Tao Tea Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

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
1960 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
667 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
667 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
667 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
6059 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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100

I can tell my tastebuds are still not back to normal after this recent bout with sinus/bronchitis junk. This one was not as tasty as my previous note indicated. Still really good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m off still. Things are hugely busy these days so I’m not logging many notes as I’m sticking with old favorites that require little concentration.

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100

My goodness, this is good. Sweet, malt, bread, honey… This is one of those teas that leaves what looks like oily film on the cup. I believe those are the oils in the tannins, right? My empty cup is all polka dotty when empty. :)

Man this is good.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Very light peach flavor, deeper peach & apricot scent. The flavor reminds me of peaches that aren’t really ripe. Not fully peach flavored but the idea of peach is there. :)
Overall it’s not a bad cup but nothing I have to keep around after it’s gone. Might try overleafing next time.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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91
drank Golden Monkey by Tao Tea Leaf
626 tasting notes

This is definitely tasty. Sweet, moderate to strong malt, smooth even after a looooong steep time. No mineral notes showing up at the longer times. I am glad to have gotten in on Marzipan’s group order with Tao. Also glad to find that while I like this one, I don’t have to replace it as I have other GMs I like that don’t involve Canadian shipping. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Tang Yang Gong Fu by Tao Tea Leaf
593 tasting notes

I would best describe this tea as slightly malty, slightly bitter, and slightly sweet. There seems to be no one dominant note to this tea but a nice blend. Bought a sample of this with our group order from last month and am just now getting around to trying it. I think I am glad I don’t have 100g. I don’t like it that much. That being said its not bad, just not my favorite style of tea.

I brewed this one time in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 2 min.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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85
drank Lychee Congou by Tao Tea Leaf
593 tasting notes

This tea is quite tasty. It has strong notes of lychee. I can also taste the black tea underneath, but it is a secondary flavor to the lychee. I like this tea. This is of course a first impression but I think it is good, better than the other lychee teas I have tried anyway. There is also a very slight sour note. I think I should brew it at 190 degrees next time.

I brewed this one time in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.

Flavors: Lychee

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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Thank You Boychik for this sample. I surprised my self by a: liking this and b: not adding milk to it. It has a distinct smoked flavor but it is not overpowering. There is a nice, more sweet flavor behind the smoked flavor. It is not strong and I am not sure how to describe it but its there. It is good that I liked this tea because I forgot I had this sample and bought a 25g sample with our joint order to Tao Tea Leaf. Thanks to Marzipan for that joint order. It must have been a huge amount of work. I steeped this tea once this morning at 6 am before work and am drinking it again now. I liked it enough to resteep it.

I brewed this tea twice in an approximately 20oz teapot with 6g leaf and 200 degree water for 2 min and 2 min 45 sec. I won’t give this tea a numerical rating because I have so little to compare it too as this is only the second Lapsong Souchong I have tried.

Flavors: Smoked

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 6 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
boychik

yay, glad you liked it. i love good LS.

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85

Second infusion report: The sweetness is definitely more muted, but still no denying that intense maltiness in the flavour. Astringency is more pronounced this round, thats the downside of it. I couldn’t stop smelling the tea and the leaves though…reminds me of malt chocolate drinks like Horlicks.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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