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Recent Tasting Notes
We’re having a late lunch (I made stir fry) and I decided to brew some of this to enjoy with my lunch… delightful as always! I love this tea. The flavor is rich and buttery (almost creamy) and smooth. Sweet!!! The floral notes are enchanting. Very nice – I like how well it is pairing with my lunch today.
Ali Shan! My favorite Oolong!
I even purchased a Yixing mug from Jade Teapots (ebay seller 11sbaumann) JUST for my Ali Shan consumption! And I am christening my mug with THIS Ali Shan.
And THIS… IS… SO… GOOD! But then, I have yet to find an Ali Shan I did not like.
Now… I’m thinking… shall I get a NEW Yixing mug for Yellow Teas? Because… about the only tea that I like better than Ali Shan is Yellow Tea.
My batch is pretty good. Buttery, ever so slightly floral, distinctly vegetal, yet mild with a lingering sweet aftertaste of cucumber.
It’s a pretty straightforward green oolong, in my opinion. As long as you don’t kill it with boiling water (treat it like green tea) it should be ok.
Today’s steeps of this favorite revealed a lot of buttery goodness – I kept the temperature fairly low and steeped for a little bit more time than I have before, and not surprisingly got a richer brew that didn’t get unpleasantly bitter or astringent. Still getting a combo of vegetables with the occasional piney aroma and flavor.
Three infusions this afternoon of this gentle, sweet tea. Today’s highlighted flavor was sugar snap peas, mixed with hints of grass and just a tiny bit of astringency. I can definitely see ordering more of this when the sample runs out, as it’s a tea I consistently get a smile out of.
Really enjoying this one today – it’s tasting particularly fresh and healthy, which is very welcome on this grey and cold day. I’m getting buttery vegetables from it, a little bit of natural sweetness, and just the slightest bit of astringency. Three steeps so far, and each one of them very tasty!
This is the cutest tea I’ve seen in a long time – light green, flattened tips, soft and uniform, that look a lot like Douglas Fir needles. The dry leaf smells really fresh – almost minty, though I know logically that there is no mint in it, it’s just that fresh. When I really dig into the aroma, it’s generically like vegetables, and oddly, watermelon rind comes to mindas well.
I gave it two minutes at 180 degrees, and I think that was just about right. There is a lovely smell of new mown lawn and sugar snap peas. The taste is wonderful, melding vegetable goodness with a hint of sweetness. The liquor looks like slightly watered down apple juice, a clear golden yellow.
For the second steep, I stretched it out to 3 minutes to see what would happen. Mmm, still good. There is a noticeably rich mouth feel and a good amount of veggie taste as the base, with fresh cut grass filling in around the edges. A very relaxing and tasty cup!
I haven’t been a fan of white teas in the past because they’re simply too delicate. From past notes, you can gather that I’m big on bold flavors.
However, this white tea had a lot going for it. First, the leaves were an incredibly uniform pale green with the typical silver needle white hairs. It was as if they had been hand picked and matched for size, shape and color. White teas don’t typically present a lot of fragrance, but this was hearty with notes of cereal, malt and alfalfa.
Once prepared, the tea was a pale gold and the rich fragrance remained. The taste is of malt and honey and there’s a very slight floral essence.
This tea kept my attention and it will stay on my shelf until gone-which won’t be long.
The last of my sampler pack of this variety, and it ended up being a little bit more leaf than I’d been using before. This brought out the sweetness nicely and bumped up the earthiness a bit, but the tea still avoided veering off into bitter or too strong territory. It stayed extremely smooth and mellow, and gave me an appreciation for how much pu-erhs can vary – this one and the Camel’s Breath tuocha being at the opposite ends of the scale from one another. Both great and interesting, but for different reasons and with very different taste profiles.
Back to having this straight up (after a quick rinse in boiling water), as I had it last time with cream and sugar. I think I may have used too little leaf this time around, as it came out a little underwhelming compared to previous tastings. I still got strong earthiness, but the spicy territory it displayed before was missing. Slowly but surely I’ll come up with the ideal parameters for this one.
Another go with this one, which came in the Canton Tea Co sampler pack. I wanted to give it a try with cream and sugar this time, but first had a regular infusion of two minutes in boiling water. I noticed in particular this time how clear the liquor is compared to many other pu-erhs I’ve tried, which often turn out cloudy. And though pu-erh is known for being earthy, I find this variety to be earthier than average, which I like.
Second infusion was four minutes, and I put in a little sugar and cream. The tea started out smooth and naturally sweet, so adding these elements made it a very rich-tasting cup. The aftertaste was great, still very earthy but at the same time not at all overwhelming. Probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed it this way.
The dry leaves are dark, and uncharacteristically long and full based on my previous experience with pu-erh teas. They give off a strong, sweet odor of fresh earth. After two minutes of hot water I had a very dark, coffee colored liquor with an enticing aroma. I got the earth scent for sure, but also something slightly spicy. The flavor had some of the typical hallmarks of pu-erh, but with some extras thrown in for good measure as well. There is a definite natural sweetness to the flavor, and a tiny bit of tartness in the aftertaste without being fishy or rotten tasting. I also get just a little bit of spiciness which is really nice – a general mix of cinnamon, clove, and ginger which is in both the aroma and the taste.
The second steep, at 3 minutes, didn’t seem to bring any additional surprises. In summary a nice pu-erh, which I think I’ll try with a little milk and sugar next time to see how it goes. Sacrilege, I know!
Another one from the Canton Tea Co sampler – as their description notes, although it’s called a green tea, it’s actually an oolong, and I think that comes through in the flavor. But I’m getting ahead of myself – the dry leaves are twisted but not as tightly rolled as gunpowder tea, and are a deep green in color. The scent is vegetal and fresh.
I gave the first steep one minute at 190 degrees, and got a much bigger burst of the vegetal scent right off the bat. There is also a sweetness mixed in, and I’d have to agree with the previous description of it as apricot – it’s a nice highlight. The flavor is walking the line between green and oolong; we’ve got the seaweed/buttered vegetables thing going on, but I’m also getting the sweet, juice-like flavor of a good oolong in there as well.
The second steep went for two minutes, but I found the flavor surprisingly muted this time. The vegetables got a little deeper, but the sweetness has receded into the background. It still has a pleasant amount of substance in the mouth feel though. Overall, a nice tea, but I’m wondering if my sensing it as neither fully green nor fully oolong might make it less than satisfying in the long run.
This offered some pleasant surprises.
The tea starts as very bright green “nuggets” with a literally sweet, mouthwatering fragrance of honeydew, cucumber and very subtle sweet hay.
After brewing, the leaves were completely unfurled and had expanded to fairly impressive proportions. (My gaiwan runneth over.) The tea was more golden than I’ve seen in other oolongs and was subtly floral and grassy in fragrance.
In taste, it was very light and I picked up buttered squash and a touch of vanilla. The first infusion had a slight tartness, but I think I went too long. Next time, I’d probably start with only a minute or so and work back up.
I liked this one. It had a lot to offer and was really enjoyable. I seem to be building quite an affinity for Taiwanese teas as I haven’t really found a bad one yet.
My puerh experiences are getting better and better. First I’ve found green puerhs, which I think I’ll need to explore more, and now this one.
This puerh takes that dirt or fishtank flavor that you find in other puerhs and transforms it into something mellow, smooth, and really tasty. If I had this puerh without every trying other puerhs, that description wouldn’t make sence. I might come up with rich and slightly earthy, but not dirt
I like this a lot. I might even be able to get the hubby (who has not liked a puerh, ever) to like this.
If Canton ever has another free shipping sale, I think I might buy this. (Note, if you’re reading this O! People from Canton Tea Co, please wait a while! I need to clear some cupboard space. :)
Awesome leafs. Very (very) thin leafs with red/golden streaks on them. And they got hair! A lot of red tiny hair. LIKE you already Bai Ling Gong fu! Smelling the tea reveals a unique aroma. What is it? It’s… seaweedy, assam smelling intense aroma.
Golden liquid, thick and smooth texture and – assam tasting tea with a twist. A little salty sour at first and juicy sweet at the end. Yum! Didn’t catch the caramel, but trying the resteep at a lower temp in hopes of finding it.
The leaves on this are large, vibrant green and mostly whole. The fragrance is clean and very sweet.
When brewed, the fragrance is grass and hops, but there was also an unpleasant very slight bleach-like note. I even did a “do over” on this and had the same result the second time.
In taste, this was light and sweet with a mild and lingering fruit and honey aftertaste. I would have scored this higher if it wasn’t so difficult getting past that off-note on the fragrance.
(Yes, my prep gear was clean and has never been in contact with anything resembling bleach.)
crisp,clean tasting. Very refreshing. The smell reminds me of vegetables a bit- again, like cucumber ( 2 days with cucumber in my tea reviews- i must be craving them!). The flavor is slightly nutty with some lemon juice on the back end of my palette.
Great tea to sip this morning.I love that in my glass cup, I can see the tiny fine hairs from the tea, which reminds me of this tea being almost like a white tea, so it must be very lightly processed.
These pearls are different from my other collection of jasmine pearls. They are a bit smaller and whiter with more “hair” on them. I like that! That’s like three indication of a good tea. And the smell of jasmine! Oh god, it’s so powerful.
It’s so relaxing to watch the pearls unfurl… Not to mention fun. I just love to see the balls that float at the top fall down to the bottom. Just call me evil, but I really like gravity (and water) drag them down. The brew is very light in color – to be honest it looks exactly like water. First sip reveals a gentle jasmine flavor. Some jasmine tea are too perfumed and too strong. Simply put : to damn overpowering. This has a perfect balance. Like other jasmine tea it has a lingering aftertaste, but it’s very discrete and quickly gone.
I resteeped the leafs, only to find the tea become even better!
It becomes so gentle and juicy at the back of the throat.
I am really pleased with these pearls. They deserve every star they got.
Backlogging. Monday morning.
Since I didn’t have a special tea to celebrate my 30th birthday the previous day, I decided to have one the next day. I really like this Bai Lin Gong Fu and I only have a limited amount. I love the way the dry leaves smell and it tastes different from any other black I have. Despite increasing the amount of leaf I used last time and being happy with it, I felt again this time that I could have used more leaf (but not as bad as the first time I made it when I really needed more leaf). Still, SO GOOD!
2nd steep: 3 min.
3rd steep: 5 min.
Backlogging. Morning, two Sundays ago.
This was my second time drinking this Bai Lin Gong Fu and as I advised myself after drinking it the first time, I used more leaf this time. Using more leaf definitely worked out well. The tea was quite enjoyable through all three steeps I made of it. Also, upon opening the container I emptied the sample foil sack into, I could totally smell tomatoes. A tomato plant on a hot summer day even. I like smelling this tea. I look forward to drinking this one again.
(And this is the kind of tealog you get when you wait too long after drinking the tea to write the tealog.) Also, I’m not entirely sure about the times for the second and third steep but think I mimicked the times I used the first time.
2nd steep: 3 min.
3rd steep: 5 min.
My Canton Tea Co Gold Award sampler arrived on Thursday so Friday morning I opened on the sole black tea to try. The Bai Lin Gong Fu has twisty, red-gold leaves and a strong, distinct scent. After reading the tealogs on it, I can see how others can pick out tomato in it. I steeped two teaspoons for two minutes at 176° F as recommended. The color of the resulting tea was very light for a black. The tea was weak, almost watery, but I could tell it would be a delightful tea when brewed stronger. Either I needed to use more leaf (the wiry leaves didn’t fill the space of the teaspoon well, which is why I suspect two were recommended) or steep longer.
2nd steep: 3 min.
I didn’t think I would get a drinkable second steep. I increased the steep time by a whole minute and fully expected to steep it longer once I checked and the tea was barely colored. Surprisingly, when I checked, the tea was much darker than I expected. I drank and this was what the first steep should have been, maybe a little over steeped even. Fuller, complexer, and definitely caramelly, this steep was meeting the expectations I had for this tea. It is also very different from the other plain black teas I’ve had so far.
3rd steep: 5 min.
Since the second steep was so dark, I thought I might as well try for a third, even if it ended up going down the sink. At first sip, I thought it would but as it cooled, I found it had enough flavor to be drinkable and enjoyed.
I think more leaf and different steep times will yield more even cups next time.
I am rating this tea a 85 (right in the middle of my great range, 80-90).