Tao Tea Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

84

Thank you for this tea Marzipan and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Roswell Strange

Stephanie

GRR Steepster ate most of this tasting note :(

TheLastDodo

It didn’t eat the good parts though!

Stephanie

I dunno Dodo, there was a funny story about my coworker smelling this tea and thinking it was crackers…

TheLastDodo

Awww, man! Funny coworker anecdotes are the best!

Roswell Strange

Psst; Dodo – first Gaiwan related note is up! :P

Marzipan

Did you like it?

Stephanie

I did like it Marzipan smooth and savory.

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93

What a delicious brew! I love rock oolongs! I wish I had just a little more of this, so I could have brewed in my yixing. I guess my gaiwan will have to do.

These black embers carry the fragrance of a coal mine deep in China. They are a deep roast brew. I washed them once to release their aroma. Then, I brewed in an ever increasing 15 second increments. My tea room was filled with a roasted sugar scent. I took a sip of this amber liquor. The initial flavor was a grit granite and black plum. I heard rumors of a peach tone, but I didn’t encounter it during drinking. This sweet peach and sugar tone was left in the aftertaste. I could still taste this smooth fruit on the back of my tongue long after drinking. This brew was everything I wanted in a rock oolong. It carried the shale from the mountains and the smooth undertone of the orchids. I was able to steep this a great many of times, and I will definitely be stocking up on this! My yixing would love it :)

Flavors: Limestone, Plums, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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Again, Dexter, if you get a chance, let me know if I’m logging this in the wrong spot….

Another sample from Dexter (She’s the BEST! :D ).
Oh, is this good… I mean, “I NEED TO ORDER THIS ASAP!”, good. If I had this in my cupboard at all times, I would be one happy human….
It’s like a mug of dark chocolate…. I don’t ever want this cup to be empty!!
Thanks so much for this, Dexter, because I’ve found a new favourite tea that I hadn’t been aware of. :))))

Dexter

Yep that it. and more importantly – this is it:
http://www.taotealeaf.com/zhenghe-gongfu-black-tea-jin-ping-village/
That’s my #1 favorite black tea. I keep trying others, and there are some amazing ones out there – but this is still my favorite… :)

OMGsrsly

Dexter IS the best! I’ve been enjoying my samples too, but my descriptions are terrible because I can’t really taste anything still. :D

masked185

Hmm I keep reading these comments and thinking to myself “Jeee I really need to get to know this Dexter person better” :D :P

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98

Oh my Goddess! This by far one the best TGY I have ever had! This was given to me as a free sample with my last order from this company. I opened the small package and revealed little emerald gems. These brilliant green nuggets were small and tightly rolled. The dry aroma was a strong vegetal and forest scent. I knew that this was going to be delicious. I brewed in my yixing for best results and with low water temp. I washed the leaves once to awaken this treasure. I then steeped in increments of 10 seconds. The liquor that arose from this oolong was beautiful! A nectar of iridescent jade flowed out of my pot. The way the liquid refracted the sunlight made it seem to glow. The aroma that filled my tea room was of shade drawn hills and valleys deep in china. The initial sip was so silky and smooth. These small nuggets have a light body and vegetal taste. It has a prominent cream milk consistency and finishes with a floral breath. The brew is potent and does not falter steep after steep. The vegetal taste becomes more dominant and has ever changing undertones of nectar, frosting, and young saplings. This is a delectable tea, and it has won me over. I can understand the stating of “top grade.” I am very happy to have received this and I will definitely be stocking my cupboard.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Narcissus, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
TeaBrat

Curses! you made me look. Hope shipping to the US is not too pricey

Haveteawilltravel

hahahah, the shipping is free if you go on a tea binge ;)

TeaBrat

Oooh, good to know

boychik

Why don’t you insert you beautiful pics fr IG ?

Haveteawilltravel

I didnt know that I could do that… haha

boychik

I write the review, post it. Then go to IG, share/copy link. Come back to review. Edit and paste.

Haveteawilltravel

oh okay, thank you :)

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This tea is very light tasting, with a toasted, sweet grass flavour. It actually reminds me of steamed vegetables. Even the brewed leaves were a medium green that looked like steamed/boiled veggies. The leaves are buds plus 1 or 2 leaves, which is a pretty great pick. Great light tea for a light meal.

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91

I have finally decided to brew this little snack up. I’m going to start off by saying that this is Shou, this is not Sheng! I bought this under the pretense that is was a Sheng Pu-erh. I was just about to pop this in my Yixing pot when my tea senses began tingling. I later discovered that this was Shou. Now I will begin the review.

I open the small rice paper to reveal a perfectly convenient sized Tuo-Cha. The small disc is a dark ruddish brown with small gold flecks. The scent is what set me off that it wasn’t a Sheng (let alone the appearance). This small disc carries a muddid earth scent. I brewed in my gaiwan gong fu style. This small Tuo Cha took about three steepings before it fully opened. The liquor was a beautiful crimson soup! It reminded me of a heavy red wine. I washed the leaves once and brewed in 10 second intervals. The aroma was of wet moss and a dew covered forest floor. The leaves expanded to a bold red to match this liquor. The flavor was thick and headdy. I could note an instant thick earth flavor with undertones of sweet plum. The great thing about this brew is that the flavor was very consistent. The aroma began to remind of a log cabin after a rain storm, as the droplets seep into the fibers of the wood. As the steeping continued the bold earth flavor began to simmer down and it plateaued along with the sweet plum taste. The flavor brought up a taste profile of the canyon lakes in Arizona. I was able to pull multiple steepings (eight) without a single faltering. A problem that occured with this brew is that the leaves were mostly BoP, and that caused the tea to become slightly astringent and bitter. I had success with this tea and enjoyed it greatly. I am usually not a Shou drinker; I am a Sheng fella. This brew though has pushed me a little more towards being balanced with my pu’erh.

Flavors: Clay, Smooth, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Wood

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

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83

A really nice tuo!
I drank this one at work, and it was very nice to me :P the first couple steeps were really spicy and earthy, like gingersnap cookies and wet soil. After those first initial steepings, it mellowed out to a nice smooth and earthy brew. It definitely looked like a stout in my glass. The tiny chopped leaves were like espresso beans.
A great portable tea! 10/10 would buy again :)

Flavors: Smooth, Spices, Wet Earth

Haveteawilltravel

Is this Shu or Sheng? The picture seems like Sheng and the description says raw, but the actual Tuo Cha smells Shu and is very dark/red.

TheLastDodo

The picture does look like a sheng. But I have to say that it’s a shou. It looks like a shou, it brews like a shou, it tastes like a shou. Hopefully it’s just a typo on their site.

Haveteawilltravel

Okay, thats what I thought. I was going to brew this up this morning in my sheng yixing, but I didn’t want to risk it. Thank You!

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84

I really liked the combination of ginger with this shou. The spicy lemony ginger is really nice to the earthy slightly smoky puerh. My only problem with this blend was that the ginger pieces made a righteous mess in my gaiwan. Perhaps western style would have been better. Ah, I used the whole 5g sample. Well, it was tasty nevertheless!

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84

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drank Da Hong Pao by Tao Tea Leaf
1979 tasting notes

I got a new teapot! Squeeeee! And I have to give kudos to zentealife.com for the great price and great service and fast shipping.

To try out my new teapot, the 16 oz. dragonfly tetsubin in black and gold by Iwachu, I made several steeps of this. I wanted to see how far I could take it, but three steeps in even a tiny pot is a lot of tea. In this case, it was 48 ounces before I quit. Hubby and daughter drank some of it but I think most of it went in my cup! It was really good and I am pretty sure there were more steeps to be had, but I was sloshy!

Great tea, and a good tea day all in all!

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drank Da Hong Pao by Tao Tea Leaf
1979 tasting notes

My son’s girlfriend had tea with me Sunday morning and we tasted a couple of oolongs. He has gotten her hooked on puerh and she fell in love with Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice while she was here, and she has had a few greens and liked them but hasn’t had them at home much. I wanted her to try oolongs, as she had only had one or two green oolongs here.

I had to get the package to make sure of the company name. When I opened the bag to give a sniff to refresh my memory for this note, the aroma was so enticing that I had to reach in and take out a leaf to chew on. That doesn’t work out with all teas for me, but it is quite enjoyable with this one. It is very true to the flavor of the steeped tea.

We tried this using the aroma cup set that Tea Ave sent. The scent cup feels wonderful in your hand while it is warm if the day is chilly and damp and your hands are cold. The tall narrow cup is the perfect size and shape for me to hold onto and warm up.

The aroma of this one blow us away. I love Da Hong Pao already, and I could see that ChelseaR enjoyed it. It had a lovely chocolate aroma, with burnt sugar, and a nice bit of smoke. We had several nice resteeps from it, too. That oolong latex or thick resin flavor is there in scent and taste as well.

This is one of the teas my daughters picked up as a gift for me at the Toronto Tea Festival, and I think this is a company we will likely order from again.

boychik

my favorite DHP.

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85
drank Golden Monkey by Tao Tea Leaf
683 tasting notes

Another one from my Tao Tea Leaf order!!
Was kinda expecting this one to be chocolate-y because the last Golden Monkey tea I tried was really chocolate-y. While I like chocolate notes in black teas, it’s really not my favorite. So I am really glad that this one surprised me!!
The main flavor was sweet potatoes which is one of my FAVORITE flavors in black teas! Wasn’t super sweet, but still was pretty spot on. There was some notes of malt here and there to make it taste more bold.
Ahh! I am going to really enjoy this one! :D It’s a great tea that everyone that orders from Tao Tea Leaf should try! :D

Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

Lindsay

I’ve had a few Golden Monkey teas and they’ve all been pretty different. I’m not really sure what makes a tea “golden monkey” besides being Chinese and kinda tippy? Anybody know?

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20
drank Golden Yunnan Black by Tao Tea Leaf
683 tasting notes

This was the other free sample in my Tao Tea Leaf order.
And lemme say…I’m really glad this was JUST a sample. xD
So far every other tea has been good that I tried. Just not this one.
Haha
There the woodiness is! XD
Yeah no…Not a fan. Thank God this was a sample haha!

Flavors: Wood

Maddy Barone

That’s the great thing about samples! You can try a little and if it’s not one you like you’re not stuck with 50 grams of it.

Ost

Thoughh this was a pretty big sample they sent me xD

Kirkoneill1988

I like most black teas

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75

Another one from my Tao Tea Leaf order! ^^
Didn’t have this one before but since it got such good reviews everywhere I decided to add it to my order.
The dry leaf smelled pretty roasty and nutty, which always seems to remind me of shelled peanuts. Seems kinda odd, but that’s where my mind always goes to xD
The actual taste was pretty chocolate-y. Lots of cocoa notes.
Was pretty roasty though, with an tiny hint of nuttiness that I got in the dry leaf aroma.
This tea reminded me of Verdant’s Laoshan Black, but with more chocolate and cocoa notes. I like this one a lot more than the LB, but it’s still not my absolute favorite. xD Nothing to write home about in my book.
But it’s still good. Nice to have a choclatey tea in my collection for now. (:

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Nuts, Roasted

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100

Backlog

Had this one yesterday… Decided to treat myself to some amazing tea, on a miserable day. I am supposed to save it only for special occasions, but…I mean, I figured I’ve had to deal with an insane amount of pain all day long, with only like 40% relief from pain killers, right? That deserves an award, right?
Well…whether I’m right or not, I drank it. And it was delicious, and incredible. Even on the miserable day which was yesterday.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Orchid, Perfume, Smooth

Haveteawilltravel

This is a perfect reward! The ultimate pick-me-up!

Ost

Aha glad someone agrees! And now to reward myself for the awful day I’ve had today, I’m trying a bunch of tea samples that I haven’t been able to try! :D

Haveteawilltravel

Thats a great way to be cheered up! Tea Day Sunday

dragondrool

That does indeed deserve a reward. Though I have to note that just being you is special-occasion worthy in and of itself. You don’t need any special “event”. You’re worth the good stuff.

Ost

Aww that made me smile, dragondrool, and I needed to smile today! Thank you for being so sweet! hugs (:

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100

Backlog:

Soo this was actually the first tea I tried from my Tao Tea Leaf order. It was also one of the free samples that they gave me. They gave me a 50g sample of this one-was not expecting this at all! This free sample alone made all the frustration and disappointment that I dealt with for a month worth it! Not that I want my order to get lost ever again so I can get free tea, but it made me at least feel better about ordering again!
Anywho.
This tea is gorgeous. It’s those emerald green oolong leaves that are absolutely stunning! Reminds me of WP’s Autumn Jade Oolong.
The flavor is even better!
It has such intense floral notes. Probably the most floral tea I’ve ever tried!
It re-steeps well too! Have had it on two different days since I got my order a few days ago and every time it just rocks my world.
It’s just that good. Ugh I love it.
Definitely going to get this one next time I order!
Such a beautiful tea on every level!

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Perfume, Smooth

Anlina

Your tasting note makes me want to get this one out again.

Ost

I assure you that you will not regret drinking this one soon! Amazing tea! :D

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80
drank Golden Assam by Tao Tea Leaf
683 tasting notes

FINALLY got my Tao Tea order yesterday. After over a month of complications that is.
But they let me pick out a couple free samples…and not only that but the samples were HUGE.
They gave me an oolong sample that was 52g and a black tea sample that was 26g. Crazy big.
Might have actually been worth all the disappointment and stress this order caused me over the last month and a bit. xD
This was not a free sample, but a tea I had wanted to try from them for a while. This was the second tea i tried in my order.
Steeped it for about three minutes. A little bit too bold, but it was still good. Very malty. Not too much sweetness, mainly just malt.
Next time I am going to steep it for like two minutes and maybe it will be less in-your-face. XD But i still really liked it! I do love a malty tea! ^^

Flavors: Malt

Nightshifter

52g is bigger than an actual purchase from many vendors. Nice haul!

OMGsrsly

Yay! So glad you got it.

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85

Incredibly sweet, with very light vegetal notes. Easy to drink, refreshing type of tea.

Purchased a small sample of this at the Toronto Tea Festival but could not resist sampling at the booth itself multiple times…:D

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59

Very roasty and toasty. I read in the description on the package that this tea is synonymous for ‘cinnamon oolong.’ Thinking back to my favorite Asian Beauty from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, which tasted so much like cinnamon toast crunch, I was instantly sold.

Perhaps my hopes were too high, maybe I chose the wrong vessel to brew it in, maybe I oversteeped it, or the water temp was too high. I so wanted to love this tea, but I can’t. I get scorched rice, burnt popcorn and sour plums. It was pretty astringent and a I have been slowly warming up to roasted oolong, seeing as they are one of my least favorites. This tea all but dashed my hopes of liking a roasted oolong in a hot minute. Le sigh. I want to try it again with shorter steeps and a cooler water temp. I am not about super finicky teas, but I have a good 25g still to get through. I will give this another shot, and if it does not work, to someone else it goes!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
yyz

How are you steeping it?

TheLastDodo

I brewed 3g in 100C water in one of these:
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29219-the-tea-shaker
The capacity is about 200ml. I did 4 steeps: 2min/2:30/3/3.
The fourth one turned out the best. All the astringent bitter toast flavor wash almost gone. What am I doing wrong?

yyz

You probably steeped too long. I tend to brew mine for about 30 seconds or less ( usually less) if using small water to leaf ratio. Some teas do need a longer first steep to open up so I might use 20-30s for the first steep and adjust down my second steep 10-20s depending on the intensity of the flavour and then start adding time. If brewing western style use about the same amount of leaf and at least double the water. Having said the rou GUI is sometimes more cinnamon in fragrance than flavour I have three open at the moment one tastes like black forest cake with kirsh, one leans more to the floral spectrum of yancha’s and the other is quite cinnamon and fruity ( unfortunately its from the one Ali dealer I will not do business with again). One young some yancha’s can taste very heavily roasted some do best after sitting for a while. One of my yixing pits does a good job of taming this as well. You may find the first steep a bit too roasty even when you tweak your parameters. Rinsing might help. Too much leaf can cause bitterness as well but I think you should be OK with what you have in a semi gongfu style of brewing. For western brewing one of my sources recommends 2g.

TheLastDodo

I got the tea shaker for semi-gongfu on the go. I read on Tao’s website that a long steep at first (30-50s) can usually take care of any bitterness. I did not rinse that time, maybe I should do that next time. I want to do maybe 2.5/3g in my 100ml gaiwan and perhaps lowering the temp a bit.

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74
drank Tang Yang Gong Fu by Tao Tea Leaf
6160 tasting notes

Another tea from dexter I’m on a mission today to get through at least 10 sipdowns so there will be good times ahead! She sent this one along because it’s one of a small few black teas from tao that i haven’t tried. I figured this would be nice to try shortly after nannuoshan’s similar tea.

Verdict? boooooooring! There is nothing inspiring about this tea or anything that makes me want to order it. It’s just sort of an every day boring black tea. And who has tie for boring!? not me! lol there’s a bit of maltiness to this one, and it IS a smooth tea. it’s just not anything special. I vastly prefer the other teas from tao that i’ve tried.

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Once again, I am looking through today’s tasting notes and I see that all my “likes” are gone, though comments I made are still there. Sorry, everyone, I AM reading your notes.

This is a tricksy little shu. Yesterday it was good but a little weak and didn’t last as many steeps as my usual shu do. Today I simply added the Ernest of the sample packet to yesterday’s leaves which I thought were pretty spent, and I thought I had divided the sample pretty well in half.

Today this is a shu that just keeps going. I made three steps before leaving town and told youngest to have all she wanted. There was no bitterness or untoward strength in what I drank this morning, yet youngest said her next two steeps were as dark as coffee, but still tasty. I think she made one more after that and then left the leaves to me. My opinion of this shu has gone up due to its gentle flavor with the oily high note and it ability to resteep.

K S

Your likes are probably showing up for everyone but you. I try to remember the newest note I liked so that I can know where to start the next time. The little red hearts only show up when they feel like it for me as well.

TeaBrat

the like function has been acting weird for me for a while now.

looseTman

Added to Steepster Bug Status Thread.

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This is a sample that my daughters picked up for me at the Toronto Tea Festival.

I may have under leafed a little but it was still good. It had that oily shu feel that I like, the one that makes me think of cedar oil or Murphy’s Oil Soap. It was milder than a lot of the puerhs that I drink and did not go for as many steeps. I think with more leaf it might have.

All in all, very good. Not really horsey, not at all fishy, nicely earthy. A nice, non-frightening pu for the beginner, I would think.

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95

Oh lord this tea…. Wuyi rock oolong, you do rock!

Beautiful leaves, they render a warm golden amber brew.

So fragrant!

It tastes like grilled honey peaches and almonds.

So sweet, juicy, nutty and toasty!!

A real treat tonight. I won’t be able to save this for special occasions, no I won’t.

I will have it again tomorrow.

Oolongs are just amazing!!

Pics of tonight’s session:

http://instagram.com/p/yyKWXCQh3m/

http://instagram.com/p/yyL3MyQh5t/

http://instagram.com/p/yyNoNoQh8V/

Mikumofu

Lovely pictures! Rock oolong does indeed rock :)

TheTeaFairy

Mikumofu, thank you :-)

Ubacat

Sounds devine! And love your pictures! Will have to add this one to the wishlist.

TheTeaFairy

Thank you Ubacat! I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with this tea :-)

Ubacat

Not the tea but my brewing skills still need perfecting! :-)

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91

(Backlog from 2 days ago)

If you are Canadian like me, you know it’s no fun to shop for tea from our dear American neighbors at the moment. Our dollar is sinking and the exchange is terrible.

I have turned to Tao Tea Leaf recently, they are based in Ontario. My love has grown so much for this company. They offer exceptional quality and you can find many different superior oolongs.

This one is no exception. It’s exquisite and sophisticated.

Baozhong is very lightly oxidized. It tastes like a breathe of fresh air.

Very floral, think lilac.

It’s also as buttery and creamy as can be, with a sweet aftertaste.

I could drink this every day that’s how much I like it. And I might just do that :-)

Pics of the session:

http://instagram.com/p/ytFJDKQhzD/

http://instagram.com/p/ytGPmZwh0c/

DeliriumsFrogs

Breathtaking pictures!!
The tea sounds really fantastic, too. Buttery lilac… mmm!

scribbles

So beautiful :)

Fjellrev

I hear you on the exchange rates! I’ll have to check this company out. :)

TheTeaFairy

Thank you DeliriumFrogs, the tea is fantastic indeed!!

Scribbles, thank you :-)

Fjellrev….sigh yes, damn exchange! You can’t go wrong with Toa. Been ordering also from the wonderful Camellia Sinensis in Montreal.

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