Gong Fu Tea Shop
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Recent Tasting Notes
Nicole sent me a sample of this. I do like Milk Oolong, because of the subtle flavor and the floral notes. It’s light like a green tea, but it’s sweeter and doesn’t have an overwhelmingly vegetal flavor. It has a nice buttery taste. It smells a bit like jasmine, and I was able to steep it successfully three times. I’m sure you could steep it more, but I tend to let it sit a while. I enjoyed this.
This tea has been on my wishlist for a while, and I was happily surprised to find it in my stocking for Christmas! It was wonderful. The dry leaves are long and beautiful and have the aroma of soft hay and honey. The taste of the tea is excellent—it’s a nice “lighter” black tea that tastes slightly of plums and honey. (Despite the name, I was surprised by the plum flavor. I just figured it was a cute name they came up with because the tea goes with sweets and is a reddish color. But it really does have a lovely plummy aspect to it!) Yet, it’s not what I would consider a “fruity” tea. It’s a nice solid black tea with just the slightest, pleasantest hint of plum and sweet honey, and it’s perfect. I will definitely purchase this again.
Flavors: Honey, Plums
I was little worried about this one, because the brewing aroma was quite floral. I’m not really a fan of floral type tea’s. Sure, my initial sip was quite floral, but I didn’t give up on it. As the cup cooled I found those creamy buttery notes that I enjoy so much in milk oolongs. The floral notes took a back seat as the cup cooled.
Steep two was even less floral, but the butter notes were still very present. The peach notes came through as well once the cup cooled down.
I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this cup, despite the initial heavy floral aromas. Thanks to Cameron B for the sample!
I received this sample from Charissa. Thank you!
I had know idea what to expect with this tea. I read roasty and toasty, but this surprised me. It was really sweet with the roasty flavor. I am not sure what to think about this one. The roasty on this was almost too much. I think I may trying steeping this a little less next time.
This is another Gong Fu Tea sample from Charissa. Thank you!
This was so lovely. It smelled so wonderful and then it tasted just as nice. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one as the word floral tends to scare me a bit. The black base was smooth and present, but not in your face and it blended well with the floral notes in the background. It had a slight fruitiness to it that I can’t quite explain. I think this is great hot, but would also be amazing iced.
From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB
Tea of the morning. There was one serving of this left in the ttb, and I’m glad I decided to try it because this is some yummy stuff. There’s a good black currant flavor which, while not super strong, is spot on and very fruity. The same is true for the vanilla flavor. No strange artificial flavor. It’s well balanced with the black currant and the base tea. The base tea is medium bodied with just the tiniest bit of dryness at the back of the throat. I may try resteeping this one later today to see if I can coax one more cup out of the leaves.
I’ve had this sample hanging around for a while, I believe it was from TeaTiff originally. I’ve put off trying it because I’ve found in the past that I don’t really enjoy milk oolongs as much as other people seem to. But then again, I don’t seem to enjoy green oolongs in general, so that makes sense. I figured I’d at least give this one the benefit of the doubt and try it before I just automatically put it into the rehoming box. I was too lazy to look up parameters for steeping this, so I just did 190 degrees (the oolong button on my kettle, lol) for 3 minutes.
And honestly, this isn’t bad. The floral is fairly mellow and it’s quite creamy in texture. Something about it reminds me of buttered popcorn, hah. And the aftertaste is lovely peaches which goes amazingly with the cream. However, I find I just don’t love it. The overall flavor is too light for me, and I find myself wishing for more peaches and more cream. Ah well, I gave it a try! I only have one serving left of this, but I’ll still put it into the box since I’m sure someone will love it much more than me.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Peach, Vegetal
HHTTB Round 3
Settled down with a cup of this this morning. It was a nice. Definitely very similar to Harney & Sons Paris, which is ironic considering that was the tea I made for my MOH this morning while I was making this one for me. I was lovely and not too overpoweringly flavored. I think I’d choose Paris over this one if I had to choose, though.
It has been an insane weekend, so it was nice to just sit down with a cup of tea for once. This weekend was my 10 year high school reunion, and we had events all weekend. I had a great time and really enjoyed myself, but this introvert was happy to have her quiet home to come back to and sit on the sofa and sip tea in silence. haha. I still cannot believe I’d been 10 years since I graduated high school. weird.
Mmmm, a bold black tea perfect for busy days! It’s not incredibly complex with lots of different flavors, but it’s a nice solid tea when all you want is a no-nonsense dose of energy. I prefer Gong Fu’s Kenyan Safari a bit more, as it’s more silky-smooth and super rich, but this is definitely robust and good-tasting as well.
From Nicole with love! That girl must have quite the Yunnan collection considering the number she’s sent to me. :P This one is almost all black leaves with just a few scant golden tips. The dry leaf smells rather earthy with some sweetness. I’m thinking this is going to be another “dark” Yunnan, which are not my favorites. Oh well, for science! ;)
The aroma is quite earthy with that smoky edge, but there’s also sweetness and a bit of raisin or dried fruit. Whew, very earthy in taste! It’s times like these that I wish I had real maple syrup so I could try these slightly smoky teas “Terri-style”. I’ll have to pick some up the next time I go to a real grocery store (there’s a small one on the bottom floor of our apartment that we generally use, convenient but they don’t have everything and some of it’s more expensive).
Welp, I don’t really have much else to say about this tea. It’s just not my style! :P
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Raisins, Smoke
This is one of my summer favorites! I’m really enjoying floral & fruity black teas lately, and although this one does not contain any actual fruit, it still has a very nice light berry aroma and flavor—just a hint that goes right along with the light floral aspects of this tea. The black tea base is great too—not too strong, not too weak, but just right. A great way to wake up on these sunny summer mornings!
I received a sample of this from Charissa. Thank you!
The best way to describe this one for me is to say it is a very flavorful darjeeling esc tea. I liked it. It was muscital, fruity, but had a bit more body than I am use to in the darjeelings I have tried. I liked it! This will be an afternoon tea for me while it lasts. Thank you for sharing this one!
This is my second cup of this tea. The sample I have comes from Charissa. Thank you.
I started work EARLY this morning. I work an office job, but when I have a lot of stuff to get done I am one of those weird folks who likes to get up at the crack of dawn, and when I say the crack of dawn I really mean before most normal human beings would even think about waking up. My boss jokes that he didn’t even know that hour existed. I work better int he morning. Always have. So here I sit, tea in hand. Enjoying the last few minutes of piece and quite before the crowds decide to come in for the day.
Over the past few months I have had a few blended or straight teas from Kenya. To be honest I haven’t given these teas a fair chance. This tea is making me rethink my perspective to Kanyan teas. This tea is offing a complexity I didn’t expect. This is a brisk yet smooth cup. There are subtle hints of cream/vanilla in this cup and it also offers some small undertones of fruit. I could easily continue to enjoy this tea as a morning cup. My favorite from Gong Fu Tea shop ran out this weekend so it looks like the next time I am in Des Moines when the store is open or they offer free shipping I will be stocking up again. This may just make it into my cart.
I received a sample of this from Charissa. Thank you for sharing some of your Gong Fu teas with me!
This was a really tasty cup. I had this one in the afternoon yesterday, but noted that this would be better in the morning. It is a bit of a kick in the pants kinda tea. It has hints of muskital/mushroom. It is brisk, but the briskness is a nice flavor adding taste. It is rich and well balanced flavor. I can see why tea from this region is often used in breakfast blends.
From the Here’s Hoping Tea box3!
I am a huge fan of Mandala Tea’s milk oolong and was very curious how this oolong stacks up. Appearance wise, GFTS’ milk oolong is a darker, vibrant green, with smaller more chewed up leaf than Mandala’s milk oolong. I used the same steeping parameters that I use for my Mandala Tea milk oolong.
Taste wise, GFTS’ is more fruity – I was getting coconut and bit of fruityness, with lots of vegetal and buttery creamy. This one is quite good – but I’m still leaning on Mandala Tea’s milk oolong, which is more caramel butter edge to it with nicer leaf quality.
Not sure about this one. I got some while at Gong Fu this past Saturday but I don’t know that I’ll quickly make my way through the 2 ounces. It was okay, somewhat roasty and heavy. But there was an off putting undertone to the cup that I’m not sure I liked. Will try again before rating or trying to rehome. :)
I had this at the shop today, iced. I was trying to decide if I needed to buy some of it to take home. I ended up deciding not to. It was good, but I wasn’t sure if I loved it 2 ounces and $20 worth.
It was more fermented tasting than most teas I’ve had. Not malty so much as fermented. It wasn’t a bad thing by far. It gave the tea a sweetness and mellowed it out. I didn’t pick up any smoke, which was good. :) It was rich and thick feeling, even iced. If it had been available in 1 ounce or less expensive, I might well have come home with some.
After reading TeaTiff’s review of this one not too long ago, I thought “hmm that sounds good!” and added that at the last-minute to my summer tea order at Gong Fu. What a great unexpected addition it turned out to be! It totally hit the spot! Full-bodied, fruity, vanilla: NAILED IT! This tea is just so satisfactory. It’s elegant, lovely, quite dashing with that nice fruity current taste (and smell! Oh the scent that this tea exudes! I seriously spent pretty much the whole five-minutes while it steeped with my nose practically plastered to the bag, inhaling the delicious aroma).
If this tea were a person, it would be that “tall, dark, and handsome”, smooth, clean-cut dashing gentleman in a spiffy black suit at a party . He’d be French, of course. And if you stand close to him under a starry sky in Paris, you are totally drawn in by the fantastic fragrance of his cologne. Ah, Paris. Ah, strong sweet fruity black tea. I am in love. (If I knew French, this is where I would insert the perfect French phrase). Okay, I know, this all is sounding pretty cliche, but this tea is not cliche. It’s just….wonderful.
The only thing wrong about it is it’s name, in my opinion. I would definitely pick something more romantic than Le Tour de France. Not that Tour de France is not a good association—it’s just that it doesn’t represent the elegance and smoothness and finery that is this tea. I would call it something along the lines of “Moonlight in Paris.” Ooh la la!
I tried this tea again when I was in Chicago, and it tasted a lot better than the other times I had it, so I’m bumping up the rating. Not sure what made the difference, the fact that I was using unfiltered Chicago city water, or that I used a little more leaf. Anyway, it was more robust and had a deep, distinct, earthy flavor.
It still isn’t my favorite black tea, but at least it had a richer flavor this time, and was good enough that I could finish drinking it, and even enjoy it to a point!
Hmm I didn’t care for this tea. It just tasted really bland to me, lacking the complexity and depth of flavor I like—and come to expect—in really good black teas. There is just not much to say about it. I even tried steeping it for a shorter period of time (3 minutes instead of the typical 5) because the description said it was good for gong fu style drinking, but that didn’t change anything taste-wise. As a last resort, I finally tried cold-steeping it, and that also did not bring out anything new in terms of flavor. Oh well, I’m glad I gave it a try, though.
Thanks to TeaTiff for this sample!
Wow, this tea is pretty complex. I used about 3.5 teaspoons to 2.5 cups and steeped it for about 3 minutes. It doesn’t have a strong smell dry, but when brewed it almost reminds me of a lapsang. The smell is mildly earthy and smoked. The sip starts of strong with the taste of the forest floor in autumn and finished with a drying astringency (probably due to me steeping it at 212 instead of 208). Since it is highly oxidized, it drinks like a black tea instead of an oolong. I like my oolongs a little less oxidized.
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Cacao, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Dirt, Mineral, Smoke, Tobacco
I mostly drink scented/flavored teas at work. They are easy and I don’t feel guilty about getting the steep time and water temperature all wrong. When I put in an order for more of my beloved Milk Oolong I also added 2 flavored blacks, this one and Garden Grove. I enjoyed this one the other day, and so far it is hitting me as a tea that is very similar to Paris from Harney and Sons. I will have to drink a cup side by side to be sure. I really enjoyed the base in this one and without tasting them side by side I would say that this one wins, but we shall see. This was a very enjoyable flavored tea for work!