Royal Tea Bay Co. Ltd.
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Recent Tasting Notes
Lewis & Clark TTB #9
The dry tea was very tightly compressed, so I let it rest for 5 minutes after a 30 s rinse. It didn’t really separate until the second steep.
The tea is rich and smooth, with flavors of wood, leather, and cherry. There is a little bite of astringency at the finish, which doesn’t detract from the taste. I want to say it has lots of cha qi, but it may just be that a lazy Sunday morning is emphasizing that aspect of the tea. I lost the cherry in the second steep, but the cedar notes came to the fore, with what I think is a touch of smoke. Overall, an enjoyable tea; I nearly purchased some today, but need to think about it for awhile.
Brewed this in my Yixing teapot this afternoon and it seems a bit disappointing. Perhaps I didn’t get the brew temperature right. I used 195F but I think this tea might need a lighter temperature or less leaf. It seemed to be missing a good floral bouquet and there was a tiny bitter edge to it. It wasn’t a bad oolong but it wasn’t a good one either. I’ll give this another try again with slightly lower temperature at another time.
Oh no! Tea organization emergency! I keep a google e-mail draft full of the teas I haven’t written tasting notes for with the usernames from trades for those teas and the list of teas that are almost sipped down. This morning the list is completely messed up, somehow a bunch of html was added to the list when there wasn’t any before mostly a lot of . Even the subject changed. I have no idea how to get it back! Other than Steepster, it was basically the other part of my tea brain.
Thank you KittyLovesTea for this one a while back! I have so many samples I haven’t got around to trying. I would say the teaboxes I participate in are bad for my tea collection, but then I remember some of my tea collection goes into the teaboxes, so it balances itself out. :D
Steep #1 // rinse // just boiled // 1 1/2 min
A good size chunk of this goes into my infuser, after a rinse the mug is a deep red as only these lovely pu-erhs can make happen. The flavor is crisp and refined somehow. It brings to mind darkened studies filled with ancientbooks… whatever studies are, but this is that tea. There is a pine or cedar flavor here (that isn’t like the oversteeped leaves flavor). I don’t drink wine, but it kind of reminds me of wine somehow.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
This cup seems to mellow out in flavor, but it’s still a strong pu-erh, deepest red color. Not as much crisp/pine/cedar… more sweet! I’ve noticed with this pu-erh that my appetite is ridiculous, even drinking this while eating things like muffins and spaghetti. I’m hungry faster… not necessarily a good thing for me. I know that pu-erh is supposed to boost metabolism or something but I’ve never noticed it until now.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
Still going as strong as the second steep, or should I say as sweet. No noticeable difference in flavor. Delicious but it doesn’t have that little something extra I love about pu-erh… and I don’t mean the pondiness. But that is missing too.
Dry, this tea smells so mossy & nutty. Delicious! The dark mossy smell reminded me of Bi luo chun tea. Brewed it at 185 for 1.5 min. Nutty , buttery, sweet. This one is supposed to have hairy tips An excellent tea from Royal Tea Bay.
Flavors: Butter, Moss, Nutty
I bought 100 g of this tea for $8.75 Cdn, free shipping! Wow! I had some this morning. It looked and smelled like a Mao Jian Tea. Brewed at 190 for 2 min. It was a rich buttery flavour, just like Mao Jian. It had a slight bitter edge so I think I need to reduce the temp for next time. 190 is too high for a green anyway. Next time I will keep the temp lower and less steep time. Overall a great tea for the price!
I’ll update this review when I brew it at the lower temp with less steep time.
I just got my Bi Luo Chun from Royal Tea Bay yesterday. It doesn’t look like the picture on this one. It looks like Teavirve’s Bi Luo Chun. In comparison, it is excellent! Buttery , nutty, sweet grass. It has that same wonderful sweet mossy grassy smell. Love it. I’m giving this the same rating as Teavirve’s.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Nutty
Steep #1 // rinse // 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Yes, I will always love the ripened pu-erh more than the raw, but this one works too. I love the dark flavor of the ripe pu-erh, and the sweet rice flavor just seems like it would go better with ripe. But maybe the flavor is able to shine better on the lighter raw leaves. The flavor here is so buttery. I’ve never had sticky rice, but to me the flavor screams kettle corn… which I’ve only had one time and loved. But the cup is mostly sweet, a hint of spicy with the aftertaste. I’m accustomed to raw teas being very tree-like, but it’s possible I was steeping them too long. Maybe even 30 seconds would have been enough like some oolongs.
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 70 seconds
Oh boy, and here is where the bitterness starts. The rice flavor is still very apparent, but the bitter kind of ruins it. Maybe that’s why I like the ripened pu-erh better, it isn’t as sensitive.
Steep #3 // 10 min after boiling // 50 seconds
Still bitter, but so is the rice flavor. I liked the first cup though. I think the first cup was perfect, but this should really be steeped for maybe 30-40 seconds after the first steep. I think I’d rather stick with the ripened until I get better at not ruining the raw pu-erh. I still love the rice flavor. I’m ordering some of the ripened from puerhshop.com…
Queued post, written April 23rd 2014
I enjoy a cup of puerh now and then, but it’s not something I really drink very large amounts of. It’s not really the same way as with green tea and similar where I have to be in the mood for it. I think it has to do with the effort involved. Drinking pu-erh tea is a commitment to drink the same tea for a long time, and I just don’t always have that sort of attention span. I get bored. I want something else.
Even so, I took some of this out of the EU TTB round 1, and have been waiting for a good time to have it. Last time Husband had a puerh he didn’t much like it, so I’m not going to bother giving him this one when we have so many others that he enjoys much more. Therefore, drinking it on a Wednesday is the way forward.
For once in my life I actually did a quick rinse. This seems to be the primary advice given to people who like puerh but find it a little harsh. I’ve never had that problem myself, so I’ve never bothered. I did today though for reasons that… Well, for no particular reason actually. Call it an experiment.
It smells like mushrooms and cinnamon. I’m a bit puzzled by the latter. I wasn’t expecting that. I wonder if it might be a result of residue on my strainer… Not impossible, but it has brewed a number of non-cinnamon-y things since it’s been in contact with cinnamon, and none of those had cinnamon notes in them that should or shouldn’t be there, so I’m leaning towards the belief that this tea actually smells like cinnamon.
The flavour is a bit thin, but again there’s a lot of cinnamon notes in it. I’m not getting too much in the way of mushrooms until the aftertaste, and I can’t immediately spot any stronger earthy flavours. There’s no feeling of farm animals to this. I say farm animals because the first time I had a puerh it invoked strong memories of my great-grandparents’ and the farm they had when I was little. It shaped the whole puerh experience for me. I want this note in my cup. I want this association.
I don’t know where those farm animals have gone here. I wonder if the rinse step stole them from me. If that is the case this will be the first and last time I ever bother with a rinse. I want my farm animals back.
That said though, it is an enjoyable cup. Remarkably cinnamon-y and quite sweet with an aftertaste of mushrooms and broth.
I don’t have a very refined palate. I’m not very good at picking out flavors that aren’t super evident. I’m tasting the yummy vegetal taste from this tea, but I’m also getting something else. I wanna say it’s something fruity. I don’t know, but I like it. It’s nice and light and delicate. Just the type of tea I like first thing in the morning to ease my taste buds awake.
These little cakes are great for convenience . This time kept the steep time only 10 sec with near boiling water. It was barely enough time for the leaves to break apart in the cake (even though I had poured hot water over it previously and discarded). I’m glad I kept it short. The sticky rice flavouring was very sweet in the first infusion. It didn’t get bitter though and was smooth with a slight astringent taste. Along with the sticky rice I get the earthiness of the pu’er which comes across as a mushroom taste.
2nd infusion – 12 sec. Ahhh, this one is better. The sticky rice flavouring has toned down a lot . It is nicely balanced now.
TeaSipper had some sticky rice puerh a while back, and I was so curious as to how that works, especially since I need to avoid all grains, that I wanted to try it. Because, for those in the know, sticky rice tea is actually an herb-based flavoring, instead of actual sticky rice. Cool!
As I’m reviewing this however, I discovered I ordered the sheng (raw) puerh instead of the shu puerh that TeaSipper tried. Bah! My bad. I’m usually not a huge fan of sheng, but I’ll still try it.
Honestly, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. Now, it smells SO strongly of sticky rice I did a triple-take… it really is identical to the real thing. Steeped, the smell stays about the same, and it lingers in my mouth and nostrils. It’s incredibly pleasant. The flavor however… I like the first seconds of the sip, it’s a very smooth puerh with little astringency. Then, within about 10 seconds, it gets bitter. Bitter beer face is what I’ll call it, and while it’s not… .bad… it’s just not something I want to try again. Perhaps I steeped it incorrectly, I’m unsure.
Yes, recommend for the flavor (if you like sticky rice). No for the rest, or at least until I can figure out what I did wrong.
Wow. This is a lovely cup, and it strongly reminds me of something Butiki-ish, but for the life of me can’t place. Think gorgeous, tiny curled green tea (the picture doesn’t do it justice) with a strong apricot/peach aroma, and then the flavor is — full, nutty, apricot/peach, thick, granular (almost chewy?), lush, summer-like. If chestnuts tasted like delicate peaches or apricots, this would be a similar flavor… or at least feel. An excellent straight green, and one I’m happy to drink often.
Grabbed this directly from Royal Tea Bay on AliExpress (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/320709), and it was a quick and pleasant experience, with excellent packaging. I highly recommend them.
Flavors: Apricot, Chestnut
Thank you DigniTea for a sample of this! Sticky rice pu-erh is one of my favorite types of pu-erhs! I was able to try a similar pu-erh once before and I’ve been wishing I have it in stock. Now that I think of it, which flavors wouldn’t go well with pu-erh?
Steep #1 // 3 min after boiling // 2 min
A deep dark cup, of course, it’s a ripened pu-erh. This really seems like a pu-erh for those new to pu-erh or think they really don’t like them. The flavor isn’t distinctively pu-erh – it’s deep like a cup of coffee but it doesn’t have those pu-erh flavors that seem to scare people away. I love the sticky rice flavor, but it seemed this flavor was much stronger in the other pu-erh I tried. It’s a lovely flavor though – sweet, roasty rice. It must be the flavor I was craving today since I also made a microwave rice krispie treat with a marshmallow and rice krispies in a bowl. Hey, it ain’t gourmet but good enough!
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 min
The rice fragrance is just floating through the room! So good! This cup is deeper as the leaves unravel. I really love this tea.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
These cups could keep going with the same flavor quality. Delicious. Exactly the same as the last cup. The rating would be higher if the rice flavor were higher, but it does stay consistent through all steeps. If I had a list of only 20 teas to fill my cupboard one day (currently it’s a mess of samples), I think a sticky rice pu-erh would be a necessity.
Got this one out after almost forgetting about it. The tuo is tight on the outer layer but breaks easily after working the pick around. 11 grams in the Gaiwan with a 10 second rinse. the wet leaf has some smoke aroma to it. The taste is an almost pine and wood smoke with the little touch of numb that the camphor gives. It is no where as smoky as the wet leaf would suggest. It gives some drying and an almost salty after taste to it.
I have several different puer mini tuos which I like to keep on hand for convenience. When you don’t want to work on picking apart a larger cake, these are handy to have around. This particular mini is one of my favorites because it never fails to taste sweet and fresh. I’ve been sitting at the dining room table working on a project all afternoon and this little one has been my loyal companion – six steeps so far.
The scent of the dry leaf makes your mouth water – like a sweet flavored rice cake or a nice kettle corn. Steeping produces a clear bright liquor which is pale yellow-green in color. The sip is a delicious nutty rice flavor. Very sweet on the tongue and mouth. By the way, this one works nicely as a meal accompaniment.
I’ve been experimenting with this new tea. I think I’ve finally settled on 1T in 8oz for 3m 45s. The flavor falls somewhere between Laoshan Black and Wild Mountain Black. I’ve grown quite fond of it. I can count on two delicious steeps but the third one is a bit too weak for my taste.
I have had this tea a few times now and each time it has been consistently mild and smooth. Very light for a ripe Pu Erh indeed. It has elements of soil, musk, sweet wood and clay.
I fear that this is perhaps too mild for my personal taste, even after upping the dosage of Pu Erh I use in my Yixing doesn’t work. :(
If anyone likes soft Pu Erh then let me know and I will send some your way.
Just quick notes for now. Had a few pots of this tea and I’m just not loving it as much as Dragon Tea Houses Bi Luo Chun. This version is much weaker and less astringent than I was expecting. That may suit some people but I liked having a green tea with a large kick, felt like I was drinking rocket fuel. This is just sooo mild though in comparison, not sure if it’s just regional or quality change but so far this is not something I would buy again.
This tea is just plain fun! I enjoy tea – all types (with only a few exceptions). However, when there is a special fun factor involved, I enjoy it even more. This Monkey King is just such a tea.
I had heard about Monkey King from a former Chinese exchange student in one of the courses I taught a few years ago. He said that I would definitely enjoy it. I never forgot that recommendation and I’ve been on the lookout for the tea.
I recently placed an order through an eBay tea shop based in Shenzhen (Royal Tea Bay). By the way, I would recommend this direct source for tea from China – shipping cost is included in their tea prices and my order arrived at my front door just 7 days after placing it online. I was delighted to discover that they had a new Spring 2013 harvest of Tai Ping Hou Kui (Monkey King Green Tea) and I had to order it. My order arrived late yesterday and I was quite excited to try it early this morning.
I am in love with this tea – the whole experience! First of all, be prepared to be blown away by the size of the leaf
- 4" to 4.25". Beautiful thin, whole, flat leaves with lovely shades of green coloring in each. They are very delicate and paper thin like tissue paper. The aroma of the dry leaf is slight but pleasant.
The recommendation for brewing this tea is to use a clear glass with 175 – 180 degree water. I decided to try it in my 16oz Chinese glass tumbler with filter for drinking. I was unsure of the leaf amount so I started with 22 long leaves added after pouring the heated water. It was a pleasure to watch these tall soldiers stand at full attention in the water. The tea aroma was vegetal and sweet and was a very pale yellowish-green color. The flavor is sweet with clear vegetal overtones and I was able to detect a little citrus.
As I finished half of the liquid in the glass tumbler, I added more hot water. This continued over a three hour period using the original 22 leaves, adding more and more water, and it was only at the very end that I detected a slight astringency.
This tea is fantastic and this was a wonderful tea experience. I’ll definitely reorder. Teavivre has a Spring 2013 Tai Ping Hou Kui Green and that will probably be my next Monkey King tasting.