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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
The look of this mini toucha is adorable. After an initial rinse, I steeped for 10 seconds and got a very bitter brew. I think this may be because in the course of trying to hold the gaiwan lid tight so that the tiny pieces wouldn’t come through, it took about 20 seconds total to pour. I softened it with some extra water. The leaves smell very oceany and vegetal, while the liquor smells smoky, slightly floral. In the liquor scent, I’m reminded of my aunt’s house growing up… dogs, cigarettes, and leather… they were farmers. Might sound odd, but it’s all coming back to me now. (duh-duh-duh dun dun duuun)
The tea tastes mineral, green, vegetal. By the second steep I’m getting more sweetness, but still rather bitter in the finish. Third steep is pretty mineral and oceany, still somewhat bitter, a little less sweet, kind of tart with a subtle pear-like note. Fourth steeping, still very mineral, green, oceany. That bitterness is killing me though. I’m beginning to think this tea needs special parameters outside my normal Puerh steeping guidelines. By the fifth steeping I’m kind off worn out on it. Mostly just tasting mineral and bitter.
Anyone feel free to reply to my review with brewing tips if you think I screwed up. I brewed this tea 10 seconds, 20, 30, etc. I’m going to not rate this tea because my rating would be very low and I don’t particularly want to taint the results not knowing if I just brewed it wrong myself.
Flavors: Metallic, Mineral, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed
Cute little Pu-erh individual piece wrapped nicely. The leaves pressed together are forest green colored.
This liquor does not smell the greatest to me. Then it smelled o.k.
The flavor is all bitter, no other flavors.
I love Seven Cups and have had some wonderful teas from them so I am wondering if I brewed this incorrectly.
From the Steepster Select Box, April 2014
Learning about puerh tea lots more now. The first time I tried this, I was unaware that it was sheng and very young.
I removed my other baby cake / toucha from the sealed pouch and am gonna let him age a bit before trying again :)
I burned myself out on Oolongs and had been staying away from them and trying other types of teas. This one was a good one to come back to Oolongs with!
Very delicious with floral notes but they are creamy fruit tree florals like peach and apricot.
There is a wonderful balance to those florals of a delicious vanilla wafer or other vanilla pastry. So this is like a light peach and apricot dessert, not too sweet though, subtle flavors. Lovely.
From the Steepster Select Box, April 2014
Second Steeping — 2 minutes and now that the rolled balls have opened up a bit, the liquor is a deeper golden champagne color and the leaves are pretty big leaves so they are more mature. Tastes a little more of the Tie Guan with those notes of floral and heaviness to the stomach. I have to drink just one cup of Tie Guan type teas because they are heavy on my stomach but very good flavors.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruit Tree Flowers, Peach
This tea is, as the provided description states, very earthy. It reminds me of the ocean and feels like I’m drinking the sea! Very mineral-like. Slightly floral. For some reason it tastes like I’m drinking what would be liquid ocean sand… but in a good way! Slight trace of bitterness, but nothing too noticeable to complain about.:) The only complaint I would have is the leaves themselves. They broke off into really tiny pieces, and even with the bag sealed, a lot of floaty pieces escaped into my tea. I know this isn’t something that is fixable, it’s just how the leaves are with this tea. Overall the taste is very good, earthy, wet, and enjoyable.
Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Mineral, Sand, Seaweed
Thank you to Lee for sharing some of this tea with me. I do enjoy a good shui xian, & today is the perfect day for a cozy tea such as this one. We are having spring thunderstorms on & off, so the air is heavily humid, with that gloomy overcast kind of sky that makes me just want to go back to bed. I only have one more student today, & not until 4:30, which makes this a perfect afternoon to do a variety of small projects at my desk, while sipping an endless stream of teas! My kind of day!
When I opened the bag this tea came in & breathed in its sweet & floral essence, every voice in my head (especially Ms Theresa’s) said, “Yixing”. But I followed the suggestions of 1.5 Tb to 16 oz for 2 minutes. It was tasty, with a gentle essence of a creamy caramel flan with maybe a little burnt brown sugar on top, but I honestly wish I’d either used less water or a longer steep, so I switched the leaf over to my yixing for the resteeps.
We live, we learn :)
Recently tried this when I went to Seven Cups of Tea. They were out of the Keemun I wanted to try, so on the suggestion of the lovely lady at the store I tried this one. I really loved this one and bought some to bring home. This tea stands up to many many brews. I brewed three tiny pots and then two large to go cups and there is still flavor; I just give slightly more brew time each time. Their is a lovely round umami feel to this one despite being a black tea. I catch bits of sweet potato, apricot, malt and fig with just a bit of nice tannin astringency. The smell of the brewed leaves is sweet and just a tad fruity with some maltiness. The woman mentioned that this is the perfect tea in between the fruit and spice and I believe her! The label mentions you can brew it six times.
The dry leaves smell so good like cream and sitting by the rocks on the ocean shore. They are blackish-brown, medium size and all uniform semi-twisted.
Brewed, this tea also smells amazing like toasted granola with vanilla almond milk. There is a scent of sugary caramel as well.
The flavor has just the right amount of roast for me. It is definitely roasted but not as much as some of the rock wulongs are and I like that. It is well balanced with roast, cream, and a subtle amount of sweet. I would really love a bit more sweet in there for a perfect balance but that is very hard to find.
A second steeping brought me even more creamy notes on the nose and still a nice roasted but not much sweet flavor.
Flavors: Cream, Espresso, Vanilla
The dry leaves are black, twisted, and fairly long. They have a vanilla, toasty aroma.
Brewed, the liquor smells of sweet cream and a caramel dessert. The color is a beautiful auburn jewel shade.
The flavor is a roasted dark toast when drinking in and then subtle sweetness comes when breathing out.
I tried three different steep times (and one temperature lowering) for this Da Hong Pao, each with fresh dry leaves, to learn from.The first steep time that I tried is noted in the taste note settings here and is what the package suggests, 212 F for at least 2 minutes. (The taste notes above)
My next try was 212 F for a quicker 1 1/2 minutes. I was trying to see if more sweetness comes thru with less steeping but I found that by doing this, you just get a weaker version of the same dominant flavors.
I tried one more experiment with dry fresh leaves (I had lots of tea to share today), I lowered the temperature to 200 degrees for 2 minutes. As this version cooled, I liked it the best but it still had the same flavor notes.
By doing all of this, I wanted to see if the roasting process they perform on the tea causes the dominant flavor or if it can be manipulated by your temps and steep times.
I found that it was the same flavors no matter what I did so the flavor mainly has to do with the roasting or how they process the tea as long as you don’t over-steep. Still learning,,lol!!
So over all, I found that this tea has a very dark roasted flavor with very subtle sweet notes as you breathe out and I enjoyed learning from it too!!!!
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Espresso, Vanilla
The dry leaves had a strong essence of Hawaiian mango which intrigued me! They were long, dark, slender, and toasted brown. All the leaves were uniform.
The brewed tea had that wonderful aroma that is so fantastic in Oolongs,,,toasty, floral, creamy. Everytime you bring your mouth up to drink this one, the scent of the Iris.
This is a delicious and fragrant Oolong. Paired it with fresh blueberries for breakfast and it was heavenly.