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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a wonderful surprise from Nuvola Tea on Saturday. The postman had already put our mail in the box on the porch, and when I was retrieving it, he came walking back to the house with a single brown envelope in his hand. He looked sort of….intense or excited….hard to describe, as he bustled across the lawn and held it out and said, “It’s tea! From Taiwan! But it came from Hong Kong!”
I have told him what all my packages are that I have to sign for so he knows I am a tea addict…um, aficionado. I think he was excited for me that I was getting tea, and I was excited and surprised because I was only expecting one sample and I had already received it, but Nuvola sent two more!
Hubby and I wanted to keep our peaceful vibe going tonight that we had started with the Smooth As Jade Menghai Puerh, so I chose this Oriental Beauty as one I thought hubby might like. Since he isn’t as obsessed with tea as I am, his “reviews” are short and sweet. His opinion was, “This has a lot of flavor.”
Mine: I think I have only had one or two Oriental Beauty teas. If I remember them correctly they were more floral than fruity.
The leaves of this one were lovely mixed shades of brownish leaves and little green and white curls of buds, a very interesting and pretty dry mix. The smell of the wet leaves have a distinct lemony aroma to me! The pot is full to bursting with rich brown leaves that make me think of dark fall leaves.
I did a quick rinse, and kept the steeps fairly short since I was using my gong fu pot. The first steep or two had that predominant lemon scent. On the second or third steep, another aroma peeked out. It was a hint, a whisper, of black Tellicherry peppercorns, sweet and sharp and not at all like common peppercorns. Mind you, it was just a hint that teased my nose and there was no sharp or unpleasant taste to it at all, but as my husband said it was “full of flavor.”
I notice that the company recommends trying this with a bit of brandy added. We don’t drink alcohol at all so I don’t have any brandy but I bet that would be tasty. It does seem like a natural pairing for this tea.I have lost track of steeps but I believe we had about four or five of this one.
Thank you, Nuvola Tea for the wonderful surprise!
I awakened to find that I still have the sore throat of yesterday lingering, as well as a general malaise and really whiny sinuses. The last time this happened, I drank lots of oolong tea and that seemed to boot it right out the door, so I am going to spend the morning getting to know this lovely sample sent by Nuvola for review!
The sample was packed in the most adorable little brown envelope with the string and two button closure on the back. (Forgive me, but I find pretty mail and packaging really exciting! I even love the little Par Avion stickers – I have it on display now in my cloche along with vintage ink bottles and nib pens. This is how cool it is!) The sample was wrapped in bubble wrap and was undamaged. The leaves were not crushed at all!
I made this is my eight ounce gong fu pot. The tightly rolled leaves were a thin covering on half of the bottom of the pot, and after steeping they have expanded to fill the pot more than halfway full of leaf alone! The leaves are now a deep, dark green color, almost black. This promises a nice roasted oolong flavor to come.
The liquor has a definite baked aroma. Oh, I do love dark oolongs! As I lift the cup there is a sweet fruity note teasing me. Hey, my sinuses may be angry but they are not blocked and they are on duty this morning. I believe I would call this a baked apricot aroma, with even the smell of the Maillard reaction coming through.
With each steep, the dark, heavy baked flavor subsides a little and the fruity sweetness comes out more. I feel as though the tea knew I was feeling poorly and gave me a nice roasty kick to start me up and then started wooing me with sweetness. I am on the sixth steep and seriously, this tastes like I have added something to it now, some sort of natural sweetener, but I haven’t added a thing.
The warmth has soothed my throat, the heat has opened my head a bit, and the delicious flavor experience has made this morning much more civilized than it would have been without this tea.
Thank you, Nuvola, for letting me try this excellent Ti Kuan Yin. I will continue steeping as I believe there are at least two more good steeps in these leaves.
Geographically, “Da Yu Ling” is located in the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan.
It is the highest tea plantation in Taiwan around 9,000 – 9,240 ft.
Generally, starting from 95k to 105.5k of the Taiwan Central Cross-Island Highway or Provincial Highway No.8 is claimed as “Da Yu Ling”.
Since it is located on the steep slope and unstable terraces, only few tea gardens can be established. In winter, temperature is always below 32F and annual average temperature is below 68-70F. Annual rainfall is high
Therefore, in this unspoiled, moist and cold region, each tea leaf is growing slowly. This place can produce only a small amount of Taiwan Da Yu Ling Tea each year.
On this steep slope, Da Yu Ling’s tea gardens are required lots of manpower to take care on each tea tree (Camellia sinensis – scientific name should be itatic) on such extreme environment. Large auto-machine is impossible to use. Of course it is difficult to be developed by
government officials and business sectors. The road is narrow and curve. So, the environment is being protected.
Tea leaves of Taiwna Da Yu Ling is thick and plump. It is distinguished by its delicate scent and subtle taste well-balanced with an exceptionally rich, full body and a sweet flavor.
Taiwan Da Yu Ling (Google Map)
This is a free sample provided by Nuvola Tea for review. Thank you!
As far as I know, this is my first Da Yu Ling Oolong, unless I have had it by another name. Opening the pouch, I sniffed the dry leaves. Buttery! I knew I would like this one.
I rinsed the leaves as they suggest on their site, pouring the water off immediately and letting the leaves have just a moment to awaken. There is a lot of dust and fine particles so I opted to put my finest infuser in the pot, as I knew the little built in strainer wuld not catch the smaller particles. My first steep in my little gong fu pot was 30 seconds. and that was plenty of time! In just 30 seconds this cup is full of flavor.
The liquor is yellow with a greenish cast. The flavor is buttery, smooth, and has a hint of mild tender greens flavor. I thought at first by the dry leaf aroma that it was going to taste very similar to Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick, but it doesn’t. This is more vegetal and has that nice little edge that makes it pair well with food, and gives a long lasting flavor.
The second steep was for forty seconds. The leaves are now well opened up. The liquor is still a solid yellow with green cast. The flavor is unabated. The flavor rises past the soft palate. Do other people swallow their tea and then make a sort of chewing motion to swirl the heat and flavor that remains through their mouth and sinuses? I do, and this tea carries a nice, continuing flavor. There is a slight, dry tingle on my tongue, a bare hint of the astringency that is highly regarded for clearing the palate.
The third steep is 45 seconds. The liquor is a brighter yellow, losing some of its green cast. I am slowing down, as I have consumed 16 ounces already! This is smooth, and I think I detect a light walnut taste now as well, as the vegetal flavor fades. There is a light sweetness rising in the aftertaste. As this cup cools, it becomes sweeter, not more astringent. The butter flavor is very light now.
This is smooth, sweet, has enough body and flavor to go with food, but isn’t aggressive enough to turn anyone off.
I recommend using scissors to open your pouch. This is very well sealed to preserve the flavor and I appreciate that, because freshness is everything with a tea like this, but the strength and elasticity of the outer layer make it difficult to tear and you don’t want to spill any of your leaves!
Thank you, Nuvola Tea, for allowing me to sample your tea!
Edited to add: On giving it a bit of thought, I suspect that this tea had a lot of fine particles due to being sent through post office machinery! When I mail a small amount of tea in an envelope, I always carry it into the post office and request that they hand cancel it and mark it “Non-machinable.” They hand stamp it twice. If you ordered this tea, I don’t think you would have fine particles.
I love Nuvola Tea! The teas that I receive from them are always top notch! This one is no exception.
Sweet – almost candy like in sweetness! Beautifully delicate and crisp. The second infusion of the leaves brought a stronger flavor, more vegetal and brothy. (this is a tea you definitely want to brew at least twice! It’s a different tea from one infusion to the next!)
A beautifully pure, delightful green. Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/04/06/taiwan-green-tea-from-nuvola-tea/
Oh!!! This smells like honey and sweet-wood! Thank you Liberteas for this sample! The color of this post-infusion is that of a pale brownish color – actually it reminds me of a wine I like from Nobel Winery that I will be visiting tomorrow, actually. In color only, of course…not that it tastes like wine!
This is very smooth, pretty to look at, smell, and taste! This is delicious! It has notes of honey and maybe even brown sugar but naturally speaking – not that it has actual ingredients in there!
This is very impressive!
I love the aroma to this tea – it is sweet and slightly woodsy, and it reminded me of my home … here in the Pacific Northwest, after a rain.
A delightful tea with a profound fruity note, honey-esque tones, also notes of wood and flower. Very nice.
Here is my full-length review of it: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/03/01/taiwan-oolong-black-tea-from-nuvola-tea/
Now that it is spring, I working my way through all the green and white teas I own. There is about at third of this tea left since my last purchase.
Comparing my initial feelings with today’s just after drinking some. I have to say it met my expectations, and turned out to be a very easy tea to brew. Whether steeped long or short, I didn’t have to adjust my method to produce a tasty cup. I like the soft, mellow vegetal flavour with a bit of floral and sweetness in the background. It was a very relaxing tea to have on a mild spring afternoon like today. :)
Today was a very exciting and productive day! I’m now only 6 days away from my wedding day!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeehhhh!!!
I picked up my wedding dress, put together the table numbers, made our initials out of moss to hang on the front doors of the reception venue, made a long list of all the things we need to remember to pack, and picked up Tiffany necklaces (and one bracelet) for my bridesmaids! :D I am SOO excited!!! I’ve been waiting for this day my ENTIRE life, and now it’s finally almost here!
I decided to celebrate my productiveness with a hard earned cup of green tea. My skin is rebelling and a couple large pimples have cropped up over the last couple days. Agh! Here’s to hoping the green tea works some sort of magic and speeds up their healing. If anyone has any other suggestions, I’m all ears!! (I popped them, cleaned them out with hydrogen peroxide, and then put a dab of Neosporin on them).
But I digress. ON TO THE TEA!
The dry leaf aroma is just that. Dry. It smells like a dry generic green tea. The leaves themselves are dark green, almost black, with white tips. The brewed tea aroma is a lot more artichoke-y then I would have expected from the dry leaf aroma.
The taste is very nice! It’s sweet and green, but much less artichoke-y than the aroma. My kitty seemed interested for a couple seconds but didn’t lick it, thank goodness. I don’t need his kitty germs. :P Back to the flavor, it sits slightly heavy on the tongue. It doesn’t have that clean, refreshing quality that I’ve come across in other Chinese and Taiwanese green teas. It also doesn’t seem to have any smokey elements to it, which I’ve definitely tasted before in the Bi Luo Chun variety.
Overall, it’s good. But it’s not my favorite. I’ll still drink another infusion though. ;) Oh, and thanks to Nuvola Tea for the free sample!
Purchased some months back, I’ve steeped this quite a few times but haven’t written a review yet.
I had a lot of expectations leading up to my first steep. This was only my third time trying a Sun Moon Lake from a different company, but it has such a charming and unique strong flavour. But all my worries were washed away the first time I tried Nuvola’s SML. It’s definitely the real deal, and it’s not too weak either.
Tasting this tea again today, it still fulfills my expectations. I don’t drink it very often, and usual reserve it for special occasions or for a treat.
Steep parameters: 100ml gaiwan, 5g leaves, 6 steeps (30s, 45s, 1m, 1m15, 1m30, 2m)
An excellent black tea from Nuvola. Sweet and plum-like in flavor, with notes of caramel and cocoa. Hints of malt. Pleasantly mellow, a really good afternoon tea.
Here is my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/02/03/sun-moon-lake-black-tea-from-nuvola-tea/
If I explain the appearance of this tea, the leaves are Glossy and dark green.The leaves are rolled into small buds. It had a wonderful fragrance which any tea lover would like.
Once brewed, it looks in pale golden colour and much transparent. Actually I only used very few leaves because I like to experience the taste of light tea. The leaves opened up nicely. This tea has a rich, sweet and smooth taste. Also I could get some roasted aroma which makes me craving for this tea.
Thanks Nuvola Tea for this tea sample!
Here is the full review with photos : http://foodssrilanka.blogspot.sg/2013/02/taiwan-dong-ding-oolong-tea-from-nuvola.html
This tea sample was included along with some other teas I ordered from Nuvola a couple months ago. Unfortunately it was placed in box with a bunch of other samples and small batches of tea, so I never got around to trying it.
(Since I only had a sample of it, I figured that short steeping Oriental Beauty would be a great way to savor the tea.)
My first through fourth steeps were; sweet, mellow, smooth, floral, a bit roasted and reminded me of cantaloupe melon.
Fifth and sixth steeps were still pretty good, but the sweetness had faded.
Overall I really enjoyed this Oriental Beauty tea. Somehow I expected it to be too sweet, but this one had a nice balance between flavour and sweetness.
100ml gaiwan, 5g sample, 6 steeps + rinse (15s, 30, 45, 1m, 1m30, 2m)
Life has been brutal. My fiancé was diagnosed with a disease last week. His treatment plan is intense for the next 8 weeks…and our wedding is only 7 weeks away. I feel sad and angry and frustrated and defeated. His health is the #1 priority. I suggested we postpone the wedding so he can concentrate on getting better. He doesn’t want to postpone because he’s worried about the money we’ve invested. I’m a lot less worried about money and a lot more worried about him getting better. There’s just no good option, and I feel powerless.
On to the tea, which was a free sample from Nuvola Tea. I apologize it’s taken me so long to get around to tasting it. This tea appears to be everything anyone could want from an Oriental Beauty Taiwanese oolong. Sadly, my heart isn’t in it and this has always been one of my least favorite varieties.
I’ve known that there’s been something wrong for a while. I think he has too. But we’ve just been in denial. It’s easier to ignore than to deal with. I apologize for hijacking this tasting note with sadness and bad news. It truly is a great tea: woodsy, dark, a little nutty, and a little spicy. I’m sure others would really enjoy it. It’s just not meant to be for me.
Nuvola supplied this wonderful tea as a free sample, no cost to me! Much appreciated.
One of two teas they sent, the other their Taiwan Green, this appealed to me the most. Usually I prefer greens over other teas, but this striking oolong satisfied.
Not knowing anything about Oriental Beauty Oolongs I was impressed by the multicolor leaves, noticing immediately the dry delicate white, green, yellow, red and brown tea. Even the packaging was first class for a sample, white vacuum sealed plastic that could be resealed with a built in zip-lock. I appreciated the attention to detail, though there was just enough tea for my Finum, and no need to reseal the package.
After a quick rinse, the 1st steeping was pleasant, yielding a lovely hue the color of red clover honey. Sweet notes were immediate, a light dry mouthfeel with the sent of wood and earth.
A 2nd steeping brought the color a bit deeper with pink tones and developed the sweetness, reminding me what a sin it would be to add anything to this tea. And how that sweet aftertaste lingers… exceptional. What a gift.
A 3rd steep (a bit longer) and I’d say none of the comments about floral and fruit notes are lost to me, but I would far from call this a “flowery” or “fruity” tea. It’s there, but a compliment if anything, nothing overwhelming. Such a nice balance. This tea keeps giving.
4th steep and onward. I give my wife a sip. “Is there sugar in this?” She asks. That gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. Maybe that’s why this tea gets such a positive response. But it’s not that simple. There’s more dimension here. I don’t pretend to be any descriptive genius, if anything I tend to be more at a loss for words, but what it comes down to is this tea satisfies me and I’m tempted to order more.
I’m reading about this tea online now, learning about the insect pests that are responsible for it’s qualities. I’m seeing pictures of how this tea should look, the characteristic small one bud and two leaves, the tiny insect bites, the ratio of colors and the preponderance of the fragile white leaves. From what I can tell with my untrained eye, it’s a win here. And damn if the 5th steep isn’t still giving.
6th steeping and I’m marveling how the color holds true, the slightly dry mouthfeel, the initial sweet taste and aftertaste. Significantly consistent. A hint of bitterness as I left it to steep for probably 3-4 minutes this time.
I’m still getting over a cold, so I’m afraid this tasting note is somewhat handicapped, but damn if I’m not having a full experience. Surprisingly enough, something about this illness has turned me off to greens. I’m gravitating to oolongs and blacks, maybe it’s the cooling nature of greens or the fact that my tastebuds are just to dialed-out to be able to appreciate the subtleties that greens offer. But then again darker teas also offer their own world of complexities. I’d be curious to know from a Chinese Medicine standpoint why I might crave darker teas while dealing with cold/flu symptoms.
A 7th steep and I’m leaving it in for quite a while, gauging everything on color. I’m now experiencing a pretty orange/red sunset of a glow from this late steep. Intriguing. The earth and wood is still there in smell. The sweet notes still playing. Honestly I’m not used to a tea giving so much this late into steeping. I’ve always thought that when people get 8-15 steeps out of a tea they’re really splitting hairs, but I’m not being subtle with my times here. These are good solid soakings.
I’m going to keep steeping until this thing gives up, but honestly my writing is tapped out. But as an afterthought, this has been a nice late afternoon, early evening tea leaving me neutral from a caffeine standpoint, neither jacked up, terribly alert or anything. What’s been most noticeable about this tea has been the wonderful olfactory, visual and incredibly palatable experience it’s offered, reminiscent in a way of blacks like Verdant’s Golden Fleece or Summit’s Yunnan Golden Buds.
Good on ya Nuvola.
Oh goodness, this is lovely … I think that Da Yu Ling is quickly becoming another favorite Oolong of mine, perhaps right on the same level as Ali Shan which is (or was) #1. I am so swooning over this tea.
It is amazing to me how a tea can taste so delicate and yet so rich. At once, I taste notes of flower, air, fruit, honey, and vegetation. I taste each of these notes individually. In subsequent infusions, the flavors become less individual … they seem to come together in a very harmonious way to create a very luxurious, enchanting flavor.
I am so in love with this.
Full Review Will be on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on the 17th but here are my snippits:
Taiwan Muzha Ti Kuan Yin from Nuvola Tea is a complex, multiple layered taste exploration. It captures flavors of sweet, savory, salty, roasty, creamy, and more. There is an undeniable aroma that really captures the senses and makes you sit a moment, cup close to your nose, just breathing in its notes.
Nuvola Tea has some of the finest teas I have come across in my tea discovery. This is no exception. Hints of nuttiness capture my attentions first, followed by a creamy full mouthful and flavor that is captivating as well. While sweet berry notes dance about on my tongue the roasted backdrop comes into focus, but then the berry re-emerges once again. Its like a ferris wheel of flavors here! Flavor notes go up, then down, then round and round playfully dancing and playing on my palette.
Thank you Nuvola for this tea sample!
Someone from The Food Network flew over my neighborhood this morning and dusted everything with powered sugar. It’s lovely. The grass is sticking through where the lawn mower didn’t stike, and the squirrel that lives under the juniper bushes ran out to gather some more food from his stash before the sub zero wind and snow arrives this afternoon.
I’ve done my squirrel-like gathering already. Even though I moved here from California, I’ve lived in the mountains and know that when the weather is changing, you must have enough food and movies, then stay home. (I have enough tea already) Who would want to be out in 14 degrees with the wind blowing at 40 miles per hour!
After breakfast, I thought that a floral Oolong would be a fresh contrast while watching the frosty snow outside.
I prefer talking about the experience without being overly technical. I used a tasting set so that I could enjoy the aroma of the leaves.
The aroma of the leaves was heady…an intoxicating orchid, powdery floral and hint of salty sea air. Later, the floral was lighter and towards the last steepings had a menthol, spearmint quality that I sometimes find in tea from Taiwan.
The taste of the pale yellow-green liquor was a balance of light savory and sweet as though I had eaten a piece of honeydew melon followed by fresh sauteed green beans.
I notice sometimes (and I did on the second steep) that some Oolongs have a rubber taste that’s not bad, but is peculiar. This round had a feeling in the mouth like slowly solidifying butter. The finish was a bit bitter then stopped short, morphed and became salty and sweet.
A third steep with menthol coolness, still floral but less powdery.
The taste of sweet baby white corn-on-the-cob, salty, fresh. Peppery bite on the end with no bitter aftertaste.
The forth and best steeping was the most subtle. Spearmint-like menthol and a gentle floral flavor which was lingering and buttery. Very smooth. It was the lingering, all consuming hug of flavor done in such a seductive way that I loved about this last steep.
Lovely way to spend time on a Winter morning. The snow is already melted and The Food Network plane needs to return and do another fly over for another dusting of snow sugar.
Later today, I’m going to try making pancakes with some orange tea and cardamom spice…stay tuned.
I am so behind on my Nuvola reviews. I feel pretty bad about that, so I think I’m going to finish them today. Curse my tea ADD.
I admit, I’m a little afraid of this one. I’ve had a few orchid scented and flavored things before and I’ve hated them. However, the tea leaves I have here don’t smell like that at all. They smell like a nutty oolong, with a hint of spring grass. They’re dark green, and they look like they were rolled very gently and loosely.
The tea brews up to a pleasant pale green, and suddenly, the strong aroma of flowers is very evident. It reminds me of fresh gardenias. There’s also a bitter scent that puts me off a little bit, but if I know anything about oolong, I know I shouldn’t be scared away by that. And I’m right! The flavor is surprisingly delicious. Vegetal and floral at the same time with sweet creamy notes. The orchid is much more subtle than I expected, which is nice. It’s like a little decoration on an already good oolong. Very satisfying!
Thank you to Nuvola Tea for this sample!
Nuovla Tea always impresses me!
After the new year this is one of the companies I plan to make a good order with!
Here are some snippets from my upcoming review (scheduled at this time for December 24th on http://sororiteasisters.com/ )
Premium Taiwan Oolong Black from Nuvola Tea has a sinful aroma! It smells sweet, deep, intoxicating. There is a malty aroma cutting through the sweet aroma, then nutty, woodsy, so many wonderful sensations – and this is just the initial smell!
I love the complexity of this tea! On one hand its sweet and makes me feel like Willy Wonka in a candy shop but as soon as I find myself relishing in the sweet goodness this fresh breeze rolls in offering a light refreshing note of rock mineral and hay as if I am strolling through the woods on a sunny day.
This is a rare and wonderful delight and I highly recommend trying some tea from Nuvola! I know so far I have sampled about 5 of their teas and I have yet to find one that is less than stellar!
My second infusion of these leaves … the leaves unfurled completely with this infusion, and the leaves are quite a bit larger than I expected based upon previous experiences with Bi Luo Chun.
The flavor is lighter this time around, that is to say, it’s not quite as vegetal as the first cup… this has a smoother taste, and more delicate of a profile. Still deliciously nutty/grain-like in flavor, maybe more so, since the vegetative tones have waned somewhat. Still really wonderful.
This looks a bit different from what I was expecting from a Bi Luo Chun … I think I’m used to smaller leaves? These leaves are a little longer, deep, forest-y, emerald green and wiry. They brew a pretty light yellow-green liquid that smells very vegetal, almost kelp-y. Like a cross between seaweed and steamed vegetables … and just a touch of freshly cut grass. It’s a very green aroma!
The flavor is also quite green, although the vegetative flavor is not as aggressive as the aroma might suggest. It is crisp and very pure tasting, with a flavor that is a little like very lightly buttered veggies. There is also a citrus-y tone that emerges toward the end of the cup … it isn’t really a strong, obvious citrus note, but more like a refreshing, sunny taste that tastes of citrus. It has a warmth to it too, slightly nutty taste. It’s a very invigorating drink!
A really rewarding cuppa … I’m very glad I had this opportunity to try it!