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Recent Tasting Notes
I love jasmine tea and especially jasmine pearls, so it’s always fun for me to try a new variety in this family. The scent which emanated from the packet when I opened it was heavenly – sweet and juicy without being cloying. I took what seemed to me the right amount of tea (counted later and found it was 19 pearls), and gave them 8 ounces of 185 degree water to bathe in. I ended up with a light yellow-green liquor that gave off a fantastic scent. The flavor here is also exactly what I’m looking for in jasmine pearls: authentic, naturally sweet, floral, and not at all bitter or astringent. Seems able to withstand multiple infusions too, prolonging the enjoyment. This is good stuff!
My last bit of this tea from the sample pack, and it’s ending up being a little more than the usual amount of leaf. It was really impressive how many different flavors I ended up getting from this, from a rice and vegetable beginning, through fruit and a mild roastiness to a grassy finish. Quite impressive when it’s all coming from one tea!
Not sure why, but not enjoying this one quite as much as usual today. It tasted a bit flat, so I think I probably messed up the parameters somewhere along the way. Didn’t get the typical mix of fruity and toasty flavors with lingering aftertastes, but in all fairness it was still a tasty cup – just much more basic in taste.
A couple steeps of this today, and for some reason I’m finding it toastier and fruitier than usual. The toastiness is so present in fact that it’s reminding me a little of genmaicha, with the sweet fruitiness bringing it into the realm of Tie Guan Yin. Kind of surprising given my previous tastings which emphasized more the vegetal and seaweed notes of this tea. Still, I like a tea that keeps me guessing!
Coming back to this one for another try. This time I’m noticing much more the toasty flavor which overlays the vegetal and fruity notes – especially after I let the tea cool off a bit. A second steep for a slightly longer time reveals a more buttery texture as well as the background roastiness. Third steep was fairly weak and didn’t note any new flavors.
This is a really interesting one, and gives me a sense of how widely oolongs can vary. The leaves are long, medium-dark green, and smell rich and vegetal. After two minutes, the liquor is light brown with a hint of green, and smells quite surprisingly of seaweed. Don’t get me wrong, I like the whiff of seaweed that often comes in with green and oolong teas; this one is just particularly pronounced.
On tasting, there is a lot going on. Melon, vegetable, definite toastiness there too. This is a good, interesting tea. Further steeps will need to wait until later today…
This is really awesome! Has been on my list for a long time! I did both ICED and HOT.
HOT is crisp and clean and truly Ali Shan! Beautiful and happy…bright and sweet! Oddly…but fabulously-so CREAMY for an Oolong!!! It’s a gem of an Oolong and I just LOVE it!
COLD…it’s juicer, it seems! Still very creamy and quenches thirst! Excellent either way!!! REALLY LIKE THIS!!!!!
Two subtle but still buttery and sweet steeps of this one today. This is the one that has really opened up my appreciation for white teas; sometimes I’m in the mood for something that is strong and powerful, and other times I want something that is more of a caress than a smack – this is that one. Grassy, fresh, and healthy feeling.
I decided to add more leaf to the pot this time – about 50% more than I usually do – and really liked the outcome! It was much more buttery, and had something approaching a starchy flavor which was very satisfying. This was sitting on top of the sweet grassy notes I’d gotten in previous tastings, which made for a very nice combination. I’ll bump it up a few points based on that.
I’m finding myself really drawn to this tea, with its light but very nuanced set of aromas and flavors. If I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be “fresh”, but unrolling that I’d come up with grassy, sunny, clear, healthy, and light. And although it’s light, it’s quite addictive. Liking it a lot today, so I’ll bump it up another couple points.
Went to three infusions on this one; the third cup was light to the point that the flavors were quite ephemeral, as if glimpsed through gauze…
Having another go around with this one to try and get a better handle on where the flavors are coming from. Same parameters for the first steep – 2 minutes at 180 degrees, but this time I am getting the hint of melon that the company mentions in its description. Still a lot of that sweet hay/grass taste too, which is very pleasant. I’m noticing the aftertaste this time more – it’s a sweetness around the whole mouth.
Still, all these flavors are so gentle and understated, it’s hard for me to get the purpose of putting a bunch of flavoring in with white tea, for fear of losing the essential qualities of the tea itself. I’m going to chalk it up to other people having more acute taste centers, that can pick out the white tea flavors among the melon, licorice, or other additions.
2nd infusion at 2.5 minutes and 180 degrees: Still very sweet and grassy, nice aroma and color. No real lessening of qualities in the second steep. I’m going to bump this one up a couple points based on today’s tasting.
I don’t have much experience with white teas, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can learn from this one. On first look, the leaves are beautiful – furry and very soft. They smell wonderfully fresh. The liquor is touted as being champagne-colored, but I think it’s a little too dusky for that; I’d say it’s more like a very light ginger ale or cream soda: a very light yellowish tan.
The flavor is light as well, but more complex than I had anticipated. There’s grassiness, but not in the same way as a Japanese green; more like a straw-grassiness, akin to chewing on a dried piece of sweet hay. There’s some sweetness and absolutely no bitterness or astringency, though there is a high note I’m having a hard time putting my finger on. Almost like pine, in a very subtle way.
Second steep: It’s funny, I’m getting almost as much of the flavor in the aftertaste as in the sip itself. I’m not used to teas that are so quiet – it’s kind of throwing me off my tasting game! There’s enough going on that I know I’ll be able to appreciate it, it’ll just take a little reprogramming of the taste centers to get there.
My last bit of this sample was a little more than I needed, but I liked the slightly stronger taste it yielded. I went three steeps, and really did find very different characteristics in each one. The first was sweet and floral, juicy and just a little vegetal. The second was more strongly vegetal, moving closer to a sencha style in buttered vegetable goodness. The third was grassy, still sweet, and had just a hint of roastiness. A very nice trio of tastes from one spoonful of leaf!
Second try at this tea, and I’m starting off with a longer first steep, 2.5 minutes, than I tried last time. Maybe this was the key to unlocking more enjoyment of this time, because I’m getting a much more floral scent and a rounder, fuller flavor of green vegetables and fruit juice, with a noticeable background of natural sweetness. Better this way so I’m bumping up the score a bit.
Another of the Canton Tea Co sample packs to try out! Once I opened this up, I was immediately reminded of the Tie Guan Yin from Chicago Tea Garden – it has a similar look: glossy dark green chunklets, and scent: fresh and grassy. I’d say this particular tea has more in the way of vegetal in the scent however; it’s reminding me more of sencha in that way.
The first steep at one minute, 190 degrees: the leaves have started to expand, and I’m left with a clear, light golden liquor with just a hint of green in there. The aroma is very light, encompassing fresh mown grass and something just a little savory/buttery. The flavor is very nice; there’s some of the sweetness I associated with the Tie Guan Yin, though not to such an outstanding degree. There’s also a degree of rich mouth feel to it, which may be what others characterize as milkyness (that’s one descriptor I don’t think I would have come upon on my own).
2nd steep, 190 degrees and 1.5 minutes: The liquor comes out a little more greenish yellow this time, and the leaves have mostly all unfurled now. The aroma and flavor are more vegetal, but there is still some of the overall sweetness that I like so much. I’m also getting a little fruitiness in the background, which is quite yummy.
3rd steep, 190 degrees and 2 minutes: Still a strong golden/green color, but the flavor is markedly more subdued now. Still getting vegetal and small sweet tones. Pleasant enough, but it’s lost most of its shine by now.
This Oolong is AMAZING! I had only enough for a gaiwan’s worth of this tea left, so I decided to go ahead and enjoy it this evening. What a lovely tea it is. I know that I read somewhere on the forums recently where someone was asking about Pheonix Honey Orchid… well, this is a Honey Orchid Oolong… so I guess I will head to the forums next to post about this one.
I absolutely love this. Rich with honey notes as well as fruity tones … just as the description suggests, a lychee-like flavor to it. It’s a very distinct kind of flavor like that. Sweet, with notes of sour, and very pleasantly balanced.
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a sample of this to try!
As most of you probably are aware – I LOVE Oolong tea. So much so that I think that my gaiwan is becoming an essential tool rather than just a gadget. (tsk tsk) I don’t know why I prefer to brew my Oolongs in a gaiwan… but I do.
I can taste the lychee flavor, and the honey-esque tones in this tea. It has a wonderful fruit and floral aroma. Pleasantly sweet with a charming baked quality to it.
Delicious… amazingly delicious.
Wow! This is the first time I have tried a white tea. I must say I am plesantly surprised! When I poured it out, at first I was scared I hadn’t steeped it long enough! But then I smelled it, and it smelled wonderful. The first taste is very floral and the lingering taste is very mildly green. I was disapointed in Canton’s Vietnamese Pu erh tea, but this more than makes up for it!
This is my first taste of a pu erh tea, so I have nothing to compare this tea to. To me, this tea tastes old and musty. I know that pu erh is supposed to be aged, but this actually tastes and smells dusty, like it has been sitting on a shelf open, exposed to dust collecting. I have tried two infusions, but I can’t really like this tea. Are all pu erh teas like this? I am still open to trying other pu erh teas.
My last bit of this from the sample pack, and I’m sorry to see it go! Caramely, thick and rich orange-brown liquor, needing help from no additives to be absolutely delicious. Possibly my favorite discovery from the Canton Tea sampler special they had on a couple months ago.
I guess I can tell which of the samplers I’ll be reordering by noting how nervous I feel when the pack starts to get empty… This is one of those. It’s got such a nice and sweet dried fruit quality to it, and with the holidays coming round it feels like the right tea for the moment. Really happy to have discovered this one!
Time for another serving of the Darjeeling that’s not a Darjeeling, as I’m beginning to think of this one. It’s got a very similar caramel/muscatel scent and flavor to it, and today I tried to puzzle out how the two varieties differ. From what I’ve tasted so far, I think the Bai Lin Gong Fu has more of an earthy and starchy sweet potato-like sweetness to it, similar to what I’ve found in The Simple Leaf’s Dawn or Samovar’s Hawaii-Grown Black. I also think that the Darjeelings I’ve had have been a little more astringent than this tea, which is very smooth, even at fairly long first steepings (four to five minutes). One of these days I’ll have to do a side-by-side tasting and see what I find out.
Second tasting of this sample from Canton Tea – this time I’m really struck by the sweet, dried fruit aroma of the dry leaf. The liquor steeps up to a lighter brown; between that and the lighter color of the leaves themselves I’m really reminded of the Darjeeling style.
The tea is so wonderfully sweet, and lacks any astringency or bitterness. The flavor is deep in fruit and has a little malt too, and I’m once more getting an aftertaste reminiscent of dried peach/apricot, as I did last time. Straight up, it is such a soothing and delicious cup that I don’t think I’ll be trying it with additives for fear of losing any of its best traits.