Tao Tea Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

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
630 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
631 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
631 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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85

Had a sample of this tea today. The dry leaf didn’t smell remarkable to me, but once steeped, the leaves smell intensely malty, similar to how a craft brewery smells.
The tea liquid was a heady mix of sweet, malty, almost milky flavour. The fullness of the flavour just hits you in the face like…a cashmere scarf – in a good way, not like the way other hard objects do :P
The only thing I didn’t like about this tea was the finish, it felt somewhat dry and astringent. Still, that didn’t stop me from making 2 infusions.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Yeasty

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Right now I am getting a fair amount of raspberry overload. To say that there are strong raspberry notes in this is an understatement. I can’t wait to try this iced in my Lupica Handy Cooler. It is still good though, just too raspberry in flavor. I didn’t think you could have too much raspberry flavor in tea but was wrong.

I brewed this one time in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min.

Flavors: Raspberry

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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78
drank Milk Oolong by Tao Tea Leaf
307 tasting notes

This was a sample from last year’s tea festival. I had too much of this for one steep, and too little for two, so I kind of did my own thing here. Thankfully, it seems to have turned out decently.
It has a musty scent and flavour, but not at all in a bad way. There’s an aftertaste that I suppose is a bit like milk, though I’m still not entirely convinced at the naming. Still, it’s a convention, and milk oolong is very much a thing, so I shall not judge outside of my own experiences. (Though at the same time, I will mention that there may be a creaminess to it, though whether that is me thinking about the “milk” connection or not I do not know.)
The second cup, I will note, seems very fragrant. Somewhere between floral and musty again. (And again, not a bad sort of must, it actually goes more with the floral than anything. ah, I need to work on my vocabulary and palate both I fear.)
I think I will be able to get another steep or two out of this still, but we shall see!

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81

Experiment time! I’m home today so i figured it would be the perfect opportunity to compare both of tao’s rice tuo’s side by side.

1st steep – this one remains largely intact versus the sheng…the brew is a light golden liquor and the aroma is slightly rice like and also slightly…sweet? This one tastes like rice at the get go…the brew is a little, almost bitter but not quite, and then mellows almost immediately in my mouth to a smooth brew…

Stephanie

Yum this is a good one :D

boychik

love it

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74

Experiment time! I’m home today so i figured it would be the perfect opportunity to compare both of tao’s rice tuo’s side by side.

1st steep – this one starts to break apart a lot faster than the shou…the brew is darker and the aroma is stronger…this one smells more like rice than the other. the brew is..plain, average…not super intense, but smooth with the rice flavouring being more on the tail end of the swallow than in the initial sips…

hmmmm more to come i’m sure.

Stephanie

Never had the sheng version!!!

Sil

i think i like the shou version better…but i’ve got more steeps to go

TheLastDodo

:( I wanted to compare these as well! But the group order I did left out the shou…

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85

And this is the last of my full-size bags from Tao Tea Leaf! Gotta say, I’m pretty darn happy about my choices, given that I was ordering having never tried any of their teas. :) This one is really delicious. As soon as I opened the bag and the coconut scent hit me, I was pretty sure I was going to like this, and I wasn’t wrong! The leaves are fairly lightly rolled – the 3g that I measured out probably would have come to almost 2 tbsp. The dried leaves are a combination of green and black, but once the hot water hits them they become entirely green. The scent while steeping is a gorgeous combination of sweet coconut from the flavouring, and fresh and vegetal from the oolong. I sat there, inhaling the steam while waiting for it to finish steeping, trying to think of what the combination of sweet + vegetal reminds me of. Sugar-coated flowers? Fresh sweet corn or sugar snap peas? I’m still not sure, but I know I like it. The flavour delivers what the scent promises – sweet, vegetal, coconutty goodness. Yummy. :)

Flavors: Coconut, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80

I’m working my way through the 26g packages I got from Tao Tea Leaf. I also got a whole pile of samples from them, which I think I’ll be just keeping in the box and grabbing randomly from when I want to try something new. :)
I don’t have a lot of experience with keemun teas, and this one was highly rated, which was what made me decide to try it. The dry tea is small, dark leaves with an intense and complex floral scent. As it brews, the scent is also lovely, floral and fruity. The flavour is really interesting – fruity and floral again, quite complex, with a pleasant tartness. People talk about keemuns having a smokey, piney note, and I can totally see what they mean. It’s not smokey like a lapsang, but it’s definitely there. As the tea cools, it develops a refreshing quality that makes me want to try this cold-brewed or iced.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Pine, Smoke, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85
drank Ying De Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf
239 tasting notes

My plan was to try two similar teas together, for comparison purposes, and then I went and steeped this along with TTL’s ZhengHe GongFu from Jin Ping, forgetting that they’re actually really different teas. Oops. :) They’re both still really delicious Chinese blacks, but this one is a lot less chocolatey. Upping the rating on this one, because I think I do actually like them equally.

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85
drank Ying De Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf
239 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this to try this morning, but it turns out to have been a good choice, because it strikes me as an excellent breakfast tea: bold, malty, and full-bodied. To me, it tastes like a really good Assam – I wouldn’t have pegged it as a Chinese tea, necessarily. I’m not sensitive enough to caffeine to be able to judge whether it’s highly caffeinated, but it tastes like something that should wake you up. :) I steeped it for 3min for the first infusion, and 5min for the second infusion. This second cup is still full of flavour, but a bit more mellow than the first. I’m sitting here, sipping, trying to identify flavours when the strongest impression I get is just “black tea”. I get a little bit of grain/bread, a bit of grape/plum, and definitely a lingering sweetness on the aftertaste. Interestingly, I’m not tasting any cocoa in this at all. There’s a bit of astringency but it’s not unpleasant. This isn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s very good.

Flavors: Grain, Malt, Plums

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85

I steeped this twice earlier today, and decided to do a third steeping before bed. This one is a bit bland compared to the earlier two, but still pretty nice. :) I enjoyed this tea. It’s earthy, chocolatey, slightly fruity, and very smooth.

Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Fruity

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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84

Although I was expecting a typically juicy green floral oolong here I was nonetheless happy with the brew. This tea is very well-rounded and smooth though a bit roasty. Really pleasing soft buttery complexity with a mild gardenia-like floral, especially in the aftertaste.

Flavors: Floral, Gardenias, Honey, Hot hay

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drank Ying De Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf
6160 tasting notes

i’ve had this one before but didn’t rate it. Feels like maybe the last harvest was better for me, or i just did something silly today when brewing it. I didn’t dislike it, but it was a lesser cup of tea for me today with a slightly bitter edge to it. I’ll chalk it up to being tired and brewing it silly this morning for now and re try this again soon.

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drank Ying De Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf
6160 tasting notes

MMMM…. Pulled this one out to try today based on the reviews i read yesterday and this one IS a good one. It’s the right balance of malty, sweet and smooth that i really like. aaand work just totally interrupted that. 4 hours later i’m uh… drinking other things lol

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83
drank Milk Oolong by Tao Tea Leaf
6 tasting notes

I got this as a sample with my Tao Tea Leaf order. This review is for the first steep which was done in a 7oz mug with a Finum brewing basket.

The smell of the steeping tea really surprised me! It actually smells buttery or maybe more like caramel corn.

The taste is pretty different from the smell. I can only taste a hint of buttery-ness (which is good, since I don’t know how I would feel about buttery tea). It definitely tastes creamy and floral and is much more of a “green” tasting oolong, which I’m fond of. Oddly enough, the aftertaste reminds me a lot of apricot.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Creamy, Flowers, Green

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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62

This has quite a strong peach apricot flavour to it, but it’s more of a dried fruit than fresh fruit taste. I think with a white tea, a fresh, juicy flavour tends to be a better match for me. There’s a faint hint of bitterness, and a slight astringency to this cup. I think 2 minutes may have been a touch too long for this tea. The base tea has a hint of vegetal, but not a lot of distinct flavour of its own that shows up past the flavouring.

This is alright but nothing terrible special. Very drinkable, but not really memorable.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Dried Fruit, Peach, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77

so the best part about small samples? getting to fill up your friends tea boxes with tea as you drink your samples haha. Oh….the joys of tea sharing :) While i like this tea…i think i’m over it. It’s just not amazing enough for me to want to keep it in my cupboard. Dropping the rating a little since it’s staying power with me didn’t seem to be there.

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