Peony Tea S.

Recent Tasting Notes

Another sipdown, this one from KS.
This is the 3rd dong ding I’ve drank in 2 days. They have all tended to be more savory & less floral than the TGY I had awhile ago. They also all look very much the same, & for the most part, they have tasted about the same, with a lightly roasted veggie & sourdough bread kind of taste. This one is the sweetest of the 3, or at least it seems that way right now.
294

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75
drank '05 Pu-Er by Peony Tea S.
697 tasting notes

I have got to get myself a good inexpensive cake of shu for at work. And home. When I get tired of the same black teas, I tend to refresh my palate with a cuppa shu. However my options are extremely limited to mostly samples and oftentimes things I have not yet reviewed so I don’t want to take them to work where I don’t focus on them. Then I forget what I thought and how to steep and don’t know what to order. I still have three samples from Mandala to try, but I need to have time at home with hubby so we can both get our impressions and decide which (if any) is worth stocking.

So.

I went through the stash Monday night and brought in some samples that I had dupes of so I have options at work. While doing that, I unearthed the remains of this sample which was provided to me for free several years ago. I didn’t really see much from this company but the three samples I had were good quality but a bit pricey, if I remember correctly.

This makes a really nice cup that I don’t have to focus on but can still enjoy. No bitterness, not too dark or roasty which I don’t like. There is a full flavour which reminds me of wood and rain and clean barns. It’s not fishy or dirty, but is earthy and warm. Delish!

Cheri

I drink new teas at work all the time and feel badly about it that I can’t write good reviews a lot of the time. Sometimes I remember to jot notes down, but a lot of the time I forget.

Uniquity

It bugs me when I can’t remember what I thought of a tea and that happens a lot if I have a new one at work. Then I need to try it again to get real impressions. Thus, favourites or tried and true ones tend to end up at work for me.

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75
drank '05 Pu-Er by Peony Tea S.
697 tasting notes

Whoops. I got this one quite a while ago and tried it and thought I reviewed it. Obviously not, as I discovered when I came here to see what my thoughts were back then. I have tried a few more puerh in the interim and find myself enjoying shu more than sheng, for now at least. I want to love puerh as it seems like the next logical step for a black tea lover like myself but sometimes I strain to find the flavours that others get – I seem stuck at wet wood and barn. Enjoyable, but hardly full of nuance.

Today I steeped this up with the beau after failing to see Thor (they sold out while we were in line!) and a delicious supper of ginger chicken. I ate too much and am hoping that pu will work it’s magic and keep my tummy happy.

I steeped this in a pot for convenience rather than gongfu style, but it still came out fairly well. I was afraid of accidentally making it too potent so I went a bit lighter on the leaf (one heaping “perfect” teaspoon at 2.5 minutes). This made just enough for each of us to have one cup and it was pretty darn good. The aroma at first was much like the dry leaf, with the wet wood, hay and leather aromas I associate with puerh. The taste had a bit of that at the start but in the aftertaste there was a lingering sweetness and it was very clean with no bitterness. I probably could have pushed it a little more on time or leaf, but this was a really easy drinking cup and it stood up to the western style brewing very well. I look forward to trying it in different ways.

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Definitely a nice smelling tea but tastes good too. There’s no way to do multiple short steeping before work in the morning unfortunately so I have yet to try that way. Still this is a warm, toasty tasting tea. Even if I forgot it steeping while I was getting my lunch packed for the day it came out without bitterness. It’s tasty all by itself.

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75

I have so many teas to backlog…

I got this one from my swap with CK

It’s a decent dark oolong, but nothing about it shouts “buy more!” To me, the flavor doesn’t quite live up to its fancy description.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Huangshan Furry Peak by Peony Tea S.
1199 tasting notes

Ohhh this is nice, it seems a lot bolder than the other huang shan mao fengs I’ve tried so far. It almost smells like a Dragonwell.

Definitely sweet, almost reminiscent of a green oolong with the way it is so floral. There’s also a bit of vegetal notes to it too, not really sure quite what.

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Thanks to Kittenna for the sample! a dark roasty oolong, just the way I like it. I get a very slight bitter edge to it as well, but so barely noticeable that I almost missed it. There is natural sweetness there to, as is expected with a darker oolong. Coffee. Yes this def reminds me of coffee. I think it is partially the aroma. Mmmm. I love the depth in this!
Rating: 85

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Not sure whether this was from Sil or Kittenna but either way, big thank you!
This was tasty green. Vegetal and sweet like Gyokuro, but lighter. Tasty!
Rating: 85

Sil

Totally kittena :) and I dunno why you’re having trouble sorting samples…you got like 10 haha

Indigobloom

cuz we bagged them on the spot, so I wasn’t sure lol

Kittenna

Hahaha, Sil’s were all nicely packaged into the little bag! This one was from me, yes :P

Indigobloom

yep I realized that while I was sleeping. Was super tired when I wrote that!

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Tastes more like a Taiwanese oolong, its great! Full review here: http://www.examiner.com/review/peony-tea-s-phoenix-dancong-heavenly-fragrance-review

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Many thanks to D. Chew for sending me this and other samples of their tea to try and review. They were delivered to work right after a HUGE lunch so this was a perfect way to settle my tummy and unwind. There is a distinct sweetness to this tea and a slight light maybe spinach quality to it. I won’t rate yet becasue I want to give this tea proper attention later.

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65
drank Wuyi Cassia (Rougui) by Peony Tea S.
5049 tasting notes

So I’m fairly certain that this was from kittena judging by the tasting notes. While this tea isn’t bad, it goes into my “oolong” bucket. That is to say, the type of tea I just don’t often care for. There’s nothing wrong with this tea but it carries that distinctive taste that says OOOoOoOoOoOooooOoolong! To me ;) which means that’s all that I can focus on. That being said this tea has a beautiful golden colour when steeped and there’s a taste behind the oolong that is quite nice. I’ll withhold rating it though as my dislike of oolongs would bring it down.
Appreciate the chance to taste it though :)

Azzrian

So for you it seems it is Ooowrong.
LOL I love Oolong but I can see how some would totally dislike it.

Kittenna

Yeppers, Indigobloom didn’t get in on Peony Tea S.‘s promo, so it was from me. I don’t recall if I liked it, but given that I do enjoy dark oolongs… probably!

Sil

You did like it heh

Azz-lol

Indigobloom

nope nope not from me. But it was tasty as far as I can recall!
Azz- baha! you made me giggle :P

Kittenna

Haha, I was clearly too distracted for Azzrian’s comment to even register with me! That’s funny!

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85

Thank you CK for this lovely tea.

It is very different than any other green than I have had. Before I looked it up here on Steepster, I thought maybe it was a white tea, though it tastes different than the whites I have had too. There is something sweet that lingers in the background, but I can’t say what it is. It is delicate, yet full of flavor at the same time (sometimes less is more :) )

I will definitely be re-steeping this one as soon as I finish my cup. 。◕‿◕。

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

Thanks * Liberteas*
Very clean. Slightly Vegetal. Cooling. Thirst Quenching. A lingering smoothness to coat your throat. An overall lovely green! Very pleasant and satisfying!

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92

Thank you LiberTeas for sharing this one with me!
A very nice naturally sweet green!
Full review will post Feb 4th on SororiTea Sisters but here are my snippits:

As I lifted the cup I picked up a lovely buttery aroma, almost like butterscotch candy due to the sweet aroma being also quite strong. Such an inviting sensation!

There is a wonderful silkiness to the mouthfeel which is brothy and thick.

The color of the steeped leaf is the palest hue of gold.

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88

Dry leaf: Dark, toasty. Slight greenness like a tgy. Slight burnt smell. Very tightly rolled.

Wet Leaf: A lot of the toasty smells disappear and the aroma turns into a darker tgy smell

Taste: This tea is much like a tgy. It may be slightly darker and the flavor is stronger. There are also less floral notes. Overall a nice oolong, with stronger flavor than some other low fired greens.

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94

This is wonderful. I am sort of in love with it which is a surprise because so far I had not really loved white teas.

The leaf itself is beautiful and slightly strange – so silvery, so long, the strangeness that is the blossom. It smells wonderfully, an essence of tea smell with notes which remind me of raisins and yes, vague flowers (I have no idea what peonies smell like!).

I could not control temperature too well, so keep in mind the desired 80C are probably just an approximation. But regarding the liquor, brewing this at the advised amount with bottled water, at close to the advised temperature, and at 2 minutes per steep:

1st steep – very pale, very light golden with no hints of red (yet). Surprisingly full of body and tastes fruity and slightly floral at the same time, a taste which reminds me a bit of grapes – tiny grapes with a lot of skin but sweet table grapes just the same (comparing anything to wine grapes would not be a compliment!).

weirdly I do not like at all the smell during the steep, it smells very grassy and almost minty, I worry if I am using too hot water. But it does not translate to the taste of the steep

2nd steep – no worries after all. A deeper color, and flavour much richer, with perhaps even more body. No bitterness or astringency. Absolutely wonderful.

3rd steep – ah, now it has decided to remind that yes indeed this is related to black tea. The color now really has reddish tones. Just as sweet if not even more, with even more body, and the taste has now moved fully to raisins. I try to decide if this or the 2nd steep is my favorite, I decide the 2nd probably but it is close.

Brewing the 4th steep I am wary, I think the leaves are probably gone.

4th steep – but no, still alive and kicking. Slightly less rich than the 3rd steep, but still great and full of body. Lovely. I am going to go for a 5th steep but decided to stop the review right here since Peony Tea S only advises 4 steeps, not fair to take it further and risk finding fault on it when it´s me taking it past its limits.

I received this tea from Peony Tea S a few months ago, when they were asking for volunteers to test their shipping services, thank you so very much for your generosity! They selected the teas and I took my time getting to them. This was a weird psychological thing: a mix of weather, me being slightly intimidated by the tea´s obvious quality and wanting to try them for the first time when I could give them their due attention. I left this for last because well, silly me, thinking I was not fond of white tea. I was wrong, of this I am very very fond indeed.

Ah, a note, as advised by Derek, I kept this (and the green tea) in the fridge, sealed and double sealed from the rest of the fridge. I think it is more than worth that small effort!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec
CrowKettle

That’s so interesting that takes on reddish hues! I’ve always neglected white peony for silver needles but this sounds so complex and lovely. You had me at “grapes”.

cteresa

It does indeed take reddish hues but most noticeable at third infusion – I think third infusion really reminds you that hello, it´s the same plant as black tea after all!

About grapes, ah, it´s probably my cultural bias. I never smelled peonies in my life but can mentally file 10 or 20 different grape tastes ;) It goes a bit like little sweet ripe grapes to those grapes left in the vine which get all dried up and are oh so sweet but not dry enough to be raisins yet.

And do not tell anyone, but am drinking the 5th steep so far and it is lovely! Not as good as the previous ones but far better than any white tea I ever had. Weird, I like this bai mu dan much better than the silver needles I tried before.

CrowKettle

I envy your ability to distinguish grapes. The greater complexities of grapes, and in extension, wine, are almost entirely lost on me. I’m at the level where I can say this one’s sweet, and that one not so much, and ice wine is very sweet.

It’s been a while since I’ve smelled peonies but the ones I did come across were of the variety with little to no scent. Faintly sweet, almost like a lily, if they did produce an odor, if I recall correctly. I’ve heard different variety of peonies can smell completely different too, and that certain teas have grape-like qualities to them, so your description is helpful. It definitely makes me want to pick up some of this.

Five steeps is great and marks a good tea! I rarely manage to get that many in.

cteresa

I love peonies, the flowers, but almost have only seen them in florist – no scent, and the ones I have seen growing had very little! So no idea. But it might be like roses, a lot of roses you see grown ornamentally or particularly sold in florists have hardly any scent and can give only a pale idea of what truly old roses or roses grown for oil smell like. A rose garden of old species roses can be an incredible revelation.

Wine is everywhere in this country. It´s something I compare with tea a lot and which has a lot in common with tea.

I even made a sixth steep but the fifth was the last great one. Still five steeps, incredible.

Ysaurella

peonies are my fav flowers (in light pink)- the smell is so wonderful really. I should try in a tea as well. Florist now have often “frozen” flowers…which leads to less perfumed flowers unfortunately

cteresa

Oh I think white peony tea is usually not really scented with peonies (though I got a black blueberry tea which includes peony scent reportedly). These white peony tea is just, I think, literal translation from the Chinese bai mu dan ou tai mu pan or something like that. But it is just the name of this type of white tea, no peonies involved though sellers description mentions it is supposed to have floral notes similar to peonies.

Ysaurella

okay so I’ll have to blend real peonies myself (!) oh lord it would be terrible if I blend a tea myself :D

cteresa

No, it would be fun to “blend” a tea yourself! Well with some considerations, that it would be more like mixing or infusing, not really blending with oils. But it would depend on what you would mix – confess to sometimes mixing different loose teas! I got a very strong violet tea which is lovely if I mix it would something simpler and plainer. And made my own chai mix which turned out pretty OK! I think somethings, particularly already dried herbs and spices or flowers might be easier to work with – lavender, dried roses, cinnamon, etc. Lavender is so strong I guess it would work well (or perhaps too well!). But be careful with fresh flowers or fruits, they might rot in the tea and/or make the tea rot as well – I got a melon flavoured white tea which I swear tastes of rotten fermented melon, urgh. But if you are ever in London check Yumchaa´s Blueberry Hill, blueberries, cream and peonies.

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71

Beautiful emerald green, twisted leaves with a strong vegetal aroma. This tea is naturally very sweet, highly vegetal with hints of creaminess. There’s nothing spectacular about this tea, nothing fancy about this one. I find it is a good everyday green tea, especially if you like the strong vegetal notes.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Ysaurella

I love Emerald green ! it’s so beautiful. Unfortunately I am not very fond of too strong vegetal green teas.

Kittenna

Ooooh, I loved this one. Apparently that chewy vegetal flavour is quite appealing to me!

Invader Zim

It’s also very pretty to look at but it is definitely a vegetal tea, which I like!

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95
drank Dong Ding Oolong by Peony Tea S.
807 tasting notes

Enjoying this tea thanks to LiberTEAS what an awesome oolong!
This is up there with my favorite Dong Ding from House of Cha’
I enjoyed this cup with a frozen Asian meal – made the frozen dinner A LOT more palatable lol.
Go DONG DING!

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86

I had a cup of this and it was a nice straight-up Iron Goddess. Slightly floral – slightly vegetal. Very forgiving. Clean. A dandy one!

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89

A couple months ago, the Peony Tea S. very kindly sent me three teas of theirs, in exchange for answering a few of their questions regarding shipping times and conditions. All teas arrived promptly and in excellent condition and were all of such obvious quality I have been reserving first sip of them for occasions I could give brewing this their due attention! And reviewing them is slightly intimidating as well, my vocabulary feels stretched.

A warning first: I think I used not enough tea on this first brew. I went by teaspoon count and should have gotten out the digital scales, I think going by what I have left I did not use the 2 grams per 100 ml recommended, I was too careful of not breaking the tea and spoons counted were not filled enough. So my judgement of this today is not optimal. But I am sure I will forget this advice if I don´t write it down so here goes, the first preliminary tasting. Don´t skimp on the recommended weight. I used my favorite mineral water, it´s light on minerals.

The dry tea is absolutely beautiful, long vivid green little pods of leaves curled upon other little leave buds. The scent is absolutely fantastic, a wonderful green tea (duh. duh. I said I was challenged by trying to review this) scent which reminded me of spring in some cliffs right by the Atlantic in Portugal (Arrábida mountains, if you really want to know) – a scent very clean and free, maybe with hints of thyme or this type of rosemary or cypress.

1st steep – brewed up, while the scent notes change a lot and the thyme-rosemary notes go away, I get a sea note. It was slightly astringent and slightly sweet and very lovely. It brewed up very pale gold. Ethereal, the adjective used by the seller´s description, is a totally perfect description of this. This was my favorite steep (is this a sign I screwed up the next steeps?

2st steep – this brewed up quite a bit richer. Color deeper, with a slightly green tinge, and at the same time more astringent and sweeter and the sea note even more pronounced. Theoretically it should have been superior in everything to the 1st steep, but I still loved the best the first steep without being quite able to explain why (I warned you writing these taste notes was challenging!). That is something I will try to analyze next time I make this tea.

3rd steep – By this time I had figured out I had used too little tea, so only half a cup. Very very pale, very very delicate, astringency seems to have gone and amazingly even sweeter.

Drinking tea this pure and fresh is a fascinating lesson, so much easier to understand the reaction of tea to time and temperature, to see clearly in the size and shape of leaves the tea bush annual cycle. It might also be addictive. A lovely tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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91
drank Golden Oolong by Peony Tea S.
2357 tasting notes

Thanks to Derek at Peony Tea S. for a free sample of this tea during their shipping times test!

Although the instructions indicated 4g of tea for 100mL of water, I went with 5g of tea for ~200mL water (though I kind of regret it now, so will probably try the recommended infusion method later). I also left the tea in for twice the recommended infusion time, as after 45 seconds, I didn’t think the tea would have much flavour. And sipped it, and burnt my tongue :( Anyways…

The aroma from the tea is of a light sweet oolong, but I have to note that I also took a sniff of the wet leaves, and got this crazy sweet seaweed aroma! Absolutely delicious! Kind of like those sweet, seaweed-wrapped crunchy snacks. Delish. I wish the tea smelled/tasted like that, but I suspect it won’t.

Sure enough, the tea doesn’t taste quite like that, but there is an absolutely delicious, mouth-enveloping sweetness. I want to call it rock sugar, but it’s much more complex than that. It’s a familiar flavour; I assume I’ve tasted it before with other oolongs. It’s one I could sip for days, though (until it got to be too sweet). The sip finishes with a nice oolong aftertaste, which is absolutely divine. There’s a bit of a vegetal flavour interspersed in here, but it’s not prominent, as the sweetness really takes over. I suspect subsequent infusions to become more vegetal and less sweet, however.

This tea is definitely a winner! I think I was quite pleased with all the selections I was sent as part of this testing process, so hopefully I will have the funds to make a purchase from Peony Tea S. sometime in the near future!

ETA: Second infusion (2 min/90C) still smells rather sweet and delicious. The cup’s a bit stronger this time, perhaps a touch oversteeped (it’s a little metallic), but other than that, is still quite sweet and pleasant, and not as vegetal as I was expecting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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94

Oh! This tea is lovely! So very lovely!

The astringency is quite unlike any other I’ve experienced. It affects the mouthfeel in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced before. At the very start of the sip, I notice a silky softness, and almost immediately afterward, I start to notice the slight twinge of astringency touch the tongue, reaching out toward the inner cheeks and toward the back of the throat. As the astringency dissipates, I notice sweetness. A beautiful, delicious sweetness that is oh so delicate, reminiscent of the delicate taste of spun sugar.

While the aroma of the dry leaf is really quite vegetative, the flavor is not quite as vegetative as this aroma would lead one to believe. There are notes … subtle notes … there, sort of like sweet, buttered lima beans. Very mild.

A really incredible tea, One of the most memorable that I’ve tried from Peony Tea S. yet.

PS: Quite tasty when enjoyed with a Honeycrisp apple.

DaisyChubb

This is a nice one isn’t it! Such a unique experience

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95
drank Yunnan Black by Peony Tea S.
331 tasting notes

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95
drank Yunnan Black by Peony Tea S.
331 tasting notes

Short review : this is wonderful. Really really wonderful.

Long version and all about me:
I can´t quite believe I had this waiting for months till i tried it. But did. I am really a bad-weather tea lover. When it gets really really hot, it seems like I only really cold water will do for me. People have tried to educate me better about how refreshing tea can be when it´s hot. But it just does not work for me.

So all this to say that when PeonyTS very kindly offered some teas to test mail services, I did jump at the opportunity (testing receiving tea! I can do that!) but the poor teas languished waiting for a couple months (no fear, sealed, and the white and green are in the fridge). But finally the weather has turned autumnal enough, I really missed brewing carefully a cup and having it.

The tea itself is just wonderful. Seller describes it has having a hint of dates, which is not exactly what came to my mind. But it´s a wonderfully rich, complex taste. And so smooth, such a generous tea. I really loved it. I think I might have skimped on tea for the water I used and might have gone past the 90 seconds because i got distrated, but it still produced something sublime. I am now very curious about what the next steeps will produce.

Ah, about the details, the packaging is foil hermetically sealed ziploc, packaged just right in order to not crush. The tea itself looks wonderful, long long leaves. A really great tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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