O5 Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Cask Aged Ghorka AF by O5 Tea
260 tasting notes

Leaving a note just so I remember what I did wrong.

The first time I made this, I used very short steeps. The tea was weak and flavorless. So then I tried a 3 minute steep. And it was insanely bitter.

If I can get another sample, I’ll try a lower temp and maybe a 2 min steep. sigh I was really looking forward to this one. :(

AllanK

Is this a puerh?

Sarsonator

No, it’s listed as a black tea.

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85
drank Semi Wild Hong Cha by O5 Tea
260 tasting notes

Pretty yummy! I received this as a sample and found it to be quite lovely. It made a perfect tea to start my day! Sadly at the current price, I don’t think I would get more. But I’m definitely glad to have received a sample. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Semi Wild Hong Cha by O5 Tea
379 tasting notes

The dry leaf has a very strong, deep smell. Brewed, it has the maltyness of an assam but without the bitterness or astringency. Pretty much what I expect in a china black. There’s a bit of cocoa in there as well. Sort’ve my everyday favourite, except not at /this/ price.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80
drank Cask Aged Ghorka AF by O5 Tea
379 tasting notes

Brewing this, it smelt strongly Darjeeling. I wish I still had a plane Nepal tea on hand to sniff in comparison, but I finished that up a while ago. I remember it having a more Ceylon smell.

The taste is definitely more Ceylon. Bright and lightly astringent with definite honey tones. The astringency doesn’t hit right at first, but does build up with sips; it’s not sweet, more of a dry tea. Definitely not as sharp and muscatel as a Darjeeling, that seems to have just been the scent.

I don’t think I’m getting much from the wine barrel it was stored in, but that might also just be the afore-mentioned burnt tongue. Definitely not as astringent as the Nepal teas I’m used to though, so I think I’ll enjoy the rest of this.

Edit: This actually steeped up a pretty nice second cup at five minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Balhyocha MLH by O5 Tea
379 tasting notes

I took the rest of this sample and made it alongside Balhyocha KSH to do a sidebyside taste test (I knew having two gaiwans would come in handy).
*
This one, I found, had a stronger scent—strong, dry cocoa. The leaves were also smaller than KSH’, but that might just be that the smaller sample bag (I had this one in sample-form and 1oz of the other) for this one crushed the leaves a bit.
It strongly reminds me of Simple Leaf’s Dawn, a tea from Arunachal Pradesh, India (/Tibet, pending claim). But I tend to compare a lot of teas to that one (mostly because I miss it so much). This definitely has some qualities.
The taste is dry but not astringent (I guess powdery); its own sort of malt without any real similarities to Assam or Yunnan teas.
I’ve gotten worse at describing teas.
It’s much different from KSH, and I definitely favour this one. At any rate, my sample’s finished.

Flavors: Cocoa

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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100
drank Golden Curls by O5 Tea
346 tasting notes

The cat woke me at the crack of 8
Begging for water, attention or some other ill-fate.
Since sleeping in was no longer the ideal,
I figured I’d start the day with a liquid meal.

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/post/80892039954/teacuplets-o5-tea-yunnan-golden-curls

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
gmathis

And a gold star for the whimsy! (If Tazo slept that late, we would do the dance of joy. His body clock starts ticking between 4:30 and 5:00.)

Geoffrey Norman

@Gmathis – Thanks! I’m playing around with a review style to notch off teas at a far quicker rate.

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86

Described as having notes of pumpkin and cocoa. It looks like the name—golden curls, and steeps up fairly light for a black tea, a golden brown. It’s a rather mellow tea. I don’t find it reminiscent of cocoa. I don’t find this earthy. But a spicy pumpkin-like note is there I think. My aunt liked this tea even more than the Yunan Tian Hong we enjoyed yesterday.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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74
drank Balhyocha KSH by O5 Tea
379 tasting notes

I took the rest of this sample and made it alongside Balhyocha MLH to do a sidebyside taste test (I knew having two gaiwans would come in handy).
*
Quite different from MLH. This one had a weaker smell, no real notes of cocoa—it had a pepper flavour that strongly resembled a Yunnan tea. I don’t have any basic Yunnans in my cupboard right now, but if I get any before I run out of this, I’ll do a comparison.
The second steep had a few more similarities to the MLH—more cocoa, slightly dryer. By the third steep though it was a bit sharp, and the cocoa was gone.
It was nice, but “meh” to me in that it was just reminiscent of Yunnan (don’t get me wrong, I like Yunnan teas; I was hoping for more).

Flavors: Malt, Peppercorn

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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74
drank Balhyocha KSH by O5 Tea
379 tasting notes

It’s a dark, wiry tea. Very reminiscent of a Yunnan, but also reminds me of the one Taiwan black I’ve tried. Dusty, doesn’t really seem to have many notes. Perhaps cocoa (dry, not chocolate). I think I can get what they mean by “smoke”, but nothing that makes me think maple.

I’ve had it a few times already, both in a mug and in a gaiwan. I was gifted with another variety of it, which I haven’t tried yet, but that I think I should steep side-by-side.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Chiran Sencha by O5 Tea
4633 tasting notes

Backlog:

A really delightful Sencha. A surprisingly full-bodied, satisfying Japanese Sencha. Sweet and very pleasant to sip. Here is my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/01/31/chiran-sencha-from-o5-tea/

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72
drank Chiran Sencha by O5 Tea
5357 tasting notes

I was pretty sure this would not be a tea for me but it’s not a bad little tea. It’s not something i’ll ever re-stock but I for sure can drink this down. It’s very green…and tastes like eating spinach. There’s a mouthiness to this that i can’t quite describe.

Stephanie

Sencha is great. Never had this particular one though :)

Sil

it was in my amoda tea box from one of the previous months lol

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94

Prologue: It took me for bloody ever to update Steepster with his tea. Ten minutes! That’s ten minutes that could’ve been spent sipping tea. Grrrr….

Anyway…

I originally was saving this for a special occasion, or for when I accomplished something magnificent – like curing cancer of the butt or something. I figured, however, that surviving the work week was just like surviving butt cancer, so, I whipped it out on my day off.

I’ve only heard of (and had) two other teas that were cask-aged. Those were from Smith Tea. I was glad to see that others were taking up this trend. This autumn flush Nepalese was cask-aged in Cab-Franc and Merlo barrels for…I-dunno-how-long.

The result was a tea that smelled vaguely of wine, but mostly of Himalayan black, which was fine. On the taste, it was really hard to tell the difference between the natural muscatel notes of the leaves and the wine-scenting from the barrels. If I were a betting man, I would say they showed up in the aftertaste the most. More Cab-Franc than Merlot (thankfully).

If I were to impart a suggestion on further experiments, I would say to use a wetter barrel when beginning the casking process. Otherwise, this was awesomeness in my mornin’ cup.

Edit: Would you believe this tea was somewhat instrumental in saving my trip to World Tea Expo? Well, it was. http://steepstories.com/2013/02/11/high-fives-to-o5-and-a-world-tea-expo-update/

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Claire

“surviving the work week was just like surviving butt cancer”. I laughed so hard at that.

Geoffrey Norman

Ah good, the desired effect. Didn’t know if that’d offend or not.

Ysaurella

oh lord what kind of work are you doing to feel like this kind of survivor ? :D

Geoffrey Norman

Hotel housekeeping. ’Nuff said. ;-P

Bonnie

I’m suspecting that a wetter barrel would promote mold in the tea. The barrel surface would be acidic but the leaves would still pick up moisture so mold could grow. Wet barrels can be rank. I’ve worked in the barrel room and they smell overwhelming sometimes before they’re scraped, burned out or used as vinegar barrels (what is done with unused wine from the tasting room at many winerys). Maybe a spicier wine would be nice, Sangiovese or Zinfandel (I like mine from Paso Robles where it’s hot!),Carignan or Carbono from Fortino’s (where I worked). If I was still in that area, I’d B-Line to Gino and ask to try aging tea in one of the used wine barrels after the hot son dried it a bit! You should do your own!!!

Geoffrey Norman

All fair points. I know nothing about the process other than how it is used to cask-age beers. I assumed the same was the case for tea leaves. I dunno, I need to research it more.

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82
drank Chiran Sencha by O5 Tea
2606 tasting notes

So apparently 1 minute is a bit too long for this tea (or at least, in the tea:water ratio I used). Sadly, there was some bitterness that impacted the flavour for me. However, I still liked this tea – it was intensely vegetal in both aroma and flavour, and definitely now holds the spot of the most spinach-flavoured tea I have ever tried! It literally tasted like pureed boiled spinach. Which I strangely actually liked….

Thanks for letting me steal a sample out of your package of this, Sil!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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