Tea from Taiwan
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Recent Tasting Notes
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/
This was a sample from awhile back that got lost in the shuffle and bottom of my tin of oolongs. Oops!
I did a couple rounds in my yixing pot which were really good. First couple were quite light with later ones being sweet and almost marshmallow like. I ran out of time as I was going to a beading party (making bracelets) to be whisked off to jiujitsu, so I put the leftover leaves in a tea thermos and finished it off. Those steepings were really good – great intense flavor with creamy sweet and floral notes.
Ugg, mostly better though still congested. Nothing like doing stretching and breathing hard as theres so much congestion.
Okay, I’ve had this sample for over a year. I’ve been afraid to try it. The other notes on this tea have been terribly discouraging. But I just have to do this once and for all.
The leaves are balled up but pretty dark. I find that the dark oolongs tend to be long and twisty and the green ones are balled up like tiny wads of spit balls. (Maybe I should have used a better example…) But these are dark and balled up. It’s a crazy upside down world.
First, the the smell of the brewed tea is like roasted brussels sprouts. It also tastes like brussels sprouts only it’s weird at first because of that honeyed fruity flavor on the front of the tongue. This also reminds me a bit of chrysanthemum tea. The flavors in this tea clash for sure, but I don’t hate it like I feared. I wouldn’t say I liked it either though.
Will have to try a few more steeps. You never know an oolong unless you infuse it a few times. But first, I’ll take my pups out for a walk before the sun goes down. They didn’t go out much in the winter cause they are so tiny that they’d get too cold, even with coats. They are loving this warmer weather. :)
EDIT: Okay, no resteep because I’m an idiot. Took the cup and infuser basket into the kitchen area so that I could pour the hot water over the leaves. Except when I got to the kitchen, I dumped the leaves and started washing out the tea ware. Half way through scrubbing the infuser basket my brain went, “….wait…wasn’t I supposed to do another steep with those leaves? …those leaves that are sitting in the garbage can? …I suck.” I’ve got enough leaf to try again, but that will have to wait for another time. It’s time to move on to herbals and other decaf/noncaf teas.
I don’t own any fancy tea making equipment and had a hard time finding instructions that made sense for my simple mug and infuser. I decided upon 3 gm of the rolled oolong “pearls” and about 8 oz of water, and steeped for almost 2 minutes.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this tea. It’s such a light, pale green and the aroma is so subtle that I figured I hadn’t steeped enough leaves or hadn’t steeped it long enough but no- this is awesome! The tea is buttery and smooth, with a medium body. I can detect the light firing.
I brewed a second cup for a bit over 2 minutes and this time a distinct floral aroma developed. These leaves are quite large and have half-filled my infuser now. The flavor is still mellow but definitely more complex with the addition of the floral notes. A very satisfying oolong.
I am drinking this tea courtesy of K S, one of the most generous souls I know! Thank you!
Flicking through lots of notes on here, I decided to go with a 5 second rinse and a short first steep, increasing for the second. This was made in my small glass pot which is about 8 ounces.
The dry tea is tightly rolled into balls which expand impressively upon steeping into full, deep green leaves. The scent of the tea is a light floral lemon, and the taste is much the same as the aroma. This is a greener oolong, floral, lemon, and light, but the magic happens in the aftertaste. There is a lingering light roasted taste and a warmth left behind.
I have only done two steeps so far, but will probably keep going later this afternoon. This is really delicious!
Working from home today, which means time for a comfortable tea break in bona fide sunlight. Leisure tea and sunshine are going a long way to ease the gloomies that have plagued me (and, with apologies, the folks who have graciously read my grumpy and cantankerous tasting notes) all week.
My first note on this one had lots of floral references in it. Today, without monitoring temp very carefully—it was somewhere under boiling, how’s that? and a 2 minute steep, it is the color and flavor complexion of a Brach’s butterscotch candy, sans sugar.
I’m having to use the carrot-and-stick writing method today. This was my reward for 300 words.
And it really was a reward, not just a reason to get up from the writing chair. First steeped sniff was so floral I expected eau de lilac flavor. Not at all. This is sweet and thick and a little flowery, but not cloying.
And at six purported steeps, I should get 1800 words out of it! (Please let them be spelled and punctuated correctly.) Thanks to K S for the diversion!
Steep 2 report: a little more floral, not less. Hmm.
Thanks to Teas from Taiwan for the sample of Shan Ling Xi Oolong. I brewed this gong fu style for 7 steepings and started with 50 seconds at 195 for the 1st. There is some astringency which is more pronounced in the first steeping and very slight in subsequent steepings-not in a bad way. I am able to find the smooth buttery quality and floral notes as described in the product description, but not the smokiness. Overall,a nice smooth oolong with no off flavors or bitterness. These days, I always seem to lean to blacks, so given the phase I’m in, I’m not sure any oolong is going to wow me, but I appreciate the chance to try it.