Tao Tea LeafEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Flavors: Plums, Roasted, Vineyards
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.
Flavors: Char, Mineral, Raisins
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.
I received a lovely care package from the super sweet Dexter this week, with a generous selection of oolongs (and a couple citrusy treats because yum, citrus!)
This is my first leafhopper tea, and I was really excited to try it. I had heard that leafhoppers are really unique, and this is definitely different than I expected (in a good way).
The llaf looks and smells like quite a green oolong, with a slight creaminess towards the end. So I expected a crisp, green tasting brew.
Steeped, it gains a light toastiness, rather than the creaminess the dry leaf scent had. The liquor is a darker gold thsthan expected as well, which, I think, gives sipping it a bit extra luxury feeling (holy balls Bear. Speak english much?)
I’m going to fiddle and see what other steeps offer, but watching it steep in my little glass gongfu teapot makes me happy and helps take awareness away from the wet grey yuck outside the window.
Thank you Dexter!!!!
Flavors: Green, Hay, Roasted, Toasty
This was a interesting tea session for me, for I was comparing with another version that a friend just recently gave me. I’ve enclosed pics of the taste off. The one of the left is Tao’s the other is from an anonymous chinese company.
Tao’s Tai Ping:
The leaves are massive! They are a vibrant green and smell of fresh flora. I brewed these beauties in my glassware to watch them dance. I did not follow the brewing guidelines because I disagreed with them. The aroma these gave off was wonderful! It was as if spring was in full swing as soon as my simmering water touched these long fingers. The liquor was an iridescent jade and tasted so sweet! The initial sip had a slight vegetal tone with dandelion nectar in the background. This brew was very subtle but had an amazing flavor! I was able to get four steepings out of this pot full. The fourth steeping was not bitter only the flavors had become nullified and all that remained was a slight astringency. This is definitely a treat that I would only break out for special occasions.
Chinese Company Tai Ping:
I really don’t have much to say about this one. The leaves were very small and a mudded green. I brewed these in my gaiwan for they were small enough to fit. These leaves were very lacking in aroma and the liquor was discolored. This brew was a slight aquamarine color, but mostly clear. The flavor was incredibly light and almost non-existent. This carried the slight taste of cardboard. I assume this tea just might be outdated or possible stored improperly. I was not able to finish it at my third steep and threw it out. I could feel a headache coming on.
This was a great experience and I was very happy to be able to sample two very different versions of the same tea. I hope that I will be acquiring more of Tao’s along the way!
*the brewing instructions for the tasting note were the ones I used with Tao’s
Flavors: Nectar, Sweet, warm grass, Umami
This was wonderful! I bought this because recently a friend of mine had acquired some ginseng oolong and I was very intrigued to try it out. These small nuggets resemble a furry gunpowder green. I brewed them in my gaiwan gongfu style. I wished these pebbles once to allow them to open up. The aroma was immediately enticing! My tea room was filled with a succulent honey aroma. The flavor was phenomenal! The initial sip consisted of a nectar sweet syrup and a vegetal fresh base. This was a wonderful tea! The sweet flavor lasted about four steepings and then it reduced to only a warm vegetal flavor. This brew leaves a slight camphor sugar aftertaste which is incredibly enjoyable. I actually really appreciated this tea, even though I may have had some doubts. This has an excellent price, and I will be stocking up!
Flavors: Camphor, Honey, Nectar, Vegetal
Afternoon sample here from Tao Tea Leaf. Normally I use water around 185f for wuyi oolongs, but I noticed they said to use boiling water for this one. I figured I would try it. I used the yixing to steep this.
I tend to like wuyi oolongs and this is really tasty. It has a slight woody & roasted flavor with hints of plum and cinnamon. But the nice thing about it is the sweet, honey like finish. I am definitely picking that up and it’s lovely. Hmm, I will need to re try all of my wuyi oolongs this way soon. :)
Meanwhile I highly recommend this if you’re into wuyi yanchas. It has a wonderful flavor and is very soothing. Later steepings become slightly more floral than fruity. This tea is almost intoxicating.
On the list it goes….
Another sample from Tao Tea Leaf. This is very similar to the tea I had yesterday that I wasn’t terribly impressed with. Maybe roasted TGY’s are not really my thing, but if they are lightly roasted or green I seem to like them a lot. This is another one that just seems sort of bland.
I accidentally steeped it for over 3 minutes as I got distracted with something else and that was the best steep of the three I had. It seemed to take on a slight honey or brown sugary sort of taste. I guess I wouldn’t turn down a cup of this if offered, but I’m glad I didn’t buy a larger package of this. Nowhere on the website does it mention that this is a roasted tea.
Sample from Tao Tea Leaf this morning. It’s an enjoyable tea, I would say sweet and smooth really describes it. It’s definitely a bit on the lighter side when it comes to body and has a good cocoa flavor. Amazing no bitterness or astringency at all. I steeped this for 3 minutes and it’s still a bit on the light side, overall I think I prefer black teas with a bit more heft. This was tasty but probably won’t be a repurchase for me.
This is an interesting tea from Tao Tea Leaf, especially for me as I’ve never had a purple sheng before.
The package directions say to use boiling water and steep for 2-3 minutes. I was definitely skeptical about that but it turns out they were right. I did the first steep for 2 minutes, and the second steep for 3.
At first it doesn’t taste like much, just kind of woodsy. As I’ve been sipping on it I get some nice fruity notes, raspberry and cherry come to mind. I do get the bit of cocoa that TTL describes on their website but not vanilla or white wine. The flavor most closely resembles a wuyi oolong for me but is lacking the roasted flavor that wuyis have.
Soon I’ll have to try this using the gong fu method, but I kind of like it steeped Western style. It didn’t turn into a bitter mess like I was fearing it would. There is a slight bitterness but that compliments the raspberry notes well, I think. Bitterness seemed more prominent with the 3 minute steep so I’ll stick to 2 minutes or less with this one. Nice tea, I’m glad I got some!
Tried half of this sample grandpa style at work. The greener twisted style oolong makes me think that it is a pouchong or a baozhong. The coconut is spot frickin’ on, like a toasted macaroon. This is hands down the best coconut oolong I have had yet. Towards my third cup, I added a teensy splash of vanilla extract. It brought the milky, creamy oolong and the toasty coconut back to life and made it downright desserty
So putting this in the wish list :P
Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Green, Smooth
This tea had a me confused for a moment. There was a typo on my package naming this “Amber Dragon (Bai Hao).” I knew that Bai Hao was Oriental Beauty, so I searched their website and Amber Dragon actually doesn’t exist, so I’m not sure where it came from. I deduced that this was their Oriental Beauty/Bai Hao.
This has been the most balanced/neutral brew I’ve ever had. I opened that package to reveal a variety of colors. These small summer leaves ranged from light brown to silver tips. They carried a darjeeling alike aroma of muscatel and sweet grass. I brewed these in my gaiwan. I washed them once to release their honey almond aroma. The reason I say that this was a neutral tea is that my steeping time never increased. I kept a consistent 30 second steeping. It had a very plateau palette of flavor. They were heavy flavors of nut and roast. I could hint at a sweet honey undertone, but this was very faint. This brew was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. If I steeped it shorter it would not have flavor, and if I steeped longer it would go south. I was amazed at the fact that I could continue a steady half minute steep time. The flavors did not fluctuate and even the bronze shimmer of the liquor maintained its color. This was an interesting brew. I did not find it incredibly good, but it also was not terrible. It was completely balanced.
Flavors: Almond, Muscatel, Sweet, warm grass