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Recent Tasting Notes
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 think this may actually be the last un-tested tea of my high-altitude sample pack from Naivetea. Woah, progress! This has been great because I feel like I know a little more about different types of green oolongs, though I have a ton more to learn. My goal is to have a decent sense of the most popular types of green oolong and which ones I like most before I go to China in late March, knowing that when I get there I will likely be overwhelmed in varieties I’ve never heard of. :)
The dry leaf smells green and vegetal and a hint floral. Steeped, the florals come out more and are joined by a light creamy/buttery aroma. The flavor is a nice balanced between fresh green leafy notes and soft florals. There is the slightest hint of sweetness toward the end of the sip which gets stronger as the tea cools. There is maybe the slightest hint of butteriness in the flavor, but this is really a much more fresh, green floral tea than some others.
I do admit that it’s difficult for me to keep all these Li Shan/A Li Shan/Shan Lin Shi green oolongs separate in my mind! They are all very tasty but none of them has really stuck out as spectacular to me. Maybe I’m a more of a Tieguanyin kind of girl. :) I have some others to try from thepuriTea, so my oolong journey is far from over.
This is the last of my infused oolong sampler from Naivetea that I have yet to try, though I do have a few of the high-mountain ones left. I put this one off at first because I remembered not being totally taken with the aroma of the dry leaf, but then when I just smelled it now the scent was a strong, lovely floral. I’m not super familiar with osmanthus as a flower, though I’ve had a few different osmanthus oolongs that I believe I’ve enjoyed. I feel like they all taste pretty different, though, so I never know what to expect.
They weren’t kidding about the intense osmanthus aroma. Steeped, this tea is incredibly floral to the point of being perfumy. There’s a slightly buttery vegetal aroma hiding somewhere underneath those flowers, but it’s being swamped! The level of florals reminds me of the Rose Violet Calendula Oolong. The flavor of the tea is slightly sweet and super floral. Wow, it’s even a little strong in the florals for me, and that’s saying something. I feel like I am drinking a bouquet, or perhaps even some osmanthus perfume. After reading Amy oh’s tasting note for this, I’m thinking that this is one that definitely needs multiple, short steeps. One long steep brought out so much osmanthus that the rest was kind of overwhelmed. As it cools, the florals calm down a little (or maybe I’m just getting desensatized to them), but it’s not so perfumy. I’m defintiely tasting more sweet, buttery, creamy notes. Not my fave from the pack by a long shot, but I think once I get my oolong gongfu set up, it will be a great tea for that.
ETA: I’m starting to wonder if somehow my samples of the floral oolongs were more heavily scented than others have tried… all these tasting notes talking about light osmanthus, hah! The Rose Violet Calendula oolong seemed stronger than I had before, as well. Odd!
I has been sooooo long since I’ve had an oolong. I miss them! I knew I had to dive back into my sample packs from Naivetea when I got back home and finish trying all the high altitude teas. The aroma of the dry leaves on this one convinced me to try it first… leafy and floral and just a hint of that savory buttery note.
The smell of the steeped tea is even better. The buttery note has come forward and mingles with the florals in a lovely way. The taste of my first sip surprised me, acutally! From the aroma I was expecting something creamier, but the vegetal, leafy notes actually took the foreground, followed by some florals (not super flowery, though), with a light sweetness. It’s definitely on the greener, fresher end of the spectrum. Really quite nice.
Diary of a tea addict: time for one more tea before I head to the airport and will be most likely be stuck with teabags for 10 days… :-/
I don’t believe I have ever smelled an osmanthus flower and I don’t really like strongly floral teas. So why do I have so many? who knows. ;-)
Brewing method: short steeps in the gaiwan
First infusion: very light, creamy and custardy. Not a lot of flowers, good!
Second infusion: osmanthus coming up a bit more and it is getting a bit sweeter. A little vanilla-y, a little buttery. Very smooth mouthfeel and sweet lingering aftertaste. It’s a bit like a cookie. teee heeee.
Third infusion: tea is getting very assertive. Some vegetal notes are coming up a bit here. I am surprised. I may have oversteeped it.
Fourth infusion: steeped for only 20 seconds. Tea is happier and is back to sweet buttery lightness.
Fifth infusion: getting lighter still but now the floral is retreating and the oolong is emerging more as a clean, bright spring bud.
Now I am running out of time…
Even though I am not that fond of floral teas I would definitely like to keep this around. If you keep the steepings under control the flowers are very light. I was a skeptic but she has managed to charm me with her seductive ways. I could write a poem abut this experience. la la la – love!
Of the three remaining unflavored high-altitude oolongs from my sampler, the dry leaf on this one had the most butter/cream in the aroma. That’s not to say it was a lot, more like a whisper of those notes among the greenish oolongy scent. Brewed up, there’s a lot more of those buttery/creamy notes in the scent, though they’re not really sweet like a milk oolong. Somewhere in between very vegetal and very sweet, like the aroma of sweet corn. And now I just sneezed a bunch and totally clogged up my nose so I can hardly smell anything! :( Sickness not allowed, go away!
Ok my nose as cleared a bit. The flavor is richly vegetal, like thick, leafy greens. It’s very smooth and a bit buttery. I feel like it’s a bit strong (it seems a little “overcooked”) for me at these steeping parameters, which is surprising since I went with a 2 minute steep (usually I use 3 minutes for green oolongs), but it’s not bitter or unpleasant, really. There’s a hint of florals (osmanthus?) at the end of the sip. Overall a very pleasant oolong, and I do want to try it at 1 minute to see how it turns out then. I also plan on trying all of these in a gaiwan (hopefully I’ll get one soon!) with the steeping instructions Naivetea gives.
Still one of my very favorite oolongs and my favorite thing from the Naivetea line. I’ve been all over San Francisco since tasting other dong dings and scads of other oolongs and none are really coming close, this is definitely unique. I believe it is the 30% roast which I am really enjoying. This is so nutty, creamy and buttery. Holds up to 7 or more short infusions in the Gaiwan.
When I was putting my Naivetea order together I almost went ahead and ordered 2oz of some oolongs I was sure I would love (passion fruit, lychee) instead of the infused sampler pack, but I really wanted to try this tea so I went for the sampler instead. Plus as much as I may want it, I don’t really need that much oolong in my stash right now.
I read that this had a grapefruity aroma/flavor, and that’s certainly what I smell from the dry leaf, but it also reminds me of some other less common (in the US at least) citrus fruits that I occasionally find in the grocery store. Pretty sure I’ve never found yuzu though! The steeped tea smells incredibly sweet-butter-creamy with a hefty dose of florals. I don’t get so much of the the citrusy yuzu in the aroma now.
Flavor-wise, this is another top notch tea from Naivetea. This is definitely the most subtle of the flavored teas that I’ve tried; the grapefruit/yuzu citrus notes are hard to distinguish and seem to blend into all the other flavors of the tea. They do seem to give the tea a certain something that just makes it taste a bit different, though. Otherwise, the tea is a little buttery, a little vegetal, and a little sweet, with big floral notes. All around a very nice tea.
It’s been quite an up-and-down day, and certainly a busy one without time to stop for tea yet. I’ve been at work all day and I am just now sitting down at my computer at 4pm. Crazy! Anyway, I wanted a tea I knew I would love, but I wanted something new. I also wanted an oolong, and luckily I have a boatload of new oolongs to try still. This tea is kind of a compromise between old and new because I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before from Butiki Tea (how many rose violet calendula oolongs could there be?), but this is from my Naivetea sampler pack.
The dry leaf smells fantastic. It’s a lush, thick combination of florals, which of course I love. Rose and jasmine are the two most common florals for tea, yet they are so infrequently put together. It seems like it’s because of the rose=black and jasmine=green dicotomy… well leave it to an oolong to bring them together. I love the combination, which really comes out in the aroma of the steeped tea. I’m not as familiar with the individual aromas of violet and calendula (though I know violet a little better than calendula), but they definitely add to the thick floral aroma.
If you don’t love floral teas, do not even try this one. I am a floral nut, so I love it, but this particular cup borders on perfumy even for me. I know! Maybe shorter steeps or a rinse would yield less strong florals, but I don’t mind of course. This tea does have that light natural sweetness to it that I love as well. Whenever I’m in the mood to drink a bouquet of flowers, this is the tea to go for.
Wow, I’m the first one to log this tea? Along with the infused tea sampler set I got black friday weekend, I also ordered the high altitude sampler set because the teas sounded interesting but were not teas I’d ever had before. So this is my first A Li Shan/Ali Shan Oolong! Obviously the only thing I have to compare it to is the Tieguanyins I’ve had, but I do have an Ali Shan sample from thepuriTea to try later as well.
Steeped the western way… all these oolongs do make me want a gaiwan, though. The dry leaf on this one smelled the most floral of all the high altitude set, so I decided to try it first (yup, I’m a floral junkie). The steeped tea smells really really good. That warm, buttery, sweet, floral aroma… yum.
Mm, I’m enjoying this one. Nicely floral, nicely sweet, nicely leafy/vegetal. I’m afraid I’m not really able to pick out subtle differences of this varietal compared to other green oolongs, but maybe if I had them back to back. I also feel like though my western-style brew is delicious, I’m missing out on the subtle flavors that change from short steeping to short steeping. In any case, this is a really delicious tea, and I can say I definitely also enjoy Ali Shans!
This was another of the must try asap teas that I just got because I am absolutely nuts for passion fruit, and again combining that with oolong was something I had to try. The smell of the dry tea is astoundingly identical to a fresh passion fruit. Not passion fruit juice or any other passion fruit flavored thing I have ever encountered, but the smell of fresh, ripe passion fruit when you crack it open and slurp out the insides. I am transported to Tanzania, where I ate dozens of passion fruit from the market. I haven’t smelled that aroma in years because it’s so hard to find fresh passion fruit where I live. Not to mention it probably wouldn’t compare to eating it fresh where its grown. How do they do that?? There’s just a richness, a depth, a leafy complexity that really comes from the rind of the fruit more than the pulp. Just wow.
I steeped this one for two minutes based on my experience with the lychee oolong. The liquor is a medium yellow and has that buttery oolong aroma overlain with the same juicy passion fruit aroma I described above. The flavor is wonderful, really amazing. I like passion fruit juice/nectar a lot, but it’s not like eating the actual fruit. This tea IS like eating the actual fruit. And maybe then drinking a nice cup of green, buttery, floral oolong. But really, the oolong melds so well with the passion fruit flavor that it’s tricking my brain into believing that it is part of the passion fruit flavor. That’s really the only way I can describe it because it is so that one singular experience that it’s not a combination of flavors anymore. Totally amazing. So glad I found this tea company!
I liked this pretty well but I think the passionfruit oolong from Naivetea is still my favorite of the flavored bunch I had the pleasure to try.
This is a tea which is meant to be savored and appreciated. The strawberry flavor is here but it is very slight and subtle. I am intrigued by their process for flavoring tea which they describe as thus:
“Also in the Naivetea family are a selection of teas infused with the essence of fruits and flowers, such as lychee, peach and lavender. Unlike many commercially-infused teas, which are simply “sprayed” with the flavor, Naivetea’s are infused the traditional way, by allowing the tea to actually absorb the flavors naturally from the raw ingredients after the fermentation process”.
This is not a dessert tea and it does not taste like gummy bears. It’s an oolong that has been lightly kissed by strawberry essence. I am getting more of a buttery flavor here with my second steep. Very enjoyable, I think this would be fabulous in the summer…
I was super psyched about Naivetea’s black friday sale because I’ve really wanted to try their oolongs. I ended up with an infused (flavored) oolong sample set and a high-altitude oolong sample set, and they sent a free sample of Wen Shan Bao Zhong all of which I’m very excited about. It was hard to choose the first one, but this was it because I love lychees and I really want to see them paired with a green oolong.
The scent on the dry leaf of this is amazing. So very lychee-ful. It really has that floral, fruity, fresh aroma of a bag full of lychees. I could just smell the dry leaf all day, which is a good sign. I chose to steep it like I steep most green oolongs and not quite according to their directions because I don’t really have that kind of setup (basically gong-fu) right now. Smelling the brewed tea, it’s amazing how much the oolong has come forward. It has that kind of buttery, floral, slightly greenish aroma that I love, and the juicy lychee aroma hanging out underneath the higher floral notes.
In the flavor the lychee comes back to the forefront, it seems. The first thing I get is a burst of fruity and floral lychee, and then the green oolong base comes up with a vegetal, rich base. I think I might drop my steep time for this to 2 minutes just because I think I think the vegetal tones of the oolong are just a touch overdone at this time. I originally wrote that I was missing the buttery flavor, but as it’s cooled that has definitely made itself known. It’s lacking that natural sweetness that I feel like would just make this tea mindblowing (though I am getting a hint of it in the aftertaste as the tea continues to cool down to just warm), but it’s still a fantastic tea. Lychee is really the perfect pairing for an oolong with its floral notes to begin with, and in this tea it is just so juicy and awesome. This is a really good example of a flavored tea with a nice balance between flavoring and high quality tea base.
Another flavored oolong from my Naivetea sampler.
I did not know exactly what a yuzu was (aside from it being a type of fruit). Upon smelling it I was expecting something very tart like a pink grapefruit tea. There is a citrus note here, however I am finding it exceedingly subtle. I believe the base of this tea is an ali shan.
There is a lingering sweetness here in the finish that is difficult to describe, Sweet and vegetal, perhaps I am reminded of corn.
Overall I do not think I like this quite as well as Naivetea’s passionfruit oolong but I still like it quite a lot. The yuzu flavor is very delicate and allows the base notes of the oolong to come through. Does not taste artificial or cloying at all. Another job very well done by Naivetea. Check this out if you are looking for a gentle flavored oolong.