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Recent Tasting Notes
From the Lewis & Clark teabox a while ago… gradually making progress! Sadly, this oolong seems to be a good one, but the flavors are never distinct enough for me. It’s a tough one to figure out. The flavor stays pretty consistent throughout three steeps. The scent of the cup makes me think it will be a sweet oolong, but the flavor is a little savory. It seems to lie in the middle of sweet and savory though. A little buttery, salty, seaweed, but also fruity (maybe something mild like mango?) and sweet. Not as savory as some oolongs tend to be, but also not as sweet. Kind of disappointing… I’d rather it decides what it wants to be! Perhaps this one needs other steeping parameters though. Definitely never was over astringent… very smooth throughout.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsps. // rinse // 8 min after boiling // 1 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
Tea From Taiwan is right to call Dong Ding Ming Xiang (loosely translated as “fragrant tea from the frozen peak”) a dark-colored oolong. I immediately notice the difference with the dry leaves. These tightly curled pellets aren’t various shades of green, but a blackish brown with streaks of green. And while most oolongs produce a golden liquor, Dong Ding Ming Xiang results in an alluring dark amber that grows more lustrous with the longer brew times.
Aroma is another area where Dong Ding Ming Xiang deviates from its fellow oolongs. The dry leaves give off a slight forest scent that strengthens with the first steep. Instead of the usual orchid base, moist earth, wood, and hints of coffee lilt from the liquid and wet leaves. It’s not an unwelcome change. In fact, the mix of smells reminds me of early fall in New England. I wonder if the tea will taste like autumn, too.
And it does! With my first steep of 45 seconds using the instructions above, Dong Ding Ming Xiang offers an autumnal flavor foliage. Earthy and faintly tannic, it carries accents of coffee, caramel, and – as Tea From Taiwan described – honey. Not a dominant honey, but it’s there in the aftertaste. The second steep (about 90 seconds) highlights the honey without becoming overly sweet and introduces wood and roasted tones. This is when Dong Ding Ming Xiang reminds me of the current season. If I sit back and sip this tea, I can picture myself strolling along a tree-lined road, surveying the red and orange leaves, and savoring the crisp, bonfire-tinged air.
Longer brew times for Dong Ding Ming Xiang lead to a more outdoorsy infusion. My fourth and fifth steeps (about 3 and 4 minutes, respectively) bring out more of the earth and wood flavors. The honey and caramel notes have also disappeared. These later brews are more like a soft black tea than a typical oolong. They also lack the clean or creamy finish and orchid currents that most oolongs have. (So did the earlier steeps.) While I miss those familiar qualities, I can’t complain about Dong Ding Ming Xiang’s departure from the norm because I enjoyed every drop of it.
Read my full review here: http://bibliophilesreverie.com/2014/10/23/tea-from-taiwan-dong-ding-ming-xiang-oolong/
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Coffee, Earth, Forest Floor, Honey, Wet Earth, Wood
From the Lewis and Clark TTB.
Prepared gongfu method with gaiwan. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 5 sec, 5, 5, 5, 10, 10, 10, 10, 20, 30, 45, 60.
Dry leaf aroma: initially floral and mineral, then fresh fruit such as persimmons, clementines, and Asian pears.
Wet leaf aroma: Much simpler, though not any less lovely. Sweet, buttery, mostly floral.
Liquor: Light yellow, clear, full-bodied, and smooth. The leaves unfurl sooner than I expected – during the first infusion -, allowing to pour forth flavorful sweet, floral notes, which are consistent throughout the session.
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Okay, I admit it… I’ve been avoiding this one. I took a sample out of the TTB and now it’s been a week or something since I sent that off, but the little baggie was still sitting on my kitchen counter, conspicuously outside of my normal sipdown box. I just can’t get excited about green oolong, as I find they all taste basically the same to me. The only reason I took a sample of this one was that there was definitely enough of it for everyone to try, so why not? So anyway, here goes! Looks similar to other green oolongs, although my pellets are abnormally small because my sample was from the end of the package (this tea was in multiple small packets). Dry scent is the usual – peaches, cream, slightly vegetal note. I steeped it for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma is actually a bit strong on the vegetal side, which makes me at least mildly excited to try this! I actually like this tea better than a lot of other oolongs I’ve tried. It has a fairly strong almost spinach/butternut squash-y vegetal note which is lovely and almost fools me into thinking it’s a green tea. But then that nice peach (definitely fresh peach) flavor pokes its head out and yells, “Hey Bozo, this is an oolong! Get your head out of the clouds!” There doesn’t seem to be much floral, which is a nice reprieve, and I’m not getting much of that creamy taste and texture either. I actually rather like this one! Who’da thunk it?
Edit: As this cools, it’s getting more and more floral. BLECK! :P
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Floral, Peach, Spinach, Vegetal
Lewis and Clarke TTB
I decided to do this one in my cute little clay teapot with my new tea tray and cup.
Boy, is my tummy sloshy now.
But that’s a good thing.
The first few infusions were a little minerally tasting, along with a touch floral, a touch green. Tasty.
Then it got even better. Sweet, floral, vegetal, no longer mineral. I was hoping for a creamy mouth feel, or buttery, but it never was really either of these.
It was just nice. Not overwhelming. Easy drinking.
I’m sure some of the flavor was stolen by the pot since it’s still really new, but that’s what happens with new clay. Someday, it will give back.
I got a sample from TFT and was very suprise by the quality and the complexity in flavor of this nice blended tea.
I did 6 steeping around from 15 up to 1 minute increasing the steeping time at each steeping.
the first two steeping was very mild with a little smoky, nutty and a bit buttery creamy note in aroma that reminds Jin Xuan tea (but that is all in comparaison) especially when the leaves starts to open after the second steeping.
The third and fourth steeping get more interinting as it develops some sweet flowery aroma combines with a very light spinach and mountain fog. The after taste last long and it’s very interesting.
A combination of the sniff in the gaiwan, a sip and the feeling of the after taste gives you a very enthousiastic feeling.
Very good and balanced tea indeed
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Nuts, Smoke, Spinach
So I just got this Oolong from a very nice gentleman who sent me a few. I instantly broke out the tea maker and danced around like I had a bag of weed in my hand, I was excited. At first I didn’t smell it in the bag, but I could already tell it was going to be good. I love how it can actually be resteeped for full benefit.
So out of the tea maker I notice it has a spinach smell to it, and a bit of a spinach taste, but do not let this deter you! There is a creamy buttery, floral orgasmic taste that flows down my throat, letting me know that life is good and tea is the key to happiness. I cannot express my gratitude towards the man who introduced this to me, let alone be able to part with such an amazing tea.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Spinach
Method: 1 tsp, 8 oz, 182 degrees, grandpa style
Dry Leaf Aroma: milky and buttery, with a hint of floral
Brewing Aroma: more floral
Flavor: Solid. It’s not my fave oolong, but I really have no complaints. The flavor is mild, as is the astringency. It has a dry finish, but nothing crazy. I would definitely drink this one again!
Method: 1.5 tsp, 182 degrees, grandpa style
Dry Leaf Aroma: lightly floral with a hint of seaweed
Brewing Aroma: The seaweed is gone, and there’s a very quiet floral scent. I can also detect what smells like a buttered spinach.
Flavor: This tea has a very pleasant mouthfeel, soft and buttery, with minimal astringency. The buttery spinach comes through in the flavor, also. There are some indeterminate florals, but none of the fruits from the description. The tea doesn’t taste bitter, but I wouldn’t call it sweet either. I think mellow is a good word.
Method: 1.5 tsp, 205 degrees, 3 minutes
Dry Leaf Aroma: powdered milk, popcorn topping, butter. Back in the day, my parents used to buy this powdered faux butter popcorn topping. You would pop your corn and sprinkle it on. That’s what these tea leaves smell like!
Brewing Aroma: Milky and sweet, with a hint of floral
Flavor: This isn’t as creamy as I expected, and the texture is thinner than I thought, but it’s still quite good. I’m not sure that milky oolongs are my thing, but I like trying them out. This was even better with some tea biscuits. They gave the whole endeavor a sort of milk and cookies feel.
Method: 1 heaping tsp, 182 degrees, grandpa style
Dry Leaf Aroma: Floral and Fruity. Sweet. Smelled a little like baking cookies.
Brewing Aroma: Vanilla and lightly citrus
Flavor: This had a very thick and buttery feel. It reminded me of a very light vegetable broth. This was a very hearty tea! I think it would be especially well-suited to cooler weather drinking.
Method: 1 heaping tsp. @ 182 degrees, grandpa style
Dry Leaf Aroma: Floral and sweet, like honey
Brewing Aroma: Green and vegetal
Flavor: This has a lightly buttery taste, and a very slight bitterness. I can taste some of the floral from the aroma, and this also has a nutty finish in the first cup. The second cup was fascinating and had a light vegetable flavor. Then there were some fruity hints in the third cup, like grape. This tea was a chameleon!
This is a great every day drinker. Very nice leaves, lots of stems if you like that. I’m noticing that with the 2 or 3 teas I’ve tried so far from Tea from Taiwan.
The dry leaves have a kind of buttered popcorn smell to me with a little bit of a floral background.
I’m getting some sweet corn taste in the liquor, real nice pale yellow color. I get about 6 or 7 solid steeps Gaiwan style.
Nothing spectacular overall, but very solid all around and great deal for the price.
Flavors: Floral, Popcorn, Sweet
The dry leaf aroma smells very much like powdered milk to me. Once brewing begins, I can smell the creamy aroma, and definite hints of jasmine.
The flavor is sweet, but a little too faint at first. I try longer steepings, and I can detect a very light buttery flavor. I was hoping for more milky flavor in the brewed tea, but it wasn’t there for me. I did enjoy the creamy texture!
I purchased the Spring 2014 batch in a sample pack. The tea has a lovely flavor and has a creamy feel, but I didn’t get the milky flavor I was hoping for. To be fair, I did eat recently, so I am going to brew this again and see what I come up with. I liked this tea, but I am hoping a second try will give me the chance to pick out more aromas and flavors.
I’ve had this sample for awhile.. at least a year? I’m trying to get through some of my older samples that I never got around to.
I found Wu Ling’s first steeping to be really great – sweet, light floral, buttery and a little melon flavor. With each further resteep, it got more and more spinach vegetal, ontop of the buttery flavor. I wish I had more for a cold steeped!
I LOVE jin xuan! The milky creaminess, sweet buttery notes, and crisp finish make it feel like I’m drinking creamy yogurt.
After spending a few months bed-ridden after a really serious ankle injury and not being able to make tea to ease my deep depression, as soon as I was able to start making tea again I took full advantage! Tonight is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and do a gungfu session, and I reached for the sample I got from Tea from Taiwan of jin xuan to celebrate.
The sample was packaged in a single serve vacuum sealed package, enough for two gungfu sessions (I tend to use less leaf when doing oolongs this way because of the shape of my little glass gungfu pot. Too much leaf, while giving a more authentic steeping session, unfurls to block the sieve in the spout, and I can’t actually get any tea out! haha) or for one mug. the leaf is tightly curled and bright green with a lovely sweet cream scent as soon as I tore the packaging. the vacuum sealing was a smart move on the company’s part, and protected the leaf well during transit. There was minimal leaf “dust” at the bottom of the envelope.
I typically do 5 steeps in the following order:
The liquor retained the thick creamy sweetness right through to the 5th steep, and I’m actually going to lay the leaves out to dry so I can use them some more in the morning. I’m really impressed, other milky oolongs I’ve tried have “dulled down” by the 3rd steep, but this one has some staying power. By steep 3 there was a bit of vegetal notes coming through, like sweet peas with fresh churned butter. Simply lovely!
I’m definitely enamored with this tea, and I’m glad I have enough left for a few more steepings. It’s definitely one to restock!
I love me some Ali Shan! This is an excellent Ali Shan.
The first cup is light, with hints of butter but not a heavy, creamy mouthfeel just yet. Delicate, with notes of orchid and a honeyed sweetness.
Subsequent infusions offered a more milky/buttery texture. A really delightful Oolong … one of the best teas that I’ve had the opportunity to try from Tea from Taiwan.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/10/12/zhong-shu-hu-oolong-tea-from-tea-from-taiwan/