Tao Tea Leaf
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Recent Tasting Notes
This was really an excuse to use my porcelain gaiwan. Yesterday I used the stoneware one (thanks again to Butiki) and today I thought I’d use the more delicate one now that I have the new, unchipped lid (again from Butiki!)
I used about 2 tsp of leaf in a 4-oz gaiwan, and made 6 steeps – just enough for one small David’s Tea Bubble Teapot. Boil the water, heat the teapot, heat the gaiwan, rinse the leaves, then put the remaining boiled water in the pot, to be poured out for each steep. Started out with a 20s steep, with 5 seconds added for each subsequent steep.
The dry leaf smelled very buttery and creamy, though not as buttery as Teavivre’s Flavoured Milk Oolong, which is my comparison point. All 6 steeps were pale golden yellow, with the first 2 steeps being the creamiest.
The base was quite vegetal, though, and became more astringent as time went on. I’m learning more about my own tastes when it comes to oolongs, and I believe I like them on the roastier side, rather than the green/floral side. As the steeps increased, I was getting a floral, orchid-like note.
I still have half the sample left to go, but I don’t think I’ll miss this one too much when I finish it off.
I had Cherry Rose Sencha many years ago and was not impressed with it. I do like this one. I used a slightly hotter temperature than they recommend because my tea cools down so fast. They do warn on their website not to because it will bring out the bitterness of the tea. The tea I brewed up does have some bitterness but it’s still a nice cup. Love the subtle cherry notes followed by the rose. It’s done nicely. For this tea, I think it’s a tea that could grow on me so I’d need a few more cups variying the steep time and slightly lower temperature to see if this is one I’d buy again. Unfortunately, I only had one cup of this. They were pretty stingy with the sample size. I like to have at least two cups in a sample size.
As advertised, this does have a strong fruity-nutty-woody vibe; wood in the scent, dark dried fruit and walnut in the flavor. Definitely strong enough for a sleepy morning, don’t think it’d be improved any with milk. (Tea courtesy of scribbles; ability to enjoy it outdoors before 8 a.m. courtesy of a break in the weather!)
I’m really liking this one. The leaves were dark sencha with strawberry pieces. Smell: a nice strawberry scent from the bag. Brewed up: The strawberry notes are done very well. Not too light and not too strong. Doesn’t come through as artificial tasting either which is quite common with strawberry teas. The sencha is a bit astrigent tasting and pairs perfectly with the strawberry.
This was my tea of choice at work today. I’ve had it before, but haven’t drank any for quite awhile. Trying to drink some of my older teas, trying not to hoard some of my favorites.
Seven months ago I wrote something to the effect that I thought this was a little pu’erh, a little black. Had characteristics of both. I still agree with that, but now that I’ve experienced more pu’erh (and more black for that matter) – I’ve decided that this is Special Dark’s little brother. If Special Dark were ever discontinued (please say it won’t happen) this would be my replacement for it.
This is more pu’erh ( really good pu’erh) and less chocolate, but definitely in the same family. I love it for what it is. It’s really, really good .
I had to get this one after David’s Tea came out with their Coconut Oolong. I got that one of course but with a search on Steepster, this one intrigued me. Of course that led to a whole new order from Tao Tea Leaf since it made more sense to at least order 35.00 to take advantage of the free shipping!
Out of the two oolongs I think I prefer this one. The coconut flavor is very subtle unlike the one from David’s tea which is quite prominent. The oolong is a really high quality one for this. I’m getting buttery, sweet notes with a bit of the coconut.
Got a sample size of this tea to try out. I don’t taste too much raspberry but there is some hibiscus. The hibiscus is not overly strong. I had this as a hot tea but on their website they suggest it as an iced tea so I think I will try that next time I have this. I might get more of the raspberry flavor then.
My initial review of this one mentioned its lightness and brightness, and we’ll stick with that, but if you leaf it a little heavier…the lights intensify to those nasty, wicked LED headlights that other drivers insist on shining in my eyes before they are entirely open on my morning commute.
(Leaf it. The rest of the world would scratch their heads at that verb, but I am secure that you know exactly what I am talking about. Think we need to compile a Steepster glossary?)
Well boo. Apparently I had more than one sample of this kickin around. I think this was one I had intended for trading. Oops :/
No matter. It tasted off anyhow. Partially because last time I used the whole packet and this time I went with half… so apparently you need to pack 2-3 tsp into your steeper to make it worthwhile!
Also… I need a new job. I just got this one less than a month ago and already it is driving me nuts.
First, now that I am used to the duties, it is kinda mind numbingly boring! and we aren’t permitted to have a radio on.
Second, I sit at reception, even though it has nothing at all to do with my actual job other than manning the phones. They just want someone there to greet candidates.
That isn’t the bad part- what makes me cringe is that every single time I want to leave the desk to grab some water, hit the washroom, and of course for lunch, someone has to cover me. They have to leave their desk, interrupt their work, and sit at mine. This just started two days ago. Previously, I would simply transfer the phones to whoever was covering me. Not SO bad. Right?
But now… I have to raise my hand (ie send an email), ingratiating myself to whomever’s turn it is, to let me take care of my bursting bladder. Not only that, but this way my habits are on display for the whole office (eight people). So now I feel like asking if they can ALSO sit in my seat while I boil water and then two minutes later go back to fill my cup, is too much. In fact, I know it is, because I was actually asked if I could drink less water. Or if maybe I could go on my lunch hour, which was then amended to say maybe we should schedule a midmorning or afternoon break. Oy!!! Maybe next they will start timing me. Ha! I dunno, I think that is a bit too invasive. Or is it just me?
The second steep this time wasn’t as sweet as I remembered it. In any event, I have one fewer variety of tea in my cupboard, and considering the number of teas I should be receiving soon in swaps, that’s a good thing. A nice simple tea to round out my Sunday evening, after watching a few Shakespearean BBC productions.
If you poured this in an empty Sue Bee honey bottle, you’d be hard pressed to detect you’re not looking at rich molten honey. This oolong is lip-lickingly thick (say that five times fast!) and almost a little sticky.
The label mentions honey, roasted peaches, and raisins. I’m getting (a) and (b) minus ©, but there is nothing lacking here. It’s a treat. More so because it isn’t a finicky steeper—boiling water, 2-3 minutes, easy peasy. A treat from scribbles that is making me smile on a cool, sunny afternoon. (Thank you!)
Not exactly a leisurely Saturday, but after a week of work insanity, elder care runs, and a phone…that…never…seems….to…stop…ringing… I can at least back off from full throttle to a gentle chug-chug. And while doing so, I’m really digging this tea scribbles sent me. With milk, it turns rich and caramelly. Very, very nice.
This is my second time trying this tea, and I have to say I’m not a fan. The first time I tried it, I used about 2/3 of the sample package to brew 1 small pot (24 oz) of tea. This time, I used the remaining portion of tea (probably 1-2 tsp) for a single 8-oz cup, and it’s still not much to write home about.
I’m really surprised by the dustiness and lack of vegetal notes in this tea. It’s a tad sweet, perhaps, but that’s about it – no brightness at all, or even any astringency.
I purchased this sample from Tao about a week and a half ago. Unfortunately, the sample package didn’t contain any steeping instructions so I had to play it by ear.
Dry leaf: Long and spindly, and green-brown. It was hard to measure, but I think I used about 1/2 or 2/3 of the sample packet for a pot of tea. The dry leaf smelled sweet, faintly like figs or honey.
Steeping Parameters: No instructions were provided, so I made things up as I went. I think about 2 tsp of leaf for 24 oz of water. 1st steep for 4 minutes, 2nd steep for 5. Both steeps were around 82-83°C.
Liquor: The colour was a dark tan both times. What surprised me about this tea was that it lacked a lot of the bright, vegetal notes I normally associate with green teas. If I hadn’t have known better, I would have thought this was a black tea, or even chamomile. There was a sweetness to it, but it tasted thin and woody, like cedar. Other than that, not much to write home about.
Verdict: I’m really not sure what to make of this. I think I underleafed it. It wasn’t bad, but this sample is leading me to think that Mao Feng greens are not the thing for me. I’ll see what it’s like when I finish off the rest of the sample. No rating for now.
I had a cup of this at Tao’s last night, and here’s what I remember:
- this was the Premium Shi Feng variety of Dragon Well
- long, thin, bright green leaves; very fresh-looking
- It smelled marine-like, buttery, fishy, kind of green-bean-y
- green-gold, light amber liquor
- the taste was very light and not astringent at first, but as I drank it, it got more and more astringent (that “crinkly tongue” feeling)
- very vegetal taste with a long, lingering aftertaste
It was nice, but I’m not sure if I want to try it again. I think I just may not like Dragon Well teas that much.
Thank you so much scribbles for sending me a sample of this tea.
I don’t normally do well with ginger teas. They are normally way too gingery for my tastes. This one is pretty well balanced. It is definitely ginger, but it’s not overwhelming.
This is just warm and comforting. I’m not sure I love it, but it’s quite nice…..
I don’t think this is the correct photo for this tea, but anyway….
I LOVE it, awesome, fantastic, amazing, everything I think a dark oolong should be.
I’m not getting any cinnamon as suggested by the company, but it does have WuYi characteristics. Not getting much floral either, but it does have some sweet/honey notes.
Reading the description I was a bit apprehensive, but what I experienced didn’t really match the description and for me that’s a good thing.
Thanks so much scribbles for sending me another fabulous tea from Tao.
Second experience with this one confirms that it stays on the light side of the Assam spectrum—but as weather attempts to mellow out some, I tend to gravitate that direction with morning teas anyway.
Been one of those weeks where I’ve had to gulp without tasting, so a slow-down cup this morning before long day of elder care errands is very welcome. Thanks again to scribbles!