Living Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


Thanks to Lion for this sample! What an interesting tea this is. Looks like an oolong but apparently is a red tea.

Did a flash steep in 190 F. First infusion of about 15 seconds in the gaiwan. Liquor color is a pale blonde… much like a lightly oxidized oolong. A delicious light sweetness fills the cup. It coats the tongue and throat.

Second steep, 20 sec. Honestly, the wet leaves smell so much like an oolong. Are we SURE this is a red tea? Haha. The sweetness stays here. The scent has an almost hay like quality to it so when I’m drinking this steep there is a play of sweet hay balance going on here. I really am enjoying this.

Third steep, 25 sec. On the third steep, you can see the leaves unfurl and actually start to look like a red (black) tea. The liquor has darkened up slightly to a honey gold color. The sweetness is still there. I got a very small note of tang/sour on the front end but I might have missed it if I weren’t paying attention enough to write this review. The coating sweetness still is the prominent feature here.

This tea petered out after about 4 steeps. I’m sure I could get some more steeps but I might be sacrificing quality at that point. Overall, I am really happy I was able to try this tea. It has a very natural sweet quality to it that I enjoy.

Flavors: Hay, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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I’m alive! I promise! It has been a crazy and tea-deprived month for me, aside from a huge tea evaluation project I did for a company recently, sampling a bunch of teas of one specific type and getting really burnt out on that type.

This is my first tea to try from Living Tea. It is also the first red tea I’ve ever bought that is shaped like rolled oolong. It is also bug-bitten, so this should be an interesting experience!

I put the leaves into a hot gaiwan and it has a really nice, warm malty scent with generous notes of chocolate and a lot of the wild prairie grass aroma that I associate with Fujian white teas, particularly white peony. Sniffing the wet leaves after the first infusion, I’m getting really heady plum and honey notes.

Either this tea is very light in color for a red tea, or I didn’t use enough while brewing it, but because of its shape being similar to rolled oolong, I’ve only covered the bottom of the gaiwan, as I’m anticipating it will open up a lot in later infusions. Despite the light color, the flavor is rich, really sweet and very smooth. It’s got tangy notes of plum and fig and a long lingering sweetness accompanied by a cooling sensation in the mouth. It is very clean tasting.

These leaves sure can take a pounding without opening up. The second infusion is also a golden color rather than red, and the leaves have begun to open up somewhat, though not a lot. If the leaves weren’t so dark brown with bright red tips I would think this is actually a more oxidized oolong, not a red tea. Now the flavor is even more rich, really sweet, honestly bordering on one of the sweetest teas I’ve ever drank, and has a good helping of the honeyed fruit flavors, maybe even a bit of floral this time. Man the sweetness really lingers. I could compare the blend of flavors in it to sweetened oatmeal with fruit. There’s a bit of dryness on the tongue and mouth after drinking, but it seemed to only show its head once all the lingering flavor had faded away.

Third infusion, the leaves have opened quite a bit, not fully yet, and not filling my gaiwan to the lid yet. I may have used a little less than I should’ve. It looks like it may not fill up the space after it opens. The flavor this time is similar to the second infusion. The mouthfeel is actually not so much drying… not sucking the moisture out of me, but it makes the surfaces of your mouth feel friction when rubbing them together, so in that regard, the texture isn’t as clean as when I started. I am really into this flavor though and think I’ll enjoy quite a few infusions out of this!

On the fourth infusion with the leaves fully opened, almost filling my gaiwan, I let it steep a bit longer. Same flavors, much more rich and sweet, almost cloyingly so! Still golden infusion. Such a rich and sweet tea this is.

Flavors: Fig, Floral, Honey, Malt, Oats, Plum

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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