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Recent Tasting Notes
I am revisiting this tonight and not enjoying it quite as much as I remember. I don’t know if there is something up with my steeping parameters or if I just have not been drinking this fast enough and it got somewhat stale. But then I checked my email and I got this last November so I have a feeling it may just be me. How long do oolongs stay fresh? This one is 25% roasted too…
I have done 3 steeps and my leaves are fully opened and unfurled but not feeling the love as much. I got the burnt caramel flavor but the nuttiness and sweetness have gone. I did lower the rating a bit but I will not lower it anymore because it might be partially my fault… might need to cold brew this one too just to see.
Speaking of love, I have written a blog post about two novels of Theodore Dreiser if you are up late and just want to read it, here it is. This is what I do with my free time when I’m not on Steepster. :)
This is another tea that I won recently! This is the first tea that I am trying from Naivetea. I’m having this after some popcorn (plain-ish) so hopefully that doesn’t interfere. This smells lovely dry. There is something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on; woodsy maybe?
I’m having a hard time letting this cool! It smells lovely; roasted and sweet. Wonderful! It is very roasty without too many malt tones. It has a sweet edge at the back of the sip. There are green notes midpoint in this that remind me of deep spinach. I really enjoyed this one!
Gong fu oolong of the day. I am following Naivetea’s instructions exactly for this one, including amount of leaf for my 6oz pot since they are explicit on that point.
No rinse, first steep 50 seconds. It certainly smells nice, floral and buttery and a bit vegetal. Geez, apparently I can’t take a sip today without inhaling tea along with it! I just did it twice in a row. Bah. Ok, finally got a good sip. It’s fresh and green, like fresh sweet sugar snap peas. There are a little florals, but they’re not really very present. No sweetness, really just a pleasant green flavor.
Second steep, 40 seconds. Honestly, this steep is kind of meh. Very underwhelming. At once low on flavor but what is there is strongly vegetal. It’s tempting to give up on it right now, but I remember what happened with the last Naivetea oolong I gong fu’d (I got great steeps toward the end). I’m afraid the third steep, back to 50 seconds, is the same way. Fourth steep, 60 seconds, weaker but otherwise same. I’m afraid there doesn’t really seem to be anything more coming out of these leaves. Fifth steep, 70 seconds, same.
I’m not really dropping my score on this one because I did like the western style steep of it back when I first tried it. But following the instructions they sent exactly? A big ol’ meh. Even the first steep wasn’t really that impressive. Oh well.
Sample stashbusting! I am steeping the remainder of my sample of this oolong gong fu style, in my ru teapot. I am basically steeping by the included instructions for this tea, with the exception that I did a rinse to “wake up” the leaves and I only did my first steep for 30 seconds instead of 50.
The resulting tea smells pretty different than I remember my western-style steeping of it. It’s way more vegetal, and even a little salty, like the smell of the ocean. I was just at the beach yesterday so it smells very familiar to me. And more buttery as well, which I think goes with the saltiness a bit. There are pretty much no florals in the aroma of this first steep. The taste is strong and vegetal… perhaps 30 seconds was even still too long for the amount of leaf I used (a little more than their recommended amount at a bit more than a Tablespoon for my 6oz teapot, but it seemed like a good amount). But there’s also a touch of sweetness and even a tiny hint of the oolongy florals. This steep is also a bit astringent in that way that green oolongs get, but moreso because of the slight oversteep, I think.
Second steep, following their instructions, 40 seconds. This steep smells way more floral and buttery. Still very fresh, but with a hint of that honeyed sweetness. The taste of this one is weird… almost perfumy in it’s florals, and just about none of the sweetness its aroma promises. At this point I’m wondering if I just don’t know how to steep gong fu style properly. I mean, I’ve watched people do it plenty of times and know the routine, so I don’t know what the deal is now.
Third steep, 50 seconds. This steep smells a lot like the last steep. Pretty much tastes like it, too, though as it cools it is not quite as perfumy and a little sweeter. Still there is something a little unpleasant about it.
The fourth steep, at 60 seconds, brings out some melon flavors that are really interesting! This steep is possibly the sweetest, but sometimes I can’t tell if it’s more of a sweetness that has built up over all the steeps. I think the note that is both perfumy and vegetal from before must be inherant to this tea because it is not going away. It’s just not something I tasted when I brewed this western style, and not something others have noted, so I feel like it’s somehow a fault with my steeping.
Fifth steep, 70 seconds, and this oolong is really hitting its stride now. Sweet, a bit fruity, floral without being perfumy. This is by far my favorite steep so far. It’s amazing how much a tea can change over the steeps! Sixth steep, at 90 seconds, is almost identical to the fifth steep, as is the seventh steep, at 2 minutes, all sweet and floral and fruity. It’s not really buttery or creamy at all, but it is very nice. I’m glad I stuck with it to this point, because I wasn’t really feeling the earlier steeps at all. This was a good lesson in how a tea can change a lot over gong fu steeping, which I hadn’t experienced at all before this. I am interested to try all kinds of teas this way now!
I haven’t been drinking very much oolong recently, I’ve been so busy sampling other things. :)
This is the last of my sample of this and I am enjoying it. It does have a delicate flowery aroma and the flavor is a mild sort of buttery peas. I am finding it very relaxing this morning. See my previous tasting notes for this tea.
I did try cold brewing the rest of this sample for 24 hours. It really brings forth the buttery flavor of this tea but it also made the passionfruit very strong, almost bitter. So I think I can safely say I prefer this hot and it’s a great fruity oolong!
I haven’t had this one since I first tried it a while ago, which means I haven’t had it since I figured out that I prefer Naivetea’s oolongs steeped at 2 minutes, not three. I love love lychees and lychee-flavored things, so this tea is a definite fit for me.
I do like it with a slightly shorter steep as it keeps the vegetal-ness from overwhelming the other more delicate flavors. This is such a great balance between the lychee and the oolong base. When it’s still pretty hot I get more lychee than oolong, but as it cools more of that buttery, smooth oolong comes out. I think also the “oolongy” flavors (florals and such) blend together well with the floral-ness of the lychee so it’s hard to take them apart. This tea is definitely on my re-buy list, along with their Passion Fruit Oolong.
Taking a break from my standard afternoon pu-erh routine to focus a bit on finishing up these oolong samples. I really loved this one when I gong-fu’d it, but drinking it in the office in my infuser mug it really isn’t the same, alas. Also I think I got a big load of the osmanthus flowers in this cup. It is still quite good. I was very happy with the Naivetea sample packs.
I really do love the smell of these high-altitude oolongs. The taste too, but really I love the smell. So creamy and floral and oolongy. That pretty much applies to the flavor of this one, which is a really nice version. I find most of these high-altitude taiwanese oolongs to be more floral and fresh and less buttery and creamy than other green oolongs I’ve had. I called this one “creamy” but it’s not creamy like a jin xuan is creamy… there’s just a hint of creaminess in the main part of the flavor, but then there’s a bit of oolong astringency (the palate-cleansing kind) in the aftertastes. It’s a tea I really, very much enjoy drinking, but not one I crave a lot.
As others have noted, this is a decidedly more robust Bao Zhong than what I am used to. Sweet, but also vegetal. Substantial.
Backlogging from earlier today – one hot cup and one cold…both tasty! See other notes…
I thought I would try these oolongs again before I go to China to get a reminder of their flavors, and what I might want to look out for. I know I’m going to be completely overwhelmed, so I’m trying to restrict the actual kinds of teas that I will specifically look for while I’m there. I’m hoping I can also discover a some teas I’ve never heard of while I’m there, so keeping all the varieties straight in my head is going to be tough. :)
This is a nicely balanced floral and vegetal oolong. It’s got a smooth texture throughout the sip, and then there’s a light astringency and a sweetness to the aftertaste. I don’t find this one particularly creamy or buttery in flavor this time. It’s light and fresh and floral and pretty springy, which is appropriate for the warm, lovely weather we’re having today.
Also, I am completely obsessed with the new Frozen Planet penguin livestream webcam. It’s of the penguin enclosure at Sea World San Diego, and there are a lot of penguins in there! They are hilarious, and I love watching them while I’m working. My favorites are the Adelie and Gentoo penguins. Fortunately my screen is big enough that I can have a small window with them open at all times.
There was no question that I’d be having a cup of this today. Probably my most floral tea, and rosey to boot. When still very hot this cup seemed almost too floral for me, which is again something I am not used to, but as it cools the florals seem to mellow a bit and the oolong comes out. All the same, I’m just not feeling this one as much as I thought I would. Maybe it’s a particular floral in there (the calendula?) that I’m not as much of a fan of. Even my second steep, which is far less floral, still just doesn’t make me as excited as I would expect to be, being a lover of most things floral and green oolong. Ah well, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t order a whole tin of this back when I put this order in!
I had one Dong Ding oolong and really liked it, so I asked for some samples of others and luckily Amy Oh sent me a sample of this one! I tend to love the teas from Naivetea, so I am definitely excited to try it.
This one smells way more toasty than the dong ding from thepuriTea. The roasted grains aroma reminds me of some of the darker oolongs I’ve tried. When I breath in deep I get a nice autumn leaves aroma. The flavor is not unexpected based on the aroma but not exactly what I was expecting based on thepuriTea’s. That one was basically unroasted, but perhaps it is unusual? In any case, I do enjoy it a lot. It’s a bit vegetal, nicely roasty, a tiny bit sweet.
Thanks so much for this sample, Amy, I’m glad I got to try it!
Dry Leaf Aroma: The dry leaf has a refreshing toasted wheat like kind of smell if that makes sense. There is another smell too but I can’t describe it but it is not a bad smell.
Wet Leaf Aroma: I get a toasted smell that has a sweet smell I almost associate it with honey with a woody under tone to it.
Liquor: Has like a amber type of color.
Taste: I get like a toasted flavor with a woody maybe even smoky flavor with like a honeyed sweetness.
My Score: This is a 94 This is the best Ti Guan Yin to date I have ever tasted. This one is pricey but she is good.
This is really a wonderful A Li Shan in my opinion…
It’s a bit floral-y but also very buttery, exceptionally creamy, smooth, rich. One taste of this and my mouth feels like it’s on vacation. I’m picking up some other things too, like a slight mango and perhaps a bit of vanilla. Not as light as some other A Li Shans I’ve had.
I seem to like this the best when it’s steeped at around 180F for 2 minutes but I would like to do some gong fu sessions with my remaining sample. If you’re looking for a good A Li Shan you might try this one. I would certainly buy this again. :)
hmm. I don’t know why I like this one so much as I normally don’t like flowery teas. Apparently it depends on the flower and the blend. This osmanthus tea doesn’t suck. I also like roses in certain teas sometimes… it’s very sweet and relaxing today. I’d buy more. :)
see my previous tasting note.
Tea of the afternoon……
I decided it was time to go forth with another new oolong. I have had this from the second Steepster Box?, but am just getting to it now.
It is similar in mothfeel to other oolongs; It tastes thick. It really kind of reminds me of Genmaicha as there is a little bit of a toasted rice taste. But it has a sweeter finish than Genmaicha. Good, but I tend to prefer a more floral type oolong. We shall see what subsequent steepings bring to the table.
Steeped according to the label (even though I see better suggestions on the main page for this tea…will try that next time)…. 2 tsp tea in about 12 oz. filtered boiled water for 3 minutes. No additions.
This is not my first Wen Shan Bao Zhong, but it’s close to it. I had a pot of Harney’s at their tea room in Soho once, and I wanted to buy a couple of ounces of it, but alas they do not sell it by the ounce, only in a tin! Being told “no, we can’t sell you this tea in bulk even though we have it loose in bulk right here” discombobulated me so much that I didn’t even think to look at the tin, which is only 1.5oz anyway.
So my point is that I liked that one, but I haven’t tried any other since then. The dry leaf on this one smells lovely, with a nice floral oolongy aroma. Steeped, a much more buttery aroma shows up. The flavor is very pleasant; floral, vegetal, a bit buttery. There’s an ever so faint whisp of sweetness that shows up at the end of the sip. Really, a lovely cup.
I’m getting around to slowly finishing off and logging all of my Naivetea samples – I believe this is the last one?
My first steep I think I accidentally steeped this in water that was too hot. I got a very vegetal buttery cup but not quite what I was expecting…
For the second steep I tried to use water that was around 170 or 180 F. Now I am getting some of the more subtle notes I would be expecting from this tea. It is indeed very floral and delicate but I wish it had a bit more… oomph? It’s very relaxing and sweet however.
Third steep, I did let this one go on for about 2 minutes. I was hoping to get a bit more flavor out of this tea although that probably just killed it… lol
This is lovely but I’m not finding a way to make it work for me today. I wish I had more at home to play around with, but alas…
I am finishing off the rest of this sample today, it is better than I remember it. I have upped the rating slightly. I love Taiwanese green oolongs perhaps better than any other kind of tea. This one is all sweet green peas and clover with not a stinky flower in sight… :)
This one is just so nice. One thing I like about Naivetea’s flavored oolongs is they don’t seem fake or artificial in anyway. This has a light strawberry flavor that is just really delicious. I highly recommend them!