Tao Tea Leaf
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Recent Tasting Notes
I have a sample of this thanks to the incredibly generous scribbles. I really, really like this. Not sure what it should taste like, but I’m getting chocolate oolong. I’m fully aware that this is a straight black tea, that is suppose to be smokey. Dunno that’s what I’m getting, and I like it. I’ve been drinking this pretty much all day, and the longer you steep it (ok, I got distracted and let one infusion steep for more than 10 minutes) the more chocolate notes come out. This could be my go to black. I have several others to try, so my opinion may change, but for now – thumbs up.
Thank you so much scribbles for sending this to me.
I had this tea this morning, and finally found a chance to log in to do a tasting note.
From my recall this is absolutely delish. I remember notes of the oolong…mineral, but also the roasty, toasty coconut. I can’t believe I left this one for so long, I think it will become a staple.
I have another coconut oolong in my stash, but I think this one is superior. Will have to re-visit other to compare.
While I was driving to do my weekend errands I still had roasted coconut on my tongue 20 minutes after drinking cup. Not a bad thing.
first off, i believe i updated the tea info correctly for this excellent blend… it took some digging on tao tea leaf’s site, but if it’s wrong feel free to lecture, lol.
the description for this tea is bang on… it’s a sweet souchong, for which i am hugely grateful. a number of us have been discussing allergies on here tonight and one of my many is smoke. incense, cigarettes, the oven being cleaned. i think as a result i dislike/can’t tolerate smoke in tea. to my delight this one was just the right mix of sweet and smoke.
thank you so much scribbles for this great little baggie of surprise. i am enjoying it as we speak! lovely with cream and sugar (i do smoke creamed, lol)… i will try it all by it’s lonesome another day. today i crave my standard comforts. it has been another looooong medical day.
scribbles, is tao tea leaf giving you an extra discount or a stipend at all? because i will buy this one in future. xoxo
steep 2: less sweet but no increase in smoke. takes on a marine tone, but not unpleasantly so… like a sweet mild version of seaweed. there is also an echo of puerh in it… again, very gently. just a hint.
I received this from the amazing scribbles. Thank you so much.
I’ve been drinking the Tealux version of this tea for most of the evening and was quite enjoying it.
Then I tried this one (thank you scribbles for sending both samples so I could compare side by side). This is a much better tea. I didn’t understand that the other one was rough around the edges until I tried this. This is not as metallic, smoother, nicer. This is a really good oolong. It’s just easy to drink, everything a Big Red Robe oolong should be – at least in my world.
Thanks again scribbles for letting me try these two great teas.
Edit: I spoke too soon. :(( This was really nice on the first and second steep. Steep 3 was starting to get astringent and has that “such the moisture out of your mouth” feeling that I don’t like. This is the better tea on the first steep, but quickly looses that smoothness. I won’t be doing a fourth steep.
I just want to start by saying that I received this tea today in the most amazing mystery swap box from scribbles. Thank you so much for sending me some amazing teas that I can’t wait to try.
This is a pu’erh lovers pu’erh. It is not for the timid or the meek. This tea is big, bold, dark, in your face pu’erh. I like it. It’s more woody than earthy. It is a tiny bit astringent, but that’s ok in the bold flavors. The astringency increased as the tea cools, I liked it better really hot, than later in the cup. The mini-tuocha breaks apart in the first steep, the leave just float up off of it. It’s beautiful to watch. I did think that it was a bit thin – not sure how to explain, it wasn’t thick enough on the tongue. I know I’m talking about the texture of flavored water, how weird is that, but that’s the only way I can explain it. For the big bold flavors, it needed to feel thicker in the mouth. I don’t think this is the most complex or refined pu’erh I’ve ever tasted, but it is just fine for a Wednesday evening.
I am on a tea reviewing roll today!!
I LIKE this a lot!!! Probably because I do drink coffee, and the sronger the better! This brews up to a dark espresso colour, which did not scare me a bit, although I knew I needed to add cream to it.
This is so smooth, mellow and nutty. I’m on my second steeping and no flavour has been lost. I will get another steep out of this, as for a fourth? Yet to be determined. Yeah, I’m done reviewing. I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy this one.
this tea evolves with distinct changes from bag opening to sipping.
-when i opened the bag i smelled roasted coconut with some oolong in the background.
-once the water was added the evolution began, but not in a way i would have predicted: the colour didn’t deepen much but took on a milky hue AND the smell went from a fierce coconut to a lesser coconut with undefinable florals.
-a 6 minute steep because i like a robust tea and this one stayed quite pale.
-cream and sugar because it is the common way i take all but greens.
-on the tongue: i taste coconut and a VERY light oolong, no bitterness, with a refined floral smell at the same time.
-the sip is smooth, as is the caffeine (as opposed to sticky on the tongue).
nicely done tao tea leaf! and a thank you to scribbles for sharing this little gem!
much thanks to scribbles for this tea experience!
i really do enjoy puerhs, overall, but this one (to my surprise) was too much for me!
within about 30 seconds of steeping the water in my cup went the colour of coffee and i couldn’t see through the sides of the cup. total steep time was maybe a minute?
very heavy, very dense, heavy stick of caffeine on the tongue. i say this WITH cream in it! as i finished the last few sips i discovered there was an accumulation of syrup about 1/2 centimeter thick at the bottom.
it occurs to me that possibly the cooking process that takes place to form puerh bricks changed the nature of the tea that i usually enjoy so much. this tea company is also very young by my standards, having been established in 2009.
afraid i can’t give much of a taste reference other than the word ‘heavy’…. actually ‘HEAVY’ is more accurate. not sweet. not fruity. no liquor that i could pick up and the nutty flavour that normally accompanies puerhs was also undetectable.
again, not sure if it was the cooking process or the tea quality with one.
Sipdown tea #5! Thanks goes to yappychappy!
This pu erh is a little bit different from what I was expecting. It has more of a sweeter, fruity note to it. There is a bit of a smokey note to it, too. It almost reminds me of the fruity pu erh from The Tea Grotto. I liked it but it’s not my favorite.
Oh buttered sweet vegetables how good you are. Okay this is by no means my favorite oolong but it was very nice. As I now know Baozhong/Pouchong is between oolong and green tea and the taste of the tea definitely reflects that. Resteeped well. Taste on the light side.
Met the owner at the Toronto Tea Festival and he and his employees were amazing. Their stand was definitely the best there and they had ~10 teas set up.
A new favorite. Lovely fragrance and taste.
I thought this tea showed all the flavors one wants from a well-made white tea. I was sorry when the sample Tao sent me was steeped out. I will order this from them if it shows up online.
Wow. Queen Catherine? I am sorry but you have been struck off my shopping list.
This tea will do just fine as an alternative! It’s just the right amount of bold and malty, with a teeny pinch of smokiness.
I’m not sure of which specific teas are in here, but I can pick out some yunnan, pu-erh, and probably lapsang. A masterful combo!!
There was also a hint of that abrasiveness I find in some Asian black teas but I don’t care! I drank this bare, sans sugar or dairy, though it would do exceptionally well as my morning breakfast tea as well.
When (yes… I said WHEN!) my cupboard is manageable again, this is going on my must have at all times list.
Thank you Tao for the cup!! I really appreciate it!
Heaven. Heaven in a cup, seriously. I need to get more of this, if there is any left.
It’s different today, fresher tasting, but then I think the shorter steep time made a difference. (two min)
This is one of those teas, like that thread mentioned, that is going to haunt me til I get more. I could mainline this stuff.
Edit: forgot about the second steep! first one is A+, and the second one… D+!
It’s… milky and has a soft mushroom taste. I once loved mushrooms but seem to have lost my taste for them. So… I am lowering the rating. Will see what a third steep brings :)
Edit again: third steep is a bit better. I added 1/4tsp sugar and it’s now a sweet cloudy tasting (clear liquid!) tea. The essence of mushrooms is hanging in the background though it is overshadowed by the sweet breadiness I’ve come to love in pu-erhs. Also, I am loving this much more when cooled. Bumping rating back up, slightly.
Fourth Steep: Sweet and clay like. Some bread notes, but mostly clay. Or was this the fifth steep? I lost track!
An incredibly fragrant tea, I feel like I’m sitting in front of camp fire or smelling the scent of wafting marijuana. Great mouth feel as well. I love this tea and my husband loves it even more.
Hrm. Not exactly the pu-er I was looking for(been trying to get tea high for the longest time now, though I did enjoy it very much.
I think my fave steep was the first one, out of the four.
Rich and smooth, reminded me very much of coffee. It had a deep hay scent to it, and tasted the way I’d imagine earth to be… only I’m sure it doesn’t taste “good” at all. It just that when I think of soil, a certain flavour profile pops into my head, even though I know it must be horribly inaccurate. Of course, the flavour was only a top level type, and never really reached down to that happy place. Besides that, it was slightly bready, and mildly sweet.
Anyhow, not very descriptive but there you have my first steep.
In the second through fourth steeps, it became progressively less earthy/sweet and more savoury like. Brothy, and salty I’d say. A touch too salty to be honest.
Next time I’ll add some sugar and see if that brightens it up a bit!
Pu-er congee!! yes, that is what this reminds me of. Congee is an Asian (Chinese? Vietnamese?) porridge often consumed when one is sick or needs comforting. I usually get it with chicken and preserved egg. Yummy. So it seems natural that pu-erh, a digestive aid, should be combined with Congee!
For those who haven’t had congee before, picture cream of wheat with a ricey sortof taste.
The background is rather mild for a pu-er, I suppose the tea blender (Tao) chose that in case it overwhelmed the rice flavour.
By the time I got to my sixth steep though, I was still getting rice flavour, along with a mild sweet breadiness without the usual heft. Odd, tasting rice and bread at the same time.
Oh and the scent! a coworker of mine remarked that is smells like chicken soup. Funny, given that I likened it in my head to the Asian alternative version! ha!
Also, it must be a pu-er thing… I didn’t get hungry til more than an hour after I normally do. This happens to me every time make a cooked pu-er. Appetite control perhaps? I usually eat at 10:30am, so this could be useful for those days I need to save myself for lunch out with the girls! :P
and now I am sad that this was only a sample. One tuocha in the packet! and since I don’t own a pu-er pick I just plunked the whole thing down and went for shorter infusions. What a waste… I think it could have gone atleast three or four more times. Oh well!
Yes please!! wow. It’s been a loooong time since I liked a Sheng. Uncooked is usually too light for me. I prefer the heavy stuff!
But this… was so good! The first infusion was amazing, with so many notes to it I know I’ll miss some.
First off, it was very sweet, and bready. but not like any bread I can name. Something about it was familiar, I just cannot pinpoint how!! agh, drives me nuts. I’ve been trying to figure it out all day. It had a certain depth to it as well, that I really enjoyed.
My fave part though, was the menthol. Oh yes, it was very refreshing and yet mild. Highly enjoyable.
Tao tells me that this is a limited edition, aged since 2007 so I feel very lucky to have tried it. Esp since I almost put it back when I saw that it was uncooked!
Thank you Tao for sharing your favourite tea!!
Anyhow, I must try the last of this in a Gawain. It deserves a Gawain. Seriously folks.
On a side note, I’m still grinning from my tea date with fellow Steepsters yesterday… but I’m also a little freaked out by the motorcycle accident that happened right in front of us. Spun out swerving to avoid a turning car maybe fifteen feet from us and bounced on the pavement like a rag doll. The rider was ok, he got up and walked around, nothing broken and only a scraped knee. Still, my heart was on overdrive for almost an hr after. See, 20+ years ago, my cousin, passed away because of just such an accident and ever since, those machines have given me the creeps. Even now, I can’t shake the feeling that it could have been SO much worse. The motorcyclist had excellent reflexes and did just what he was supposed to do based on what friends who drive have told me… and yet here I am imagining all sorts of terrible scenarios. and today… I am missing my cousin.
Sorry for the essay. I just had to get that off my chest. Anyone who drives, please be careful!!
Ok so I like matcha. I love flavoured matcha… and this was great!! just not my preferred flavour. I could tell that it was a quality brew, as it was oh so smooth and fresh tasting. Not at all fishy or rough like the DT version I bought a few weeks ago (not picking on DT, it’s just the last one I had so the comparison is easy to make) Just, a little to sencha-like for me. I had a hard time finishing the last of it. *shrugs
Milk, some honey… golden assam tea… this was very good! it wasn’t however, what I expected. The fruity aspect was something I’ve never experienced in a black tea. A floral sort of fruity. Cherry perhaps? that’s all I can really pinpoint at the moment. Would have to try it again to really “get it”.
Not sure I’d actually buy any for myself though.