China Cha Dao
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Recent Tasting Notes
Last dark oolong sample from China Cha Dao! I really appreciate the opportunity to sample all of these teas, it’s been very educational. While I’m not head over heels for Wuyi dark oolongs, I have definitely come to appreciate them through this little experience. Thanks again to Jerry Ma for the samples!
Anyway, this one brewed up dark! One of the darker ones from the sample, it’s a deep slightly reddish brown. It smells, not shockingly, very roasted… this is definitely one of the more toasty varieties. Definite erring on the side of burnt/charcoal. There’s also a distinct sweet smell behind the roastiness, but it’s kind of shy and fleeting. There’s another kind of odd aroma that I can’t quite place, and it’s only getting stronger as the tea cools. It shows up in the taste as well, and it’s almost coffeeish, actually. Yup, definitely getting coffee flavors from this one, along with a smokiness.
I’d have to say that I’m not really taken with this one, primarily because of those coffee/smoky notes, but I can see how they would appeal to others with different sensabilities!
Another China Cha Dao sample. I think this one has the most pleasing aroma when brewed of the ones I’ve tried so far; it’s a nice balance of roasted grains (but not over-toasted) and sweetish, honeyed florals.
This is definitely one of my favorites of the samples. The roasty flavor is light and not to charcoaly or overly robust, which I am enjoying. I find that I like my teas to have a sweet feeling to them, if not a sweet taste, and the exceptionally roasty ones seem more savory. Which is funny because I don’t get a distinct sweet flavor from this one (but did on the roastiest one, the Golden Key). A very slightly vegetal floral character, like one you would see in a green oolong, peeks out here and there. Overall this is just a nice, balanced cup.
The leaves have a sweet smell when dry. I steeped them in 190 degree water for about 2.5 min and get a wonderful toasted aroma of the tea. You get toasted nuts with a bit of earth. It is an amber to darker honey in color and a bit sweet but yet earthy. It has no bitterness that I can detect an does not stay long on the tongue. You are left with a bit of a sweetness and for a second a minute bit of tannins. It is a very pleasant middle of the road toasted oolong. I would call it a medium to medium dark oolong. Probably around a 60 to 65% oxidation.
This was the first of the sample pack that I tried, but I brewed the cup with half the amount of leaf that I should have, so it was quite weak. Here we go with a proper brewing.
Of the samples I’ve had so far, this one smells the most burnt-toasted when brewed. It really does have a charcoaly aroma, like slightly burnt rice. Fortunately (for me) the flavor is lighter; I really thought this would be heavy, by it’s aroma, but it doesn’t get bogged down in roastiness. Still, it’s the predominant flavor, and I don’t get any of that roasted-grain sweetness to the tea. There is the barest hint of something greenish and floral at the end of the sip. I’m surprised that this one falls a little flat to me, and it doesn’t seem to have the depth of the other ones I’ve tried.
I feel like I’m running around like a madwoman trying to get ready for my next trip… a month in Argentina, starting this Sunday! So find myself having to stop a moment and remind myself to brew a cup of tea! Next up on the dark oolong road, this one.
Obviously I’m comparing these teas strongly to each other, and have thus far tried the 2011 “Golden Key” and the 2011 “Qi Lan”. The brewed aroma of this tea is more similar to the Qi Lan than the Golden Key, in that it is roasty but not overwhelmingly so. I can detect a few honey-floral notes in the background of this tea.
The flavor of this tea is much brighter than the previous two, surprisingly so. It’s got a slight mouth-tingling brightness that I usually associate with darjeelings. There are some honeyish notes here, but I’m not getting any real sweetness from this cup, if that makes any sense… like the honey flavor without the sweet. The toastiness is there but very definitely in the background, and I’m having trouble sussing out other flavors over the sheer brightness of the cup. This one’s not my favorite of the ones I’ve tried so far, but still definitely a drinkable tea.
We’ll I just got home from five days in the backcountry and after having the obligatory greasy burger and cold beer, I decided to treat my self to a cup of tea, like I really need a reason to do that though.
I have to admit this is the first da hong pao I’ve had, I’ve had many other wuyi’s but this one is quite fantastic and unique in its wonderful qualities.
I think this is the darkest tea I’ve brewed out of the wuyi region, and while being bold it still retains its delicate subtleties. This tea definitely would not cut it when I’m craving on of the lighter roasted wuyi’s yet when I want something a bit more robust this is the ticket. Sweet, bold, somewhat malty, layered and complex. Yeah I’ll drink this again. looking forward to trying the other da hong pao I got from jerry ma. Thanks again for the samples.
I received this tea from Jerry Ma’s six sampler pack and Da Hong Pao was amongst the lot received.
I have been drinking this all day. It makes for a very malty cup of tea. Those favoring coffee would surely appreciate the smokiness in the leaves and the brewed cup of tea.
Images conjured: roasted and smoky aroma. I am not sure about the sweetness in the cup since I am too absorbed in the aroma.
Envisioning: a hot cup of Da Hong Poa with either milk or cream and sweetened with some pure sugar. Unfortunately, I drink mine plain always.
Another very good quality Oolong from China Cha Dao. Nice aroma, slight scent of roasted apples and wood fire. A very mild sweetness to the flavor, and a wonderful feel in the mouth. Beautiful amber color, and you can see nice unfurling of the medium sized leaves.
I fist brewed a sample western style, with about 1 heaping teaspoon for 7 ounces of near boiling water. It lasted for several infusions and really got me hooked. This afternoon I tried brewing gong fu style in a small 150 ml zisha yixing, and the results were equally pleasing.
A very interesting journey in tasting this tea. It is one that I have enjoyed very much and look forward to drinking again.
Earthquake tea! When the tower of the hospital that I work in started visibly shaking this afternoon, we did not assume earthquake, but it turns out that’s what it was. Enough to make the building sway fairly significantly, but not enough to do any damage. Anyway, now it’s time for some tea. Another at-random selection from the ol’ bag of dark oolongs!
The aroma on this one is decidedly less roasty, though that is only in comparison to the previous one I had, which was incredibly roasty. I do believe there are some floral notes lurking behind the roasted oolong scent. They come out in the flavor too, but surprisingly this tea lacks a very distinct sweet note you might expect, though it is faintly there. It definitely has the roasted nutty taste as the main note, but I’m liking this one for it’s slight floral character.
Very light scent. Has a honey note to it, light roasted tones.
Wow, the flavor of this has a lot of honey to it. It has a light toasted flavor through the back of the mouth and throat, with the honey through the middle of the tongue and mouth.
As it cools, the toasty/roasted flavor comes out stronger but the honey stays through the finish.
The finish has a lot of burnt taste to it as it gets cooler. The honey is still in the foreground during the sip, though. I wouldn’t think this to make a good iced tea.
This one doesn’t have a strong scent at all.
The taste has a slight honey sweetness in the front and middleof the throat, with a roasted flavor in the back. It has only the mildest hint of “standard oolong flavor”.
This is a very sippable tea and I think my favorite of China Cha Dao’s so far.
This has a nice scent to it. Larger than the 2011 Da Hong Pao. It has the Oolong toasty scent with a teensy tiny bit of clover sweetness.
The taste also strikes me as stronger. A dark “Oolong flavor” with a taste of charcoal on the back of the tongue. An almost unnoticeable sweetness at the tip of the tongue now and then.
While I tend to like the darker and stronger Oolongs, this one isn’t for me. Nice tasting and definitely recommendable to others, but too much charcoal for my preferences.
Alright, folks, get ready for nonstop dark oolongs for a bit. Last night I took all my samples from China Cha Dao home and weighed out 4g of tea for my 12oz mug (thanks to recommendations by The Seattle Tea Snob). Turns out each sample pack had about 10g of tea in it, so I should be able to get 2.5 trials out of each tea. I want to try them back-to-back to be able to see how they compare, so I’m going to be drinking a lot of dark oolongs.
I chose this one at random and boy, does it smell roasty. The brewed tea smells like well-toasted rice/grains primarily, with perhaps the slightest hint of a vegetal note behind it. My weighing out the tea leaves seems to have worked, because I’ve been rewarded with a nice full brew. Not to say that this tea is heavy… no, it’s definitely fairly light, but still full of flavor. The toasted grains aroma is there in the flavor, but it’s joined by a bright, slightly sweetish note in the middle of the sip that fades back to toasted grains at the end. As it cools a bit, the sweet, now slightly honeyed note melds with the grain note.
This is not the kind of tea that I would usually decide to try, and in the past it might not have appealed to me as much, but I can definitely seem myself getting more into this type of dark oolong! Thanks again to Jerry Ma of China Cha Dao for the sample!
I never really enjoyed Wuyi, partially since they were one of the first oolongs I trked to explore and hadn’t quite mastered time and temp variations. I’m determined to find one I love.
A quick 20 second rinse.
The first steep is has a moderate iron taste and oak notes. It’s not heavy though, a quality I dislike about strong roasted teas.
The second and third are much more woodsy and barely mineral at all. It might work for someone looking for a weaker classic Wuyi to space out stronger, more nuanced ones. This is a very promising start to the sampler but not quite cravable for me.
This is GOOD! It’s a little smoky, but also sweet and the two mix together wonderfully.
So far I’ve tried 3 of the 6 samples and found them to be very good.
The prices in this tea shop are reasonable and I have this suspicion that in spite of an overflowing tea cupboard, I will ultimately convince myself that I just have to have some more of these Wuyi Oolongs.
The scent is a rich and deep “oolong smell”, along with a barest hint of wood to it.
The taste is nicely roasted… it has a woodstove kind of taste to it. Lightly and not overwhelming, very nice. There is a slight sweetness to this, but it is very, very, very barely there. It’s more a thought than a taste.
There’s also something very barely fruity about this on the tip of the tongue when swallowing, but I can’t place what it is… maybe raspberry or blackberry.
I like this and would have it again. I’ll have to see what I think in the next couple steepings and on a second batch altogether, but this might be a buyer.
this s a Awesome Oolong.. I Brewed this leaf in my Ming Xiang Cup.. The leaf is long and dark, have a rice/veggy smell is the best i can describe it. I brewed for 3min at about 190f.
The color was a red brown very pretty.. The cup nose (smell) is of cooked rice and Tea but not like genmacha. Good sweet taste I get a little veg and a really nice tea and sweetness on the after taste. I will give it a second and third infusion to see if I can draw out some good tea.
This is one from the very generous samples I received the other day! Dry – this smells a bit sweet, but mainly roasty, toasty. After brewing this tea up, it is a medium golden brown hue and it is nicely roasty. I wish it were a bit more on the smoky side of things, but it is a pretty satisfying cup overall. It has significantly aided in reducing my stress levels also which is a nice bonus. I am definitely looking forward to trying the other samples I received, but first I will need to finish this tasty mug.
I jumped on this pack of free samples of oolongs when it showed up as a great chance to further my oolong education. These oolongs are all dark, which I generally don’t have much experience with. I’m not brewing them gong-fu style since I don’t have the setup for it, so I read up a little bit and settled on these steeping parameters for now.
The dry leaf smells roasty, but also sweet too. The leaves are fairly long and loosely twisted. The tea brewed up lighter than I expected, a medium amber color, and it has a lightish aroma that smells a bit like roasted grains.
The flavor is extremely light. I have a feeling that I didn’t have a correct tea/water ratio, which is a feeling I get often from these dark oolongs. The greens I don’t seem to have a problem steeping “traditionally” in a mug, but the darks trip me up. Anyway, it’s light but roasty and sweet. Really I’m getting more flavor in the aftertaste than in the sip itself. I definitely think I would really like it if I could get it right! Sigh. I guess I won’t rate this one until I can try it again. Fortunately I have a very generous sample to play around with.
This has a semi-strong scent that is sort of “standard oolong” -nutty/seedy with a barely-there honey tone.
Tasting it, this one’s a little weird but in a good way. It has a good sized flavor, brown (maybe walnutty) taste around the back of the tongue, a typical oolong flavor in the center of the tongue and a slight clover sweetness. It also has a strong “something” that is good but I can’t describe.
Conclusions: I like it but doubt I’d buy it. It’s good, I’m glad I got to try it, but it’s not a wow-er. I look forward to trying the other samples as this one makes me think it’s possible there’s a “buyer” in there.
Oh, and I must add the they are very generous samples. Enough for a few cups, unlike some sample-senders, which is great as it can take me a few cups to really decide on a tea. Sometimes a second or third cup will take something from “meh” to “gotta have” or vice versa. These samples are enough to really explore the tea.