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Tao Tea Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Milk Oolong by Tao Tea Leaf
162 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.

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75
drank Cherry Rose Sencha by Tao Tea Leaf
103 tasting notes

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.

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drank Golden Yunnan Black by Tao Tea Leaf
1625 tasting notes

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!)

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I only got a sample size of this and wanted it to last so didn’t put enough in the teapot. My tea is now too weak to leave a proper review. Only posting this here so I don’t make the same mistake for next time. It’s hard to measure by spoon since the leaves are so big. Better to go by weight.

MzPriss

I hate it when I do that

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Love Tao as a company. Don’t love this tea. There is something in the almond flavor that doesn’t work for me.

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80

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.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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92

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 .

TheTeaFairy

Oh! Thanks for finding a little brother for Special Dark…will have to keep that in mind :-)

Dexter3657

(I’ve already put a sample of it in “your” box for next time……)

TheTeaFairy

:-) :-) :-)

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88

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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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.

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73

much take 5 mins to catch up on backlogs! It’s March 31st! eep!

I had a lovely cup of this in the morning as a latte to start my day off. It’s going to be a long week and i needed today to go well. Overall, I likely won’t pick this one up again, but getting through the rest of this won’t be bad.

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drank Golden Assam by Tao Tea Leaf
1625 tasting notes

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?)

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79
drank An Ji Bai Cha by Tao Tea Leaf
1258 tasting notes

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?

Kaylee

It’s definitely too invasive. That’s just weird. But, just scheduling a break might actually be better for you. That way you can take care of whatever without having to give everyone a detailed account of your activities.

TeaBrat

That does sound annoying, when I’m at work I drink tea all day long but I don’t have to answer a lot of phones.

Fjellrev

That’s a pretty pointless, inefficient system. You’d think the phone transferring strategy would be good enough.

SimpliciTEA

Sorry to hear about the particulars of your job situation; I can understand how you could feel uncomfortable about the expectations, and awkward about the whole situation.

About the tea, I am a big fan of An Ji Bai Cha for many reasons: it typically has a crisp clean taste, and the way it’s processed causes it to be high in theanine, so, chemically speaking, it is a little more calming on the human nervous system than a typical green tea. So, better luck next time with this type of tea!

Stephanie

Yuck. Scheduled breaks sound like the best case scenario here, and yum…an ji bai cha!

Indigobloom

Kaylee, this is true. But then I got to thinking, my break should be scheduled mid morning right, say at 10am? What if I can’t hold it that long?? or if I have tummy trouble…

Indigobloom

TeaBrat, I don’t actually mind the phones. It is the most entertaining part of my day hah. But the break part is definitely annoyoing

Indigobloom

SimpliciTea, Thanks. Uncomfortable is a very good word for how I feel haha.
I could certainly use some theanine!! I’ll bet it has just as much as matcha. My first cup was incredibly soothing :)

Indigobloom

Stephanie, I am starting to think so. It still creeps me out though! I haven’t figured out why…
I think I may need to invest in more than just a sample :P

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73

this + bolder breakfast + milk = delicious latte!

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80
drank Bi Luo Chun by Tao Tea Leaf
162 tasting notes

Sample sipdown!

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.

Preparation
5 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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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!)

Sil

nice!

gmathis

Sitting in my happy spot in the sunshine daydreaming bee dreams :)

K S

Tazo in your lap? Pretty sure sunshine, tea, and cat in lap is a guaranteed your own private Idaho vacation. In case private Idaho is too vague a reference, it is a B-52’s song.

gmathis

My B-52 repertoire is a little spotty. I listened to The Specials instead. But private and vacation sound heavenly. My current dream retreat is 24 hours without ANYBODY NEEDING ANYTHING.

Nicole

Tea in an empty honey bear bottle was one of the first recipes I wrote down on one of my mom’s recipe cards. It was my Tea Sucker recipe – put tea in honey bear, stick ice cube in top, lick ice cube till it falls in tea, drink tea. I used to love to drink tea out of empty honey bears. :)

gmathis

Love it!

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drank Chinese Breakfast by Tao Tea Leaf
1625 tasting notes

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.

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56

Sample sipdown!

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.

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56

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.

Indigobloom

They say 2g per 8oz is ideal. One of these days Ima get me a tea scale :)

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drank Dragon Well by Tao Tea Leaf
162 tasting notes

Backlog note:

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.

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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…..

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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.

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91

mmm packing up teas for a couple swaps and the BBB Box which should be here next week sometime if the mailman cooperates. I am fond of this tea and if there is ever another sale at Tao’s, i will likely pick up more of this. It’s just a tasty, tasty cup.

Dexter3657

It makes me happy to see others enjoying teas that I love….

Sil

you’re responsible for me trying this one! :)

Dexter3657

And scribbles is responsible for me trying it. You are passing it on to others – that’s the beauty of how this community works. :))

Sil

yeah..it’s awesome!

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drank Golden Assam by Tao Tea Leaf
1625 tasting notes

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!

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