Taiwan Tea Crafts
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Recent Tasting Notes
First black tea of the day! This sample came from Blodeuyn. I’m really happy that I’m getting the chance to try so many Taiwanese black teas lately, and they’re definitely unique in that they have flavors I haven’t found elsewhere. This tea is one of the creepy tree branch varieties with the jet black, gnarled leaves. Dry scent is very sweet with dark brown sugar and caramel notes. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, the aroma retains those dark brown sugar/molasses and caramel scents, and there’s also a bit of raisin or prune fruitiness. Oh wow! This tea has the strongest dark sugar/molasses/caramelized sugar flavor I’ve ever tasted. It’s rich and sweet and amazing! There’s also a bit of sweet potato and it brings to mind the candied sweet potatoes that my grandmother makes for Thanksgiving – you know, the ones with the marshmallows on top. Definitely a delicious combination! I will say that this tea feels a bit thin, and I think it’s because it’s all bottom notes. I suppose the sweet potato counts as middle, but it feels like it needs more flavor in the middle to top region. Still delicious though! :)
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! You’ve kinda been my Tea-Godfairy with all these unflavoured black samples. I’ve enjoyed trying them; and learning from them. This one was in my timolino with milk.
I can’t say I was huge into this particular one; I probably shouldn’t have added the milk to it. I don’t think it was strong enough to support it. Steeped up with the milk this smelled pretty yeast-y. Regardless, I mostly only got bread and raisin notes from this. I don’t really care for raisins. In anything; tea included and rarely an exception.
I shared some with Bobbi, who disapproved of it (she just made a face and stuck out her tongue) and with Tre who said it just tasted bready and bland. I have to agree with both their sentiments, and that doesn’t happen so often. Oh well; lesson learned I guess?
You can’t love ’em all, anyway.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Raisins, Yeast
Drinking the 2013 version of this, Lot 217, is disappointing. The promise in the aroma of the wet leaves and liquor proves futile in the taste of the liquor itself. This seems to be common with gaoshans, viz. lots of promise but less fulfillment.
First infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz water, 90 deg., 4:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 7:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
So I had this one on Sept. 1st which marked exactly a year since I moved to Saskatoon. Man, it does NOT feel like a year has gone by. Not even close. I’m starting to understand the saying “time goes by faster when you’re older” or however it goes.
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample; I made this one in my timolino with a little bit of milk to take with to my friend Robyn’s. She got back into the city on the 1st and I helped her set up/move in to her new dorm room. It’s actually really nice; much nicer than the one she had last year which was basically just a teeny little room with two beds and dressers in it for her and Casey, her roommate. This one is an apartment style dorms and is really roomy! There are four bedrooms for the four of them, two baths, and a kitchen/dining area and small living room. Plus everything looks really new, like the building was made pretty recently. Very shiny.
One of the coolest/most awkward things in the place was this pillow in their living room that one of the roommates brought. It took forever for me to notice the details on it, but once I did I could NOT unsee it.
And because Robyn and I are so mature, we named the five different penis designs. The names we so carefully selected were: Salvador, Ron, Howard Wolowitz, Peaches, and Mr. Turtleneck. It was a fun time.
Robyn’s roommates all seem really cool too; I’ve obviosly met Casey before but not the other two she’s living with now (Tannis and Taylor). They seem like my sort of people; they are in many of my fandoms, are Tumblr kind of people, have a tea cupboard (admittedly it only has DT blends in it though) and spent the whole evening watching The Hobbit and making over the top jokes about the homoerotic subtext between Bilbo/Thorin (among others). Good times.
But the tea; I actually shared this one with Robyn; she said it was really good but didn’t elaborate on what she liked or disliked about it other than that she probably wouldn’t have added milk, personally. I thought it was really good; very silky and smooth. The black tea reminded me of satin. It also had really rich milk and honey notes. Mmm!
Dry leaf aroma: Sweet potato and malt.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/r-72S7lcCA/
Wet leaf aroma: Slightly vegetal.
Wet leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/r-8MkWlcCr/
Preparation: Initial 1 second rinse, then brewed western style in a ceramic infuser mug.
First steeping: 2 minutes 30 seconds at 205 degrees. Red Jade stays true to its dry leaf aroma – pure sweet potato with undertones of malt. While the cup is hot the predominate flavors are sweet potato, malt, and a suggestion of something pleasant that is just beyond description. The mouth-feel is rich, smooth, and a bit creamy; the aftertaste is pure sweet potato. As the cup cools the malty notes come forward, along with a hint of cinnamon.
Second steeping: 3 minutes at 205 degrees. Sweet potato is the main aroma for the second infusion. A mild cinnamon essence has appeared in this steeping and blends well with the malt and sweet potato flavors. The mouth-feel is smooth and tingly, and the aftertaste is sweet potato with a cinnamon undertone.
I did not detect any fruit notes during my session, as described on the Taiwan Tea Crafts website.
I am perhaps a bit biased towards this tea, as it is a TRES-18 hybrid (which is a cross between an Assamica strain strain from Burma and the local indigenous wild tea strain), to which I am partial. I enjoy it quite a bit regardless, and recommend it as a solid Taiwanese black tea.
All nerdiness aside, I love “sweet potato” tea! I had to resist the urge to bust out the marshmallows.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
This tea combines the flavours of steamed veg., flowers, cream, honey, peaches, and spice. It seems to be a cross between a Chinese green (25%) and a green oolong (75%). A lovely tea, but pricey.
First infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz water, 70 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 70 deg., 3:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 70 deg., 5:00 min.
Fourth infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 70 deg., 10:00+ min.
Thought I would re-visit this tea tonight. It received top marks from my previous tasting. Tonight’s sampling is bliss, it smells and tastes like treacle toffee. Creamy malt tones keep it from being overly sweet…honestly for me it is perfect. If I want a black tea this has everything I look for. I’m sat in love with with this tea!
This tea smells amazing! Like caramel or toffee, so sweet with a slight dark twang. My husband said bonfire toffee so we both agreed which is rare. One of the nicest smelling black teas imaginable. Nothing like the Assam that I was expecting.
The leaves are dark brown/black and are long yet twisted. They are very light.
Once steeped the tea is red brown in colour and has that beautiful toffee scent, this time with added malt and rock sugar.
It taste matches the smell, it’s light with sweet malt and toffee flavours that unfurl on the tongue in the after taste. Since it’s light there is a cleanness to it’s taste and that adds to the sweetness.
Further steeps reveal no astringency or richness but the sweet toffee flavour translates well through the later steeps.
Fantastic black tea, light yet with so much flavour that it leaves me completely satisfied. Husband was happy with this one too. For the price this is excellent.
Flavors: Malt, Sugarcane, Toffee
Yay it’s a tea that’s older than me :) Always fun to try mature teas, though I am used to those being in Oolong or PuErh form rather than black.
The raw leaves are small and thin which look sticky and wooden, dark brown in colour and bares a musty, damp, rain, forest sort of smell…or like beetroot. It is rather like a PuErh in scent funnily enough, also getting sweetcorn (like sweetcorn that has been cooked on a bbq and is starting to burn). Perhaps not my favourite smell but I’m still intrigued.
My first few sips reveal an array of flavours, taking particular note of: damp soil, beetroot, damp wood and sweet potato. It’s highly earthy and with some sweetness. As a whole it doesn’t linger in the after taste and nor does it leave me with any dryness. It’s also somewhat refreshing, like clove but just without it’s flavour. A few steeps in my gaiwan reveals more of the sweetcorn flavour.
Honestly….I HATE beetroot! I cannot stand the stuff, never have and never will. This tea tastes just like beetroot, it smells like it too, and that puts me off it a little. I can drink and stomach this tea and tried to find things about it that I found pleasurable such as the sweetness but I am still taken back to the beetroot notes in each sip.
I will reserve my rating for now but I will try it again in the near future.
Long, freely twisted leaf exhaling intense sweet, honey-like aroma. The almost same aroma also pretty intense is found in a cup. The tea is very smooth, light bodied and free of adstringence. You can be very liberal when steeping this tea it’s almost impossible to be oversteeped. It is an ideal evening tea because its caffeine content is probably rather low.