Tao Tea Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

drank Lao Ban Zhang by Tao Tea Leaf
35 tasting notes

4.5g in 100mL jian shui teapot.

Haveteawilltravel’s review of this tea is very close to my experience, so I’ll just say what wasn’t already said. Very loosely packed, large whole leaves but also lots of pieces, thick center vein.

Vegetables, smokey, slight huigans after 3rd/4th cups but that went away.

The only redeeming quality of this tea was the oily full mouthfeel, but that may have been a increased or caused by my well seasoned jian shui teapot. I am not motivated to brew with a gaiwan just to figure that out. I’m not motivated to even finish the sample. If someone wants it, message me and I’ll pass it along if you want to try it.

Chi was mostly lower back, kidneys, and uncomfortable. I could feel a little movement in the head but it wasn’t very strong. I was underwhelmed…

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drank Lao Ban Zhang by Tao Tea Leaf
35 tasting notes

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About a month ago I tried Tao’s Banzhang and last week I tried the Lao Ban Zhang. Taking some time apart from reviewing it because I really felt something off of this and I wanted to make sure it was the tea and not just my overall upbeat mood that day.

Turns out, either I’m really susceptible to tea giving me awesome feelings or this is some serious ‘feels’ tea. It doesn’t have a good taste; something like a factory cake from 2007 to 2009 ’ish, but the feels got me.

That’s about all I can say for this one.

kevdog19

I’ll take this over a tasty tea with no feeling any day

andresito

I drank this today coincidentally…then saw your comment when I logged in to post my review.

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I approached this as an herbal tea, not puerh.

The shu puerh is in there, but it takes a back seat. It provides mostly body and structure, mouthfeel, and a deep smoothness to this tea.

Earthy flavors of shu are not noticeable, but when I really look I can find a hint of them, and they balance the otherwise sharp peppermint.

Vanilla is hard to find but think its just rounding out the overall experience, adding complexity.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. A ‘touch’ of sweetener may enhance this, maybe next time I brew this I’ll add a dab of honey.

Steeping time needs to be pushed, I think this is best brewed western style with multi-minute steepings. Gongfu brewing didn’t give me much flavor except mint. You really need the extra steeping time to draw out the puerh and vanilla.

I think this is peppermint but its very well balanced.

This tea leaves a fresh feeling in my mouth (guessing from the mint).

A fun treat, this would be nice to cozy up with as the cold weather approaches.

Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Vanilla, Wood

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Free sample, I really enjoyed this tea. Its clean and tasty, very pleasant aroma.

Its just barely leaning over the line towards the sweeter side of shu, so its pleasant but not sugary or sweet.

Medium-thick body, aftertaste lingers just enough between sips you don’t lose the flow. There’s something about the way it smells that’s really comforting, kind of woody, like fresh cut green wood.

This is something I would drink frequently, its very smooth, easy on the stomach, comforting without being sedating. Its complex enough to not get boring through the length of a session, but I can’t identify any unique flavors to describe it…but have to agree with the vendors description “full bodied tea is earthy and has a little woody note that also has a thick rich and smooth finish”. That sums it up!

I would have to say this is what I look for in a shu. This is a perfect daily drinker shu.

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80

I tried a vanilla mint pu-er quite a few years ago (made by Rishi tea I think). That was my first taste of a ripe pu-er and I liked it. Then I went on to try ripe pu-er on it’s own and was enjoying that until I tried sheng. After that, everything went backwards. I liked sheng so much, the ripe pu-er was no longer appealing to me. Now I hardly have any ripe pu-er in my cupboard at all.

So then I saw this sample when getting some teas from Tao Tea Leaf. I remembered how I liked it before (from Rishi) and thought I would give it a try.

I really did enjoy it. The rich vanilla and mint blend so good together and are balanced well with the earthy taste of the pu-er. This is one type of ripe pu-er I will always enjoy. It’s such a good blend. The cup was finished before I knew it.

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drank Rose Pu-er by Tao Tea Leaf
607 tasting notes

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80

I’ve had this tea for quite some time, so I finally decided to brew it up. The leaf is very dark (and Purple) and it carries a nice dry wood with some malt and a very faint grape juice aroma in the background. The juice note is very slight and tangy. I warmed up my gaiwan and threw some inside. The warmed leaf gives off a definite grape skin aroma. The scent is very fragrant and direct. I can also pick up some dark wood and plum that lingers. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The scent instantly changes to a char and bitter green scent; all the fruitiness has vanished. Luckily, they reappeared in the cup! The taste was very smooth and dry with a sweet fruity plum aftertaste. This is good tea. The flavor is pretty full and eases through the palate. The qi is mild and mostly directed at the head. A dry woody tone carries the flavors consistently and throughout the session. The tea lacks character and any depth, but it is a nice “purple” tasting tea. A later steeping brings out a wild bitter taste, and then the tea completely falls out and becomes astringent. I was able to get a good amount of steeping out of this tea, and I’m glad to have tried it.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFwRwlyTGXa/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel&hl=en

Flavors: Char, Dark Wood, Drying, Fruity, Grapes, Plums, Raisins, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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90
drank Tai Ping Hou Kui by Tao Tea Leaf
1859 tasting notes

I found a small sample of this tea tucked away that I’ve had for who-knows-how-long – probably the last time the GCTTB came through about a year ago. The tea leave look more like flattened piece of a dried seaweed than tea to me and they don’t ‘puff up’ at all during the brewing process. The tea has a pleasantly sweet scent that’s reminiscent of certain green oolongs. The flavour is lightly floral and a little bit fruity with a grassy, slightly toasty finish. The description mentioned apricots and I can definitely see that, though that wasn’t quite what came to mind for me when I sipped it. A very nice, high-quality green with a rather unique flavour profile.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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32

Weak and practically tasteless.

Preparation
Boiling

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81

I decided to make this in the gaiwan with short steeps. Smooth. Tried with and without milk. The milk did not add/improve n an way as it would with an Assam or other black tea. This tea is nice as is.

Flavors: Chocolate, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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86
drank Da Hong Pao by Tao Tea Leaf
57 tasting notes

A really nice roasted taste, but also sweet. I had purchased a sample to see if I would like it and it’s really nice. A light brown/chestnut colour in the cup. I made this in the gaiwan with short steeps. Right now I’m on my third drinkable steep and enjoying the mouth feel. I was disappointed that it only allowed a few resteeps. With good quality tea I usually get quite a few short steeps. With this one the 4th steep was too light.

Flavors: Roasted Barley, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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83

I was in the mood for shu (cooked) pu-erh and walked into the Tao tea leaf store. These are definitely shu as others have noted, and the retailer confirmed it. By the third drinkable infusion it really seemed to get deeper and richer in flavour, and it’s smooth, sweet, and full bodied. I really liked this but thought the leaves should have been bigger, not mulching and broken as they were as soon as they were steeped. After I tossed the first wash, I steeped for 30sec a few times, then 40, 50 and a minute. I’m on my 6th steep and it is as good if not better. There is a mouth feel and the taste lingers in a pleasant way, stimulates saliva so-to-speak. The only negative thing I’ve noticed is that after the first couple of steeps the effect it has on me is overly stimulating. I feel really buzzed in my head and some tightness in my chest, a bit of nervousness. I’ve not had this type of reaction to other puerhs. Don’t know if anyone else has found this with this tea.

Flavors: Sweet, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Very nice oolong. No frills. Steeps to an amber color. Reasonably priced… Good daily tea. On the third steep and still going strong.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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84

Ohhhh so good. I need more!! this was just a sample. Perhaps a small purchase can be a sipdown goal reward?

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for reminding me of this shop. I need to plant it on my path in the near future..

Indigobloom

are you thinking during the day or evening? we can go together if we can find a good day for it :)

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drank Ying De Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf
998 tasting notes

This is a fantastic black tea. Nice and rich – a little chocolate – a little honey – really sweet. Fantastic.
Thanks so much Sil for sharing.

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The tea is good! light, refreshing, and a bit spicy. Just what I wanted.

I seem to be fighting a bug. Only it isn’t like any bug I’ve had before. 99% of the ones I have involve a sore throat/stuffy nose/cough/fuzzy brain. This time? slightly elevated temp that I wouldn’t even call a fever… and exhaustion. Oh and I’m sore all over. Nope I haven’t done anything resembling exercise recently. Confusing! I don’t know what to do with this thing, whatever it is. I know how to fight my normal sick battles! Not impressed I say.
Sorry for the rant. I get grumpy when I feel like bleh,apparently.

OMGsrsly

Hate to say this, but it could be influenza. :/ That’s how I felt at the beginning of last week, and it progressed to be snotty. But mostly I was just exhausted and uncomfortably warm when normally I’m a bit chilly.

Indigobloom

Yeah I was thinking about that. My tummy is only a tiny bit icky feeling though. I think I’m more annoyed cuz I felt like this earlier in the week on and off for about four days. I felt better on Friday and now its back. Hope you’re feeling all better now OMGsrsly!

OMGsrsly

Influenza is a respiratory virus, similar to but also much worse than a cold (it’s a different type of virus). The “stomach flu” is usually either a GI virus or food poisoning.

Indigobloom

hmm. So it’d be the stomach flu then. Maybe

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Sipdown (168 because I forgot to add it)

It might be human error but this tastes rather watery. Plus, there is a weird raisin flavor and that’s it. Not sure what happened but if this is how this tea is supposed to taste than it is not for me.

Sil

i didn’t love this in 2015, but in 2014/2013 it was fantastic.

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82

Another one from Nicole – thank you! The leaves here just look like they will make a delicious cup. Mostly amber with black here and there… mildly fuzzy twisties. The dark amber brew is quite delicious but it’s tough for me to describe. It’s malty, honey, not really chocolate, a little on the lighter side of the flavor spectrum. Hints of tomato soup. Not the most distinct flavor with this type of tea, so it isn’t my favorite of this type, so I’m glad Nicole only sent me a little to try of one of her favorites. :D
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

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71

I forgot if this was from a tea box or if this was from a swap, but either way, I got this from Sil!

I have too much tea and I’m going to drink as much as I can bc I need to get rid of them all.

Straight:
- Smells like a subtle and light black tea with more hits of coco and vanilla.
- Tastes like black tea. Nothing too special. The vanilla and chocolate aroma was lost

With milk and sugar, that helps the bitterness of the tea. Love the creaminess and I think the vanilla is coming back :)


Cries bc I’m just about to take my last final of undergrad. Beer final, here I come!

Flavors: Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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83

Thanks to TheLastDodo for this one a while back! The dry leaves look like twisted needles of green tea. The flavor is just what I love with a green tea: sweet, nutty, a little vegetal, with hints of fruit. Superbly well balanced between all four of those notes, almost like each one is present in the perfect amounts. This is exactly the way I love green teas to be. This would be a perfect green…. IF the second cup was at all like the first. It seemed like any of the flavor notes in the first steep were gone in the second, leaving just a slightly astringent and dry plain green. The parameters were similar to the first steep, so I’m not sure why it would make such a difference. The first steep is worth it though. After trying a few Mao Feng teas, they are certainly some of my favorite greens.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 2- 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

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84

More drying floral today than popcorn. Still delish. And yup, I bought a small stash!! :)

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