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Recent Tasting Notes
I don’t like this tea so much. Because this is my first gyokuro, I’ll try not to be too judgmental. To start off positively: this tea yields a refreshing, clean and very green-tasting cup. Flavors present are mostly sweet and vegetal, like cooked spinach. I can imagine someone being very happy with this tea when it is the first ‘serious’ green tea they have tried. But then. I find nothing special to this tea. It isn’t complex, nor is it very aromatic. There is a very slight hint of nice umami present in the leaves after the first steeping, leaving you disappointed to notice hardly any in the tea itself. I have tasted senchas that were a lot better and more spectacular, at similar prices. What also annoys me a little is that there are many tiny leaf particles, making the tea a little hard to brew.
After all, this tea itself isn’t particularly bad. Still it it doesn’t feel all that ‘superior’ at all to me. It leaves me with an unpleasant feeling of being sold something that somehow can’t be the ‘real deal’, for a pretty real price though.
In summary: if this is really a superior gyokuro, I’ll stick with sencha in the future!
Flavors: Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
The dry leaves of this tea are long and black, with a reddish shine over them. They remind me of one Taiwanese black tea I bought in Taipei. I am almost certain that this Taiwanese black was a Hong Yue (‘red jade’) tea.
According to the vendor’s website, this Jin Xuan was produced in China by a Taiwanese company. So in that way, I can understand the similarities with that Hong Yue tea from Taiwan.
Upon infusing, I notice more similarity between the Taiwanese Hong Yue and this Jin Xuan. The wet leaves have that same remarkable aroma of cinnamon. There is also a dry flowery note, like lavender or maybe roses. A very nice smell for a black tea.
The reddish hue of the leaves is also visible in the tea liquor. The body is nicely full and malty. There is bit of thickness in the mouthfeel. The spicy and flowery notes from the wet leaves however, are only very subtly present in the liquor. That unless you make this tea strong, using relatively much leaves. No problem to do so, since this tea won’t quickly become astringent or bitter.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Flowers, Malt
Very soft and creamy tea. The dry leaves have little smell. From the wet leaves the first I notice is a sweet, red-fruity smell, almost like smelling a cup of lemonade. Then more savory notes follow; beany, roasted smells. In the mouth there is a very sweet vegetal aspect and a creamy, soft feel. With a somewhat stronger cup, upon swallowing there is a soft astringency. Not biting but more like a pleasant stroke on the tongue. The sweetness lingers nicely in the nose.
Flavors: Creamy, Green Beans, Roast nuts, Vegetal
First time I had a Oriental Beauty-kind of oolong, so I cannot really compare. But I love this tea. Most Oriental Beauty is produced in Taiwan, but this one is made in China apparently following the same style. This tea invokes so many comparisons to different kinds of other teas I know. When I smell it at first there is some of the sweet floweriness that makes me think of Chinese tieguanyin. Then after sipping there comes a spicyness in the nose that lingers long after the swallow, giving the association to a Darjeeling. I think you can call it muscatel-like. The mouthfeel is lush and velvety. There is an astringency that I personally like, every sip leaving a pleasant little ‘bite’ on the tongue. The body is malty and pretty bready. I taste some honey as well. A lot going on, still very balanced. Beautiful tea.
I steeped this one gongfu-style in my Yixing pot, but I bet it will do well western-style, because it feels more like a black tea than like a classical Chinese oolong.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Creamy, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Sweet
Not so great in my opinion. I have drank far better shu pu-erh for a similar price. This one is strongly earthy with some sweetness. However for my taste it is too dry, too earthy and not sweet and soft/thick enough. The strong earthiness quite quickly becomes unpleasant when overbrewn, because the flavor profile offers too little softness and sweetness to balance it. For my taste at least.
But maybe this one just hasn’t aged enough, yet? I am considering to store it away, curious to see how it will be a couple of years from now.
Flavors: Astringent, Earth, Sweet
Arya Diamond Limited Edition Darjeeling tea.
Rare topgrade tea from controlled organic cultivation, from India. It is harvested only in very limited quantity.
A Limited Edition Second Flush Darjeeling organic tea from the renowned Arya Tea Estate.
The Arya Tea Estate was founded by Buddhist monks when he settled in Darjeeling, mid eighteenth century. They cultivated a variant of the Chinese tea plant as well as other seeds and plants necessary for practicing Ayurvedic medicine. The Arya Estate is located in the heart of Darjeeling spread over 300 acres. Located at an altitude of up to 1820m and 1500m on average, with slopes of up to 60 degrees, it is one of the highest and steepest tea gardens in Darjeeling.
The Arya Estate preserves the legacy of the monks with respect for the environment and commitment to sustainability. They have their own hydro -power system and are certified Organic by IMO Switzerland. Above Arya produces beautiful artisan tea.
Brewing guide: 2g per cup and 10 g per pot (about 1 liter ), 90 degrees water , steep 3 to 5 minutes .
A real gem this is. I am biased, since I love love darjeeling, but this is simply the best you can get. A treat, a rare, and wonderful tea. (and you don’t have to be a darjeeling lover to love this tea. !)
A perfect balance: not too sweet, nor too fruity, or an too overpowering taste of muscatel. Magnificent.
One of my favourite teas, ever. A gem !
Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Muscatel, Nutty
Easy shu pu ehr with thick sweet taste.
No complexity , and was a tad disappointed at how quick I had to brew longer to get a good cup. Got 5 steeps out of 1 tuo, had participated more…
yum! received this generous sample from Hotsoup.
I normally love/drink green/light& medium roasted oolongs, and have not tried a coal -fired oolong before. This one is from 2001 and has been fried each year over and over again…
Initially, it smells like b-b-q. deep smoke with hints of wet woodland and mushrooms. Deep black, roasted nuggests.
liqour: black, almost like a black coffee.
Teapot: my Kamjove teapot, 200ml. 1 min. steeping time
Notes: very thick mouthfeel, cherries, plumps, chocolate, raisins…… it is SWEET. Huhh, that comes as a surprise….
No hints of smoke whatever…. just pure sweetness….
WOW this is complex …. I love it.
Absolutely great. Can be steeped 20 times plus at least.
Will def. look for more examples of aged/deep roasted oolongs!
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Brown Sugar, Honey, Plums, Raisins, Smoke
this is my first try at pu ehr, and I am pleasantly surprised….
it smells like a barnyard, which I try to ignore…
1 tbl spoon, my kamjove 200ml. steeping time 1 min.
red coloured tea, very smooth & warming.
Hints of cacoa. sweet. woodsy…
since this is my first try at pu ehr ripe , I will keep this short, and add more later after
I love this tea, it’s like the comfort food of teas. A little goes a long way and can be used multiple times. However, it should not be steeped too long or it becomes bitter. In my opinion it is best when you can just pick up a hint of flavour.
Flavors: Cream, Rice Pudding
Thank you Rogier for the sample!!
I love this tea. It was just what I needed this morning. Very comforting and mellow with the perfect amount of maltiness. Overall though, I find it is on the mild side.
I love love loooove malty Assams, especially with milk and a touch of sugar. It is my tea weakness and what I fall back on as my standby.
There are times when I enjoy a cuppa without any additives, but made ala milk n sugar, that is my ritual treat. Sadly though, the last few years I’ve had bad luck finding an Assam which hit the bullseye. Sure I found teas I greatly enjoyed, but they always hit a spot just slightly out of my swoon zone… and then my luck changed! In the last month I found two of them! (this being one)
I need to put in an order, and SOON!!
What a lovely oolong!
Light and fragrant with a smooth floral honey note throughout and a mild grassy/hay background. Now, I don’t mean hay like you might find in a Yunnan or Puerh tea. This is more like… fresh hay that still has some grassy moisture in it. Quite enjoyable.
I wonder what the second infusion will bring.
Thank you so much for the sample Roger!
steep time ca. 2 min.
1.5 gr per cup, 8 gr. for pot
The tea has a very, almost woody, and strong smell.
small black curly tea with golden tips.
1. steep : odd taste, like porridge. Not at all what I expected. Not sure if i am going to like this. Malty taste lingers for minutes. mmm, odd….
2. steep: malty taste still there, but not as strong as in 1st steep, replaced by nutty, sweet taste. plums, raisins and honey.
3. steep: still going strong, mellow taste stays, woody and chocolate more prominent.
I could easily get more steeps, but decided not to. Still amazed by the complexity of the tea.
extraordinary black tea with a malty, nutty and mellow taste.