Shang TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve stared at this tea on Steepster for a while and I’ve yet again been iffy about it because of price. Here’s to trading, sampling, and hawkband1! This was very similar to a jasmine black but obviously more citrusy with the tangerine peel. The tangerine blossom was nice and the hong cha was very smooth. The tea only had a hint of astringency. It was fairly similar in each cup gong fu after short steeps, but they were the same variations that I associate with a black tea. A little bit of the snobby “caramel” note in there, but the tangerine and its blossom dominate.
I am glad that there is some citrus with the florals in the black tea. I’m iffy about jasmine blacks since they can be a little bit strong for me personally. They are good with cream and sugar however. And to totally contradict that same statement, my mom used to put orange blossoms in her tea to scent it/flavor individual cups of green and black tea. Hence why I liked this tea though I do not think I would purchase my own amount of it. I’m glad to sample it and it is really good.
Backlog. Pretty sure this also came from the Midwest Tea Fest.
I was a little unsure about it, but I do really like citrus.
Dry leaf smells vaguely citrus.
Steeped westren for 1.5 min at 195F.
Slightly sweet, citrus. I liked it more than I thought I would. Especially as the last citrus scented tea I had from Shang I hated – unrelentingly bitter.
Flavors: Citrus, Sweet
This one is from Nicole a while back. Thanks so much, Nicole! I’ve been drinking it a couple times, but just now writing a tasting note. It’s an “aged” white tea so I’m sure it will only get better with time. :D The leaves are certainly different than any white tea I’ve seen.,, so many different colors, including some that look like flower petals are thrown in, but no, it’s only the white tea leaves. There is quite the wispiness of flavor changes in this one. The flavors are constantly changing from one sip to the next, so I’ll just list them: first is something like champagne or white wine, hints of the lightest grape, then a starchiness along with some honey. As it cools, it’s the freshest, fruitiest and most floral white tea I think I’ve had. The second steep gets even smoother, probably because most of any white tea leaf fuzzies were in the first cup. Still a sweet cup while having more of that traditional white tea flavor. This time I could swear it’s a little minty and there is no way there was flavor contamination from the infuser. The color of the brew is a deep gold. One of the best white teas I’ve ever had!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 18 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
This is an old sample I found in my cupboard. I’m not 100% sure who I got it from…*tea-sipper*, I think. Anyway since it’s of unknown but definitely old age, I opted for a longer brew time than I would normally do for a first steep with a white tea.
The aroma of the brewed tea is nice. Typical for a white tea, hay mainly. I haven’t had tea in so long. We moved recently and most of my stash is still in boxes. So when I say I found this in my cupboard, what I really mean is, I found this in a box. :) All my tea is probably going to go bad before I can enjoy it. It’s my fault for buying so much at once.
The flavor is nice too. It’s much sweeter than expected. Sweet hay. This is very enjoyable, especially because it’s been too long since I last had a nice cuppa. Thanks to whoever passed it my way!
Well, I don’t know the full story behind this one, but if I’m not mistaken it’s from the tea farm of Shang’s friend, which is no longer an active tea farm, but the trees there are let to grow on their own now, so they go over to harvest the wild tea from them sometimes. And I think that’s where this oriental beauty is from, if I remember right. I’m brewing this gongfu style.
The aroma of the leaves after the first infusion is really floral and lovely. It’s a light kind of floral like roses and lychee. The first infusion is sweet and has some of the same quality in its flavor, in addition to honey notes.
The second infusion has more of the honey and floral notes, and also tastes like really sweet squash, like delicatta squash or kabocha. There are dried autumn leaf notes as well.
The third infusion is more honey like and rich in flavor. It has a bit more woody and fallen leaf notes in the flavor now.
I really enjoy this tea. In fact, it might be the best Oriental Beauty tea I’ve had. I haven’t particularly cared for the type in general in the past, but this one has the notes I love.
A friend of mine tells me this tea is a bit sensitive to heat and will become bitter if brewed too hot. I am brewing it at 85C/185F and there’s no bitterness here, so that seems like the right temperature. :3
Edit: I came back to this for another infusion and brewed it more strongly and it gave me more unexpected flavors. It had a really strong presence of nutmeg, clove, and other autumn spices. Totally unexpected! I had some food in between. It may have effected how it tasted to me.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butternut Squash, Honey, Lychee, Rose, Wood
Today’s cold brew. 30oz water, leaf added until it looked good.
Juicy, crisp and thick. Reminds me of clouds and cotton. Flowery at end of sip – probably the peony. Flavor coats mouth for a while after.
Good staying power. I’ve refilled once and leaves still had flavor to give. Leaves are intact, so no little bits up the straw like yesterday. 94
Flavors: Floral, Thick
This is a new tea from Shang Tea, just produced last month, and I invite the Shang Tea staff to edit and update this page’s info as needed since I don’t have a lot of the info to add myself.
Shang produced this tea from the same plants that they harvest for his Special Reserve Green Tea (my favorite tea of his, one of my top favorite teas ever). These are plants from an abandoned tea farm that has been growing on its own for some years now (I forget how long). Unlike their previous yellow tea produced from these plants, this one is not pressed into a cake. It is loose.
Yellow tea involves heaping the leaves after firing, and wrapping them in cloth to swelter in their own aroma and heat. This is done two or three times if I remember right and is an all-night process, done at intervals over the nighttime hours. The intention with yellow tea is to remove some of the bright grassy flavors that some tea drinkers don’t enjoy and to highlight the more mellow, smooth notes of the tea.
Theoretically, you should be able to tell yellow tea from green because the leaves look yellowed. With teas that have a lot of white hairs this is more obvious but with darker green leaf teas it looks more like an olive color. This tea from Shang has that tone.
After the first infusion, the aroma of the leaves is really nutty and mellow, and reminds me a lot of zucchini tempura. The taste of the tea is really mellow too, and quite sweet. The flavor tastes a bit like cooked zucchini as well, it’s dewy and vegetal. It’s a little bit grassy too, but not much.
I’m brewing this in a gaiwan, Gongfu style, and the second infusion is much like the first but more rich and full flavored. I’ts still really sweet and mellow though, with no bitterness at all.
By the third infusion there’s a slightly toasty flavor that reminds me of the crust on a creme brulee, but it’s a background note. Toasted hazelnut might sound like a more accurate description to some people. It’s got a little more of a vegetable broth taste now too, and reminds me a bit of sugar snap peas. Still getting cooked zucchini too.
I really love this tea. It isn’t a cheap tea because of the production method, but it is worth it. This is one of the best teas I’ve had, honestly, and easily the best yellow tea I’ve had.
One note here, I brewed this at 176F/80C, not a very hot temperature, and the same one I use for green teas. I’ve had it brewed at 85C and it was a bit more “zesty” and bright tasting. Also I’ve had it brewed at around 90c and it had a much stronger flavor. There was some bitterness every time except for this current session at 80C, so I think I prefer it this way. It depends on how much you like some bitterness in your tea.
Flavors: Broth, Garden Peas, Hazelnut, Sweet, Toast, Zucchini
Pao blossom, if you hadn’t read the story from Shang Tea, is a flower that was once used more commonly to scent teas, but in recent memory is almost unheard of, at least here in the West. The flower is a relative of grapefruit and supposedly only grown on 3-5 square miles in the world now.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the aroma of the tea leaves does remind of grapefruit. There’s a hint of toasted creme brulee in the aroma of the wet leaves, as well as some juicy white grape, and a hint of anise. If you’ve tried Shang’s Tangerine Blossom Red Tea, the aroma has some similarities. It also reminds me somewhat of the aroma of orange blossoms. Alas, all the citruses are related.
Where this floral scented tea parts from most others I’ve tried is that it isn’t particularly sweet. In fact it has a lingering mild bitterness that fans of grapefruit might enjoy. The taste is creamy with hints of anise. Some will say this tea is similar to jasmine, and while that connection could be made, I’d have to grumble at any claim that this is more extraordinary or delectable than jasmine. Pao has a more “down-to-earth” presence than jasmine, not as heady and floral, though just as aromatic. The bitter tones and lack of sweetness ground the flavor in a way that jasmine isn’t grounded, and in the opinion of this reviewer, there isn’t the complexity achievable with using jasmine to scent tea. I would wager that this is a major consideration for why jasmine tea is now ubiquitous and pao blossom is not. This is nothing bad on Shang Tea, of course, as they produce both types.
This tea needs to be brewed rather light or the taste may become a bit bitter, drying, almost soapy. Of course, this is a matter of preference, but among my circle this is the preference.
As for tasting notes, there are hints of cucumber in the background from the white tea, but the predominant flavor is that of the pao blossoms, which is creamy, reminding me of a combination of coconut milk and hints of anise. If you’ve ever eaten lotus or had lotus tea, it is reminding me a lot of that.
This tea’s nature is rustic to me. It’s not a bright, spring-like, vibrant tea, but an earthy, calm, grounding one.
Flavors: Anise, Citrus, Creamy, Cucumber, Fruit Tree Flowers
The flavor of this tea varies greatly depending on how you prepare it. If you follow the package directions it’s strongly floral with hints of an almost orange-like citrus. I actually found it to be a little overpowering this way, even though I love floral teas. Instead I prefer to cut the amount of dry leaf I use in half, which produces a lightly floral cup with strong hints of citrus and a slightly sweet undertone. This is one of those teas that gives you a lot of wiggle room in terms of preparation, so it can be prepared to fit a variety of tastes, but brewing it at a higher temperature tends to bring out a somewhat astringent note. If you’re a fan of floral oolongs or even jasmine scented teas this will be right up your alley.
You can read the full review on my blog:
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Here I am sitting on my Quetzal waiting for a new Anklyo to tame, she is a level 72 (not as high as I would like but the level 96 I was going to tame was accidentally killed by a fellow tribe, oops) I have three of the beasties, but they are all pretty low level, so she will be part of my current project of making everything super efficient. Taming is a very good time to have lots of tea and to write/paint, especially if I get lucky and I am taming a creature with slow dropping torpor, I can keep an eye on things while also doing other things.
Today I am looking at Shang Tea, a local tea shop that I do not spend enough time at, I am hoping to go back and visit before the Midwest Tea Fest in May (everyone should go) but I am saving my money to spend there. If I am able to go stock up I will definitely be getting their Autumn Red, the tea I am covering today! Unlike the other red teas from Shang that I have tried, this one is super fancy, harvested in autumn of 2011, so not only is it a harvest from a time not usually used, it is also aged a bit. This tea first showed up in the Special Reserve Club, so I was very stingy with my stash, but recently I found out it is in the shop as well, so yours truly binged on the last of it and now needs more! The aroma of the small curly leaves is something else, notes of sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts blend with molasses, sweet stewed tomatoes, bamboo, molasses, autumn leaves, and a finish of dried fruit. It blends sweet and savory, rich and light all in one aroma profile, I admit it took me a while trying to put to words what all was going on in this tea…the stewed sweet tomatoes being the hardest to pin down.
Into my celadon gaiwan the leaves go, red tea in celadon is a guilty pleasure of mine, the colors are so pretty! The aroma of the leaves is still malty and sweet, though not nearly as much so, it takes on more richness. Notes of starchy yams and bamboo blend with molasses and just a touch of peanuts and honey. The liquid is intense sweetness, stewed plums and dried peaches mix with malt and yams with a definite molasses and earthy roasted peanuts and autumn leaves. I am a little amazed at the sweetness and fruitiness, it smells so good!
The first steep has a light earthy almost mineral start to it, mixing with a smooth almost slippery mouthfeel it reminds me strongly of rain water. There is a lot more to this tea than just rainwater, there are strong notes of yams and peanuts with a hint of cooked plums and a touch of molasses. The finish is honey sweet with a lingering aftertaste of honey and starch.
For the second steep the aroma somehow manages to be richer, still just as sweet but with an addition of cocoa like richness that blends well with the fruit and yams. The taste does not really deviate much in notes from the first steep, in changes in intensity and mouthfeel though! No more the slippery rainwater feel, it is all smooth and with a slight thickness. Another quite enjoyable thing about this tea is the aftertaste, strong yams and honey that lasts for quite a while.
The aroma of the third steep is strong in the malt and yam, but light on the fruit and peanut notes, though it certainly stays strong on sweetness and richness. This steep is still quite smooth, but not quite as thick, the taste is stronger in earthy peanut and autumn leaf notes with a strong malt in the middle and finish of sweet fruit. This tea was quite the treat, really quite delicious with an excellent personality (teas totally have those, I swear) that captured the essence of autumn!
Fuzzy leaves, strongly scented with jasmine. Taste – jasmine, soft taste of whit tea with buttery mouthfeel. Relatively thick taste. Well scented – not too much, not overpowering like some jasmines can be. It never tastes overdone or over-jasmined. Scent hold through the second infusion. Taste fainter, still buttery, more of whit tea present in taste. I really like this tea. Very well done jasmine tea.
Flavors: Butter, Jasmine