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China Cha Dao

Recent Tasting Notes

90

A few months back, China Cha Dao was kind enough to send samples of a variety of their Oolong teas. Of those I tried, this one had the right balance of sweetness, baked flavor and complexity to keep me interested. So I ordered a 125 gr bag, along with two other unrelated teas, and have been happily enjoying it for the past few weeks.

This morning I brewed it western style in a glass pot so that I could watch the dark leaves unfurl and dance, releasing their goodness to make a copper colored infusion. Since Oolong leaves are only partially oxidized, they don’t impart the dark color of their black tea brethren, but they certainly create a highly fragrant tea with lots of complex flavor notes. Multiple steeps takes you on a journey through ancient forests, smells of campfire, and a brush by an apple orchard. Each time I brew it there are new things to notice, and it is a forgiving tea, brews well every time. A nice find by Jerry Ma at China Cha Dao.

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

sounds delicious…

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88

I opened up my tin of this again, after leaving it alone for a few weeks, and was greeted with the vivid roasted aroma with chocolate undertones. The aroma of the steeped tea is more subtle, but the roasted smell is still very prominent. The first infusion is rather dark, comparable to a black tea, but the taste is much subtler. There are nutty and chocolatey notes flavors present, which have really aged well, and produce a very smooth flavor with a hint of sweetness. The aftertaste of the tea is also really interesting, as it merely leaves a kind of tingling on the back of the tongue which is rather pleasant.

The only thing that I have to complain about is that it looks like a heavily-roasted Wuyi Oolong, and the taste is remarkably similar to a Wuyi Oolong, so I find myself comparing it to my Da Hong Pao, which is a bit unfair. Regardless, it is a rather nice tea, and I think it will enjoy it for quite a while.

The later infusions were interesting, especially how the sweetness that began to assert its self complemented the nutty flavors, and yet it didn’t affect the smoothness of the tea. As much as I hate to say it, this tea once again draws a comparison to Wuyi Oolongs, but it matches up better than some of the cheaper fares from that region. I got 6 infusions out of this tea, which is really a testament to how heavily roasted it was.

Anyway, the executive summary is that it’s a good tea, very smooth, nutty flavors, and something to look forward to drinking again.

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

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80

I don’t know why, but this tea was a bit disappointing today. I brewed it grandpa style, as I had a lot of free time, and was planning on a marathon study session. but for some reason, t was just…off. Everything seemed more subdued than usual. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the inconsistent water quality of my dorm was at a low point today.

EDIT:
Yeah, I talked to a few people in the same building, and they had similar problems today.
Let this be a lesson: WATER QUALITY IS IMPORTANT! Looking into getting a Brita pitcher or something, because I don’t want this to happen again.

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

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83

As others have noted, the honey-sweetness and roastiness are less prevalent in this than in the other China Cha Dao Oolong samples. However, I’ve really enjoyed five infusions of it. It’s certainly more subtle, and perhaps less complex. But, I like how it evolved for me. I was really surprised by the strong floral notes I got from the third steep onwards. It started out quite nutty, and the floral emerged to work alongside the nuttiness.

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88

This was a really exceptional tea. When I opened the tin it came it, it had a wonderful roasted aroma, with hints of something fruity. When I brewed it, I got tea that was almost as dark as black tea, or perhaps like my good Da Hong Pao. This tea also have a thick sheen of oils on the top, easily covering the entire surface of my mug.

The taste of the tea was also very similar to my Da Hong Pao, with a noticeable (but not overpowering) roasted taste, with subtle nutty flavors and hints of fruit. If it weren’t for the lack of the distinct yancha aftertaste, I would almost say that this was a heavily roasted Wuyi oolong.

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

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70

Experience buying from China Cha Dao: In a PM I requested that Jerry send me samples of two teas I was interested in purchasing from his web store; he sent very generous samples of both (25g) and an additional 10g sample of a higher grade of one of them. Thank you Jerry Ma!

Age of leaf: stated as spring 2011.

Packaging: simple transparent bag with a label.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Wirey, and some of the leaves are a little darker colored than the Jing Tea Shop HSMF I have; this tea has a fairly standard fresh vegetal smell.

Brewing guidelines: Standard parameters for my green teas Glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger. Stevia added.
……….1st: 170, 1’
……….2nd: 175. 1.5
……….3rd: 180, 2’
……….4th: 180+, 2.5

Color and aroma of tea liquor: very light green, vegetal.

Flavor of tea liquor: Pleasantly light, fresh and vegetal, not smoky as some Huang Shan Mao Feng teas can be. Held up well through three steepings.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Smells and looks fresh, but this tea has more stems than I have ever seen in any tea; although there were a few bud sets, there were very few buds, and not very many leaves.

Value: this is one of the best priced fresh green teas I have found: under $1.50/ounce even when the price of shipping is included (which, for me, was almost as much as the price for the tea itself).

Overall: There are two notable things about this tea. Although it is not chopped—-and it seems fresh—-there are more stems in the wet leaf than I have ever seen before. Having said that, for the price it is still one of the best values that I have found for good tasting, pleasant smelling, fresh green tea. I hope to buy some of this to use a base, or everyday, green tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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42

I received this one from Batrachoid. I’m really trying to like this one but so far is not happening. There’s is a touch of Oolong and darjeeling in it, but I’m thinking green pu-erh is not for me. It was bitter to me…lacked the smoothness that I like from black pu-erh. By the end of the of the cup I felt like scratching my tongue like Tom Hanks in Big. I am normally not one to rate a tea low but this one just isn’t doing it for me.

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34

I did not really enjoy this tea. It had a fishy taste and a bitterness that lingered on my pallet.

K S

Interesting. How did you prepare this one? My experience with this tea was positive. I believe it was my favorite of the bunch.

K S

I used cooler temp like for green tea. If you have any of the sample left you might try chamging parameters. Also I did a wash first.

Spot52

I did play around with the parameters, and that was the best of the methods I tried. I have had success was Raw Pu before. This is just a tea that I do not like, nor do I appreciate the profile.

K S

Again, interesting. This is a good reminder to me how important personal preference is and how that needs to be considered when reading reviews. Better experiences on your next cup!

Doug F

It’s not surprising that this tea was bitter. Raw Pu erh teas need aging. I believe it is rare for lovers of Sheng to drink teas this young. Even a cake that is a few years old is still considered immature.

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69

This is my 6th and final review in a series of six samples of Wuyi oolongs from China Cha Dao

Experience buying from China Cha Dao: I responded to an offer on Steepster for free samples. Received exactly what was stated in the offer: fresh tea and very generous sample sizes. On their website on eBay they have a good variety of tea for reasonable prices.

Age of leaf: Stated as harvested in 2011. Received in mid-summer, brewed in fall 2011.

Packaging: small, clear bags with small label printed with the full name of the tea.

Appearance and aroma of Dry leaf: a little milder than the rest, also a number of broken bits, but not as many as the Spring “Shi Ru” had.

Brewing guidelines: three 8-oz cups of water used, leaves loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added. (I went with one less cup than the first four Wuyi oolongs in the series)
…………….1st: 185, 2’
…………….2nd: 187, 3’
…………….3rd: near boiling, 5’
…………….4th: boiling, 7’

Aroma of tea liquor: different than the others, milder, more pleasant, slightly carmal-ly, and possibly malty. Amazing. On the forth steeping I smell something different, like something that is possibly barley-like, something good!

Color of tea liquor: same as all the rest: looks like coffee.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Pleasant. Smells different then the tea liquor, and different than the other Wuyi oolongs in that it is more clear, and not as roasted.

Flavor of tea liquor: not as roasted as the others, and not at all harsh; mild and pleasant.

Value: Free 10-gram sample (Thank you Jerry Ma @ China Cha Dao tea on Ebay!). His regular tea is very reasonably priced, in my opinion ($7/125grams).

Overall: I like that the aromas of the wet leaf and the tea liquor were different as compared with all of the others. This one was also not as strong and intense as the others in all of its aspects. Once again, the third steeping on an oolong surprised me: it is the better than the first two! Mild flavor on this third steeping (and in the forth), and there are clearly floral notes running around in each cup. Although I stopped at four steepings, I think I could have easily gotten another steeping or two out of these leaves. This is probably the best Wuyi oolong for me in the series.

Summary after drinking the six Wuyi oolongs: I still consider myself fairly new to this class of semi-oxidized teas. Overall, the taste of these is not something I would seek out, although I would gladly drink them if offered. Each one of these teas was fresh and yielded up something worth experiencing—-especially if you like roasted and/or floral notes. I am grateful for the opportunity to broaden my experience with oolongs. Thank you Jerry Ma at China Cha Dao!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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67

I have both this tea and the AAA+ version from China Cha Dao, and even with my low expectations, this still falls short. It seems to be missing something, especially in the after taste. The higher grade Da Hong Pao has a wonderful mineral after taste, but that is much more subdued in this tea. Also, the palate of this tea is much blander, and I find that I can’t enjoy it after having tasted the higher grade.

Don’t get me wrong, this is far from the worst tea I have ever had, but it is lacking when compared to my other Oolongs. I think I’ll let it sit for a few months, maybe a year, and see if it is better after a bit of time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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57

This is my 5th review in a series of six samples of Wuyi Oolongs from China Cha Dao

Experience buying from China Cha Dao: I responded to an offer on Steepster for free samples. Received exactly what was stated in the offer: fresh tea and very generous sample sizes. On their website on eBay they have a good variety of tea for reasonable prices.

Age of leaf: Stated as harvested in 2011. Received in mid-summer, brewed in fall 2011.

Packaging: small, clear bags with small label printed with the full name of the tea.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: leaf looks and smells basically the same as the rest of the Wuyi oolongs with the exception that many of the leaves are broken into smaller pieces.

Brewing guidelines: three 8-oz cups of water used, leaves loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added. (I went with one less cup than the four previous Wuyi oolongs in the series)
…………….1st: 185, 2’
…………….2nd: 190, 3’
…………….3rd: near boiling, 5’
…………….4th: boiling, 6’

Aroma of tea liquor: smells a little different than the other Wuyi oolongs.

Color of tea liquor: like coffee.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: smells about the same as the other Wuyi oolongs, with a hint of caramel. Lots of little bits and pieces.

Flavor of tea liquor: fresh and roasted, with a tad of bitterness towards the end of the third cup of the first steeping. Had mild flavor in each cup on the forth steeping.

Value: Free 10-gram sample (Thank you Jerry Ma @ China Cha Dao tea on Ebay!). His regular tea is very reasonably priced, I judge ($7/125grams).

Overall: Although nothing really stands out about this oolong as compared to the others, it is tasty. The fact that the leaf is comprised of many more small broken pieces than all of the other Wuyi oolongs makes me question the quality of this one. Overall, this was an OK tasting Wuyi oolong as compared to the rest.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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69

I haven’t had an oolong in awhile, so I decided this afternoon was as good a time as any. Although the first infusions of oolongs are never my favorite – I quite like this cup of tea. There is a bit of nutty and smooth with a slight sweetness that I hope develops more over subsequent infusions. I’m looking forward to drinking this cup a bit quickly so I can get to more and hopefully tastier infusions. Rating is on hold for now – will rate after having a couple more infusions.

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81

Toasty but quite sweet and more subtle than my first China Cha Dao Wuyi sample (the special grade Da Hong Pao). I expected it to be more earthy from the scent, but it was brighter and clearer than I expected. I’m actually left finding it less memorable than the Da Hong Pao, but still lovely. It also has the honey and grain notes, but overall much mellower. It had me coming back for cup after cup (5 or 6) while doing some housecleaning. And the huge, long, twisted leaves were again a joy to watch open up.

Also, I broke in my new gaiwan with this one and it was wonderful! As much as I love my first gaiwan, I wanted a black one to match my tea set-up and went for one from Camellia Sinensis. I didn’t expect to be so in love with it! The black is very sleek and appealing and this thing handles really beautifully. I’d highly recommend it. https://camellia-sinensis.com/accessorie/fiche/New+Black+gaiwan

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80

I have finished the last bit of this tea. It is as when first tasted; a very nice tea full of minerals. The tea conjures the elements to me and the ending note is that of raw pineapple.

I did steep it with lower water temperature, mildly hot instead of boiling hot and the sulfur in the cup seemed more pronounced and with each steep it lessened a bit but still could discern coppery and sulfur in the cup. I used a mug made of general stone ceramic mug. I am trying to say the sulfur and coppery elements sense in the cup is not from my mug but with the tea itself.

I am not making claim for this tea. Only that it is enjoyed immensely by this taster.

color: Golden green
Characteristic: element like sulfur, copper, and zinc
Tasting note: raw pineapple

Overall for a young tea it is quite good.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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59

This is my 4th review in a series of six samples of Wuyi Oolongs from China Cha Dao

Experience buying from China Cha Dao: I responded to an offer on Steepster for free samples. Received exactly what was stated in the offer: fresh tea and very generous sample sizes. On their website on eBay they have a good variety of tea for reasonable prices.

Age of leaf: Stated as harvested in 2011. Received mid-summer, brewed early fall 2011.

Packaging: small, clear bags with small label printed with the full name of the tea.

Dry leaf: looks and smells the same as the other Wuyi Oolongs teas in this series: long slender dark brown leaves with a roasted aroma that reminds me of the smell of burnt gunpowder from my cap gun when I was a child.

Brewing guidelines: four 8-oz cups of water used, leaves loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added. (I tried to keep the following guidelines as consistent as I could throughout the series)
…………….1st: 185, … 2’ Good.
…………….2nd: 190, … 3’
…………….3rd: near boiling (un-warmed teapot), … 5’
…………….4th: boiling (un-warmed teapot), … 7’

Aroma: smells mildly roasted and a tad burnt.

Color of liquor: pretty much the same as the other Wuyi oolongs: medium brown—like a lightly roasted coffee.

Wet leaf: aroma is mild and pleasant. Most of the leaves were on top, the rest on the bottom of the pot during the first steeping; all were on the bottom for the remaining steepings. Most of the leaves and buds are whole, many are large, and there are a few broken pieces (probably due to transport and handling); they range in color from dark green, through brown, to very dark brown (almost black).

Flavor: roasted and a little sweet.

Value: Free 10-gram sample (Thank you Jerry Ma @ China Cha Dao tea on Ebay!). His regular tea is very reasonably priced, I judge ($7/125grams).

Overall: Like the other Wuyi Oolongs, I liked the second and third steepings the best. The flavor comes out more when it cools. This tea is touted as Special Grade, and yet I can’t tell the difference between this grade and the standard version of Da Hong Pao. Like the other version, it tastes rich, robust, fresh. It’s good, but to me it doesn’t set itself apart from the others in this series.

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80

Review of 2011 Menghai Dayi (Tea Garden Tea) from China Cha Dao, Jerry Ma’s sampler

This sampler I received is a small crusty and partial cake like leaves tightly woven together. Its smell is of musty earth. I broke off about half of this and placed it at the bottom of the cup and poured the boiling water (200oF) into the cup and left to steep for five minutes.

In removing the lid, I can definitely smell its musty-earthy scented aroma in the cup and the color is a golden green. At first tasting I could not help but taste something like minerals in raw form: zinc or copper even, which is both thick and smooth to the palette with a rich flavor making me think of raw pineapple.

I do not think this is correct, yet that is what I smell or thinking of the smell…raw pineapple and it is heaven to me.

As this is a 2011 Menghai, which means “cooked” pu-erh tea, and since it is cooked, this is referred to as shou (cooked green tea), post-fermentation and good to drink at once.

The way one comes to know a pu-erh is to think of it much like wine vintage.

Classification: Year, and region of production; In that this Menghai Dayi is 2011, Yunnan, China.

Cup’s characteristic: Earthy and musty aroma rich in minerals like zinc, and copper.

Liquor color: Golden green

Taste: like raw pineapples

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
seule771

I could be imagining what I have experienced of this tea but description is as real as I tasted and the images conjured when I drank it.

I have been told that I hallucinate but truly drinking this tea made me think of pineapples and minerals like zinc…perhaps I lack minerals in my nutritional needs.
I am making excuse for this review, in that it was researched by me and I drink it.

K S

Try again with a much shorter steep time 10 – 45 seconds. Seriously. I used 30. You should be able to resteep 10-15 times. Use cooler water as well. I have picked up a coppery note on some of these samples especially in about the 8 steep.

K S

Correction I only got about 8 steeps out of this but I used only about 1/5 of the sample.

seule771

You are kind Kansas, Misouri.

I finished the last bit of this tea just this afternoon and there is definite sensing of sulfur and coppery elements. I still can’t stop thinking and smelling pineapple when I drink this tea. I cannot even say when last I came in contact with a pineapple but it is there.

I like this tea; I like what I have experience with it/in it.

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87

I once again decided to do an experiment with “Grandpa style” brewing, and this time I decided to use my Da Hong Pao. While I had rather lofty expectations after how well my grandpa-style Qi Lan worked out, I was really surprised at how this tea reacted to the alternative method.

The first two “cups” were very dark, with a very pleasing yet strong aroma of nuts and fruit. The taste was also pleasantly nutty, with a subtle roasted flavor that added to the delightful complexity of the tea. The aftertaste of the tea was a typical yancha “mineral” flavor, which was smooth and a touch sweet. Latter infusions resulted in the nutty flavor fading away, leaving behind a mildly sweet tea with a slight mineral aftertaste. The really nice thing about the later infusions is that the tea kept its smoothness, whic resulted in a long and pleasant brewing session.

I ended up drinking 12 cups of tea, but keep in mind that each cup was only 4 of the 6 ounces that were present in the cup. I would day that 8 would be the limit of this tea if brewed in a traditional manner.

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92

Good as usual. I own the ‘09 and ’10 production. The ’11 production is also pretty good. I can’t really comment of the tea now since it’s so new. So I am putting them away to age for now. Will check on them in next spring to see what kind of progress they’ve made.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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85

The fifth and sadly last sample from Jerry. This is the most densely packed of the samples. Pulling enough tea off the cake took some effort. The dry leaf is dark and is the most shredded of all the samples. 2g of leaf and near boiling. 10s wash. 45s steep. The wet leaf is dark olive/brown and grassy as was the dry. The liquor in the cup is between a deep rich gold and a copper color.

The first cup is difficult to describe. It’s not overly earthy, grassy. It’s not fishy, bitter, or syrupy. The best I can do is say it is a comfortingly mellow and it makes the sides of my tongue tingle. The first cup is not as complex as most of the others, but I am ok with that on a Monday morning, as it is a warm and happy cup. Cup 2, the leaf was spinachy. The brew is still mellow, no tingle, slightly grassy, more complex, or maybe I am just awake now. 3rd cup very slight fishiness. 4th or 5th cup (lost track) developed a bit of a coppery taste. This is the first tea I have experienced the liquid feeling not syrup but thick. Will revisit this tomorrow with more steeps.

I am really excited that I wrote the above before reading any of the comments or descriptions of this tea. It tells me my tasting skills are progressing.

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84

Meh. I mean, compared to the other samples, this was meh. With my faulty taste buds anyhow. I tasted raisin, the kind that I get now when I have a tea that is supposed to be malty so I suspect that there would be some malt in there!
the second steep was better, less raisiny and more sweet. The third steep was a little abrasive and I got swamped with work so ended up not going for another.
Will definitely give this one another try when I’m back to normal :)

Well, I am off with a girlfriend this weekend! shopping trip!!! :P
which also means no internet. See y’all next week!

Ahh!! I swear I didn’t touch the ratings bar… but it showed up at 54 and I thought, well I can’t leave it like that, so I deleted the post and replaced it with a new one… but apparently the server has a memory so it placed the rating back at 54! so, my apologies for throwing the scale off…

KeenTeaThyme

Happy Shopping!

Indigobloom

hehe thx KeenTeaThyme! It was fun. Sorry I missed your comment earlier :)

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100

On this rainy day perfect way to finish this Spring “Shi Ru” tea. I am happy, enriched to have tried this Oolong. It is rich and does brew best very hot/boiling temperature.

I do not yet understand the term “sweet” if not adding sugar to something. Perhaps it is described as ‘sweet’ if not vegetal or coarse and smoky; then I would say it is sweet.

Each cup I have had of this tea was fresh in flavor and full; the longer I brewed this tea the more enjoyment I found within the cup. And the tea leaves are soupy; yums or go a bit further to buttered yams kind of yummy in taste.

I am liking Oolongs and this is a good thing.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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