seems to imply that they are happy the tea is all gone and with this tea,,,I am certainly not happy that it is all gone :( More like “Saddown” to me.
Flavors: Apple, Champagne, Dried Fruit, Fig, Hay, Honey, Nutmeg, Pineapple, Saffron, Vanilla
Origin: Yingde, Guangdong Province, China; Summer 2012
Varietal: No 9 (big leaf variety cultivated in Yingde area in the late 1950s from Yunnan tea seeds)
Dry Leaf: Black (not dark brown) and gold little twisty threads. Looks like a Yunnan type tea that has the typical malty scent but it doesn’t have that scent. It has a smoked BBQ scent leaning toward Lapsang Souchong. It looks like the black twists have been smoked a bit longer.
Method: Western- 22 oz ceramic classic- shaped oval pot – 194F 1 tsp tea per 8 oz H2O – Brewed 2 cups in the pot for 3 minutes.
Wet Leaf: Young leaves, very tiny and all individual, turned milk chocolate brown now with scents of light smoke. They used the young leaves of this big-leaf varietal!
Liquor: Clear deep amber. Smells sweet. This tea is very intriguing bc it likes to change it’s spots everywhere.
Flavor: Smooth, nice balance of light smoke, sweet malt, dark honey but not too sweet. No bitter or astringency.
Wow! A really delicious flavor-filled tea. This is cupboard-worthy to me. Love this. Wish I had more—only got a sample pack :( and Canton is in London :( :( :(
Yay! Glad I had a bit left of this sample to try this on Gong Fu style today!!!
Dry leaf is smoky like Lapsang Souchong.
Did an immediate rinse then 10-8-10-20
The wet leaf smells just like toasted marshmallows in my little 6.42 oz gong fu pot.
Liquor is clear orange and has a smoky creamy toasted marshmallow scent.
Flavor at 10" is smoky toasted marshmallow but not super sweet. Like the crunchy part of the marshmallow in a s’more.
8" – more smoky now that the leaves have opened up. Less marshmallow. Wet leaves totally smell like a s’more now with notes of chocolate, smoke, & graham cracker.
10" – Lighter in flavor but still s’mores.
20" – Still clean flavors with no bitter or astringency. Very good.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Smoke, Smooth
Okay, be forewarned, this is another Sheng Yiwu Snob alert. This tea is another of the Canton Tea Company Single Mountain Puerh Collection. The color of the soup is a beautiful golden color. The taste is excellent, it is neither too strong or weak but right on the money. It has a very nice earthy/grassy/vegetal flavor with very nice kuwei and a hint of astringency. I really liked the fact that the taste lingers for quite a while after you are done drinking it. An excellent Sheng and at $16.80 for 100g, it is a very nice bargain.
This is just a tasting note. I steeped this tea 8 times tonight and it took until steeping four or five for the true flavor of this tea to come in and stabilize. For me the astringency and kuwei are backwards. For this tea, the astringency is at the front and the kuwei plays a backing role. It is still a really good tea, I just wish the kuwei played the leading role.
This is a frustrating Sheng for me to review. Is it an excellent tea, in my opinion no. Is it a really good tea, yes. Am I glad I bought it, yes. The soup is a beautiful golden color. The problem for me is the taste, way too muted yet at the same time it is very pleasing to drink. There is a very muted earthy/smokey flavor to it with a hint of astringency at the end and as far as I can tell no kuwei at all. I really like this tea, I just wish the flavors were a bolder since that is how I like my Shengs.