Taiwan Tea CraftsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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
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
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
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
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
After resting these balled up tea leaves in a preheated gaiwan, the dry leaves emanate a rich scent of honeyed tropical fruits, magnolias and irises.
After the first infusion, the wet leaves give an intense and sweet floral aroma, like osmanthus and roses, with a huge splash of candied apples. The tea flavor is incredibly lush, fulling my mouth with the taste of passion fruits and plums. I have never had a tea this incredibly lush in flavor and yet clean tasting with not a hint of bitterness or over-roasting. As the wet leaves cool in the gaiwan, their scent sweetens and shifts from primarily floral to primarily that of (almost sickly sweet) candied fruits, mostly peach or nectarine. The sweetness lingers.
The second infusion tastes more floral, with strong notes of apple and honey. There’s a hint of dryness this time and the lingering taste is of apple peels.
In later infusions the floral note became a more subdued orchid and the roasted flavors came out more.
This tea is one of the best I’ve ever had. Taiwan Tea Crafts has some kind of spell on me. At first I couldn’t stop myself coming back for their unique and amazing selection of teawares, now I’m swooning over their teas, the more samples Phillip sends me with my orders!
Tip: brew this tea at 205F. I tried it at 196F as well and the flavor was nowhere near as bold or complex.
Flavors: Apple, Candy, Honey, Osmanthus, Passion Fruits, Peach, Roasted, Rose
I mixed it up again tonight after going on about what specific straight black teas I most enjoy to Alexa. Yum, assam!
This one turned out perfectly. I have a real love of TTC, just from the one small order I placed with them months back.
The tea is rapidly cooling now, and tasting even better. More sweetness is coming through, with subtle stonefruits, and maybe even some hay. Delightful.
Darn. No one had added this tea to Steepster and the this tea is no longer available on the TTC site. Oh well, I added instead a picture of a cute teapot and boat set that TTC has on sale. :-P
I wasn’t over-impressed with this tea. I expected a much sweeter and more fragrant tea. This tea was more on the savory side. It’s a nice enough tea, but it’s not what I usually expect from an OB.
Drank some of this tonight; I’m not sure if I just didn’t use enough tea/didn’t steep long enough, but it really has almost no flavour. A bit like… celery, almost, but kind of cardboardy? It’s strange. I really enjoyed the deep baked GABA oolong (that I have not written a note about), so I had high hopes for this. I’ll try again another evening.
Second note for this tea (because I have drank it (at least) twice now, and I just realized I actually have a resteep sitting next to me. So I sipped it to try and recall how it tasted, and it is sweet/raisiny (that seems to be a characteristic of Taiwanese blacks, at least to me) and quite enjoyable – and this is the third infusion! I believe there are others I may have enjoyed more, but this one does make me pretty happy. I still find it so strange that I enjoy so many straight black teas now…
I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this one as I don’t tend to love floral scented teas (as much as I love floral notes in my teas) and this one was baked as well. But I’ve never seen pomelo flowers added to tea (or anything!) so I went conservative and picked up 25g just to try. I have to admit, I’m regretting not picking up a bit more!
It’s so delightful! Light, refreshing, more complex than I assumed. Very floral, of course. Close to magnolia or jasmine but much less perfumed. A good bit of tangerine comes out in both scent and taste.
I steeped this gong-fu first and fell in love! Absolutely perfect in every way, especially the latter steeps where the citrus flower scent is lessened and you can taste the other notes in the tea. Later I continuous steeped this one and loved it as well. Less complex, but so yummy.
I just have to say how impressed I am with Taiwan Tea Crafts. Every single thing I’ve had from them has been incredible. And the free samples they give come with handwritten personalized notes, which is a lovely touch. Shipping is quite quick as well, only 2 days from Taiwan to SF customs and 4 days to my home from there. I’m desperately trying to put myself on a tea buying hiatus, but I may need to make just one more TTC order…
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Jasmine, Orange Blossom
From the EU TTB
This tea is actually older than me, so I knew I had to try it when I found it in the EU TTB. It reminds me of a pu’erh in both scent and appearance, having that clumpy leafed look like it’s been broken off a cake, plus a mildly dank scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium red brown, and the scent again more reminiscent of a pu’erh than a black tea. It’s kind of woodsy and damp smelling, like a walk through a forest after a rain shower.
To taste, the main flavours are wet wood and damp earth. The initial sip is, again, very reminiscent of a pu’erh, with that almost characteristic note of decay. It’s quite a gentle flavour, though, and very smooth, and ultimately I found myself not noticing its rougher edges as much. A hint of beetroot like sweetness comes out in the mid-sip, which is a pleasant counterpoint to the initially more savoury flavours. It’s a rich tasting tea with a real depth of flavour, very loamy and autumnal, and perfect for this time of year.
I’m not usually a fan of pu’erh or ages teas, but this one’s sitting okay with me. I’ll definitely have to explore Taiwan Tea Crafts a little more once I’ve got my cupboard back under control!
i actually picked up lot 346 from kittenna but it’s not in steepster and i don’t feel like adding it for one note. Long story short, there’s a reason i like red jade black, but this harvest/lot doesn’t stand out from others.
Cupboard went from 94 to 177..so here come the sipdowns! Hope to get to 170 today haha
one from kittenna that i was curious to try as i don’t believe i’ve yet tried any of TTC’s Heritage Assam’s. This one was quite delicious but didn’t stand out from the other TTC blacks for any particular reason. The upside to TTC black’s? they have that lovely taiwanese black flavour profile, the downside? they all start to taste simliar unless you get a special harvest that really knocks it out of the park. I enjoyed this one a bunch, but don’t feel the need to order it. Thanks Kittenna!
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Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Pastries
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Flavors: Corn Husk, Floral, Green Beans, Lavender, Olive Oil
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Flavors: Floral, Spices, Sugarcane
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Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Gardenias