Taiwan Tea Crafts

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

Sipdown (119)!

Thanks Kittenna for the sample!

The leaf for this tea is really beautiful; it has that long, kind of twisty and gnarled leaf appearance I really like for black teas. It’s just gorgeous! The liquor is stunning too; it’s a super rich looking gold with really great clarity! I want to melt away in it…

The taste is pretty solid; it’s actually a little softer/less full bodied than I’d expected from it, but the flavour is very clean and smooth overall despite a more mild profile. It’s got sweet honey notes, which I definitely think is a solid characteristic of Taiwanese teas in general. It’s also got a lovely fruity/jammy note which is mild and kind of provides a solid foundation for the whole cuppa. Cherry, peaches, maybe red currant?

It’s very nice overall!

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79

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #29
Oh gosh, I always feel like I can’t appreciate a roasted oolong the most of any other type of tea. I wasn’t aware this one would taste so roasted, as the smaller oolong bundles are dark green and didn’t look roasted to me. I’m just not a fan of the charcoal/roasty/tobacco oolongs. So I don’t have much to say about this one. Though all three steeps were very consistent with flavor and this one also had hints of peach wafting occasionally in some sips. If I knew this one was so roasted, I would have left it from someone else. There is still a little left for someone else to try though.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 7 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep

boychik

Try it gongfu style. Shorter steeps. I like this tea

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recently bought several 25g samples .
falling in love with Taiwanese teas but it shouldnt be happening. Puerh addiction is more than enough for my wallet.
nice looking long leaves smell of ripe tomato and plum.
6g 130 ml teapot 205F
rinse/short steeps
the brew is gorgeous red color, smells like herbs and mint. it has pretty strong menthol and spice taste along with plum and lychee notes. yummy and so warming. perfect for snow storm we were experiencing today.

https://instagram.com/p/BBa0LeDhwov/

https://instagram.com/p/BBa1-KDhwsv/

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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5

This came as a sample from TTC. However, it was not an enjoyable brew. I made 2 batches of this: 5 g tea in 8 oz water and 2.5 g tea in 8 oz water. In both cases, the tea was a nice, smooth liquor but had a very strong and overpowering kale-like flavor with not so subtle notes of ongoing fermentation.

Flavors: Heavy, Kale, Sour

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ll make this short: There’s a reason there are not many aged ginseng oolong out there.

kevdog19

Is that a good thing? Or…

Liquid Proust

It’s a good thing that they are not around. This is not something I would recommend someone spending money on.

Haveteawilltravel

hahah same though I had xD

kevdog19

When I first read the tea’s title I didn’t see the ginseng part and I was fascinated by your acquisition of a 1988 oolong. I have to say, any added herbs or flavorings to tea is a turn off for me, but ginseng of all things could be a cool alternative to tea. I see this a waste as well because I would like to go in one direction or the other, while this tea seems to be lying right in between.

Liquid Proust

@kevdog19 I’ve got oolong from the 1960s… they are not hard to find, actually. I ran an aged oolong group buy in 2015 and we all received two from the 70’s, one of which was a oriental beauty; taste like a 90’s sheng to me… frickin’ great stuff.

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89

A very nice deep honey flavored gui Fei oolong. Fairly sweet, just a touch of roast.

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I am somewhat new to the oolong scene. With my last Chawangshop order, they included a free sample of a Gui Fei oolong, which I had never heard of. It was a really nice tea, sweet and honey flavor. It is one of those bug bitten teas, I think it comes under the umbrella of an oolong beauty. The bug bites force the tea plant to produce this characteristic honey taste. So I went hunting and found that Taiwan Tea Crafts had a couple varieties, so I ordered them. This is the first I tried. It’s a nice tea, medium dark, no roastiness. It does have that honey flavor, not too strong. It also had a little astringency, which I like, just a touch. Overall a nice tea.

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69

A rare miss for TTC. I bought this accidentally thinking it was a green oolong. I’m glad it was only a 25g sample because this tea misses the mark for me. This tea comes from a Jin Xuan varietal and thus has the unmistakable milky creaminess. It also has a noticeably pronounced baked flavor and smell. My problem is it doesn’t have any taste characteristics other than those. The flavor of the tea overall is malty with hints of cocoa and has a smooth body. There’s not much complexity or depth to it. The roasted creamy flavor dominates steep after steep. It’s palatable but that’s about it.

Lately I’ve taken to blending a bit of this tea with jade oolongs which gives a fuller body and more rounded flavor.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Milk

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Zennenn

I like your creativity! I need to try this.

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This tea pairs so well with cold and gusting winds we experiencing now.
it is exactly like in the description: cinnamon spice and strong minty cool tastes along with fruitiness. i find some plums and lychees maybe but they are sort of background.
6g 100ml glazed teapot 212F
rinse/ short steeps ( i dont time, according to my liking, but i say i started with 3/5/7/10sec maybe)
Very enjoyable session.

https://instagram.com/p/BAughI8hwsr/

https://instagram.com/p/BAujzRDBwiu/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

My friend in Arizona loves Ginseng Oolong. He loves them so much I got him a half pound for Christmas, and he is nearly through all of it. So, as a treat, I brought this down when I visited for vacation. I grabbed my gaiwan and warmed it up. We opened the package and inspected the curly nuggets. The small rolled oolong had grown very dark with age, and it carried a slight woody and dust scent. We placed all we had inside the gaiwan and let them sit. I lifted the lid and took in the aged aroma. The ginseng was slight, but it had the sweet familiar characteristics. I rinsed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. Honestly, this was not a wow tea for either of us. We sat and tasted and relaxed in the tea, but I didn’t taste of anything all that great. In fact, I was done with the session by the third steep, but I kept going for his sake. The tea had the common ginseng oolong taste in the first step; however, the brew wasn’t stevia sweet; it was almost medicinal. The flavors were rough and dusted. There was an odd tone about this brew, and we couldn’t put our finger (or tongue) on it. I kept steeping for a little while longer until my friend held up his hand in response to “no more”. Or rather, in his own words, “I think the tea is on its last limb, best we lay it to rest”. We were both unsatisfied after the session, and we progressed unto some aged sheng. Anyways, I don’t think ginseng oolong should be aged; rather, I prefer it to be in it’s fresh state. However, I am happy to have experienced it, and I did learn from the experience. I was a little sad that my friend didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped, but I had him smashed and tea drunk in no time with the sheng, haha.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BArmuDYzGYQ/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Drying, Dust, Herbaceous, Medicinal, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML
Liquid Proust

It is a dry tasting tea, one that was for the experience. After drinking this, I believe I know why we don’t see other aged ginseng tea out there.

Haveteawilltravel

I’m glad we came to the same conclusion! :)

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87

This is a wonderful, rich black tea. It has a smooth yet robust flavor. Maybe I should have saved it for tomorrow morning, but I was in the mood for this one now, so I brewed it up this evening. Really nummy on a cold winter night with sugar cookies. nom nom nom.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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In the same week I drank this and the best darker oolong I’ve ever had; which will appear in the second LP group buy and it will not be rated so don’t try to look. While that was a good thing to do, I ended up not liking this as much as I should have. This is a great tea, no doubt, but compared to what I drank later that week… it was shattered by something very similar that also had notes of cream within the cocoa roasted oolong that has hairs. I look forward to the next lot of a Red Jade (any sort) from Taiwan Craft Tea. Nom Nom Nom, a fantastic stronger oolong that provides an almost black sensation to its taste.

azurephoenix

I’ve read that GABA tea tends to have a tart note to it.. similar to hibiscus. Did you encounter that with this tea?

Liquid Proust

Well, GABA green does not. Some of the gaba teas have a funk to them, but from my observation it is from the roasting profile. I’ll know better as time goes on. I still have three different ones to try to see how they taste in comparison to the others.

Rasseru

The one I like from imperial teas of lincoln in the UK is so much honey lushness it makes me giggle. A beautiful tea, and the most honey I have tasted outside having it actually in your tea. But you can tell its not sweet.

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Really? i haven’t posted about this one yet? Damn, ive bought this one more than once and have drank it many times for good long time now, Lance even liked this one.
Maybe i never posted about it because its kinda hard to really describe to me, thats kinda why i’m here now actually cuz i was thinking hhhmmm well i’ll see what i posted to steepster about it and uuggghh nothing!
Very interesting and delicious tea to me, Everything I’ve had from TTC has been good to me and unique in some sort of way, this one is unique to me one of my favs(i have too many favs, TEA is my fav lol), it is fruity and sweet and kinda roasty and lots more, i really just don’t know how to describe it, it is Delicious!!
I never had a tea like this tea before, i love it.
Had repost, glad i copied it :)

Flavors: Fruity, Sweet

Kirkoneill1988

I’ve been there. (not being able to describe certain flavors ect.)

Kirkoneill1988

i cannot really tell the difference between fishy and leather :/

cookies

I’ll have to pick this up in my next TTC order. I’ve loved everything I’ve had from them so far.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

no difference between fish and leather? thats kinda scary lol

Kirkoneill1988

@toad i might be able to tell the difference. however, its not too often that i do :( sometimes it is scary

ashmanra

I sometimes have trouble pinning down flavors. Then I feel really bad because I teach a nine year old child who drinks tea with me and nails the description spot on right away. She blows my mind. And knows what she does and doesn’t like. She is a great kid. Hope for the future!

Kirkoneill1988

@ashmanra, you should be proud :D

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55

Here is another unique tea from Taiwan Tea Crafts, a “Shui Xian” styled tea in processing, but made from local Taiwanese oolong cultivars. It’s a bit confusing to me why they chose to call this Shui Xian since the leaves are not long twisted oolong leaves like Wuyi Oolongs but are instead the tightly rolled balls you see in most Taiwanese oolong, along with many loose stems. I guess they’re just referring to it having the same general roasting process and treatment as Shui Xian up to the point where it is rolled.

The warm leaves in the gaiwan do in fact smell reminiscent of Shui Xian, a deep roasted scent with orchid notes. Because the leaves are rolled into beads, I am brewing this longer than I would if they were strip style oolong. After the first infusion, the leaves smell really strongly fruity and floral. Orchids and figs, maybe blackberries. Of course they smell very roasted as well.

Despite a mild yellow infusion, the flavor is very powerful. The deep roasted flavor has hints of char and tobacco and is underscored by a subtle orchid note. There isn’t much sweetness or fruitiness to the tea’s taste. Those more delicate notes present themselves more in the aroma. The tea is moderately drying in the throat and back of the tongue.

The second infusion is perhaps a bit more floral with a faint honey note. The roasted flavors are diminished, but the creeping dryness that sneaks up at the end of a sip is still there. This is definitely not a smooth tea, and I find that aspect of it very unfortunate because I am finding it hard to continue drinking because of how abrasive the texture is. Third infusion, lighter flavor but the dryness is still present.

I will have to give this tea a try another day and see if I still feel it is so drying.

Flavors: Char, Fig, Orchid, Roasted, Tobacco

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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90

I’m eager to try this tea commissioned by Taiwan Tea Crafts. They explained on their site that they do not sell Taiwanese green teas unless they produce or commission them because allegedly most green Taiwanese teas are imposters from China. So I’m interested to try some real Taiwanese green tea. This tea is made from Qing Xin cultivar, which is usually used for oolong, so it likely won’t taste much like the usual green teas I’m used to.

Out of the bag it already has a really sweet, rich, vegetal aroma with hints of flowers and herbs. After the first infusion in a gaiwan, the leaves smell abundantly of lush tropical growth like you might experience in a greenhouse, and the brewed tea has a bit of a citrusy smell to it. The liquor is almost colorless, yet full of flavor. On the first sip, the flavor is unique… striking me as somewhere between Chinese green tea and Tie Guanyin. It has both the green bean vegetal notes and nutty notes (pecan this time) I’m used to in Chinese green teas and the mountain vegetation notes I’m used to in Tie Guanyin and other rolled oolongs.

This tea takes substantially longer to brew than other green teas. The leaves seem to be thicker and larger, also twisted similar to a Taiwanese open-leaf style oolong (Baozhong, Bai Hao, etc.) which seems rather tight and may be more responsive to hotter temperatures (I’ll have to experiment with this).

On the second infusion, I’m getting more of all the aforementioned flavors, but more intense, a hint of camphor in this infusion. The color is a nice pale green. The flavor is really nice and reminds me of spiced cookies with nuts, though of course the vegetal notes are still alongside this, but blend well because of the strong nutty flavor.

By the third infusion, it is really starting to taste a lot more like your usual Chinese green tea in its flavor profile, mostly nutty, green beans, vegetal.

I think this is a really nice green tea overall though, and would encourage Taiwan Tea Crafts and their partners to keep producing it!

Flavors: Camphor, Green Beans, Pecan, Spices, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

The initial scent of these big green rolled leaves in a warm gaiwan reminds me of buttered freshly baked bread, magnolia flowers, and evergreens.

After the first infusion, the leaves have a much more intensely floral aroma with notes of strawberry jam and warm cream. The taste of this infusion was not at all what I was expecting, a metallic leafy green taste… think iron-dense greens like spinach. The finish is distinctly peachy and lingers on the tongue.

On the second infusion, the flavor is more intensely floral with notes of jasmine, cream, and even a bit of grapefruit.There’s an evergreen freshness that lays the undertones throughout the sip and the peach flavor lingers again.

The third infusion is even more evergreen and buttery. I’m enjoying this infusion the most so far. It’s rather sweet and flavorful, with just a hint of astringency and a floral finish. Overall, a fresh tasting vibrant oolong.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Peach, Pine

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100

I try not to read vendor descriptions when reviewing a new tea, so I can have a clear mind and interpret the tea on my own, but this is a tea that I bought because I read the description and it sounded nice. I have to say the notes given by Taiwan Tea Crafts this time are actually quite on point. I do get the fresh stone fruit notes like peach and cherry. Even more so the most obvious note is the aroma and flavor of violets, which I wouldn’t even know of except that I’ve found a favorite cocktail lately called Aviation that has Creme de Violette in it, and a friend also made me some crostinis for my birthday with a violet vinaigrette on it. This tea really smells like violets, and I love that. There are some undertones of vanilla, as suggested, and a bit of a cooling wintergreen freshness in the finish, more in sensation than flavor, but perhaps a bit in flavor as well.

I’m brewing this in a small flat Gongfu Pot. I’m not going to go through many infusions in my review, so I can sit and enjoy this tea. Those previous notes were for the first. The second infusion is very rich and sweet. Makes me salivate a lot, and now the violet taste is definitely more a “candied violet” like the description said. The third infusion is still quite rich but even more smooth and a bit caramely. Flavors are similar to the first two but with a bit of malty and woody flavors in the background.

Overall i’m very impressed by this tea. It is easily among the best black or red teas I’ve had now. This one has a unique flavor profile in comparison to many others I’ve had. It’s no wonder since it is made with Qing Xin leaves from Shan Lin Xi and Jin Xuan leaves. This tea is deserving of its competition achievements. Well done, Jin Long!

Flavors: Candy, Mint, Stonefruits, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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88

This is a delicious oolong for when you’re in the mood for something light and sweet. The dry and wet leaf are intoxicatingly floral. The flavor of the tea itself is reminiscent of TGY minus the heavy body.

First Steep: Opens with a bursty of fruity, honeysuckle-like sweetness then becomes vegetal with a touch of seaweed as it goes down
Second Steep: Sweet and grassy. The floral notes open up, full of gardenia and lilac.
Third Steep: The fruit and florals begin to fade a bit and the tea takes on a more vegetal character
Fourth Steep: Flavor is still there, but noticeably flatter
Fifth Steep: Mostly vegetal with a tiny mineral hint to remind you this is an oolong
Sixth Steep: All of the flavor has been wringed out by now

This tea is quite versatile with brewing. I’ve had good success brewing it gongfu, grandpa style, and western style. Unless you’re doing gongfu, I recommend drinking individual steeps as the nuances of the tea seemed to be lost when steeps were combined.

The only negative is the price is a bit much at $11 for 25g. Not a good value for the money.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grass, Melon, Seaweed, Sugarcane

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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86

Ok, I’m issuing a retraction: this tea isn’t bad once you adjust the quantity of leaf. Like with most dark oolongs, I couldn’t drink a full on brew and had to use 1/3 of the amount of tea leaves I usually do.

It tasted a lot better this time around. The earthy notes are softer and sweeter and I can actually pick up some of the fruitiness that is strikingly similar to dried plum. I get notes of honey and caramel/burnt sugar in later steepings which are quite delicious.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I’m happy to have found a way to make GABA oolong work for me. The relaxation effect is for real and I and I can tell this will become my go-to nighttime tea and insomnia cure.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Fruity, Honey, Plums

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Rasseru

ah thats great. Like i said before ive got a gabalong which is so nicely honey & caramel, but expensive. Ive wanted to try others for a while, nice you have got it working

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86

If you like oriental beauty, then GABA oolong may be the tea for you. It’s got that black tea-ish flavor which I don’t really care for. Actually reminds me of darjeeling, with a slight sourness and woodsy tobacco kind of flavor. Though I don’t normally use sweetener, I found a little honey helped take the edge off the tea.

As for its calming effects, I did feel this light almost giddy sensation afterwards followed by drowsiness. I don’t know if that was the GABA doing its thing or a placebo effect.

I’ve got my half-spent leaves cold steeping right now and am hoping it will taste better iced. Overall, this is not my cup of tea but I’m intrigued by the medicinal effects. I think underleafing and adding some spices along with sugar would help make this more palatable.

Flavors: Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Rasseru

I was actually going to ask in the forum about gabalong – Ive tried one ‘ancestor mt honey gabalong’ and it is one of my favourites. really tastes like honey and cooked sugar. so nice. I was wondering if that was a gabalong trait and I guess its not!

Equusfell

I picked some up with my Tea From Vietnam order because I’ve been looking for a Camelia sinensis for right before bed, since I generally dislike herbals. It doesn’t sound like I’m going to like it that much either, but if it gets me drowsy and I like it better than chamomile (yuck!) then it will do!

LuckyMe

It does have a medicinal taste to it, but I can attest it put me to sleep faster than chamomile does!

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100

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Hay, Sugarcane

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95

I’d never heard of Pomelo flowers, but this tea caught my attention as I was browsing Taiwan Tea Crafts. Its description sounded similar to orange blossoms from which perfumey orange flower water is derived and just happens to be one of my all-time favorite culinary flavorings. It’s a flavor I’ve long sought in tea but alas most teas labeled orange blossom are actually flavored with citrus fruit, not flowers.

TTC’s citrus flower oolong didn’t quite taste like what I imagined but that doesn’t matter because the flavor is unique and enjoyable on its own. This tea smells and tastes like a bouquet of wildflowers. Subtle notes of jasmine float in the background and hints of crisp citrus emerge as it cools. A very pleasant and refreshing tea that leaves behind a syrupy, flowered aftertaste.

Getting the steeping parameters down is important to getting the most out of this tea. The wildflower tones, while delightful, can be almost cloying if you overleaf as I initially did. After some experimentation, I settled on 1.5 tsp of tea per 4 oz for steep times of 50s/40s/50s/60s/70s/90s.

Kudos to TTC for another impressive floral scented tea!

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Jasmine, Orange Blossom

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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