Eco-Cha Artisan TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Bought from a reddit tea sale. Used 3g in a 60mL gaiwan with 185 degree water.
Got a lot of floral and some vegetal flavors with a nice creamy texture – not super thick, but noticeable mouth feel. Pretty sweet tasting as well. Leaves seem like they’re pretty high quality, good vibrant green color and not too beat up or anything. In the later steeps I started getting a bit of a crisp, almost fruity note – may be what some have referred to as apple. This is my first Eco-Cha tea – may have to make an order with them at some point.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Vegetal
I didin’t use any specific steeping times with this since they lack suggestions for gongfu brewing. So I went with feeling and what seemed right, it turned out pretty good actually.
Nuggets are emerald green with light brown stems. They are small and even size. As a winter batch the leaves are quite small. Opened leaves are vegetal green.
Clear light green brew, latter steeps turn more orange/yellow hue. Mild scent. Full-bodied taste with notes of cream, vanilla, milk, fruit, osmanthus and some burnt sugar with woodsy notes. Terrific with really nice silky, thick and creamy mouthfeel. I can already say after couple steeps that this is the best Jin Xuan oolong that I’ve tasted. Others have been too milky or not milky at all, but this is in perfect balance. I’m definitely buying more after I’ve emptied my stash a bit.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Butter, Cream, Fruity, Milk, Osmanthus, Vanilla, Wood
Thank you Luckyme! Finally got to try this!
It actually yielded several cups with about 2 grams in 3 ounces of water, seven to be precise and all of them were fairly consistent in flavor. I did not count the seconds, I just brewed by impulse that was not quite western nor Gong Fu. The third steep was a little over two minutes and the rest were closer to western. I didn’t taste as much coconut as I thought I was going to, but it was there. The tea had a strong floral and fruity smell, and had a light creaminess with a heavy nectar quality. Honey, pineapple, and other tropical fruits were the kinds of things I was tasting with the florals and slight creaminess. This tea reminded me of Hawaii.
I might have to get some of this myself eventually. I may even join their tea club….
It is a beautiful day! Perfect weather, intermittent cloud cover with a pleasant breeze, 75 degrees (the perfect temperature for me) and the hint of possible storms in the future. Of course I am spending the day watching Fighting Games on the West Coast Warzone Stream and have been doing that since yesterday. I am using a break in stream (by break I mean it is a game I don’t care about, sorry Guilty Gear) to blog about some yummy tea.
Today I am looking at one of the teas from Eco-Cha’s most awesome club which I am a member of, I joined at the beginning and paid for the whole year because I know Eco-Cha has good tea, so far I have been very pleased. I plan on writing about all of the teas I have gotten at some point, but this one needed blogging about now because Taiwanese Black Teas are a thing of epic beauty. ShanLinXi Black Tea (the link takes you to their blog post, very informative) comes from, you guessed it, Shan Lin Xi Mountain, one of my favorite mountains in Taiwan to procure tea from. The aroma of these curly leaves knocked me out of my chair from first sniff, seriously, I am so easily floored by red teas, it is a bit embarrassing. There are notes of lychee, mango, papaya, cocoa, cream, and nutty almost coconut water undertones, this tea smells tropical and immensely sweet and rich.
Into my beloved ruyao gaiwan the leaves go, the aroma keeps up the tropical fruit notes with papaya, longan, lychee, mango, and a touch of cherries. There is also an undertone of chocolate and cream, it is so sweet, it is almost cloying but manages to sneak right under the cloying radar and fall happily into richness. Wow, somehow the liquid manages to smell even sweeter, but still manages to not be cloying, probably because it smells like fruit juice rather than candy, with notes of papaya, cherry, and lychees, with a woody and cocoa undertone and a delicate hint of cream.
Wow, just wow, this tea is sooo sweet! It is a bit mind boggling! It is very smooth in the mouth with a tiny bit of bright crispness at the finish that let’s you know there might be some tannins somewhere in this tea, but only a hint. It starts with papaya and lychee, then moves on to woody and creamy with cocoa undertones. The finish is a bit of autumn leaves and mineral. Then the real fun, the aftertaste on this tea goes on forever, super sweet tropical fruit creamy goodness that just does not quit.
Second steep, the aroma keeps up the intense sweetness, but it also has a distant floral note that took me forever to pin down, at first I thought maybe the spring flowers outside my window were playing with my sense of smell so I took the tea elsewhere to sniff where I was able to determine it has a subtle peony and plumeria notes. The taste also has a hint of that floral quality, it is almost ghostly dancing in and out of taste. The fruity and creamy cocoa notes stay strong, and woody notes become a little more pronounced, along with a mineral quality to the finish. The aftertaste is not quite as long lasting as the first steep, but it was still long lasting.
The third steep’s aroma has a stronger floral note, definitely picking up on that peony and plumeria, though it is woodier this steep, the cocoa notes are also more prominent. Wow, the mouthfeel on this steep is super smooth, which goes well with its nectar like sweetness. The tropical fruit notes are not as strong this steep, mostly the lychee note sticks around, it is joined by strong creamy cocoa and coconut water and a woody finish. The aftertaste is still strong but not as strong as previous steeps. And perfect timing, as I wrap this post up Mortal Kombat Top 8 is starting, so I shall take my tea and stare at the stream happily. Happy weekend everyone!
Resbonsibly sourced artisan tea that looks really great. How can you pass that? I recently ordered samples of unroasted green oolongs from Eco-cha. Couple of them were already sold out so I picked best of the rest; Jin Xuan, Tsui Yu and this one, Four Seasons Spring. Today I picked them up from post office and I’m already amazed. They came in vacuum sealed bags (like most oolongs do) and they even had this tiny thing that keeps moisture out. I don’t remember the word. :D
Anyways, Four seasons spring oolong has quite mild aroma, but still fresh and floral. Every nugget seems to have picked with passion. They’re even sized, quite small and look just fabulous. Shiny and glossy.
The brew is delicate, aromatic, floral and crisp with nice fruity finish. Longer brews bring out some spicy notes, especially cinnamon like stated in eco-cha website. Really clean and buttery mouthfeel. The color of it is also very pretty, pale green.
Really, really nice tea. One of the best four seasons I’ve tried.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Floral, Flowers, Fruity
Okay I’m upping the rating on this one after an enjoyable session this afternoon. I steeped it gongfu and then combined the steeps into my travel tumbler. The tea is much improved by compounding the steeps this way. Sweet orchid aroma and flavor and a honeyed orange blossom like aftertaste as it cools.
I still think it’s too expensive for what it is. Glad I got to try it but likely will not revisit it in the future.
Flavors: Floral, Nectar, Orange Blossom, Orchid
This was less impressive than Eco-Cha’s other lower priced offerings. It’s light and buttery with an orchid and steamed vegetables flavor. Nothing mind-blowing or memorable, just a decent jade oolong. I don’t get the hype about Da Yu Ling. This is the second one I’ve tried and both were underwhelming. Maybe it’s the scarcity of the tea, but to me its not worth the price it commands. Fortunately there are far better Taiwanese oolongs out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Flavors: Orchid, Vegetal
I love straight teas that taste flavored. This one smells and tastes very tropical and fruity. The wet leaf has an strong aroma of juicy fruit and honeycomb. The tea starts off with white peach and coconut, gentle florals and a soft body. Steeped further, pineapple and a little creaminess develops. There’s a bit of minerality and a delicious lingering fruitiness. The pina-colada flavors remind me a lot of WP’s Golden Lily. Come to think of it, it has some milky tones too.
Only negatives are some rather large twigs and the flavor runs out pretty quickly. By the 4th steep, most of the flavor had been wringed out. All in all, a very pleasant and satisfying tea!
Flavors: Coconut, Floral, Milk, Peach, Pineapple, Tropical
I was quite happily surprised by the quality and intense flavor of the brew from this lightly oxidized and lightly toasted tea. Very refreshing and yet lush with buttery tones and a natural floral green-ness that is very uplifting and a pleasure to drink. Generally I have not been a fan of most Milk Oolongs, but this one could become quite addictive. And the number of re-steeps from the leaves was phenomenal, making it quite economical as I savored cup after cup.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green
“Light” really describes this one best. It tastes a bit like a light Oriental Beauty. I noticed some strawberry notes and many lemon juice notes. Unfortunately, this didn’t endure very many infusions. Refreshing and nice, but not as Oolong-long-lasting as I expected.
EDIT: A Retry with some more leaves got it fixed up to 7 infusions now.
Read the whole thing on my blog:
Flavors: Baked Bread, Lemon, Strawberry
I honestly felt like this deserved more of a ninety today, but that’s just because of how I brewed it. And how much tea I already had. Yet I noticed something. It has the same weird nutty aftertaste of a greener dong ding. In fact, it reminded me of the same aftertaste I get from the Old Style Dong Ding and Misty Mountain. A smooth, nectary buttered nuttiness. Or it could just be my own oddity. I can say, though, that I did not have either of those teas today at the same time as this one.
Just thought I’d share my oddity with you guys.
Okay, I now REALLY love this tea. And of course, that is due to it being there in a time of need. If you just want to read about the tea, scroll past this next paragraph.
So here’s the story of the morning. I wake up at 6. Get ready for an Anthropology Department Field Trip to the Chicago Field Museum for a new exhibit on Ancient Greece. We are supposed to meet a bus stop far away. I go to my car when it is 31 degrees outside. It’s frozen shut. And. Frozen LOCKED. I call my good friend for an emergency pick up. He cannot pick me up. But. He tells me that the bus is reconvening at the other side of campus. I.E. A 25 minute walk from where I am in 32 degrees. A 10 minute run in 32 degrees with my veins pumping 99 degrees in frustration.
Finally. I get to the hall. And my tea is ready in my lovely sixteen ounce tumbler, white foaming at the top in a deep, amber red color. I take a sip of my incidentally Grandpa Styled oolong, and it tastes just like chestnuts and malted butter. It is sooooo good. I chugged it down.
I really love this tea for its sweetness and thick nuttiness. It is also INCREDIBLY strong and complex. I put approximately a tablespoon, maybe less of the leaves and it makes the most balanced and thick bodied sweet chestnut drink that I’ve ever had.
I highly recommend this tea to try something different and something to have if you are giving up coffee. The roast has a quality like coffee, but it doesn’t quite taste like coffee. It is also REALLY sweet for a straight tea. Like brown sugar sweet. I might even be bad and make a chai out of it…
Back to the tea by itself, it works great Gong Fu, but I personally prefer it Western because soaking it for long periods of time collects all the flavor notes on here and compiles them into one harmonizing brew. The same Grandpa as witnessed here. The Gong Fu actually makes it too strong for me even with smaller leaf amounts.
With all of that said, I think this is more for an experienced drinker or for someone looking for a possible coffee alternative. I would also look at all the notes on here. Each give an accurate description and all of them are slightly different. I personally think that a black tea drinker might like this, but a green tea drinker would love the nutty qualities. An oolong lover more than likely would enjoy this. As for someone trying tea for the first time, he or she might not recognize the taste. Nutty or roasted might come to their mind, but again, the flavor for this tea is complex and fairly unusual for a every day palette (unless you’ve had Rui Gui’s or Dong Dings). You experienced drinkers who know what you are looking for, I recommend this tea. For those of you beginning your addiction, I’d maybe wait on this one and try it later a long your path…unless you’ve liked darker oolongs already.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Butterscotch, Chestnut, Roast nuts, Roasted, Scotch, Sweet
This is incredibly strong even with 3 grams. And it is still sooooooo sweet. I love the warm chestnut and coffee smell dry leaf, but I need to figure out a better way to brew this. I’ll Gong Fu when I use three grams again. Heck, I might use four leaves for one cup because it’s so strong. I actually felt like I was drinking the oil from cashew butter.
I got it today, and I overleafed my cup this morning for Gong Fu. But I have a lot of this tea, so I’m much freer for mistakes. Chesnut, coffee, honey, salt, and dried fruit are what I’m getting. There’s also a weird astringency that is not sitting well on my stomach. I was hoping for something kinda like WP’s Tie Guan Yin Dark Roast, but it’s a lot closer to the Roasted Osmanthus I have from Mountain Tea. I loved that one the first time I tried it, but later, I could barely drink it because of it’s fatty after taste and intense amount of caffeine. It also had an astringency that distinctly reminded me of salt. I’m currently drinking this on an empty stomach. Salty and caffeine= bad idea.
Nuts and roasted nuts is the taste I get throughout, and as it cools down, a very strong vanilla note pops out. This is a HIGHLY complex tea. It is also WAY too strong for me right now. Granted, I wanted fewer leaves anyway. So I’m really lowering the amount of leaves next time Gong Fu, and I also need a very few leaves western or grandpa.
Red Jade is a Taiwanese red tea (black tea) from Sun Moon Lake with nice intact leaves. First try with Oolong-like brewing parameters (much tea, longer initial infusion) in a rather big Zisha pot was giving me a very oily, full-bodied brew with lots of umami and some spiciness. It reminded me of broth, a bit too much of everything.
Retrying it with flash infusions in a small Gaiwan. The heavy savoury notes were lowered to a less oily bread crust aroma. I found some discreet fruitiness, like heated lemon juice and raisins, and an after-mouthfeel typically associated with mint. Still not so much my preferred flavours, although doubtlessly interesting.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Broth, Lemon, Mint, Raisins, Spicy, Umami
Shan Lin Xi high mountain Oolong has light oxidation and roast. It contains of intact bud-and-leaf parts aswell as single intact leaves. The substantial brew starts off fragrant, incredibly sweet and smooth, somehow like apple pie. Later, it adds coconut notes and becomes more refreshing with a hint of basil in the aftertaste.
Flavors: Apple, Cake, Coconut, Herbs, Smooth, Sweet
Dong Ding Oolong from Fenghuang, Nantou is a medium oxidized and heavy roasted tea. Typically for Dong Ding, it is intensely sweet, like syrup, combined with roasted flavours. This one further gives hints of clove and a slight vanilla astringency. On the downside, it felt like not as many infusions were possible as I expected.
Flavors: Clove, Maple Syrup, Roasted, Sweet, Vanilla
Thanks to curlygc for this one! This was my first tea of 2016! It is definitely one of the best oolongs that I have had. It’s florally like a TGY, but without the cacao notes, which is something that I like a lot more about this tea. It is also fruity—pineapple and coconut. 2015 (especially from Black Friday till now) was a year where I acquired lots of tea. I have a long way to go in my knowledge of tea and in developing my taste buds. Here’s to 2016 (raises cup of tea)!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
This is a very old sample, but damn this is good. I went hunting on the web site to see if they had anything similar for this years harvest. I wish I would have tasted this back when it was a bit fresher.
This is creamy and really light for a black tea. This is sweet and, is this really a black tea? Sweet, smooth and creamy. I can’t be sure that this sample hasn’t been infected with something I stored it next to, but what I am currently drinking is good. I will have to keep an eye on echo-cha’s website to see if this one comes around again.
This tea was chosen by Eco-Cha as their premier batch of specialty tea for their tea club members. For their inaugural tea selection, they really knocked it out of the park & have set the bar mighty high for themselves! True to form, this dong ding does everything right! This is a very smooth tea with lingering sweetness. At first, the wet leaves smell like roasted corn with the hint of smoke, but after several more infusions, the leaves smell more like roasted autumn vegetables. The flavors that came through in the initial steeping included dried plum and raisins with a hint of toasted nuts followed by the signature dong ding sweet floral and honey lingering aftertaste. My favorite part about this dong ding is the roasted sugarcane smell and taste. That’s what I’m after when I choose a dong ding. Bravo Eco Cha – if you keep this up, I will be a life time member!
Alas, for it is a day where I cannot really think of anything interesting to start today’s blog off with. Now it is true that I have plenty to talk about (always was accused of loving the sound of my own chatter) but it seems that it is just geared towards tea, so without further ado, let us get to steeping!
Today’s tea is from Eco-Cha, and sadly it is a tea that is quickly vanishing from the tea world. Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong, it is one of my favorite Oolongs, but the area it is being grown in is being taken back by the government to return it to its unique natural state. The naturalist in me approves of the preservation of unique eco-systems, the tea lover in me cries at the loss of one of my favorite Oolongs, where it was expensive beforehand, the remaining tea is now going to cost a fortune. So what makes this tea so special to me, well, let’s start with the aroma of the dry leaves. In a word, delicious! It starts with a distinct yeasty farm bread and butter note, it has a sweetness and lack of grain bread note, if you have ever had that delightful fluffy, white bread that goes perfect with soup and butter, then you know that exact smell. After that there is a gentle spice and sweet Asian pears, it smells vaguely of poached pears rather than fresh ones, and the finish is a gentle blend of chestnuts and honeysuckles, with a delicate touch of wildflowers.
I love how many stems there are in this tea, lots of several leaves balled up into one…well…ball, it is very cool. The aroma of the soggy leaves is intensely buttery, there is a sweetness but it comes from the nectar of honeysuckles and hyacinths. The finish is wonderfully warm baking bread and sweet yeast. The aroma of the liquid is sweet and buttery, like freshly baked bread just slathered in honey butter, and that loaf of bread is sitting next to a blooming hyacinth.
From the first sip I am struck with the intense buttery thick mouthfeel, it is really amazing, I think if this tea had no taste (oh trust me, it does) and was just relying simply on the mouthfeel I would still be in awe. The tasting starts with sweetness of yeasty bread, butter, and honey, which then moves on to intense hyacinth nectar. The finish though, it swtiches pretty intensely to thick buttery greens, very much so like a mix of cooked bok choy and spinach, it manages to be very green and buttery without being overly savory…umami without the slightly meaty aspect that you get from some green teas, if that makes sense.
The aroma of the second steep is buttery sweet yeasty bread and hyacinth blossoms, again it reminds me of eating bread sitting next to a vase of blooming hyacinth, quite lovely. Again with the intensely thick and buttery mouthfeel, it coats the mouth and is oily without being slimy (drinking teas with coconut, now that I call slimy, this is only oily in sensation and not actual oil, an important distinction.) So this steep is intensely green and buttery, strong notes of turnip greens, cooked bok choy and cooked spinach. Usually when I have an oolong with green notes it is the taste of crushed vegetation (like walking through a forest and crushing leaves underfoot, I am tasting that smell) and not vegetal, so this buttery green intensity is immensely pleasant. The finish is juicy sweet hyacinth nectar that lasts for quite some time.
Third steeping! The aroma is a double punch of hyacinths and lilies with yeasty honey smothered buttery bread, it smells so good! One thing I find really fascinating is how sweet the aroma is and how savory green the taste is, me thinks this is why the taste is savory without being meaty. The taste starts out like the last steep, intensely buttery green with turnip greens, cooked bok choy, and cooked spinach. The finish kinda creeps up on me with a distinct blend of pear and apple that lingers well after the sipping is finished. I got as many steeps out of this tea as I could possibly muster, probably drinking it after it was done, but you know, getting more of this tea is going to be a hassle, so I need to make it last! I even ate the leaves when I was done!