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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s time to start drinking some of the teas I received in trades last month, right?
This one came from Stephanie.
I haven’t been a huge fan or Ruby Blacks, & realized recently that although I enjoy Taiwanese blacks in general, & definitely like them better than ceylon & darjeeling teas, I don’t really love them, at least not as much as I love a good Assam or pretty tea from Yunnan or Fujian.
My first cup of this was tart & tangy plums, kind of sour & fruity. If I were to pick a musical instrument, it would be a bright silver flute, & a brass section. There’s also some wood in there somewhere, but not a mellow woodwind section, more like an edgy upright bass player.
And toothpaste…yes…an underlying taste of toothpaste.
I made a 2nd cup, using a lower temp, & for me, it was pretty much the same.
I don’t hate it, and as the cup cools the tartness mellows a bit & I like it better,
except for the toothpaste.
Time to whip up a quick breakfast, I have a rehearsal in half an hour!
This was another from my swap with Stephanie. :)
This is just the type of black tea I love. It’s deep, rich, bright, and delicious. Lots of adjectives apply to this tea. I’m realizing more and more that some of my favourite teas are from Taiwan.
What a great introduction to Mantra Tea.
I decided to sample this tea on my lunch break at home so I could brew it up at proper temperature for a tasting note. I brewed 1 tablespoon of tea at 195 degrees F for a couple of minutes. This is an extremely smooth, honey-sweet black tea. Bright and bold and clean, the only thing I can think to compare it to in my tea palette is a crisp Ceylon. There is a very faint floral note resembling a green oolong. There are no dark nutty or malty notes present. Very interesting and tasty tea! I’m glad I have a large sample so I can try it a few more times :)
Thanks Mantra Tea!
I received a free sample of this tea after my last tasting note, though I was and am still certain that the problem is me and not the tea. There have been a few teas I loved at first and then the second time around, not so much. Maybe the flavor of this one was affected by something I ate the first time I had it or maybe I brewed it ‘just right.’
There are at least three black teas I can think of that I liked originally, but then all of a sudden I noticed a woody flavor that my palate was previously oblivious to. I recognize this as a flavor profile that many people enjoy, so it’s certainly not a bad quality for the tea.
To be certain and fair I brewed a cup of the new sample. I can say that this tea is definitely affected by time and water temperature. I find it the least woody with a 2 min steep (at 195F), but if you like the stronger woodiness or a bolder flavor in general, 3+ minutes is best.
Mantra Tea offered me a free monthly sample of the Ruby Black because in my last tasting note, I said that I didn’t like it as much as the first time and they thought it might have been that particular batch. Anyway, I also ordered more of this Ti Kuan Yin. If a package was going to be shipped overseas, I’d feel bad if it was only a free sample.
I like this tea. It’s not one I’ll buy often because it is slightly over my budget, but I am happy to have it on hand once in a while.
I received my shipment from Mantra today and I brewed this one a little different than the last time I logged it. I steeped it for 2min30sec rather than 3 minutes, used slightly less leaf and steeped it in a tea pocket, hoping to reduce the strength of the liquor. It made a difference. The flavor is a lot better this time. Maybe not quite a fancy as I wrote it up to be the first time, but still enjoyable. yay :)
Alright then, whats the big idea here?! Stephanie sent me an extra sample of this tea in a recent swap and I was so excited to have more of this tea on hand. It doesn’t taste at all like I remember and I didn’t do anything different.
This time around it tastes almost identical to Kenilworth Ceylon from Harney and Sons, which is another tea that I liked a first, but not anymore. The different there, though, is that the flavor never changed on me, I just changed my mind about liking it.
I bought two more sample packs of this from Mantra, before I got this one in a swap. Im glad that I didn’t go all out for a full bag, not that I could have afforded it anyway :) I’m going to really hope (and cross my fingers) that this time was just a fluke or maybe stephanie was sneaky and snuck in the wrong tea. . lol j/k.
Anyway, even if this tea really does taste different than I remember, I mean no offense to the tea. It is a flavor profile that doesn’t particularly suit me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t right for someone else! After all, it won a competition :)
I’ve had a single serving of this tea lying around since I first tried it and I only brewed it just now because I figured I might as well used it up, but not because I was particularly craving it.
This time I let it steep 3.5 min. Last time I did a 1min15sec steep so that I could try to get a good second steep. It is becoming clear to me that shorter multiple steeps are rarely my thing (I mentioned this too in another tasting note recently).
I hardly recognized it as the same oolong this time around. Still not as heavy as some of my other charcoal roasted oolongs, but it has definitely lost much of the oriental beauty similarities that I got from it before. It’s now much like a super tamed aged oolong. It has the same sweet and nutty character that I get from the few aged oolongs I have tried, but in a very delicate way.
While I definitely enjoyed it much more this time around, there are so many other oolongs that I prefer, so this one is not going on my reorder list.
My Mantra Tea order came with two samples of bagged tea. This was one of them.
The leaves were crushed up some to be suitable for a tea bag, but is available to buy in loose form.
This is a very delicate and sweet green tea, quite the opposite from heavier astringent vegetal greens that I usually have. I really love the flavor of this one, but wish that it was stronger. I would probably use more leaf than provided in the tea bag to obtain better flavor.
It looks like this tea is not available for sale on Mantra’s Etsy site, but it is on the main site.
Hmm, I’m confused about this one. It does not smell or taste like a charcoal roasted oolong. It’s seems extremely similar to an oriental beauty and if it is, then its a really good one (and that means something as I am not a big fan of oriental beauty). However, the leaves for this are tightly rolled unlike those of oriental beauty, so I dunno what to make of it.
Either I got the wrong tea in the package or this is a style of roasting that I am completely unfamiliar with. At any rate, it is a good tea, whatever it is! :D
I just did a second steep for 45seconds (first was 1min15sec) and the flavor is significantly different than the first steep. I can now recognize the characteristics of a roasted oolong, but still not as strong as I thought it would be. In the first steep, I didn’t detect any of the smoky notes that it is supposed to have. I only detected honey with a hint of floral, much like oriental beauties I have had before, but it had a distinct nutty attribute that made it different. The second steep brings out hints of all that I expect from a heavier roast, but they are not all in-your-face.
I wouldn’t mind having more of this tea in my cupboard, but quality teas are pricey and I am saving my funds for Mantra Tea’s über-awesome Ruby Black. We’ll see how disciplined I am with my money when the time to order comes around :p
I brewed this again today, just as I said I would. I followed these steeping guidelines posted on the Mantra Tea website:
water temp 95C
2nd 30 sec
3rd 60 sec
4th 120 sec
I stopped at 4 steeps.
The 70sec steep produced a decadently sweet cup. The sweetness came through like raw cane sugar and caramel, though the floral notes from whence they likely came were still on the nose.
The 30sec steep brought the roast flavor into full effect, but not so much as to drown out the flavors from the first steep
The last two steeps lost most of the sweetness, but added hints of mineral as do all teas when I steep them more than twice, but they were not as strong as I am used to in a 3+ steeping.
I liked this tea a lot more this time around, but only for the first two steeps. I would be very unlikely to try for more in the future. I think my perfect cup would be a single steep in a mug for about 2 min (when I brewed this yesterday, I did it for 3 minutes).
I’ve had two tieguanyin teas before, both of the very green variety. I didn’t know that iron goddess was traditionally a roasted oolong until now.
The flavors of this one are quite different from other roasted oolongs that I have had. I am quite fond of super dark charcoal roasted oolongs and haven’t yet decided where this fits in with my personal preferences.
To better explain the character of this tea, I will relate to you my family members’ responses:
My husband hasn’t yet liked any roasted oolong that I have served him. He can’t stand the smell of them and says that the flavors are only slightly better. I gave him a sample of this Iron Goddess tea, not at all expecting a positive response, but was surprised when he told me that he gives it a rating of “90.” Really, I don’t get it. I mean, it’s different, but not that different, from the other teas that he has tried. . .
My mother, who has a liking for most roasted oolongs, said that she can detect some floral notes through the roasted flavors and that it was a very nice change of pace from what she is used to.
My father and I are about the same in our preference for a heartier roast, but we both enjoyed this tea. I am going to brew the rest in my gaiwan tomorrow and get to know it better before deciding if it will be a repurchase.
I was trying to decide which of my Mantra Tea samples to brew first, and this is the one I picked. I’m taking the Iron Goddess to share with my family later this evening.
Onto the tea:
This is an exceptional black tea. I’ve had a ruby black before, but it was not like this one. I don’t at all have the tea vocabulary and trained palate to describe it properly, but I can say for sure that you all have to try this! It’s not bitter and astringent, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a delicate black either. It’s so smooth! I can definitely detect the woody flavor noted in the description as well as a a sweetness that I don’t recognize as orchid, but it could be. I’m also not picking up specifically on notes of peppermint and cinnamon, but I can definitely see how this tea would be a good match for an afternoon tea cake that includes these flavors. This tea is definitely going on my re-order list :)
March 4, 2013
I have been tasting this teas for years, yet not put into a written review. Taking photos is much easier! ; ) I hope there is a sharing machine to describe the smell and taste, so that work of writing can be saved and I believe the real smell and taste sharing mechanism is more precise than writing. I hope my writing can capture 100% of what I feel about teas I have been drinking.
Starting from this Rose High Mountain oolong- one of my favorite for these years.
【Occasion】I drink it especially when I feel I’m falling in love with myself or somebody, feeling happy and charming. =)
【Tea info】 This Rose High Mountain oolong is made from both top grade of materials- organic Shan Xing Rose and mid-high altitude high mountain oolong from famous tea plantation in Nantou, Taiwan. The rose has been used as one wine ingredient and won twice international wine award in Brussels. Also, the rose is used as one material by a Taiwanese chef and won first prize in a bakery contest in France. As for tea itself, the tea farmer does not choose high mountain oolong from tea farms above 1800m altitude, instead he chooses teas from 1200m because teas from really high tea farms(above 1500m) should keep its best high mountain floral smell and taste, which is outstanding itself. If scented with other flowers, it would be a waste. The tea farmer experiments many kinds of oolong from various cultivars and tea farms. He found the best taste to scent with this special cultivar of rose is mid-high altitude high mountain oolong.
Once I open the foil bag, a mix of rose and refreshing tea scent spreads to my nose, very relaxing. Ummm…. take a deep breath and indulge the fragrance! : ) The petals are huge and with beautiful natural velvet purple red. The tea leaves are forest green, tightly rolled into big semi-balls, one of high mountain oolong characteristic, because tea leaves from high altitude grow bigger than from lower altitude. Judge from the appearance, she is truly stunning beautiful!
I pre-warm the porcelain tea pot, and put tea to 1/5 of the pot volume. Close the lid while preparing for the water to 85 Celsius. When the water is almost ready, I open the lid and smell the “pre-infusion scent”. Incredibly rosy smell with fruity lychee sweetness in combination of floral scent from tea itself. Truly pleasant, natural, not like over scented and artificial scented rose teas in the market.
1st brew, 1 min 20 sec. Beautiful gold yellow liquor, clear, shining, and bright. First, smell the liquor and taste it when it gets colder to 45 Celsius. The smell has more fragrance from the tea. Its taste embeds enchanting depth, perfect ratio of scent and tea flavor, which is one to nine. The later steeps, the more you can taste from the high mountain oolong. I brew it 7 times, and still with great flavor. I usually save the rest of tea leaves and put into a bigger mug for more infusion. It can be brewed till the next day. Still with graceful smell and mild taste.