Dragon Tea House
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Recent Tasting Notes
A very balanced, good-tasting tea. The liquor is medium amber, and there’s a pleasing touch of smokiness and a “dark oolong” flavor. If you steep at the recommended temperature (around 200˚F), you can definitely detect “rock tea” in the aftertaste. Not cheap, but this is the real thing. Easily the best DHP I’ve tasted.
Dragon House has four basic grades of DHP: Da Hong Pao Yancha, Supreme, Nonpareil, and cake. The first is their entry-level grade, and nonpareil is quite expensive; premium is a fine oolong that, at its best, offers two main flavors: a floral greenness and a pleasing backbone of smokiness. You may experience some variability, year by year; 2010 was a great year, 2012 merely average. The effect can be not unlike drinking a genmai-cha – toasty but thirst-quenching.
The individual leaves are 3/4" and regular. Steeped, the liquor is a light green and clear, offering a refined taste. The elegance is a contrast with garden variety Mao Feng, which can vary, but can be grassy with a touch of asparagus taste. Appealing, but understated almost to a fault.
Jasmine tea just doesn’t seem like a morning tea to me, but that’s because it’s usually a green or white base. I haven’t had many jasmine black teas (perhaps just one?) but the idea definitely intrigues me. Luckily I got this sample from SimplyJenW to try!
The dry leaf has lots of jasmine blossoms in it, and smells pleasantly first of a slightly grainy black tea and then of a lovely sweet jasmine. Steeped, that weird blend of jasmine and black tea comes out… yeah, jasmine and black together are just so weird in my mind! They don’t seem to work properly together, I don’t know why. One thing is I feel like the black tea gives the jasmine a more herbaceous rather than a sweet quality.
However the flavor of this one comes off better than the scent to me. There is a surprising sweetness here, which I think is coming from the black tea base, actually… it has that character. There is a honeyed note to the base, a bit malty. But honestly I think I’d rather have this tea without the jasmine! The jasmine is light and pleasant, but it again has that weird herbaceous quality. It’s the same kind of thing I get from jasmine-vanilla blends that I’m not a fan of. I guess in those blends it might also be the jasmine interacting with the black tea (since those are often black/green blends). Then again, I’ve had other jasmine black/green blends that work out for me, so who knows. I do actually enjoy this one, though (because the odd qualities aren’t too odd for me in this tea). Thanks for the opportunity to try it! After a couple of shots I do feel like jasmine and black tea is not something I really need to seek out in the future.
Tea of the morning….
I have not had this one in a while. It was buried in the recesses of my stash. I do have to say that I think the flavor has definitely gotten lighter over time.
I guess this should be a PSA: Drink your tea before it loses its flavor!
What I have left is not undrinkable, but the light floral of the jasmine is now so light that it could be mistaken for the sweetening. Fortunately, it is a good tea base and I can still drink it. I have a few other teas that are on the ‘chopping block’ this week. I am so happy to finally be getting the stash into a reasonable state, though I still have too many favorites.
Tea of the late afternoon…….
I have been on the search for a black jasmine tea ever since I tried the Jasmine Yunnan Tea at thepuriTEa. Why not just order the tea that started the obsession? Well, 4 ounces of that tea is $16 and then flat rate shipping is another $7.50. Plus, Yunnan would not be my first choice for such a scented tea as Yunnan is typically more peppery and malty than what I wanted. Harney was out of stock without prospects of a replacement for a while. This tea from Dragon Tea House on ebay was the first possibility that caught my eye at $12 shipped for 100 grams, but of course the shipping from China is rather long. In this case, I do think it was worth it. I had ordered some teaware from them in the past without issue, so I thought I would try some of their tea.
I ordered on April 24th. They shipped out immediately. It arrived today. That makes it almost two weeks even with a holiday. Pretty decent for free shipping. I am guessing prices are a little higher than what you would spend if you were there, but that is fine by me. It makes small orders much more possible, which I really appreciate. There was not much available in the way of tracking, but then some forms of post don’t update until the package arrives. I do have to sign for packages shipped by them if it matters.
On to the tea….. I really like this. It is not super floral, just lightly floral. The tea base is a good quality black tea. I do have to say that the smell of the tea itself was kind of strange, but the tea is wonderful. How this differs from my own blend of gong fu black tea and jasmine pearls…this is much more subtle. There are no notes of chocolate in overdrive, or heavy floral with the jasmine. I am sure I could play around with other black teas in my cupboard for a black jasmine blend, and I probably will at some point. But, I am so glad I took a chance on this one. It is lovely.
Usual teapot method.
This is very nice. I steeped this for 6 full minutes, and the blossom had not fully unfurled, but the flavor was very pleasant. Sweet, jasmine-y floral, with a hint of nutty flavor in the background. The mouthfeel is very soft and silky.
My second infusion was ten minutes, although it didn’t really need the 10 minutes to open fully (it only took another 90 seconds) but, I wanted to get full flavor from the second cup, and the 10 minutes delivered that. I think this second infusion was even tastier than the first. It focuses more on the nutty flavors that I tasted only hints of in the first infusion, with the jasmine notes somewhat softer. There are hints of a grassy-earthy flavor here too, but ever so subtle.
Bakey! This is completely different from the greener shanlinxis. I was a little disillusioned at first when I bought it, because I was expecting something completely different, but this is a nice tea.
The liquor itself hints at the slight astringency, but the overall flavour of the tea is roast. This is a more traditionally made oolong, and mostly tastes like a superior, medium-roast muzha tiekuanyin (starting to wish fewer things did), EXCEPT, I’ve just noticed an almost milky aftertaste on the back of my tongue, which is incredibly intriguing. It’s a very mild-mannered tea. There’s just the very slightest hint of a floral note, but I wouldn’t describe it as a floral tea by any means. A very, very nice roasted oolong, however.
This flowering tea has a really gorgeous display. The display reminds me of the Halo blooming tea from Persimmon Tree, but, the teas taste different, and the bulbs look different too.
This tastes more like a green tea with a hint of jasmine flavor. It’s alright, but not the best tasting blooming tea I’ve had.
I was a little unsure of this tea since I ordered it from eBay, but I’d just had my first taste of Tie Luo Han from a sample packet I got when ordering from Chan Teas (http://chanteas.com) and I was ordering a teapot from Dragon Tea House, so I decided to just go for it.
This tea is actually pretty decent for the price, it does have a similar character to the Chan Teas offering but didn’t quite live up to my expectations, so I have some more from Chan Teas on order. If there is one thing I’ve learned about oolongs so far it’s that I’m not really into the floral stuff, so I definitely appreciate the deeper taste of the rock teas I’ve tried so far. This one definitely has some flowery overtones, particularly in the earlier infusions, but it’s not overboard. The later infusions bring a taste almost like a peanut shell.
I’m able to get at least 6 good infusions out of this brewing gong fu style.
Supreme Liu Au Gai Pan from Dragon Tea House
This is a pouch that sat sealed for many months as I worked my way through too many other teas bought around the same time. I’ve been trying to be more disciplined about my green teas the same way I have about my greener oolongs and senchas, not opening a bunch at once and having all degrade significantly before I finish them, but despite being sealed, this one may have suffered for it.
The leaves are a deep green, darker than the average long jing, but also more or less long, thin, and while not completely flattened, not curly either. The scent is reminiscent of fukamushi sencha—sweet, deep, vegetal, with a hint of cucumber. Tantalizing!
4.8 grams in my Petr Novak iron-rich kyusu this morning, preheated, and now the aroma of the heated leaves is more like sweet peas.
Flash rinse with filtered tap water about 180 degrees: not much there in the wash. It’s not that there aren’t hints of deliciousness, but it really is super dilute, even for my tea-wimp’s palate. With that in mind, I’ll do the first infusion proper longer, perhaps a minute.
1 minutes, 150 degrees: sweet peas, vegetal, but an astringent finish, that reminds me of an overcooked vegetable.
30 seconds, 180 degrees: went hotter and shorter to try to bring out the sweet over the overcooked vegetable taste, and didn’t quite succeed.
I’m not sure if this unpleasant vegetable flavor is related to the heating of the leaf during processing, or is due to the tea sitting too long before drinking, but it definitely is something I recognize and dislike in many green teas. It is not present in the bag of dried leaf, but comes out as soon as the leaf hits the preheated brewing vessel, before it’s even wetted.
I’m going to switch to a porcelain gaiwan, in case that makes a difference, and will prepare it with a cooler start. The flash start is something I read about in a blog a few months ago, and it’s really been lovely with long jing and Gu Zhu Zui Sun, so I thought I’d try it here, but perhaps this tea does not want it.
2 grams in small porcelain gaiwan, infusions about 75 mL water.
145 degrees, 30 seconds, a little better in flavor profile—brought out more sweetness, but too light from the short infusion.
I’ll stick with 30 seconds next infusion, because the now-wetted leaves will give more in this one even with the same infusion time.
30": still can’t separate the sweet flavor—and I do get the sense of melon—from the overcooked and astringent vegetable. Bummer.
160 degrees, 30 seconds: no real change.
Last gasp: 212 degrees, 30 seconds: astringency with edges of the sweetness.
It’s frustrating. It looks good, the leaf smells terrific, but I can’t make this one really pleasant. I feel like I’ve failed the tea. Oh well. Since this is a classic tea, I’ll try it again one day, but I’ll get a small sample and drink it right away to give it the best chance.
This is my first experience with a milk oolong. When I first opened the bag, the smell strongly reminded me of “Milky Candy” that I used to eat a lot of as a child. A nice smell, just not one I would expect from tea.
I steeped this in my 90ml gaiwan, 4.5 grams (Should probably try for 3-4 next time), 160~70 degrees and increasing.
The milky flavor comes through very strong in the first few steepings, almost overbearingly so, but then abruptly drops off into a “greener” taste. At this point I had to use boiling water and longer than average steep times to extract any flavor at all from it.
The first time I tried this tea, I was quite enchanted by the milky-creaminess and found myself rather disappointed that it had to end so soon. When I tried it again a few weeks later, I was less impressed with the first few steepings and enjoyed the more floral notes of the later steepings, difficult as they were to extract. I may have just been in a different mood, or maybe the strong milk flavor is the sort one easily burns out on. Maybe future tastings will tell me more.
Overall, this leaves me intrigued enough to seek out and try other milk oolongs; it certainly has an interesting flavor. However, I probably would not order this one again.
I was a bit disappointed in this one, but I think its because I had such high expectations. The picture makes it look so beautiful. When mine bloomed, it looked like a sad lump of red-brown with brown-white flowers. The taste was okay. I felt like I needed to leave it longer, and when I did that, it turned out a bit astringent. The nutty flavor isn’t as pronounced in this tea. Neither is the jasmine. Overall its just okay. meh.
Ok wow… I dug through my cupboard and found a TON of flowering teas! This being one of them. I was undecided between Teavana’s strawberry misaki or Dragon Tea House’s Love Game. Ultimately I chose Love Game. This is a very pretty flower. I think I brewed this too long because it was fairly astringent. However, I wanted to see the whole flower bloom and unfurl. I love watching it slowly take shape from a small 1 inch ball with tied 1/3 up to this beautiful array. There is something peaceful about it. I think I could have gotten away with 2 steeps or more since I only had a little 4 oz pot. This is a really delicate flower. It is a nice green tea with beautiful flowers!
My husband and I shared this on Christmas Eve before heading off to a family party. This was very beautiful. The flowers were beautiful! I love the lily-like flower and the chrysanthemum-like flower in the center. The tea was tied very nicely as well on the bottom, almost like a bouquet. The liquor was a light brown color. It was lightly scented. Just like the other blooming flowers, which all have a similar taste, this one was also nutty. It was almost like an oolong or green tea. This tea was lighter in taste. There was Jasmine in there, which didn’t give me a reaction! I was happy about that. It was smooth in taste and there was no bitterness in there. A nice, well rounded and pleasant tea.
I finally got to try this one out. Mine popped out to be similar to this in color. It was so beautiful to look at that I almost didn’t want to try it. I poured it into my large mug and enjoyed the honey brown liquor that tasted almost like a green or oolong tea. There wasn’t any jasmine in this, so I was quite happy about it. Of course, my husband took my mug and drank most of it!
After I tasted the other more expensive LongJing from Life in Teacup, I revisited this tea I got earlier this year from Dragon Teahouse’s eBay store. I remember this LongJing is a lot cheaper. In tasting, this tea is lighter in taste compared to LiT’s Longjing. But I still tasted the roasty aroma. Maybe due to the lighter taste, the astringency was lower too. Considering the price and my tea budget, I most likely would go with this tea. But the other LongJing is definitely better, when I get a raise.
So… I’ve been pretty MIA for awhile..
Honestly didn’t drink much tea all summer, been having stomach problems and was advised by the docs to stay off tea/caffeine and the whole bunch. Though, I’ll also blame laziness and lack of appeal of hot tea in summer too for not touching it at all! Still having stomach problems, but the weather is getting cold again sooo that means i’ll drink it anyways :)
I actually bought this tea back in spring, didn’t really touch it till now. I’ve read and heard about the raves of Dan Cong oolong tea so I bought this one from DTH, figuring it can’t hurt to give it a try. The tea comes in the regular one and this “Spring” edition promising younger leaves. Apparently this one is supposed to taste like peach, but I can’t taste any of that. It’s just a tad bit bitter and tastes more like an out of place green tea of some sorts. Overall no real complaints, drinkable.. tea..
I bought this tea after watching James Norwood Pratt sit down with Samovar owner Jesse Jacobs and drink this on youtube. The piece is called " Brewing Enlightenment ". They were loving the tea and I figured I could not go wrong. They were right. Called " Clouds and Mist" in China. This is a superb offering. Crisp, clean and very flavorful. I feel you can taste the green of the mountains….
I just received this in the mail. A beautiful aroma in the dry leaves. A beautiful aroma when brewed for the suggested 3 minutes. I brewed it in the 1 cup Yixing. A very delicate flavor. I will add more leaves in my next brew. I like the Dragonhouse Tea website. It’s the Disneyland for tea lovers like myself. I must add this lovely tea has elevated my mood. Ye Gods….