Tao Tea LeafEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Delicious tea, particularly if you’re fond of naturally chocolatey blacks. Smooth, full-flavored, good body.
I drank this over the past week along with Golden Monkeys by Teavivre and Harney. This is the one I enjoyed most. The other two have a perfumery note that reminds me of bergamot, though different. That note distracts from their otherwise very nice flavor. While that note is apparently a feature of Golden Monkey, in the Tao rendition it is very much in the background so that it does not stand out, but blends in nicely.
This tea is like drinking pure honey….so much honey! There’s a slight cocoa note, but it’s barely there. It reminds me of Nannuoshan’s Tanyang Gongfu black tea, except that one has more of a balance between the cocoa and honey notes. This one is actually a little too sweet for me, but I like that the honey note is not just sweet, but that all the other characteristics of honey are there. I’m not sure how to explain those other characteristics, except to say it tastes exactly like honey. So if you like honey, definitely check this tea out! The leaf is nice and large too, similar to some Taiwanese black teas I’ve had. Pretty nice quality, and I’m looking forward to trying the other two black teas I ordered.
Not your typical earthy pu’er, these purple buds are much lighter. The characteristic earthiness of pu’er is present but there is also a bit of grassiness to it and notes of apricots. I think my initial steep wasn’t long enough but you can steep these buds multiple times. When steeped longer than planned, it wasn’t bitter and still was enjoyable.
Flavors: Apricot, Musty
an amazing tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, i smell nothing.
when i smell the leaves wet, it has a unique smell…. rice krispies bars (you know the cereal?)
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell rice krispies bars and a hint of popcorn.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste popcorn and floral.
i rate this tea a 100 because of its aromas and flavors.
many thanks to scribbles for this amazing tea!
Flavors: Floral, Popcorn
an amazing tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, i smell a musty smell.
when i smell the leaves wet, i smell earth and sweetness.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell earth.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste earth and sweetness.
i rate this tea a 100 because it is awesome and i love the earth and sweet mix.
many thanks to Scribbles for this amazing tea!
Flavors: Earth, Musty, Sweet
a decent tea.
when i smell the leaves dry, they have a green grassy smell.
when i smell the leaves wet, the smell is intensified.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell green and grassy aroma.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste green and grassy taste :)
i rate this a 75 because its kind of grassy.
many thanks to Scribbles for this decent sample :)
Flavors: Grass, Green
I bought a sample of this from Tao last year (along with a lot of other WuYi oolongs) and I’ve been letting them sit for far too long. I ended up putting the whole sample into my gaiwan last night and let the thing steep about 6 or seven times.
I did get a hint of the cinnamon flavour the tea is noted for, but I smelled it more than I tasted it. It hit the back of the palate, and there was a malty flavour alongside that made the whole thing reminiscent of cinnamon buns.
However, the dominant taste was of the roastiness, smoke, hay, tobacco, that sort of thing. It got quite astringent as the steeps went on.
The thing I like about gong-fu brewing is that it forces me to sit and contemplate things for a bit – counting out the seconds as the clock ticks during my steep, keeping my hand steady when I pour it out into my cup. That sense of peacefulness that comes from silent still time is good, and I got that when drinking this last night.
I’ve had this style of tea before and was excited to try Tao’s version of it. I did rinse, and I did keep the steep times pretty short, but there is still something in here I dont like. One of my teacfreinds suggested another one tasted like the chemicals in her father’s wood working shop. I’m thinking that might be a good description of this. It’s woody, its musty, its old, and then something icky. Sorry this one was a miss.
This was very strange. I’ve been noticing that this company does a lot of “mis-labeling”. This tea is not listed on the website, and I have no idea how it came from there. I’m actually a little confused. Anyways, on to the review.
This is a roasted oolong, so it carries the classic smoked aroma. This one in particular smells of smoked dark chocolate. I warmed these long black leaves up in my gaiwan and gave them a tumble. The warmed aroma was like coffee grounds or a deep espresso. I washed the mystery leaves off and prepared for brewing. The flavor was not as robust as I thought it to be. The brew had a subtle black coffee flavor and char. It did not stand up well against multiple steepings. This brew became much weaker by the fifth steeping. The liquor was a pale blackened citrine. The steeped leaves smelled of cooked dates. This was an unusual and basic brew. It was good, but it wasn’t as good as I would have liked.
Flavors: Coffee, Dates, Espresso, Smoked
Found this in stash swap box (I had to make one, isn’t it an awesome idea?) and decided that a dark oolong sounded great at the time. I was right, it was great at the same and maybe at all times.
This brewed dark and had a nice brisk taste. My favorite part of it would be the after taste. Smooths out and taste semi sweet on the tongue which is odd for a darker oolong, my experience that is.
The only reason I rate this down is the infusion itself being compared to some of the 2015 oolongs that I have received fresh make it easy to spot out that this one isn’t as fresh as it once was.
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:
Fairly average Assam. Not overly malty but not bitter or dry. An average good quality black tea. No need to replace it as I am loving the Assams from Golden Tips more these days, so into the swap box this goes. Followed this up with Tao’s Golden Monkey. I feel pretty much the same about that one as I did on my original tasting note. It’s good and it’s smooth, but lighter than some other GMs and there are those I prefer over that one.
Starting the day of sitting around after rushing around this morning getting the hubby ready to go to Zurich this evening. Yeah, last minute (found out on Friday) work trip so he has to have a suit. Which he never wears. So it was a morning of him trying on pants and figuring out what doesn’t fit him any more. Then figuring out what shirts and ties to go with. And what suitcases we had that would fit everything for a 4 day overseas trip. I really wish they would give him some more notice for stuff like this. I would have ditched my Florida trip on Thursday for a Switzerland trip but the airfare 2 days in advance is a little unreasonable without a corporate budget…
All the travel emergencies having been disposed of, truffles for the tea party being dipped and completed, laundry being pretty much done, we now settle into an aquatic horror themed day. Deep Rising because it was on, which set the tone for the day. We’ll have to follow up with Ghost Ship and Deep Blue Sea. Have to. Sometimes these things simply must be done. :) And I’m not gonna complain – that means more tea that will be downed today!