Gong Fu Tea ShopEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
I had a little bit of this left, so I decided I wanted to pseudo gong fu this one at my desk. I should just bring my gaiwan into the office. I end up doing more psedu gong fu sessions here than I do actual sessions at home. Well, I could also use that as an excuse to buy a new gaiwan. Anyone have any suggestions of ones they like?
I love how freaking creamy this tea is for the first several infusions. CREAMY! If it weren’t for the fact that it’s clear, I would think that it had whole milk at a minimum, it’s so creamy. Then it gets like buttery popcorn. So yummy! I love this tea.
(I do have some of thePuriTea milk oolong coming in the mail tomorrow. I will definitely compare, since I loved that one the one time I had it.)
And I needed a relaxing, lovely, amazing tea today because I’ve spent my entire day dealing with idiots. IDIOTS! I told you I will fix it, but you have to verify one thing for me before I will make the fix. Don’t ask again and again (literally three times!) without verifying the information for me.
On another note, I’m going out to dinner with a friend from the east coast as she drives through my area on her way elsewhere for the weekend. I’m excited.
I am in love. IN LOVE!!! with this tea.
I did this pseudo gong fu cha again in the 5oz finum glass and I took notes. Notes that are of no use. They just say things like “Wow!” “I can’t believe this tea!” “Incredible” “Dreamy” “I’m in love”
Okay, there are a few other notes along the way that are useful. Creamy, incredibly creamy. Milky and creamy. Amazing mouth feel.
By the end, the aroma was more buttery popcorn, and that was how it tasted, buttery creamy and delicious.
I love this tea.
I want more.
I want more now.
TeaTiff sent enough of this tea that I can do another session. I’m thinking Monday since I won’t have time for the care this tea needs and deserves over the weekend.
This is tied for the highest rating I’ve given a tea. I don’t have the other to compare to this one to decide which I really like better but this tea is amazing.
I am in love. I want this tea (and the other tea with the same rating) in my cupboard all the time.
This was a gorgeous light buttercup color. It smelled wonderful – creamy and mildly vegetal. And it tasted even better. It lived up to all the promises the smell made – buttery, smooth, creamy, lightly vegetal, mildly sweet.
Thanks, TeaTiff for sharing this at the tea this afternoon! It definitely goes on my list to pick up from Gong Fu!
This is a nice green. It is lightly warm and vegetal, with a teensy bit of asparagus and possibly nut, and a faint smoky taste reminiscent of gunpowder green tea, and with a slight smoky sweetness on the finish. The first thing I noticed, though, was the gunpowder taste—nothing strong or bold, but just enough of a presence to bring to mind my old habit of drinking 4 cups of gunpowder green tea before my morning run during marathon training. That sure did get me going!
Anyway, this is a perfect tea to keep me going these days, when I require a different sort of energy…not a bold burst like a cannon, which the gunpowder used to supply, but a more low-key, substantial, and sustainable energy to keep up with my toddler all day! And yet the tea needs to be mellow enough to keep me calm and patient. This fits the bill most afternoons. It’s an enjoyable yet practical green, nothing too fancy or lofty for everyday, yet not hum-drum or boring. It has enough complexity to keep me interested, but nothing I would feel obligated to forgo on the basis of “not having enough time” to appreciate it.
This is another great spring green tea! Deliciously sweet and juicy cherry and sencha combine in an exquisite and vibrant duo. The scent of the dry leaf is incredible: it will make your mouth water the minute you stick your nose in it, and brings to mind super juicy cherry candy like a Starburst or Jolly Rancher. The liquor itself, though, has a more natural cherry flavor which is nicely balanced and doesn’t taste medicinal (I was a little apprehensive it would taste too much like cough syrup). Additionally, this tea has a light, almost faint vanilla wafting in the background. All in all, it’s fresh, fruity, and faintly floral—as if you were sitting among cherry trees in full bloom. Very tasty!
I bought 2oz of this back in December with my last order from Gong Fu. I really liked the milk oolong and wanted to try something similar but different. I have had this a few times and there is something about it that just hits me wrong. I am not sure if I am brewing it incorrectly but I always get a “bitter” flavor. I am not sure if it is actually bitter or just a flavor in the tea that is hitting me wrong. This tea looks like it has won some prizes and although that doesn’t mean anything for my palate, I just wanted to like it.
This smells very floral/vegetal. The first part of the sip is very buttery followed by the flavor that I dislike. I have a few tsp left of this. Maybe I will try lowering the water temp even more?
This is a tasty treat! A delicious sencha base with nice juicy fruit flavor. Strawberry and raspberry provide a light sweetness while the rhubarb contributes a delicate, pleasant tartness on the tongue. I can also taste smooth honey. As is the case with all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had so far, the variety of flavors co-mingling with the tea are very well-balanced and masterfully chosen. This tea really does make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. It’s a great way to celebrate spring, and I’m glad I included it in my spring green collection!
Spring is here, and it is high time for me to focus on fine green teas like this one. Out with the old, in with the new! Although of course I will always need a good black tea throughout the year, now is when my tea tastings will hopefully include more of the flavors of spring, with an emphasis on lovely fruit and floral flavors coming from fine greens, delicate whites, and lighter oolongs.
I thought this Green Snail Spring would be a perfect place to start in expanding my green tea experience. It did not disappoint, and has provided me with a nice tasty cup on the several occasions I have had it (I wanted to hold off on the review until I had tasted it several times, just to get a full appreciation of it, since we all know how the same tea can taste slightly different from day to day.) I just finished my 5th tasting of this so I think it’s safe to venture writing a tea log note.
I followed my usual teapot method, heating water to not quite boiling and then letting it cool to about 175 degrees. I allowed the tea to steep for 4 minutes, but I tasted it earlier at 3 and 3.5 minutes for full effect, because I know greens are typically steeped at that or even shorter periods (I just don’t usually appreciate them that early on…I can’t taste much of anything, so 3 minutes is the earliest I can really enjoy green teas.)
At 3 minutes, the tea tasted simple and pleasant: light, slightly sweet, and that’s about it.
At 4 minutes, it was just right in my opinion. No bitterness, dryness, or astringency. Just a nice, simple, slightly sweet vegetal flavor reminiscent of a spring garden full of fresh sugar snap peas. I also could say it had notes of asparagus as well. Previous tastings had also provided me with a very slight nutty flavor, almost like a whisper of almond and walnut, but not completely—just a faint hint. It seems that sometimes I taste more of the sweet floral (honeysuckle?)/sweet vegetal (snap peas), and other times more of the nut/asparagus.
Either way, it’s a very delicious tea overall: light, delicate, unassuming but quite flavorful, something that you can drink multiple cups of and not feel too much “green-tea” strength in the stomach. Very enjoyable, indeed!
Ooooooh I had the luxury of trying this the other day—what a treat! My mother-in-law (who I finally managed to convert into the tea-lover camp; she used to be a “coffee person”…haha not anymore! ) decided to get a special tea for us to try at Gong Fu and surprised me with this. She said that the tea shop employee had explained that this tea was exceptional and very difficult to obtain. Now, I don’t think I have every detail worked out because I was hearing all this second-hand, but from what I gathered apparently the first harvest goes to the Emperor, and then in the next harvest (of a very limited quantity) is made available to the lucky few tea merchants who can get it. She said that the owners of Gong Fu tea were the only ones in the U.S. who were able to get this tea. There was only like 6 lbs available. Wow! That’s incredible. I don’t know how it all works, how tea shop owners buy their teas and what the process is (particularly for rare teas like this) but it sounds challenging!
Anyway, the taste was phenomenal. Light, mellow, and refreshing, with a clover-like sweetness. The liquor was so pale I was afraid I had understeeped it, but when I tasted it I was relieved that it contained so much more flavor than I had expected just by looking at the brew.
I wish I had more to write about this tea since it is so rare and special—seems like it deserves a whole huge page of detailed review. But as I am relatively new to trying different kinds of authentic green teas, and am still developing a palate to appreciate the subtleties of fine greens, I think a more experienced tea connoisseur would have a lot more to say about it than humble me. I am not worthy of this tea.
Still, it was a very enjoyable experience to indulge in such a lovely tea. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to taste it. And that is the beauty of tea: it shares its flavor freely to all those who come to take a sip. Whether you are a seasoned tea-drinker or someone who is new to its complexities, all can partake in a simple moment of pleasure as they imbibe this special, unique gift of a beverage.
I received a sample of this from Charissa. Thank you for sharing one of your favorites from the winter.
This one I would say is the heaviest of all three of the samples Charissa sent. My first cup of this I used the word “chewy” to describe this tea. and possibly “meaty.” This cup I am getting a roasted, slightly smokey accent to the sweet and dry mouthful. I have enjoyed a few cups of this and it has been a great warming evening tea., despite the caffeine. It hits the spot on this late March snowy evening.
I really enjoy this one, but I am not sure it is one I would repurchase from Gong Fu Tea. I enjoyed the Organic Ceylon and Nilgire a bit more.
I received a sample of this from Charissa! Thank you for sharing with me.
I have had a few cups of this already and every time I am not sure what to write about this tea. It is mellow and smooth. It is a bit dry at the end of the sip. It is a lighter tea, but is not weak. The flavor fills the entire sip. There are no strong flavors that stand out, but it is well rounded. For me this is a standard black tea. (The flavor that I think of when I think black tea). As the description says I think it would be amazing iced. Hot it is amazing as well.
This almond-flavored black tea struck me with love the moment I took my first sip…no, actually it was the moment I took a whiff of the dry leaf, which smells strongly like almond extract (except minus the alcoholy bite)—sooo good! I was immediately drawn to it from that first sniff, which at once reminded me of my wedding cake: almond-flavored and fabulous! When I took a sip of the tea itself, it was almost like having that cake in liquid form. What a wonderful surprise to revisit that special occasion in my life, brought about by a single cup of tea that tastes exquisitely like my almond wedding cake!
I haven’t tried any other almond black teas, so I don’t have much to go by in way of comparison, but that’s fine with me. Until and unless something better comes along (doubtful), I will be happily enjoying this for a long time.
For those who dislike rooibos, this would not be the tea for you. The rooibos is the predominant flavor here, with a burst of tart and tasty cranberry, which I really like. I think it’s quite nice.
I do like rooibos and find it preferable to many herbal/cafffeine-free tisanes. Rooibos has many things going for it, in my opinion. It is rich and somewhat sweet, a little dry and woody too, which is not a bad thing, and I love the deep red color. Furthermore, it goes well with a variety of additional flavorings like fruit or vanilla so it’s a pretty versatile “tea.” I learned to love rooibos when I was pregnant and limiting my caffeine consumption, and now it is my go-to beverage when I have reached my caffeine quota for the day but am still in need of a hot cuppa. Plus it has a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals so it’s another winner health-wise!
This has been on my wish list for a long time. I finally succumbed to the temptation to buy it, and am not disappointed! It is a luxurious tea good for a special morning or as an after-dinner delight to drink with dessert. The honey and vanilla flavors are soft and gentle yet not overpowered by the rich Assam. I love the cream taste—it does indeed taste as if a few small spoonfuls of fresh, silky cream had been swirled around to meld with the tea, just enough for that rich creamy flavor to come through but without diluting the wonderful Assam (like real cream would if it had been added). Thus, this is perfect for people like me who don’t like to add cream or sugar to their tea, but occasionally desire a more rounded out flavor.
Full bodied, rich, and slightly creamy-sweet is how I would sum this up. Very nice!
I had another cup this morning and I could taste the apricot a little bit more. Nice!
Uh oh. squints at the bottom of the bag and sighs. Only one more teaspoon left!! So only one more cup remains to be enjoyed. :-( I considered brewing the last of it today but felt that would be an overindulgence so I will save it for a rainy day.
This Yunnan has been a favorite of mine all winter, although I realized I hadn’t written a review of it yet! Time to get a note done before it’s all gone…which, as I only have a few teaspoonfuls left, is a likely to be soon.
I really like Yunnan black teas—they tend to be so smooth and tasty—and this Emporer’s Gold is a good one. The dry leaf smells sweet and chocolatey. The liquor is a lovely, a rich golden brown, with a fragrance that makes my mouth water before I even take a sip. It has a very nice flavor: smooth, lightly malty (but not a ‘thick’ malt taste) with a few chocolate and caramel notes and also a very slight but pleasant peppery bite. Mmmm!
Having ‘gold’ in the name is highly appropriate, not only because it literally describes some of the leaf color and also the golden brown liquor, but also in a sort of metaphorical sense too: like pure gold, which is bright and beautiful but very malleable, this is a brilliant and malleable black tea; solid but also soft and smooth on the palate. It doesn’t have the super bold strength of an Assam (which could be equated with Iron, to carry the metal analogy further, haha). And, as the description states, just like gold this tea is highly valuable and fit for an emperor! So I feel like royalty (or should I say royalTEA) every time I take a sip. Yum!