Tao Tea Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

75

Not your typical earthy pu’er, these purple buds are much lighter. The characteristic earthiness of pu’er is present but there is also a bit of grassiness to it and notes of apricots. I think my initial steep wasn’t long enough but you can steep these buds multiple times. When steeped longer than planned, it wasn’t bitter and still was enjoyable.

Flavors: Apricot, Musty

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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100

an amazing tea!

when i smell the leaves dry, i smell nothing.

when i smell the leaves wet, it has a unique smell…. rice krispies bars (you know the cereal?)

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell rice krispies bars and a hint of popcorn.

when i taste the brewed tea, i taste popcorn and floral.

i rate this tea a 100 because of its aromas and flavors.

many thanks to scribbles for this amazing tea!

Flavors: Floral, Popcorn

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
scribbles

I’ll give this one another try, but I wasn’t overly fond of it the first time around – not so much into florals. if I don’t like it, the rest is yours :)

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100

an amazing tea!

when i smell the leaves dry, i smell a musty smell.

when i smell the leaves wet, i smell earth and sweetness.

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell earth.

when i taste the brewed tea, i taste earth and sweetness.

i rate this tea a 100 because it is awesome and i love the earth and sweet mix.

many thanks to Scribbles for this amazing tea!

Flavors: Earth, Musty, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 7 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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100

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75

a decent tea.

when i smell the leaves dry, they have a green grassy smell.

when i smell the leaves wet, the smell is intensified.

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell green and grassy aroma.

when i taste the brewed tea, i taste green and grassy taste :)

i rate this a 75 because its kind of grassy.

many thanks to Scribbles for this decent sample :)

Flavors: Grass, Green

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 10 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
tea123

Sounds bit like sencha.

Kirkoneill1988

doesen’t taste like it :(

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59

This is one of my favorite types of black tea so I have sampled it from three different farms now and find it to be quite satisfying. This one here is more astringent than others that I’ve had. While the flavor is there, which is nice, the bitterness is somethi by that I wish wasnt thefe

boychik

Did you do western or gongfu?

Liquid Proust

Western on all black teas. It’s just how I do it.bare certain black teas to be gongfu?

boychik

I rarely do western on Chinese reds. Almost never . You won’t notice any bitterness or astringency if you Gongfu them. Indian/Ceylon is western only

Liquid Proust

Hmmm… I shall try and see what happens tomorrow. Maybe my black tea game will completely change! Thanks for the advice

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Sample sipdown!

I bought a sample of this from Tao last year (along with a lot of other WuYi oolongs) and I’ve been letting them sit for far too long. I ended up putting the whole sample into my gaiwan last night and let the thing steep about 6 or seven times.

I did get a hint of the cinnamon flavour the tea is noted for, but I smelled it more than I tasted it. It hit the back of the palate, and there was a malty flavour alongside that made the whole thing reminiscent of cinnamon buns.

However, the dominant taste was of the roastiness, smoke, hay, tobacco, that sort of thing. It got quite astringent as the steeps went on.

The thing I like about gong-fu brewing is that it forces me to sit and contemplate things for a bit – counting out the seconds as the clock ticks during my steep, keeping my hand steady when I pour it out into my cup. That sense of peacefulness that comes from silent still time is good, and I got that when drinking this last night.

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drank An Hua Hei Cha by Tao Tea Leaf
894 tasting notes

GCTTB
I’ve had this style of tea before and was excited to try Tao’s version of it. I did rinse, and I did keep the steep times pretty short, but there is still something in here I dont like. One of my teacfreinds suggested another one tasted like the chemicals in her father’s wood working shop. I’m thinking that might be a good description of this. It’s woody, its musty, its old, and then something icky. Sorry this one was a miss.

scribbles

can’t bring myself to try it again. still remembering the first time I tried it and am scared for getting that taste again. I love most Tao’s teas, but I agree – not this one :(

Dexter

I have other An Hua style teas – my friend didn’t like it, but I don’t mind it. This one wasn’t for me. Wondering about steep parameters. If I can find some time, I’m going to play with one of mine and see if I can recreate this. I’m not sure if it’s the tea or how we are brewing it. I agree Tao usually has really good tea. :)

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80

This was very strange. I’ve been noticing that this company does a lot of “mis-labeling”. This tea is not listed on the website, and I have no idea how it came from there. I’m actually a little confused. Anyways, on to the review.

This is a roasted oolong, so it carries the classic smoked aroma. This one in particular smells of smoked dark chocolate. I warmed these long black leaves up in my gaiwan and gave them a tumble. The warmed aroma was like coffee grounds or a deep espresso. I washed the mystery leaves off and prepared for brewing. The flavor was not as robust as I thought it to be. The brew had a subtle black coffee flavor and char. It did not stand up well against multiple steepings. This brew became much weaker by the fifth steeping. The liquor was a pale blackened citrine. The steeped leaves smelled of cooked dates. This was an unusual and basic brew. It was good, but it wasn’t as good as I would have liked.

https://instagram.com/p/4AQvjsTGaV/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Coffee, Dates, Espresso, Smoked

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

Is it a sample?

Haveteawilltravel

Yes it is, 5.6g

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85

Found this in stash swap box (I had to make one, isn’t it an awesome idea?) and decided that a dark oolong sounded great at the time. I was right, it was great at the same and maybe at all times.
This brewed dark and had a nice brisk taste. My favorite part of it would be the after taste. Smooths out and taste semi sweet on the tongue which is odd for a darker oolong, my experience that is.
The only reason I rate this down is the infusion itself being compared to some of the 2015 oolongs that I have received fresh make it easy to spot out that this one isn’t as fresh as it once was.

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drank An Hua Hei Cha by Tao Tea Leaf
729 tasting notes

GCTTB4

I normally try to drink some tea before I go to work in the morning, and I had this one this morning. Bad idea.

Looking over Scribbles’s previous note and comments, it appears that a rinse is in order. However, I just brewed this western style in a mug because I seriously don’t have time in the morning for gaiwan brewing. Dark, earthy, musty, with a note of camphor/menthol.

I’m sure it’s not a bad tea if you steep it under the right conditions. Those conditions, alas, are in short supply on a Monday morning when I need to leave the house at 7:20 to catch my train. I didn’t finish the mug and poured the remainder down the sink.

Indigobloom

Ouch, poor you! I wonder what’d happen if you added a dash of sugar

Christina

I’m not sure, but I doubt I’d want to revisit this tea again. Luckily, if I change my mind, the office I’m working at is not very far from Tao.

Indigobloom

Nice! I really need to grab some more stuff from him. There are a few he has I’ve yet to tru

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79

Hi Steepster folks,
I’ve been a bit absent recently with reviewing teas. Also I haven’t been buying that much new stuff, trying to drink more of what I have. The tea pile still seems neverending!

This was a sample I got with my last Tao Tea Leaf order. I’m no a big fan of jasmine teas but if I’m in the right mood, they can be quite nice. I decided to steep this one Western style for 2 minutes and it became more full-bodied than I thought it would. The silver needle has a nice sweetness to it, also I am getting almond-y and hay type notes. The jasmine is clearly present but it isn’t overwhelmingly strong.

I feel this may have been better prepared in the gong fu style. I steeped mine Western style for 2 minutes and felt like some of the delicate white tea flavor got really lost. This is a pretty nice afternoon tea for me today but probably not something I will need to repurchase. I have one jasmine pearl tea in my cupboard and don’t think I need any more jasmines.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Nice to see you around!

TeaBrat

thanks :))

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GCTTB

I was expecting to love this tea based on past reviews but in my experience I haven’t really loved an Oriental Beauty yet so it might be just me.

I over steeped this accidentally at work. Darn!

It was fairly strong with strong roasted notes. Probably would have been lighter if I hadn’t steeped it so long. I could pick out what was like autumn leaf, roasted notes & faint honey.

This tea just wasn’t very good for me. I’m not rating it because I over steeped but it still might not have been my cup of tea even if I got the brewing times right.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Roasted

Liquid Proust

I have Butiki’s oriental beauty if you would like to test that hypothesis a bit more

Ubacat

Sure! Thanks. We were going to do a swap anyway.

Liquid Proust

Awesome! I am dealing with so many people on here it has begun to be a blur, which I love! I just realized you were with me/us on the YUNOMI deal. I have some very interesting teas to set aside for a swap :)

Ubacat

I haven’t sampled anything yet from the Yunomi order. Things have been crazy lately in my life. Looking forward to trying them out and doing a swap. I will PM you.

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95
drank Tai Ping Hou Kui by Tao Tea Leaf
431 tasting notes

GCTTB

Thanks scribbles for putting this one in the box. I know it’s a pricey tea.

I tried it out today. Didn’t get any pictures but brewed it in my glass teapot to see the pretty leaves.

First infusion was so good. Fruity and apricot tasting . There was a bit of the nutty flavour I always get in most greens too. This one was lightly sweet and smooth.
Sooo good.

I didn’t get around to a 2nd infusion until later and was hoping for more of that apricot/fruity taste but it was only a basic green for the 2nd infusion. I was disappointed. The first infusion was so fantastic. Maybe I let the leaves sit too long between infusions.

Anyway, it’s totally worth it just to get that first infusion. I rarely brew green teas more than once.

Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Nutty

Preparation
0 OZ / 0 ML
scribbles

Inspired by TheLastDodo – she sent me some from a different company, and wanted to try more.

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50
drank Milk Oolong by Tao Tea Leaf
854 tasting notes

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drank An Hua Hei Cha by Tao Tea Leaf
286 tasting notes

So I included this one the GCTTB, and I’m kind of sorry that I did. I didn’t try it before adding it, ‘cause I thought dark fermented tea? Should taste ok. Nope. I don’t like it. At all. It has an odd scent, which translates into the taste. I couldn’t even finish the cup. Dumped. My apologies to anyone who tries this tea and finds it as odd as I do.

I’m going to try it again tomorrow after a rinse and will hopefully find it more palatable.

boychik

I like heicha. Did you rinse it?

scribbles

No. I’ll give that a try tomorrow and re-edit if necessary.

mrmopar

Rinse for sure.

scribbles

OK. Will rinse and try again.

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78

Sipdown (115)!

Thank you TheLastDodo!

I’ve only tried a few different Rou Gui oolongs before, most of them from Nannuoshan, but so far I haven’t found one I dislike – the wide range of flavours experienced with the different infusions very much appeal to me so this Rou Gui oolong from Tao Tea Leaf is just going to further my exploration of the class. To stay consistent with the other Rui Gui I’ve tried I had a Gong Fu session with this one using my gaiwan.

The leaves for this are very dark, almost charcoal or black, and decently large. The smell of the dry leaf is very roasty with some fruity sweetness layered underneath. It’s perhaps a touch peachy? I did a ten second wash with this one; as the water hit the leaves my kitchen was instantly filled with a very robust, borderline earthy and roasty smell.

Infusion One: 10 Seconds – This is surprisingly sweet right off the bat despite quite strong toasted barley notes. It’s a little nutty and definitely has some stonefruit notes as well; like dried peach drizzled with honey. There’s maybe some cinnamon too, but not much. These notes comprise the start of the sip and the body. The finish tastes of corn chips and flax to me with a very intense presence of raisins in the finish. I’m usually quite anti-raisin but I actually like the way it tastes here. The taste of the raisin lingers in your mouth for a very long time after swallowing; minutes. For the most part it’s very smooth though it did leave my front two teeth feeling very dry. Leaves are barely opened up at all and smell quite roasty with cinnamon notes and something maybe vaguely like coffee grounds?

Infusion Two: 15 Seconds – Still tastes strongly of roasted barley but it a bit more nutty and has woody notes at the start as well as much more defined cinnamon notes. The body is comprised mostly of rich peach and raisin notes. The honey notes have also gotten stronger, and are tightly tying in with the raisin. Some floral notes have begun creeping in as well. I’m almost reminded of a roasted trail mix with dried fruit/raisins mixed in. This subtle transition of flavours is keeping true to what I’ve observed with other Rou Gui. The leaves smell subtly fruitier.

Infusion Three: 30 Seconds – Ooh! This was not a good pour; I spilled tea everywhere. The flavour is really starting to turn. I’m observing a dramatic decrease in roasted flavour. Definitely strong peach/raisin notes; the strongest so far. The peach is less so a dried peach flavour now, and closer to something fresh. Significantly more floral with more defined floral notes like orchid. Almost seems buttery. Leaves are almost completely opened up and smell sweet like honey and quite floral. There’s absolutely no dry feeling on my teeth from this infusion.

Infusion Four: 40 Seconds – There’s essentially no barley, nut or roasted flavour left. The liquor tastes quite floral with strong raisin and honey notes. The peach has faded quite a lot which is actually kind of disappointing; now that the focus is more on the taste of the raisin I’m losing interest. Also, it’s definitely very buttery. This is the lightest and most watery infusion yet. I’m sure I could probably get a decent fifth infusion but for my own personal tastes the leaves may very well be spent. They are, however, fully opened and smell sweet like honey and flowers.

This is definitely similar to the other Rou Gui/Cassia Teas I’ve tried but unique in its own right too – I definitely experience some more unique notes with the first steep like corn chips and flax, and I don’t remember really tasting raisin with the others I’ve tried. It’s definitely something I’d serve to other people and I would totally drink it again myself.

boychik

its my favorite, glad you like it ;)

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I’m really sad about this. I over steeped the first two times because I was distracted. I still tried to drink it and it was like lighter fluid. By the third steep it was still pretty bitter, and then once I reached the fourth it was mostly faded. I was not able to enjoy it. The only flavor I could bring out was a subtle sweetness in the aftertaste. I’m pretty bummed, but I guess I’ll have to buy some more.

https://instagram.com/p/2YY5jdTGcM/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Preparation
6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Thanks so much scribbs! this was an excellent sample of an excellent and classic Chinese red. I had fun drinking it! The tea was gracious enough to brew up all of it’s goodness slowly, letting me enjoy every last drop to it’s fullest. The soup was thick and brothy, and a brilliant red. The taste was heavy in my mouth, and the flavors lasted long after each sip. I got no astringency whatsoever, it was so even and smooth. The aroma is similar to fresh baked whole wheat bread, with perhaps some dried fruit snuck inside. Upon further inspection, I detect creamed honey and thick malt coating my throat. It still retains that bread quality without becoming like crunchy old toast. This would make for an excellent breakfast tea!

See my review here:
http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/04/17/tangyang-gongfu-black-tea-tao-tea-leaf/

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drank Golden Assam by Tao Tea Leaf
642 tasting notes

An average Assam. Nothing super strong but pretty smooth and moderate. No rating since I know my taster is off still.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

Today was a super stressful day and when I left the office I was practically ready to explode, oh the things we have to do just to get a paycheck! Anyway I got this with my last Tao Tea Leaf order and really just wanted to try it… I love the aroma when I put my nose in the bag. Just like roasted coconut! I’ve had a few coconut oolongs in the past and have enjoyed them. This one is good too, what a yummy flavored bao zhong.

The coconut flavor is on the fresh and natural side, not fakey like the coconut oolong from David’s Tea. It’s lightly vegetal and buttery also. Overall a very enjoyable oolong and one I’m glad I ordered. I only hope it doesn’t keep me awake tonight…. 8:30 pm is a bit late for me to be drinking tea but it was such an exhausting day, hopefully I pop right into bed.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kirkoneill1988

i shall try this someday

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90

I’m surprised that this tea was not in the database. This was a wonderful brew. I’m not completely sure on where I got this tea, but nethertheless it was awesome! The tea resembles small tendrils of smoke with bits of gold scattered about the mist. It carries a strong note of roast, black currant, and plum. I brewed these in my gaiwan. I washed them once to allow them to breathe and these small tendrils released quite the aroma. My tea room was filled with deep dark plums and a roasted chestnut scent. The flavor was somewhat different. The initial sip was bold and with a strong malt. This flavor began to fade with later steepings and it was replaced by a brown sugar taste. The whole brew is encaptured with an autumn vineyard flavor. This was a delicious tea session and I must definitely will be getting more of this.

https://instagram.com/p/1A80zDTGel/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Plums, Roasted, Vineyards

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

Mmm! I really want to try TTL at some point!

Haveteawilltravel

They have some great tea. I love the way they sell sample sizes and the shipping is cheap. You can get a bunch of good tea,but you don’t have to commit to an ounce. Its pretty cool :)

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80

This was a very interesting tea session. I feel that I may have gotten perhaps old tea. I do not state this because it was a bad tea session, it just wasn’t as good as I thought it should be. I purchased a small sample size just to try out this “Award Winner” before I purchase a larger quantity. I would have loved to use this in my yixing, but I was shorted a few grams which was sad.
The long black leaves are a deep black and crimson. I placed these in my small gaiwan and prepared brewing. The immediate scent was of charcoal, raisins, and hot stones. I poured out and was very excited to taste. The initial sip was heavy with minerals and char. This brew had a deep body to start, but this body died away rather quickly. Once I reached only the third steeping it had already flattened out and became subtle. I was a little disappointed with this considering its price. It was a nice Wuyi, but I don’t believe it to be prize winning. I’ve had basic DHP that have stood up longer than this. Altogether, I don’t think I’ll be restocking this particular tea.

https://instagram.com/p/0-XP-CzGei/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Char, Mineral, Raisins

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
boychik

I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. What’s your parameters ? I do 6g for 100ml. I always rinse too

Haveteawilltravel

I usually use those same parameters, except, for some reason my sample was short so I was only able to use 4.5g for 90ml

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90

It will be interesting to see how I feel upon starting my temp job on Wednesday. It’s been so long since I was working full time due to my disability and subsequent unemployment. I’ve gotten used to drinking tea whenever I want and being able to gong fu it all with my yixing pots! Probably can’t do that in the office but maybe this will be a good time to divest myself of some bagged tea I haven’t gotten around to drinking. I think this is what’s known as a “first world problem”

I’ve been drinking more green oolongs lately and definitely enjoying them. I wonder if they have a similar theanine profile to gyokuro or the Japanese green teas as I always find them relaxing.

This one in particular is very nice if you like floral teas. It is sweet and creamy with an intense orchid aroma and flavor. I steeped it 3 times and steeps #2 and #3 were really tasty. This might actually be a touch too floral-y for my palette, but it is a terrific green oolong, Definitely would recommend trying it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec
caile

Best of luck that Wednesday goes well!

TeaBrat

Thank you :)

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