Tao Tea LeafEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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
This is one of those teas I wish I could just sit and sip all day long! Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a days worth of steeps out of this.
I expected to open the package and revel long frosty tendrils of black and blue. Instead, I am greeted with an almost darjeeling/nepal green tea look alike. These beautiful leaves were a variety of colors. I could see long luscious golden leaves with black embers. I was very excited to begin tasting. The dry leaves carried a faint scent of roasted spice and sugarcane. I brewed these in my gaiwan, and I actually worked backwards on steeping times to start. I washed them once and the aroma they gave off was oh so good! My tea room was filled with a sharp crystal honey scent. I brewed at 50, 15, 30, 60… second intervals. At the first sip I was hooked on this gorgeous brew. I could taste a smooth creamy vegetal with a nutty undertone. It reminded me of a nepal green tea. The next steeping actually shocked my mouth with an encompassing honey mouthfeel. I could feel my taste buds tingle. This truly is a delicious brew! The steeped leaves carry a sweet forest scent. This drink has an essence of a forest floor in spring after a rain storm. It was floral, vegetal, and with a background of roasted almonds. This was a well rounded drink, and I’m so happy about my purchase. I was only able to get about 8 steepings out of my gaiwan. Again, I really wish i could just sit, sip, and enjoy this for the day :)
Flavors: Forest Floor, Honey, Roasted nuts, Wet Moss
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
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. :))))
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
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.
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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