Eco-Cha Artisan TeasEdit Company
Popular Teas from Eco-Cha Artisan TeasSee All 23 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
“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
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!
Thanks so much for the samples, Eco-Cha! I really wanted to try some of the unroasted oolongs, and the three I have tried have been of superior deliciousness. This one is another tighter bundled than usual and darker green than usual. I think a teaspoon and a half worked perfectly with this oolong, but of course I will be trying it with different parameters. This flavor is another one tough to describe the elements. It’s smooth and sweet and whatever the flavor or the steep, it’s always tasty. Sometimes it’s a little savory, butter, hints of coconut, sometimes hints of one of the grass-like green tea flavors. This one is constantly shifting and tough to pin down. To be honest, I do like it better when I can distinguish elements (like the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong’s lovely consistent unique coconut) but I guess this one just tastes like OOLONG. I’m sorry I can’t expand on this one… the leaves certainly deserve it. I’m very impressed with all of Eco-Cha’s teas that I have tried!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // 5 min after boiling // 2 minute steep
Additional notes: I wanted to try this one again with 1 1/2 teaspoons rather than with two teaspoons that I had a few days ago. The two teaspoons definitely were not too many leaves, but I like experimenting with tea! These three steeps had a slightly tamer flavor than last time, but I almost liked it better with the last steep session and stronger flavor. Maybe 1 3/4 teaspoons would work best? This is still completely coconut yet again for me, so I’m glad I noticed the coconut with both steep sessions. It’s so unique!
Another lovely oolong from Eco-Cha! Thank you! These jade green bundles are larger than the milk oolong from the other day, so I went with two teaspoons for a mug. I think they brewed up wonderfully. This a unique oolong as I could swear it tastes like…. COCONUT. Buttery, creamy, coconut. The flavor is almost like the milk oolong, but that extra coconut element really stands out in all three steeps. At times, there are also hints of flowers (my favorite type of oolong flavor). As it cools, the third steep becomes very fruity, possibly like pineapple. Pineapple and coconut? Sounds like pina colada to me. All of the flavor notes here result in an amazingly tasty cup. The three steeps were very close in flavor. Again, it’s odd to me that an oolong doesn’t change more than it does here. With some oolongs, the third steep promises that the leaves could be steeped to result in many more delicious full mugs, and I don’t think this oolong was done at three steeps! I think I was close to being perfect with the steep parameters, but I like trying the same tea with different parameters, so we’ll see how 1 1/2 teaspoons works next time. But this was an extremely enjoyable oolong the way this was brewed! A lot of character and a little bit magic. Eco-cha.com has been impressing me!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 7 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Pineapple
I tried this again with one teaspoon rather than two teaspoons that became a little too much since the leaves are the most tightly bundled oolong leaves I have ever seen. This time was much better, though I did love the luxuriousness thickness and texture of the last steep sessions first cup. I think that steep was perfect but the leaves became too many leaves for the second and third steeps. If I could figure out the best way to steep two teaspoons, I’m sure those steeps would be perfect too. It’s always a science with tea! This time around, all of the steeps were somehow very similar which is kind of surprising for an oolong. A lovely milky creamy flavor, just not as nicely textured as the first steep of the last session. But I did enjoy that there wasn’t a bitter overdone flavor… not at all the fault of the tea. And with one teaspoon of leaves, my infuser basket was STILL full of leaves! Next time, I shall try 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Steep #1 // one teaspoon for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 1 minute steep
Thank you so much for the samples, Eco-Cha! Eco-cha.com is another shop specializing in Taiwanese teas – mostly oolong. To be honest, I wasn’t quite ready to write a tasting note for this one, as the parameters need to be perfected (I don’t suggest following mine). The first steep was delicious, but the following two steeps were a bit overdone. These leaves are so tightly rolled (so tiny the bundles are!) that two teaspoons is actually a LOT of leaves — a fill-up the infuser basket leaf explosion. It seems impossible, really. How they rolled so tiny?! So I will be steeping this one differently soon and will just be commenting on the first steep for now. The texture of this tea is syrupy smooth (even when the other two steeps were overdone — it still remained silky smooth in texture.) The flavor is definite milk oolong (not flavored of course — all natural) but no matter how many natural milk oolongs I try, I will always be impressed with the flavor. This one is especially tasty – nothing but sweet creamy milk flavor. The remaining steeps are buttery and more savory but I will be trying this one again with less leaves. You really don’t need to use two teaspoons — the leaves were trying to escape my infuser. A great oolong is always invigorating, even just the impressiveness of the leaves themselves. According to the description, this oolong won an oolong contest with 2,400 entries!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 1 minute steep
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Milk
Accuweather just crushed my hopes and dreams…again. Every year I wish for a blizzard on my birthday, growing up in the South it was pretty much impossible, living in Pennsylvania I got some lovely snow squalls, but never a full on blizzard. In the Midwest, well, the weather here is just weird and I never know what is going to happen, sometimes we get storms in the middle of November, other times it is sleeting. Well, the monthly forecast just said we will have record warmth, boo, like up in the 70s, but then it is supposed to be down again, but not in the snow temperatures. Maybe next year I will get my blizzard.
Today is another tea from Eco-Cha, their Light Roasted Organic Oolong Tea, handpicked in April of 2015. Remember the Indiegogo campaign last year, all about Organic Oolong? I blogged about the campaign and Mr. Lin’s inaugural harvest, and well, this is the Spring harvest, harvested from young plants, some of which are just being harvested for the first time. And more excitingly, this is a newly registered hybrid, mixing a Qingxin and an earlier cultivar, designed to be, among other things, resistant to root rot (that most smelly of molds) the bane of many gardeners. The aroma of the curled leaves is toasty, roasty, goodness! Notes cooked acorn squash, chestnut, toasted sesame, peanut butter, and freshly toasted bread after out of the leaves as I sniff them, and sniff them I did…a lot. I love roasted oolong notes, and that surprise peanut butter note amused my nose immensely.
Gaiwan time, and the aroma of the soggy leaves is so toasted, like freshly toasted bread, specifically a sweet honey-heavy bread rather than a strong grain bread. There are also notes of acorn squash, sesame seeds, and again with the peanut butter. The liquid is oh so sweet, notes of honey and toasted sesame seeds, baking sweet bread, gently toasted oats, and a hint of lingering nuttiness.
First steeping time, and it starts with a delightfully creamy mouthfeel, creamy without being very thick, so it maintains its lightness about it. The taste starts sweet, middles sweet, and finishes sweet, though the kinds of sweetness vary. At the beginning it was honey sweet, then it moves to acorn squash and sesame seeds, and the finish gentle toasted oats and peanuts.
Onward to the second steep, ah, truly, nothing like a roasted Oolong on an autumn day, it really does blend perfectly. The aroma is sweet and nutty, blending toast and squash with a hint of sesame and peanuts, with a thick honey sweetness that runs through the entire sniffing experience. The taste is nice and sweet, notes of honey and toasted sesame, acorn squash, peanuts, and a nice rich toasted bread note that really pops in the middle. At the finish there is a gentle spice and rolled oat note that gives the tea a nice harvest quality.
Third steeping, and the aroma of this one is still going strong with toasted notes of sesame, acorn squash, honey, and a gentle spice reminiscent of nutmeg. The taste is mellow, toasted, and sweet. This is not the kind of roasted Oolong that will kick you with charcoal, it is sweet like freshly baked bread and honey, with a harvest note of rolled oats and squash. I am content with my cup of roasted Oolong, enjoying many more steeps.
This is a sample Liquid Proust sent me. Thank you!
So, I don’t tend to be a huge fan of light oolongs, but this might be an exception. I really like the smooth, floral flavor of this one. I’ve been curious about floral oolongs for a while now since I tend to really like floral teas, and this makes me think it’s definitely a category I want to explore more.
In other news, I’ve been dealing with nasty migraines lately. In the past I’ve gotten them on very rare occasions, but something about this pregnancy is triggering them more often. Not fun.
Flavors: Floral, Green
I am so in love with my new fishtank! When I was at the store picking it up I also collected a few more shrimp (I have six now!) and I impulse bought a Kuhli Loach. Usually I try very hard to not impulse buy fish, but there was only the one and it was lonely. Loaches are quite communal little (long) fish, so I hope to get him a companion at some point, I love Loaches, they are such fun to watch. Of course mine is missing, because they are also notorious hiders, so who knows what rock it has stuffed itself under.
Today, continuing with my themed Oolong week, is Eco-Cha’s Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong, specifically the Fall 2015 harvest, so nice and fresh! I really enjoy Shan Lin Xi, it is an Oolong that I just find to taste so clean, like mountain air during the winter, so I am excited to see how this harvest compares to others I have had. If you have not, I highly recommend checking out the website for this tea, it is a wealth of information about the grower and this batch’s harvest. The leaves are quite pretty, tightly balled and vibrant green, and the aroma is both intense and gentle…it makes sense, I promise. It starts out with a gentle chestnut note, then moves to creamy sweetness, then on to clean alpine air (it is a bit pine-y, just a touch) with a finish of lily of the valley, sugarcane, and a delicate note of oatmeal.
The first steep unfurls quite beautifully, showing off the richly green leaves. The aroma has left the realm of gentle and just moved straight to intense, I first notice the alpine fresh air with gentle green notes and just cleanliness, it smells refreshing. This moves on to honey, rolled oats, and a touch of gentle flowers. The liquid is quite sweet, notes of oatmeal and lily blossoms, sugarcane, honey, and that fresh mountain air. At the tail end of the sniffing is a note of snap peas adding a bit of green.
Now it is time for sipping the pale golden liquid. The texture is smooth, not quite buttery, but certainly no dryness at all. The tasting starts out sweet, a gentle sugarcane sweetness, this moves pretty immediately to snap peas and alpine air, honeysuckles, lilies, and a touch of butteriness. The finish is a nice lingering honey and smoothness.
Time for the second steep, the leaves are more unfurled and the liquid a little darker, the aroma is sweet and sugary, with notes of snap peas and oats. The texture of the mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, I would go all out and say it is buttery this steep. The taste is a perfect balance between sweet and green, notes of sugar cane and lilies, alpine air and snap peas, and a finish of oats. The aftertaste kinda sneaks up on you with a gentle floral sweet burst, just like nectar.
Moving right along to the third steep, the leaves are so fluffy I can barely close my gaiwan! The aroma is sweet again, the oat and sugarcane notes are stronger, the snap peas and alpine notes are more laid back, and it has a buttery undertone which is quite rich. The taste is sweet, creamy and sweet with a lean more towards flowers and green notes. Growing things, alpine air, snap peas, and a touch of crushed vegetation, the green then moves on to honeysuckle, lilies, and a touch of lilacs. The finish of flowers give the tea a nectar sweetness that lingers for a while. I went on for quite a few more steeps, these leaves just give and give, one of the reasons I love Eco-Cha’s Oolongs so much, staying power!
After drinking this between three different days I have decided that it will be one out of three that will compete to be my work stash. I had thought about putting a kilogram of oolong in a tin at work since it’s my favorite tea, but I wasn’t sure which one to use. After having all the thoughts I realized that I wanted something consistent and enjoyable inside, outside, cold, and hot. The bonus to this one meeting those conditions was the price. I’ve never bought from Eco Cha so I didn’t know what I would be looking at… dang, they are cheap.
The contest will happen soon and I am excited :)
This is a nice, lightly floral green oolong with a balanced mix of sweet and vegetal. I was surprised at how dramatically different this tea tastes when alternating between western and gongfu style brewing. Steeped western style, I get a lot more vegetal notes and a slight bitterness. The florals are mostly muted and the overall flavor is more like green tea.
But this tea’s true colors really shine when steeped gong fu style. It’s flavor changes to sweet and floral, slightly fruity with a soft vegetal finish and almost thick mouthfeel. Gongfu brewing is definitely the way to go with this tea.
Overall, a very pleasant jade oolong with a nice, balanced flavor profile. Eco-Cha’s price ($7 for 75 grams) is an excellent value for such an impressive tea.
Thank you to curlygc for the sample.
Flavors: Flowers, Vegetal
This is the last tea of the night for me… I have had over 60 steeps in total today which was quite enjoyable to catch up on my tastings :)
This is what I have to say: This is by far the best mixture of wood and floral I have ever came across in a tea to date. The dryness is actually enjoyable as part of the mouth feel as it fits the taste profile. I wasn’t expecting this taste from the aroma of the dry leaf, but that changes dramatically after you steep it. Overall, this is a beautiful oolong and I’m actually surprised that I ended up with a woodsy one for the last of the night as it seems fitting with its warmth that it provides.
Thank you Liquid Proust for this sample!
Tasting #1 – Steep Time 2 Minutes
No distinguishable aroma with a very light color. No flavor can be detected at this time.
Tasting #2 – Steep Time 4 Minutes
Very light roasted aroma, slightly darker in color but no difference in flavor.
Tasting #3 – Steep Time 6 Minutes
There is a hint of saltiness to this now that makes the roasted flavor a bit more robust. I opened the teapot to smell the leaves and they smell exactly like seaweed, but the salty flavor isn’t overwhelming to my tongue. More like a finishing salt, helping to complete a meal.
But it isn’t enough to make me love this tea. I want more from my tea, but this one doesn’t even meet my bare necessities.
Flavors: Roasted, Salt, Seaweed