Sea Dyke Brand
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Recent Tasting Notes
Curious, I purchased this tea at a heath-food store: I read something, somewhere regarding the health benefits of Oolong tea—I have since forgotten what those benefits are. I’d also read something, somewhere, saying Oolong is the tea served at Chinese restaurants, so, I figured I’d try it. This is an earthy tea which will probably take me some getting used to.
I accidentally slept fourteen hours today, clearly my body needed it but I was not amused by this. In order to make up for lost time I decided to log a bunch of teas in my notebook, thirteen teas later and I feel accomplished. I am, however, going to review an older tea in my book and one that is a real ‘comfort tea’ for me. I oddly bought it last Christmas at my local favorite Asian Market so I could include it in my annual Tea Advent Calender I give to a few of my friends…and then promptly forgot about it until about a month ago. A grievous sin, I know, but I finally got around to drinking it and giving it the respect it deserves.
This poor ignored tea is none other than Shui Hsien Oolong by Sea Dyke brand. Shui Hsien is an Oolong tea from the famed Wuyi Mountain in Fujian, China, the name translates to Water Sprite or Narcissus, which I find rather beautiful. It is considered a dark Oolong and is usually oxidized 40-60% and is given a good firing (I do love me a roasted Oolong!) The aroma is sweet, rich, and malty…talk about yummy! There are notes of smoke and rich roast, it reminds me of sweet pipe tobacco and gives me a whiff of childhood nostalgia. There are also notes of pine resin and dried fruit.
Once I give it a good brewing the leaves take on an even richer, roasted aroma and is vaguely like coffee. There are still notes of resin and smoke, it does seem to lose its sweetness though. Ah, wait, I found the sweetness, it all transferred to the liquid! The rich, amber, liquid has the aroma of dried dates and roast. The roasted aroma melds really well with the sweetness.
The first steeping is very rich, almost a little too intense but very pleasant. The taste is sweet and a little musky, similar to the way a humidor smells, but not headache inducing like some teas I have found that have this same ‘humidor taste’ are. I suppose it would be a terrible comfort tea if it gave me a headache. It is also smoky and a touch metallic. Very smooth and rich.
The second steeping is where the party is at, yo. It is much sweeter than the first steeping and takes on a more roasted taste rather than smoky. It takes on a nuttiness that blends well with the roasted taste, and also has a chestnut taste. There is a metallic aftertaste that I notice in some Oolongs and I usually really enjoy. As the tea cools it becomes honey sweet and loses any of the tobacco taste. I really like this tea, to me it evokes my childhood and autumn and I have found that if I am feeling unwell it really picks me up. I truly feel bad for ignoring it for so long. I do not know if this tea can be purchased online unless you do it wholesale, but you might find it locally if you are lucky.
The tea has a beautiful light amber color. The aroma is a mixture of hay mixed with a smoked seaweed smell, also a little bit of a pinto bean smell…hehe. The flavor is light and smokey with an after thought of seaweed. I also think of a late summer/early autumn evening in a meadow and the smell of fires in the distance.
The dry leaves are a mix of colours ranging from olive to light to charcol brown and smell of fruit, bread and a sweet lily.
I brewed this tea at 40, 50, 60 70and 80s. The steeped tea ranged in colour from light straw to light peachy orange.
Through out two brewing sessions captured scents and flavours of fruit ranging from plum, peach, marmelade, dried apricot, banana and lemon , grain notes ranging from sweet corn, toast and sugar cookies, spice, cinnamon and faint nutmeg, cream, vanilla, and light floral notes ranging from a sweet lily to honeysuckle. The tea also had light sweet vegetal notes and a light astringency in the front of the mouth.
Many of the leaves of this tea were broken, however the pieces were fairly large and the tea was not bitter. It maintained a creamy mouthfeel followed by a light astringency in the front of the mouth through all the steeps.
Overall the tea was pleasant with a lot of complexity in flavour. The flavour was not excessively sweet or intense. However I think I enjoyed the TKY in this series more because I enjoyed the spiciness in it more.
Finally, I am back on Steepster! I had a week there where work was really hectic, and then I got sick. I couldn’t taste anything! I wound up drinking my “swill” tea which is a tin of mixed loose black tea comprised of all of the black teas I’ve tried and didn’t like.
Anyhow, my best friend sent me a giant tin of this tea for my birthday (which is today, happy birthday, me!). Inside the tin are so many individual servings of loose tea in little paper bags.
This is a heavy roasted Tieguanyin. I really like this tea. The scent is awesome, but the flavor is a little weak. Maybe it’s not as complex as one could hope, but it’s really easy to drink. Since I have over a pound of this, and it was a gift from one of my favorite people in the world, I think I am going to age this and continue to drink a cup of it on each birthday I have!
This tea was quite a good grocery store bargain with a sweet spicy taste lasting through at least 5 infusions.
-Mid roast leaves green and greyish brown.
-Smells like a like a mixture of sweet floral and grape like the purple heritage iris’s of my grandmothers garden.
1st steep 30s colour pale gold. creamy spicy sweet brew, smell reminds me of brown sugar and oatmeal and apricots, tastes of warm heated peaches and banana, mixed with ginger chai without the heat. slightly buttery.
2nd steep 35 not as creamy,spice, stone, similar notes to first steep moving into more floral notes,freshning sensation at back and top of mouth.
3rd 40s smell more spicy fruit, spicy sensation on tongue, more floral
flavour. Taste reminds me of spicy carnation smell over hint of peaches and cream.
4th 45 still tastes slightly creamy with peaches and cream when hot with a little bit of spice, smells of cream and spice, almost nutmeg. slight bitterness from a floral/vegetal base note.
5th steep 55 scent and flavour peach and asparagus, weaker spice, weakening.
6th steep 120 thin broth, weak but pleasant flavour.
-spent leaves olive green edged in rust, with occassional holes and some evidence of being stressed by insects during growth.
i served it over 663times when i worked for part time in resto. it was not a bestseller cause normally people are not familiar with tea oolong in paris, When it comes to its price vs quality, it’s great deal. it’s neither too strong or too mild, smells like wood but i can’t describe it with the words like fantastic or horrible, just like a dried wood.. i’ve only tried in straight way, without sugar or milk.
I was really hoping this one would be good. I got this one and another one in a yellow box from the same brand while I was in Hong Kong. The leaves smell like raisins for some reason. When you steep it, it smells like wood. Or something. The taste is okay, but that smell is so overpowering that I just can’t drink it. My quest for good oolong continues…
This is the tea I ‘grew up’ drinking, starting with Chinese restaurant teas and moving on to this one, which I was taught to revere as special and rare, one my father had learned on from Chinese friends but found hard to get before the 80s. By the time I started to drink it, it was easier to find, but still not something that every chinese market would carry. If I couldn’t find the familiar red tin, I’d go home empty handed rather than buy an unknown tea. A long period when I could not get t from my usual suppliers finally led me to my new local Chinatown, tea shops, and the internet, and this is no longer my favrite tea.In retrospect I’m very glad that I didn’t find this tea on my first trip to Wing Hop Fung. But I’m glad that I eventually did find it again. It’s inexpensve, reliable, and comforting: a dark roasted toasty oolong with a little sweet, a lot of earthy, a touch of caramel, and when the leaves are treated just right, a bit of spicy too. I have managed to make a harsh bitter cup out of this one a few times, but it takes real effort: boiling water, too much of the dark, tightly curled leaf, and long steeping.
Use teaspoon per mug or 6oz pot, water 185-195, steep 1-2 minutes, and you’ll get another 1-2 steepings from the leaves.
It keeps very well, so it’s a great one To keep around just in case, to introduce newbies gently to the darker side of higher roast teas, and for effortless drinking when you’re to frazzled to break off a piece of puerh or babysit a tempermental green.
I’d rate it about a 65, but can’t Figure out the sliders on the phone.