Taiwan Tea Crafts

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Recent Tasting Notes

66

I’ve never a met a Bao Zhong I didn’t like – until I tried this one. Picked it up because it was inexpensive and like with most things, got what I paid for.

It’s not a bad tea per se, but it just doesn’t measure up to the other more exquisite versions of this tea that I’ve had. It’s got a generic bao zhong flavor profile – honey and orchid fragrance, buttery body, and light sweetness. However, it’s missing the fresh flowery notes of lilac, hyacinth, and gardenia. Overall I find the taste to be insipid and lacking the sophistication and subtleties of BTT and TTC’s higher grade bao zhongs.

Flavors: Orchid

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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78

For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.


Very tropical and floral green tea, with definite notes of mangosteen and lychee, as well as a viscous honey sweetness. Very slight astringency, but even with overdrawing the tea does not get bitter. $27 USD / 100g.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Gardenias, Honey, Lychee, Thick, Tropical

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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60

Cheap old tea! This 1982 tastes like a liubao and not Sun Moon Lakey anymore. It is musty old water logged books, ash, charcoal, wet stones and more must. Ride this tea a long time and it cleans up to sweet, mineral and camphor.

I really didn’t like the thin body on this one and I was really unimpressed my tea was very twiggy and had a rock in it. But hey, it’s $5 and 1982, what did you expect?

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/1982-sun-moon-lake/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 0 OZ / 10 ML

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90

Dry leaf – FRUIT, NUT: variety of dried fruit (mango, strawberry, cranberry), Mexican hot chocolate, peanut shell, roasted peanut

Smell – SWEET: scented candle wax, dried strawberries, yams, carob

Taste – FRUIT, ROASTED SWEET: yam, carob, roasted marshmallow, caramalized sugars off of a baked sweet potato, waxy cranberry/green apple tartness in background, hints of papaya.

Well, this is different. Complex and various flavors run throughout this one. From the notes above, you can see how I struggled trying to pinpoint the flavors. Here’s why – this thing tasted like the smell of someone baking a sweet potato casserole in a room with a holiday scented candle. Figure that out. Perfect for sipping while you prepare an ACTUAL sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving or something.

Fruity, caramel-y, savory, aromatic. Really a treat if you need to reinvigorate your taste buds with something different.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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88

Dry leaf: DRIED FRUIT, GRAPE VINE, SWEET: prune, raisin, dried fig, grape skin, musty green, grape vine, blackstrap molasses, green stem, sweet and sour, bitter honey

Smell: FRUIT, SWEET: green apple, light caramel, bread pudding, musty grape

Taste: FRUIT, SWEET, GRAPE VINE: candied green apple, sweet potato, malt, sweet and sour, green twig, green grape, grape vine/leaf

This was a fun one! To be honest, a lot of the experience reminded me of a black tea, but there were little surprising pops of flavor where the oolonginess asserted itself. Especially interesting was a multifaceted “grape” experience that ranged from grape sweetness to green “leafiness” to dry vine/stem flavors. Weird and hard to pinpoint, but that made it a pleasure to return to each day.

This is the “select grade”, the lowest grade that TTC offers. There’s premium, superior, supreme, private reserve… I have no idea what this means in terms of little leaf-munching critters or the resulting flavors. In any case, this is a tasty, affordable treat.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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85

Dry leaf: NUT – peanut shell, some bittersweet green wood

Smell: NUT – peanut shell, pistachio, slight hint of vanilla extract

Taste: NUT, FRUIT – In the mouth – dry nut (peanut shell, acorn), roasted peanut, tea tannin, green twig, slight hint of orange. Aftertaste has strong ripe peach flavors, with some orange, orange blossom, dewy grass, and bittersweet melon/melon rind.

A tale of two teas! This is an interesting session. Everything up to the aftertaste is all about its dry nuttiness. It’s dead-on peanut shell – smell, taste… But then, the aftertaste develops into a thick, rich ripe peach with a few extra supporting notes to keep you interested.

To be honest, nutty smell/taste isn’t all that interesting and is a bit monotone in the mouth. But the aftertaste is quite a different show. You have to take your time with it – little sips with plenty of time in between to let the tea open up in your throat and mouth. The hui gan is so engaging that I feel like it more than makes up for its monotone arrival.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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80

Dry leaf: HONEY, FLORAL: honey, fragrant floral (lily of the valley), lactose “milkiness”, bittersweet floral (potpourri)

Smell: HONEY, VEGETAL: malty honey (like boiled honey or sweet malt used in beer brewing), green stem

Taste: FLORAL, HONEY, FRUIT: bittersweet green, fragrant floral (lily of the valley), honey. Aftertaste has lemon/citrus notes, hints of light red fruit, green apple. One infusion had a light almond/marzipan note.

Flavors are pleasant; there is nothing “bad” about the tea. However, my experience is that it’s just very light. Frankly, it reminded me of later infusions of some higher-quality Taiwanese oolongs. No big flavors in the mouth or aftertaste, no staying power in terms of infusions and re-brews. Personally, I think spending a little extra money on a higher-quality oolong is worth the upgrade in experience.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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98

I remember having bi luo chun for the first time. I had a very fresh quality tea and I just loved it. After that any bi luo chun I bought just didn’t seem to meet those same expectations. Was it because it just becomes common to the taste buds? Or maybe I was buying lower quality bi luo chun? I can’t say but it’s not like any of those bi luo chuns were bad. They were all good. Just not amazing. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve had a bi luo chun I can rave about. Well I can now.

This tea came vacuum sealed and when I opened it the fresh fragrance of the tea was heavenly! I just knew this was going to be a great cup. Brewed up it’s sweet, chestnutty, grean bean with an aroma I can’t quite pin down. It reminds me a bit of osmanthus.

Was this tea just amazing because it was vacuum sealed? I think that might play a part in it too but it was amazing! I’m so glad I got my Taiwan Tea Crafts order just on the last day before the Canadian postal workers were locked out. Can you imagine this amazing tea sitting in some hot warehouse for weeks on end in the summer???? I still didn’t get my small order from Grand Tea and they have amazing tea too. Hope that one survives the strike in good shape.

Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Osmanthus, Sweet

Sil

no strike atm

Ubacat

Yay! Hope my order from Grand Tea arrives soon.

Ubacat

Grand Tea arrived!

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90

Dry leaf – VEGETAL, SWEET: vegetal, buttery, bittersweet green, bitter honey, sweet bread, honeysuckle; in pre-heated vessel: strong bittersweet vegetal

Smell – VEGETAL, SWEET: musty pungent green wood, raw honey

Taste – VEGETAL, SWEET, FRUIT: spinach, asparagus, buttery, lemon zest, honey, lactose sweetness, hint of carob. Aftertaste of tropical fruit, mandarin orange, spearmint

This was a pleasant experience. Many strong, interesting flavors, but none of them dominated the other. Everything was balanced and worked well together. High-quality experience at an affordable price.

This is a pretty easy-going tea that has naturally likable flavors. Would be a great intro to whole-leaf tea for your Earl Grey friends. Show them the power of the dark side. Or the light side, as the case may be.

Plus, dropping in a few balls of tea and seconds later having a forest exploding out of your gaiwan is enough to have anyone forsake the bagged stuff.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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85

Compared to the Jin Xuan White Tea from the Fragrant Jade series, this tea’s leaves weren’t nearly as aromatic. They have an overall grassy, beany, vegetal smell that you might expect from green tea. The flavor of the first infusion is light, vegetal, nutty, and a bit sweeet. It’s very clean tasting and the infusion is a really pale yellow. I am brewing this gongfu style in a porcelain gaiwan.

Second infusion, more rich umami vegetables. There’s a really subtle hint of clove or camphor that reveals that this is from an oolong cultivar and not the usual green tea cultivars, but aside from that note, and it is a delicate one, this really reminds me a lot of many Chinese green teas I’ve had.

The third infusion got more sweet and nutty and mild. And the fourth did so as well. I enjoyed these two infusions the most.

This is a clean tasting and good green tea. After the first or second infusion, it didn’t have as much of the green bean taste that is rather common in Chinese green tea that I’m not a huge fan of. Clean tasting and light are the two words I’d use to sum up this teas biggest strengths.

Flavors: Green Beans, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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100

Well, if you’re a milk oolong lover or a lover of strange and rare teas, you’re in for a thrill. Just read the description of this tea on its Steepster page, taken from the Taiwan Tea Crafts website.

I love milk oolong and white tea is my favorite type so this seemed like a no-brainer for me. Already, right out of the bag, the leaves are incredibly fragrant. I’m reminded of another aroma that is really familiar but I can’t put my paw on it. It’s a dried fruit aroma of some sort… maybe dried bananas or dried papaya. After the leaves sit in a warm gaiwan they have a really nice nutty aroma. I am so perplexed by the aroma of the wet leaves after the first infusion. They have so much going on, I can hardly describe it. It’s very aromatic… with notes of buttery vegetal and green bean that remind of Chinese green teas coming off the leaves, while the inside of the gaiwan lid smells more fruity.

The tea liquid itself smells creamy, sweet, and nutty, with hints of cooked fruit. The taste is rich and buttery in a similar way to a traditional rolled Jin Xuan oolong. There are rich vegetal flavors, and a very long and flavorful finish. The body is really thick and heavy on the tongue, and the tea leaves your mouth really wet and salivating afterwards due to the recurring flavor and sweetness.

The second infusion is a little more vegetal than the first. There are tiny notes of muscatel grape in the background. There’s a pretty rich nutty flavor, a bit of tanginess, almost grapefruit-like, and a lasting sweetness. It’s also got a good deal of savory/umami flavor.

By the third infusion, I’m tasting more of a muscatel grape note that reminds of first-flush Darjeeling (just like their description says). There are background notes with that mountain vegetation kind of taste that I get from a lot of high mountain oolongs. As the tea cools I’m tasting grapefruit as well.

Fourth infusion has confounded my expectation. I’m tasting toasted sugar primarily, while all the other notes mentioned before blend harmoniously in the background.

Fifth infusion has a lot of the same toasted sugar taste, even a bit caramely or like toffee. Aside from that, it is much like the fourth.

I have to say I’m completely impressed by this tea, and very glad I picked some up. I don’t know how I could know of this tea and not do so! Major compliments to the people who produced this amazing tea.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Grapefruit, Muscatel, Sugar, Sweet, Toasty, Toffee, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Ubacat

You got my attention with this one!

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85

Dry leaf: FLORAL, SWEET (perfumey/potpourri-ish floral, light chocolate, bittersweet “green” notes, buttery, noticeable honey notes when put in pre-heated vessel)

Smell: FLORAL, SWEET (similar floral notes as dry leaf, bitter honey, some sessions had a mineral/ocean notes – seashells, seaweed – very faint, pleasant)

Taste: SWEET, FRUIT, CREAMY, VEGETAL (natural honey, bitter honey, lemon rind and citrus, some creaminess like flan or custard, vegetal notes like tomato vine/sun-dried tomatoes, sweet corn. Aftertaste of honeydew melon and natural honey.)

Honey! That is the constant throughout. It is not a heavy or strong flavor, but it’s definitely there. Also, it’s a slightly bitterish honey – like wildflower honey or honey from that one friend who decided to give beekeeping a shot. Well, maybe a bit better than that…

The body is medium-light, so it requires some attention to really pull out and appreciate the flavors. Great afternoon tea to sip on while procrastinating chores.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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This was one of two tea sessions today involving Wenshan Bao Zhong; this and a tea that was enjoyed in the late afternoon.

The rich aromatics were a beautiful blend of floral, grain and nuttiness like roasted almond and salted cashew. The liquor creamy and the notes roasted brown rice, sweet cream, pistachio and hyacinth maybe subtle vanilla. What really had me spinning was a not so subtle coconut aromatic as well as flavor note. The combination of scent and taste along with my previous tea session put me into a serious tea utopia which is far beyond any good feels I’ve experienced before.

7g of gorgeous leaf, 150ml jingdezhen pot with 190F for 30s, 30s, 50s and climbing in 20-30s increments for well over six infusions.

The happy shiny pouch:
https://instagram.com/p/BGYFvbAhUrD/

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGYJ6mEBUkh/

The session:
https://instagram.com/p/BGYVa31hUob/

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Adding to wish list now.

CWarren

TTC is running a 15% sale which could be dangerous. :) Ever want a sample, let me know. I’ll send some your way.

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This was one of two tea sessions today involving Wenshan Bao Zhong; this and a lightly baked tea that was enjoyed in the evening through on to late night.

One of the most creamy floral oolongs I’ve had in both flavor notes and in aromatics. You know a tea is about to wow you when even the creaminess comes through in scent. Beautiful semi thick mouthfeel and serious happy feels. There was so much happiness in this session that I am amazed I made it through to the next session. A serious fan of this beauty.

7g of some the most beautiful leaf strands I’ve seen in a 150ml jingdezhen pot with 190F for 30s, 30s, 50s and climbing in 20-30s increments for six very flavorful infusions and a few more subtler ones.

I love their packaging:
https://instagram.com/p/BGXVOoZBUsn/

The session:
https://instagram.com/p/BGXipeBhUhI/

The final leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGXwHXGhUvr/

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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When you come across a tea like this it truly makes you thankful to those who picked it. It’s a refined and truly noble tea. One can almost see a king sitting on his throne and drinking this. It goes down smoothly like a bourbon. The roasted, slightly nutty flavor is just amazing. I have to confess though I’m not one who generally drinks darker oolongs but ones like this truly need to be tasted to be appreciated.
Try this both hot and cold. It is enjoyable either way.

Preparation
1 tsp

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88

Dry leaf: FLORAL, SWEET (potpourri floral – lilac? – lemongrass, fresh honey sweetness, buttery, bittersweet green, salty sweetness)

Smell: FLORAL, SAVORY (lilac, honeysuckle, buttered toast, hint of cooked spinach)

Taste: CREAMY, CITRUS, VEGETAL, FLORAL, SWEET (buttery, lemongrass, orange and lemon peel, potpourri floral, honeysuckle, red apple, creamy sweetness, nut oil, hints of saltwater taffy, salty umami, very light sun-dried tomatoes, spinach)

This tea is like a rollercoaster. It rises up with very high floral notes, then plunges down to a thick, rich umami, vegetal, and creamy body, and then finishes bright, floral, and citrus-sweet. You know what? You could probably write a haiku about this yin-yang experience, but I’ll just stick to describing the tea…

Overall, the high notes are clear and bright and easily weave in and out on a thick, rich base of creamy vegetal flavors. It’s a quality tea for sure.

Now – the tough part. It’s definitely not cheap (although Taiwan Tea Crafts has some of the best pricing out there.) At $.50/g, it’s a splurge – especially since I ended up using a 2:1 g/fl oz leaf:water ratio. So, taste-wise it’s 92/100. Value-wise… hmm… It’s almost twice as expensive as other green oolongs… Is it twice as good as these other oolongs I’ve had? No. But, the 25g sample pack doesn’t exactly break the bank either. Will I purchase it again – most likely. So 85/100 on the price side of things.

Summary of the above, which got too long in my caffeinated state – delicious tea that proves its quality with an almost fine-tuned taste experience. Well worth getting a sample pack and enjoying your mountain experience.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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I am never disappointed when it comes to these TRES black/red teas from Taiwan. There’s just something awesome about these scientific creations that make me smile, this one included.

The aromatics upon opening the bag were powerfully strong with scent of caramel, cantaloupe and raisin, and the dry leaf itself one of the most beautiful I’ve come across. When infused, burnt brown sugar and caramel notes with a delicious yam flavor coming on strong in the end and an amazing sun kissed fiery colored liquor. Enjoyable from start of preparation to the last infusion.

6g of leaf, 180ml Hong Ni, 212F, 30s first infusion, 10s second, 15s third, 30s fourth before it started to wane. Two last infusions at 2m and 3m to get the rest of the leaf’s tasty notes.

Another tea session prepared as part of Lion’s “A Week of Tea Exploration”, day five, black tea.

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BF4lfD4BUoe/

The liquor:
https://instagram.com/p/BF4v1SYBUgs/

The final wet leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BF40_U4hUsF/

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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This leaf smells like my brothers bo which make me worried… I’m not even joking, how is that possible?

Anyways, brewed this up with two infusions in a kyusu to drink. Nice mouth feel that sticks around. Taste is on the low spectrum of floral with some vegetable in there. Was hoping for something stronger. This would be ideal to drink outside or by itself, wouldn’t do well with food. I’m more of a shan lin xi or dong ding type of guy, but oolong is still the best type of tea so this made me happy :)

Daylon R Thomas

Shan Lin Xi have become a preference for me too. But you are a cause for that. Lucky me sent me some of Eco-Cha’s and it was incredibly fruity.

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Let me just say this: AGED OB IS ALWAYS GOOD.

ALWAYS>

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Six different type of gui fei and all of them were bad… until I tried this. Crisp taste with a lingering toasted honey note.

Wonderful tea, but it’s the only one of the seven I tried that I can say was good… is gui fei bad or is this just amazing?

Kirkoneill1988

i’m not familiar with that term

mrmopar

“Precious Concubine”.

Kirkoneill1988

i never understood what Chinese concubines were :/

Kirkoneill1988

what are they?

Equusfell

I’ve not really been impressed with the gui fei’s that I’ve tried. I can see their merits for people who like mild black tea, but I guess it’s just not my jam. Tastes like a slightly floral ceylon to me, most of the time!

boychik

I think I loved this one

Roswell Strange

@LP, bummer that this is only the first of seven you’ve enjoyed. I love Gui Fei – it has a very sweet, honey and jammy quality to me that’s incredibly lovely. Can’t love ’em all, right? At least you found one that does it for you :)

Rich

Yeah, this is one of my favorites from TTC. I bought enough for aging.

Kirkoneill1988

Thanks evol

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This tea elicited a rather odd response from me. Dry leaf aroma was dirt, but the wet leaf aroma and flavor was another kettle of fish. Well, not fish exactly… So here’s what happened: I’m sitting in my office, and I take one sip of this tea, and for some reason I hear myself yelling aloud “BEETROOT!, BEETROOT! BEETROOT!” whereupon a malevolent looking beetcreature dressed in black and white stripes arose from my office floor. Spewing black tea from its giant maw, its head spun around 360 degrees, and it looked me dead in the eye and yelled “IT’S SHOWTIME!” So anyway I gave him the tea and thankfully he went away.

TL;DR: I’ve had black tea about 167 times and it just keeps getting worse every time I drink it. /end pop culture references

Cwyn

Haha! I think black tea is really best in first three years.

mrmopar

A shou head in the making…

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i got 25g with my last order. leaves are mix of long and some broken and stems.
The tea is very aromatic and tasty. its not loud but delicious nevertheless. Chocolaty, fruity, some mild spicyness, i would say cinnamon and some dried fruits. The tea is light and would be perfect for the warm season. i dont drink green teas. Some black teas are malty and just too heavy in summer. this one is perfect
5g 100g glazed pot 200F
no rinse/10/15/20sec

https://instagram.com/p/BCp3ftihwgf/

https://instagram.com/p/BCp7Nj9hwnX/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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If you over steep this tea, this is what you would taste: Imagine taking two day old tree bark removed from someones backyard and accidentally fell in your only cup of Sprite you were going to drink that week. Well, you forgot to dump it out and left it there as you and a friend laughed so it went flat. A few days later you take the bark out and notice the liquid is darker so you are as weird as this guy named Andrew and strain the liquid to make a woodsy soup. Noticing that it taste like a roasted/woodsy oolong, you realize you created an over steeped gui fei.

Anyways: This tea is suppose to be similar to what happens when honey notes meet an interesting oriental beauty, but something is lost in translation; the truth is, these are my taste buds and I am not a fan of oriental beauty. The flavors are a bit confusing when you brew this the way I find best, being 30s steeps. This tea just has this odd mixture of woodsy notes that taste like someone tried to sweeten bark. Not for me.

Liquid Proust

Okay… when the woodsy notes disappear these floral and fruity notes come in and if I was to be 100% honest with everyone, this taste like warm soap. What the hell?

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