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Recent Tasting Notes
Now that my life is beginning to settle down after getting a job (still need a car and a more permanent apartment…), I actually have time for things like tea reviews again!
Got this tea through my recent Steepster select batch, so I brewed it at the office this morning. 8 oz. of near boiling water, steeped for 2 minutes to avoid the dangerous over-steeping that can cause puerh to be unpleasant. The foretaste is a very smooth herbaceous flavor which is very hard to place, and the smoothness is not quite silky, but not really mineral either. More generally, the tea is very sweet and has been properly aged to avoid the bitterness that can be prevalent in younger green puerhs. I am very interested in seeming how the tea develops as the tuocha really starts to break up.
Second steep prepared exactly the same as the first, but the resulting tea was significantly darker. The aroma is also more prevalent, and it turns out that it’s a nice earthy aroma that isn’t overwhelming like some young shu puerhs. The aftertaste/mouth-feel has also evolved to be a definite mineral-like flavor. The other interesting thing is hat it reminds me a lot of hojicha, which is really unique for a puerh in my experience. This has definitely turned out to be a well above-average tea, and I’m honestly looking forward to the next steep.
Flavors: Earth, Herbaceous, Mineral, Sweet, Wood
I loved this pu-erh. It stands out as one of the sweetest pu-erh I’ve yet to taste.
1st infusion: sweet, honeyed, vegetal.
2nd infusion: sweet, creamy, vegetal – the combination of vegetal and creamy sort of gave this a creamed spinach taste only better, sweeter!
3rd infusion: still sweet but the sweetness is beginning to wane. Not so creamy, still vegetal.
4th infusion: Here’s where I stopped, because I found myself missing the sweetness of the first two cups. Still a delicious tea and would have gone on to deliver a lot more flavor, I’m sure, but, I just loved the sweetness so much that when it was gone, I missed it. More of a sweet vegetal note and less of the honeyed sweetness or creamy notes.
A really good pu-erh though, and one I’d recommend, because I loved those sweet notes!
This tea is the premium jasmine-scented tea from Seven Cups and I am drinking, right now, the version of the year 2013.
The light green pearls produce a superb fragrance, which apparently does not turn oversweet soon after opening the bag (as is the case with some jasmine teas) but retains its freshness. The leaves as they open in water are young and fresh-looking, quite small and mostly not broken. The buds look just cute.
I actually used 3/4 tsp for a 250 ml cup.
The tea is very mild-tasting. The presence of jasmine is strong but almost perfectly balanced. The result is pleasant and enjoyable: not too sweet, nothing bitter or irritating. One of the best jasmine teas I have ever tasted. Sometimes I drink jasmine-scented tea with food, especially oriental food, but this tea should probably be enjoyed separately from anything else in order to capture all the nuances of taste and fragrance. The first two steepings (2 mins each) share the same magnificence. On the 3rd steeping (2 mins 15-30 secs), the jasmine part weakens slightly but I can still taste Chinese spring in it. I would characterise the result of the 4th steeping (2 mins 30-45 secs) as a delicate and subtle green tea with a touch of jasmine. And my gf, who is an occasional but demanding tea drinker, classified this tea as ‘excellent’.
Flavors: Honey, Jasmine, Nectar
(1st steep: 3 min) I was a little shocked at how light this tea is. There is almost no aroma in the first steeping. Once the tea cooled a bit, I was able to pick up a strong mineral taste. I wasn’t able to pick up much else, and I believe that is because the water to tea ratio is too high. I am planning to cut from 16 oz to 12 oz in the next steeping. Towards the end of the cup, I was able to pick up a subtle floral aroma and flavor, but not strong enough to say what they might be.
(2nd steep: 3 min 30 sec) I reduced the amount of water in this steeping to 12 oz and still increased the time. Both mineral and floral aromas are present and are pleasant. It is an interesting tea, but I don’t believe I will make another steeping.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral
When this tea was in my Steepster Select box, I was thrilled. I’ve been wanting to try teas from Seven Cups.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/04/23/li-li-xiang-anxi-wulong-2013-oolong-tea-seven-cups/
This is easily one of the very best Oolongs I’ve tasted. It is a unique Oolong in that it has intriguing raw cacao notes along with some of the other flavors that you might ordinarily expect in a greener Oolong, like vegetative and nutty flavors. The cacao took me by surprise. Beautiful notes of vanilla too.
A really good Oolong. Highly recommended.
This is my afternoon cuppa, or I should say gaiwanna, for today.
I’ve been drinking this tea for weeks now, and it never fails to mesmerize me. The flavor does not change much from brew to brew, like most wulongs do, but it still yields a very intense, sweet and milky liquor.
The aroma bursts with tropical flower qualities, and the flavor is as if I am biting into a sugar cane stick. I also get notes of freshly picked snow pea, rock candy, and ripe melon. I can easily extract upwards of six full flavored brews in a gaiwan or small yixing pot.
There is also one flavor that is very unique to this tea, and the best way to describe it is “sunny.” This tea was hand picked on the sunniest day of a twenty day picking period. I’ve tasted many tieguanyins, and there is definitely a certain, unrivaled sunniness to this particular tieguanyin. I’ve only tasted it in a couple other batches (From Verdant and Ku Cha 2012).
I’m drinking this tea western style, in a tea strainer with a mug, today. The slight oxidation of this white tea (yes, true white tea is very slightly oxidized, contrary to popular belief) shines through when I brew it like this, slight malt notes and roasted macadamia. The body is lighter, which lets the more delicate flavors of maple and toasted oat come to the forefront.
I enjoy this particular Silver Needle more and more every time I try it. It’s slightly different from other silver needle teas that I’ve had, and a far cry better than Teavana’s!
Hello fellow steepsters! According to my tasting notes, it’s been two years since I’ve been on this site… such a long time. I look forward to catching up with y’all as I start adding tasting notes again and become more active on the site.
Right now, I’m sitting in SoCal, watching the marine layer recede from the sky through my window. All morning I have been enjoying Seven Cups’ Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) 2014 Organic White Tea. I am steeping the leaves in one of these cool tea jars where you let the leaves steep in the jar and the strainer at the top keeps the leaves from getting into your mouth.
WHAT!? You might say. The tea leaves just sitting there forever and ever? Don’t they get bitter, especially since it’s a white tea?
Actually, contrary to popular belief, a truly good Chinese green/white tea will never get bitter, no matter what you do to it. And, pleasure be mine, this tea has held up to that standard. I allow the leaves to steep in the jar for extended amounts of time, and the brew does not get even remotely bitter.
The first steeping graced my mouth with a medium-light body and notes of toasted cashew and pumpkin seed. Hints of peach pie also come through.
Second steep: body is maintained, notes of nutmeg and tree nuts.
Third steep: flavor is holding up extremely well, even though the mouth feel becomes lighter.
Residual: mostly whole, delicate tea buds, about 30% broken buds, which is more than what I’m used to coming from Seven Cups.
Overall, I enjoyed this tea very much. It’s the first time I’ve tried it since they changed their source and cultivar to Zheng He from Fuding. It’s not quite as buttery as it used to be, and the buds seem more delicate (they break more easily), but it’s still very good and worth the price I paid for it!
Happy tea drinking!
I very much enjoyed my first true pu-erh experience, as I have never before encountered an actual brick like I found in this packet. I was intimidated and afraid that I was doing it wrong, but I think I did fine. The nutty and toasted aroma had me expecting another warming, full-bodied tea, so I was pleasantly surprised by the mineral note in the body. The recess of sweetness really rounded out the flavor profile for me, and I find this to be a refreshing warm-weather tea. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. 7.5/10
A very delicate and interesting tea. The first stepping produced a roasted quality, reminding me of a hoji-cha style, which mellowed to a gentle sweetness in subsequent resteeps. Therewas a presence of mild tannins throughout, which surprised me because I am so used to tannins fading after the first steeping. Overall a decent tea, would have liked a little more fullness in the body and flavors. 6.5/10
Let’s be honest, I LOVE oolong, and oolong like this Li Li Xiang is exactly why.
The initial aroma of the dry leaves is sweet and peachy with hints of vanilla and floral. The wet leaves smell of dessert with just such aromas. I used this funky little travel gaiwan I recently got on a whim. The appeal of this piece is that it requires no additional equipment and not really a gongfu table or mat either. It has a little dam built over the inner lip on one side with holes poked into it to hold the leaves back while the water pours through them and off the spout on the other side. The lid of the gaiwan is the cup you drink from and holds all the tea at once so you don’t have to worry about oversteeping. You do, however have to start pouring about 10-15 seconds before your infusion is over or you might oversteep. It takes a bit of time to strain the water through the leaves.
This is my first time really using this gaiwan, but it worked wonderfully for this tea. The first infusion smells floral and fruity and the taste is of vanilla, floral and peach or apricot. Lots and lots of hui gan (recurring cooling sensation).
Steeping number two has a more heady floral flavor with a bit of tanginess and undertones of apricot or peach and seriously, that hui gan is immense! It really lingers in your mouth.
The flavor profile or this oolong is really reminding me of the Shan Lin Xi that came out in an earlier month this year in Steepster Select, though where they differ is that this one seems a bit more fruity where the Shan Lin Xi is more foresty and floral. They both offer a surprisingly bright and light bouquet that is very spring-like. The fruity and creamy tones make me recall a Jin Xuan that I have that’s grown on Mt. Dong Ding.
Really this is a wonderful tea that seems to cover a middle ground between some of my favorite oolong. I really recommend it!
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Flowers, Peach, Vanilla
Despite the reviews I read claiming this tea to be “salty” and harsh, I actually find it to be quite clean and subtle. This is my first encounter with a bird’s nest pu-erh, and I hope it won’t be my last.
Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Seaweed
I adore the little bird nests, and GREEN is so true in this case. Happy little green bird nests. I did two steeps. First one better than the second, which is pretty normal, right? EASY to oversteep, so watch yo self. Not my favorite puerh, probably wouldn’t drink it again if given the choice of a puerh lineup. But it wasn’t disgusting by any means.