Shang Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

100

This year’s Special Reserve Green Tea from Shang Tea is unlike any I’ve tried before it. While the common basic tastes and aromas that inhabited this tea in earlier years are present, creating a buttery, brothy, sweet and vegetal brew, the nuances have changed quite a bit. This year, rather than more the dark roasted seaweed tones I’ve gotten from other incarnations, there’s an incredible floral tone in the scent that reminds me of lotus. It reminded a friend of mine of anise/licorice, which I’d say is in the same aroma family, but I’d say it’s a little lighter and more floral than that, hence the lotus. The brew itself is as buttery, rich and umami as any other year, but there’s a note that reminds me quite a bit of broccoli and the subtle lotus tones also inhabit the flavor.

I absolutely love this tea. Special Reserve Green from Shang Tea has been my #1 favorite tea for a while. As such, I’ve fiddled with many ways of brewing it, ranging from gongfu to western. This time around I brewed about 2.5g for 45 seconds for the first gongfu infusion in a 100ml gaiwan, 30 seconds for the next, then add about 15 seconds each later infusion. The water temperature is 185F/85C. This green tea takes well to a warmer temperature than you’d brew most others. It brings out some more zesty notes without making it bitter.

Man, I can’t get enough of this.

Flavors: Broccoli, Flowers, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Another of my samples from TeaTiff. I wasn’t really sure what region this tea was from, so I looked it up on their website. Turns out it’s actually fermented from white tea buds which seems unusual. And it’s from the Fujian province. The leaves are quite small and thin, and very dark with a few golden spots. I can’t really tell you much about the smell because everything from this package smells like milk oolong! Heh. I brewed mine for 2 minutes.

The aroma reminds me of a Yunnan tea. There’s a definite bread scent with honey and malt, and something else… Maybe a touch of creaminess? But wow, this doesn’t taste like any other black tea I’ve tried. I can definitely tell that it’s made from white tea. It has that lovely smooth hay flavor, but mixed with some malt and a little bit of a bread. There’s a deep flavor in the background that reminds me of molasses, but without being sweet.

While I did enjoy it, I found the flavor a bit light. I have enough for one more cup, so I think I’ll hold off on a rating until I try this at a 3 minute steep! :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Hay, Malt, Molasses

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

This tea is gorgeous

TeaTiff

Oh man, note to self, wrap milk oolong in tin foil when I send it next time. Sorry to have smell contaminated everything. I hope it isn’t affecting the taste.

Cameron B.

TeaTiff, I haven’t had any problems with the taste, and I happen to like the smell of milk oolong. :P So not really a big issue!

Nicole

I will admit I am a total Shang fan-girl. This is so amazingly smooth it blows my mind.

Cameron B.

Nicole, it’s definitely a hybrid of white and black teas for me. And I did really enjoy it! Will try the 3 minute steep soon.

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40
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
114 tasting notes

Astringent. Just okay. Sweet smell but mineral taste.

Flavors: Mineral

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Shang Tea

Hi hapatite,

Thanks for the review. If you still have some left, I would recommend letting the water cool a little below boiling (around 205) and then let it brew for only 1-2 minutes and let me know what you think. Hopefully it will taste a little more floral and sweet this way

Thanks!

hapatite

Thanks for the note! Sadly, I only had enough to make one cup.

Shang Tea

Just realized the email was blocked. Either send us a private message with your mailing address, or you can find our email at the bottom of the shang tea website (www.shangtea.com). Thanks!

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89
drank Golden Needle King by Shang Tea
100 tasting notes

I received this in a swap from TeaTiff. Thanks so much for introducing me to Shang! This is a really interesting tea. According to Shang this is made from a white tea bush, which likely explains the “difference” I taste in this. It’s a bit hard for me to describe that difference, but it is so very good. It brews up a reddish amber cup with with a bready, sugary aroma. The first sip is sweet. Brown sugar sweet with a pleasant malty note that becomes a bit more prominent as it cools. This is pretty tea. It tastes pretty and it is starting my stupidly early morning in a lovely way – letting me coast into full consciousness on a sweet note. Thanks so much TeaTiff. This goes on the shopping list.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Golden Needle King by Shang Tea
100 tasting notes

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89

Backlog. I need to be quick with these backlog notes because my time is severely limited. I am supposed to prepare for work in… 2 minutes ago :P And tomorrow I’ll be gone (away from the Internet at least, for almost 2 weeks). Anyway, here’s my quick thoughts about this tea that I jotted down on a piece of paper when I was having it:

- creamy, buttery, sweet
- delicious!
- has everything I love about Chinese green teas (at least the buttery type)
- it’s more on the honey-like greens than vegetal-greens
- smells divine!
- the dry leaf looks beautiful, wiry and downy, kind of like white tea except greener (duh!)
- I will definitely consider buying 2 oz. of this when I am ordering the Tangerine Blossom Red and Honeysuckle White!

Shang Tea, hell yeah! Great job.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

sounds yum!

Shang Tea

Thanks Kat_Maria, glad you are enjoying all the tea!

TeaBrat

I think I need some of this…

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86
drank Bai Lin Kung Fu by Shang Tea
4673 tasting notes

boychik sent this one my way and fulfilled one of my wishlist teas. I’ve been wanting to try this one again since i had it almost a year ago and didn’t get the chance to write much about it. this is a great tea. this is smooth and clean…there’s a bit of a note in here that could almost be floral but it’s not…if that makes any sense. There’s a sweetness here to, making this a unique cup of tea. thanks for the re-visit boychik!

boychik

I just love anything fr Shang( except jasmine just not a fan in general)

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83
drank Loose Aged White Tea by Shang Tea
332 tasting notes

This was the first tea Nicole served at the tea party this weekend! Thank you!

I haven’t had a Shang tea that I haven’t liked. This was a nice light tea. I do not remember too much about the actual taste of the tea, but it was a very nice cup. I remember thinking this would be a good calming cup for bed time.

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96
drank Jasmine Snow Dragon by Shang Tea
511 tasting notes

Used this in some truffles for the tea party today. They tasted really strongly of jasmine and it was a nice addition to the dark chocolate. I steeped about 2 tablespoons in 1/2 cup of cream for about 6 minutes. This is a very strong jasmine and I could see it giving a good jasmine flavor to anything you might want to put it in.

Pictures from tea party: http://s1165.photobucket.com/user/dagony/library/Tea%20Parties?sort=3&page=1

TheTeaFairy

Nicole, your tea party looks awesome, Ritz Carlton has nothing on you :-)

Nicole

Aw, that’s very nice of you to say. :)

carol who

Beautiful!

Jennkay

Wow, everything looks so pretty and delicious! I still need to find time to make those truffles

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90

I had the opportunity to taste this in the store on Thursday. We went through about 4 steeps I think and while I preferred the 1st steep, the subsequent ones were also excellent.

It was buttery, smooth, and woodsy. Another excellent offering from Shang Tea. We also tried the White Tea Wu-Long Premium which, IIRC, has been aged longer than this. Both were great but both my mother & I preferred this one. The longer aged one had a somewhat sharper quality. Not putting this in my cupboard since I wasn’t the one who actually bought it, but I can snag some from Mom anytime so it is still available for swap. :)

boychik

You are so lucky !

Lion Repshire

So awesome you got to try them both! I am going to write a review of the Special Reserve one very soon, as I have some on hand and have been trying to get more Shang Tea reviews written lately.

I tried the regular Wulong and the Special Reserve Wulong on separate occasions and I thought I had preferred the regular as well. I wanted to find the specific differences in taste so I asked the folks at the shop if we could brew them both and do a blind taste-test. We did that and after a few steepings, the one I consistently liked the most was the Special Reserve, so that’s the one I came home with.

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91

Now this is a unique white tea. Similar to a White Peony, this wild tea has big broad green-brown leaves that look like little dragon wings.

The flavor of this white tea is somewhat difficult to describe in terms of other things it smells or tastes like. The brewed leaves smell of honey, floral and musk. The taste of tea has a honeyed sweetness and a rich umami, like mushroom or zucchini, yet it remains just as light and smooth as any other high quality white tea I’ve had. The finish is smooth, no astringency and there’s a lingering umami on the tongue. There are tiny hints of clove, cinnamon, and rolled oats in the finish.

This white tea has a generous rich mouthfeel and reminds me of a leggy white wine in that regard. The thing that really sets this wild white tea apart from other white teas of its type is in how rich and umami it is. I am used to more grassy, floral, and even citrus notes in white teas, but this one is really savory. Let it become almost tepid for a really interesting change in flavor. It brings out both the sweetness and the spicy end notes.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Honey, Mushrooms, Oats

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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83
drank White Peony King by Shang Tea
213 tasting notes

Backlog!

Shang Tea don’t have any mediocre tea to offer, not to mention a bad one. It’s pretty apparent. I still haven’t tried the entire sampler that I got from them but I don’t think there was yet a tea from them I’ve had that I was at least remotely disappointed with.

I don’t have straight white teas very often. Not sure why because I definitely enjoy them. I know that to some white teas don’t taste like much of anything, but I have always enjoyed their delicate and sweet notes. Anyway, the cup of this tasted unmistakably of honey, smelled gorgeous and I loved it. I am not sure if I would get more of it as I would probably go with their honeysuckle white instead, but I definitely recommend it to all the white tea aficionados!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nicole

I just picked up more of the honeysuckle white yesterday!

Kat_Maria

You are so lucky to be able to visit their store :)

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96
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
306 tasting notes

This is a sample from TeaTiff – thank you
Today i made it western
1tsp 8oz 200F
30/30/45/45/45sec
i combined it into one Timolino and went to Kickboxing class with my son. i used to be a soccer mom, now I’m kickass mom
i really like this way because tangerine blossoms are so gentle and not overpowering. i have a problem with floral/jasmine teas. They are too perfume for me. this time its just right. Base is chocolatey bready, soo good. My son gulped 1/3 of Timolino and liked it as well (and he is very picky with food or drinks)
I started watching “Orange is The New Black” on Netflix. its hilarious. i love it. Never thought I would be interested.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TheTeaFairy

haha! I much prefer kick ass mom :-)

Tea Pet

Tangerine Blossom and Orange is the New Black… I see a theme here… :p (ps. That show is amazing!)

Stephanie

Tea sounds wonderful! I like that show too but Piper is my least favorite character, lol

boychik

Agree. My fav are Ms Claudette and Red. I also like Crazy Eyes.

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99

It’s about time I got around to reviewing more Shang Teas, as they are an incredible company, based locally for me, and my main source of tea since my fascination with Gongfu Cha and high quality loose teas began.

Let me start by saying this, I have never tasted a better White Peony tea than this one. This tea truly stands above the rest. It may be a little hard for me to be objective, as the current year I have from them is 2008 and that year is sentimentally-speaking the greatest of my life so far. Knowing this tea was harvested that year, I feel I transcend time when I drink it and the nostalgia of my memories of a half-year stay in South Africa flood back in.

This tea is incredibly smooth. On the first infusion of this pale-yellow green brew I am tasting very evident notes of cucumber, subtle notes of walnut and wild grass. This white tea is smooth, very smooth, almost creamy even. There’s a delicate lingering sweetness and a velvety feeling on the tongue for a while after a drink. There is no astringency or dryness whatsoever. This tea is as clean-tasting as it gets. The brewed leaves smell of parsley

Second steeping, the flavor is even more round, and be assured this tea is very round, we’re talking 360 degrees round. It doesn’t have the brighter “green” qualities of some younger white teas but showcases a maturity that is smooth and full. In terms of flavor, the second infusion offers a more nutty quality than the first. The light cucumber notes have backed away. There’s a slightly herbaceous taste. The lingering mild sweetness reminds me of the lingering flavor of a fresh baked pastry or donut, albeit much, much subtler.

With repeated infusions, the flavor is consistently light and delicately sweet. This tea is pleasant and easily approachable all-around. The dewy cucumber notes came back around a few steepings in. How lovely.

I’ve noticed other users here have given this tea a perfect 100 score, and it is definitely deserving. This is one of the finest white teas in the world. My only reason for the 99 rating is that I reserve the perfect score for my holiest most absolute personal favorites. As my palate for delicate white teas is still learning and developing (those subtle nuances can be really hard to detect for an American whose palate is used to strong-flavored food and drink), I haven’t quite been wowed to the point of absolute dedication to a particular white tea yet.

Flavors: Cucumber, Herbaceous, Pastries, Sweet, warm grass, Walnut

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

i want to move to Kansas and live next to Shang tea ;)

Lion Repshire

Oh, it is a joy, especially to go into the store and sit and have tea with them. Everyone who works there is so nice and interesting to talk to!

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40
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
114 tasting notes

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85

Thanks so much to Amanda Wilson for a sample of this tea!

Maybe my first Shang tea? This is quite charming. Creamy hay like white tea and gentle sweet floral honeysuckle. Very nice!

I have such a love/hate relationship with honeysuckle. I LOVE the scent, and I used to sip the nectar from the blossoms as a kid. (SO GOOD!) As an adult however, I’ve got honeysuckle taking over my flower bed and it is SUPER ANNOYING! shakes fist at it :)

Shang Tea

Thanks for the review Stephanie!

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88
I chased down the fed ex truck today. For some reason on Saturdays they do not leave packages at our door and do not bother coming inside the condo to check to see if folks are home. He was carrying the much need diapers and my first gaiwan. Today was also a Shang Tea run. I restocked on Tangerine Blossom and grabbed a few samples. This was one of the samples. This was one was recommended to try in the new gaiwan.

I am loving just the concept of the tiny amount of tea at a time let alone the range of flavors I am getting out of one sample of tea. This is a really good. It started out nutty and almost like a roasty toasty oolong and now has turned into a very sweet delicate, almost green oolong. I was too busy pouring and sipping to keep track of all the “notes” that I tasted but this was yummy!

Marzipan

I will be having my first gaiwan experience soon. What did you use for proportions, tea/water?

TeaTiff

Shang’s samples come in 3.5 grams so I put the entire sample in the 140ml gaiwan and did a little hoping that it worked out. I have since been searching the internet in hopes there was a magical chart somewhere. Most info just seems to say 1/4-1/3 full vessel of tea to water.

Marzipan

Then how much water in each infusion?

TeaTiff

I have just been filling the qaiwan so I am unsure of how much water that would be. ~140ml – the value of the tea. I have watched a few of Verdants videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YsXwuQPdmE

boychik

With this method short steeps recommended 5/10/15 sec. Some tea require immediate pour

Shang Tea

Thanks for the review Teatiff! We love brewing tea in a gaiwan and think that it is a little more art than science. What we love about gaiwans is that you can really get a good sense of the color of the tea by dipping the lid into the tea as it is brewing, and you can get a good sense of smell/taste by sniffing the bottom of the lid (which captures most of the flavor). Happy experimenting and enjoy your gaiwan!

TeaTiff

Shang, Thank you for the suggestions on how to experiment with the gaiwan a bit more!

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75
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
1824 tasting notes

Sipdown!! (143)

Thank you Kat_Maria for sending this my way. EvaGrimm described this as candied fruit and though I certainly feel like that is an apt description, I would just like to add that this is also quite floral. It almost reminds me of a Jasmin tea (as those tend to taste like candied flowers) or Dammann Frere’s Violette. Not a bad cup but also not necessarily for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to have tried it though :).

Courtney

I found it just a touch too floral for me, which was too bad since it would’ve been awesome with just a bit less floral-ness.

VariaTEA

Yeah, it was much more floral than I anticipated. To be fair though, I was half expecting it to be too citrusy so the floral was a welcome surprise. With that said, it was still enough tha I wouldn’t want to have this tea again.

Jennkay

I agree both about it reminding me of jasmine and also that it was too floral. Definitely different from what I imagined.

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80
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
73 tasting notes

T&C TTB

I love it when a tea tastes like it smells and this is one of those teas! It’s very fragrant and tastes tart yet sweet like a piece of candied fruit.

Thank you for adding this to the tea box TeaTiff!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

I received this as a surprise sample in my swap with TeaTiff. Thank you for including this.

When I was adding my samples to my cupboard when I received this a couple months ago, I didn’t notice how highly rated this was. It’s been sitting in my cupboard generally unnoticed. But I’ve gone through most of my black tea samples in the last couple days and am down to the last ones. This one smelled slightly of grape to me. The taste of this is very VERY similar to jasmine. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if I didn’t know that it’s tangerine blossoms. There is a little bit of a citrus tanginess to it. This is really good, but I really love jasmine and have never been disappointed with a jasmine tea. I find a lot of flavours are hard to get right (banana, peach, lychee), but I find jasmine is hard to get wrong, or so it seems. This is like a good jasmine tea with a little something extra.

TeaTiff

I am glad you enjoyed this. It is interesting that you compare this to Jasmine. I have a jasmine tea to try. I will have to brew a cup of the jasmine and this back to back to take a note of the similarity.

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drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
675 tasting notes

I am wholly confused that this tea says “black tea” as the tea type, yet in the ingredients it says “organic white tea leaves”, and in the description it mentions “red tea base” (which, as far as I know, is a type of black tea?)

Regardless of that, this is decent. It’s definitely a nice quality tea, but the flowery aspect isn’t really doing it for me. It isn’t repulsive, as I find most floral teas, but it just doesn’t tickle my fancy either. I’ll have to pay more attention to see if I can get any citrus, but it certainly isn’t jumping out at me.

Thanks for sharing MirandaGou!

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87

Yet another tea from Shang Tea that is great!

It must have been one of the best white teas that I have tried so far – smooth and sweet, fragrant and delicate in a way that only white teas can be… I have no idea how honeysuckle tastes / smells in isolation but it blends wonderfully with the base tea and enhances some of its natural sweetness and charm. I still have a little bit of my sample left, but I will be definitely ordering more of it some day.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank High Mountain Green by Shang Tea
616 tasting notes

Definitely not a grassy, but a fuller vegetal type flavor that’s more akin to spinach or another dark green veggie. It has the same brothy, smooth heft that is most common in Dragonwell, though it lacks any nutty notes, and it more quenching and bright.

This has kind of an understated elegance to it. It doesn’t seem complicated and is really easy and comforting to drink, and would work well when the focus on something else, but if you take the time and really focus on the cup, other green and buttery levels seems to emerge.

Thanks a lot for this one Eva!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83
drank White Tea Wu-long by Shang Tea
213 tasting notes

I just made a little pot of this for my husband and me and I will probably keep re-steeping it late into the night (well, not TOO late). My hub, who generally drinks whatever tea I happen to be drinking at the moment without any fuss, and who never says much about any of them except for labeling any and every fruit flavored tea as smelling like fruit loops, today expressed the following about this tea: “It’s very creamy, it reminds me of an oatmeal stout”.

While I, a huge stout fan, didn’t really see that much connection with an oatmeal one, or any other one, for that matter, I can totally get the creamy part, and I understand what he was trying to say. Because this tea, that starts off as grey-green and beige beautiful wiry leaves and ends up as hay yellow liquor, is gorgeusly creamy and is a real joy to drink.

The only thing I seem to be disappointed about is that there’s not that much oolong element to it. It just tastes like a delicious white tea (which is not a bad thing!). I think I detect some green-styled oolong qualities in the aftertaste but they are VERY subtle. However, they might come out to the front more with subsequent steepings.

EDIT: OOOH, yeah! It is definitely an oolong. The second steeping of a copper color revealed lovely and slightly TGY-like notes. But the refreshing sweetness of white tea still shines through, which makes this tea truly unique. I am definitely going for the third steeping of this after my shower! (+ I’m upping the rating a bit).

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

Sounds interesting. (Especially since I am drinking a creamy stout at the moment.) I think I’ll add it to the wishlist.

Kat_Maria

Ooh! What is the creamy stout you’re having?

Cheri

Bell’s Java Stout tonight. It’s $3 pint night.

Kat_Maria

Sounds good! I haven’t had this one yet.

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