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Recent Tasting Notes
After such a long hiatus from Steepster, I just had to pop back in and say that this is one of the best teas I have on hand in my cupboard. An “83” does not do it justice — the liquor is brews is incredibly floral and sweet, and tastes like a delicate mixture of buttery green tea, honey, and Dong Ding.
This one never disappointing. If you’re placing an order from TeaMasters and would like a sweet, flavorful everyday oolong, this is an incredible deal for the amount of high quality tea you’re getting. Will definitely buy more of a similar cultivar once I run out
Curiosity has led to what I would describe as the high end teas found in this world.. Much to the same way we have A and then B list actors/actresses, premium tea is rare to find, and in the mass market of today.. especially with flavoured teas, tend to be on the lower end side. I mean certainly, loose leaf is better than tea dust in bags but just because it’s loose, really doesn’t mean all that much.
I think the general conception for most people is that if it comes loose, it’s the good stuff. But that’s far from the truth. Once you really start to realize how much quality differs on how fresh the tea is or really how intact or how “young” the leaves are. By my definition, if you get a tea, and you open it up and find half of it is cut up little pieces, 1/4 of it is just twigs, and then there’s the dust.. well that’s quite simply a crappy tea that’s offset by added flavouring and other stuff.
Welcome to what I would actually call something of quality; not that this is anything high end, but up there, before the point prices become unreasonable. Teamasters (Stephane) has been running his blog for a few years and he sell legitimate tea from Taiwan. Fresh. It even comes with a harvest date, that’s as specific as it can get. He writes up tasting notes and usually photos of all his tea that he sells served of course in its appropriate teaware. I was really enticed to try some of this “good stuff” out and it looked really nice.
I received this long ago but was kind of saving it until i drank down my large collection of rather lower end stuff from all over. My stash is still getting smaller and I’m still pretty unwilling to buy more stuff until most of what I have is done. Needless to say, I finally got to it today. Nice large rolled up balls (for a lack of a better word) and the still really fragrant smell really do look so much better than what I am used to. These happen to be handpicked so, all the more better. As noted, it is a very nice and light and sweet oolong, very appropriate for the price and the low altitude that it is grown at. Also as noted it lacks character of the higher altitude stuff but is great for a beginner like me.
After hearing such wonderful things about the hand-selected oolongs available at the Tea Masters blog, I decided to take the plunge and order a puerh sampler and a handful of oolongs to see what they were all about. The owner/ humble tea master Stéphane helped me select a few different teas, but I ultimately decided to go with the Si Ji Chun and Gao Shan Luanze oolongs to get a feel for the differences in price, quality, and altitude.
I started my journey with the extremely affordable Si Ji Chun oolong, for it allows me to get a feel for the “lower end” of the Tea Master’s spectrum. The leaves are beautifully rolled and unfurl to long, bright green leaves complete with their stems and even a couple buds. If I look closely I can see where the edges have been oxidized, but it’s VERY light.
To me, this tea tastes fresh, sweet, and grows increasingly “green” as my steeping times increase. It reminds me more of a pan-fired Chinese tea more so than a kelp-y Japanese green, but it’s got a certain vegetal aftertaste that I just can’t get out of my head! While I’m accustomed to Taiwanese oolongs being far less roasted and malty tasting (in comparison to Chinese teas), this one really surprised me with its bright flavors and floral notes and honey-like sweetness that shine early on at high temperatures.
In summation: I’m very impressed with the flavors and drinkability of this inexpensive ($5 for 25g) oolong. When I was on vacation, I tossed a handful of these oolong “pearls” into a ceramic cup and poured boiling water over them — the tea turned out great! My only suggestion would be to use about a 1-1.25:1 ratio in your gaiwan or pot (4-5g for 100ml of water); as a little extra leaf seems to really enhance the bouquet of sweetness. Would definitely order again!
I received a generous sample of this tea from Stephane the last time I placed an order with Tea Masters. I was expecting much seeing as 1) it was a free sample and 2) at only 7 years old, it’s a pretty young sheng. Gladly, my expectations were far exceeded.
This is one of the best young shengs I have ever tried, mellow and complex beyond its years. It brews up a beautiful dark amber-red, and has an aroma of sweet pipe tobacco. The flavor is a perfect blend of earthy and floral, with just the slightest bitterness lingering at the back of the tongue, resulting in a lovely aftertaste. This is a very special tea that will be amazing in another 10+ years.
My favorite type of tea is high mountain Taiwanese oolongs, and this is the best that I have ever tried. Due to the high elevation it is grown at, the brewing parameters for this tea are somewhat odd. I typically brew 3g in a small round yixing for at least 6 minutes. While most teas would become bitter at such extreme brewing times, it is necessary to extract the subtle flavors from this tea.
The aroma is incredible, almost perfume-like, and the flavor is light and delicately fruity, with an amazing aftertaste that lingers for several minutes. Mouthfeel of this tea is warm and velvety. All in all, about as perfect as tea gets in my opinion.
When trying it the first time, 4 months ago, I found this tea had a taste of tomato and pretty nothing more to it.
I don’t know what happened with it but the taste has greatly improved, even the scent of dry leaves has changed.
Brewed in a small teapot (20cl) – 90°C : 30s – 45s – 1’00 – 2’00.
Excellent tea, taste of ripe fruits and little woody. Usually I don’t like red tea but this one is excellent.