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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea has been getting some good press lately and I would say it’s warranted. The leaves are a striking dusky grey/black—long and twisted. The liquor is dark molasses and tastes something like a cross between an Assam and a Nepalese tea, malty and sweet, with hints of vanilla and pepper. It’s smooth and delicious—reminiscent also of Mandala’s Black Beauty—and immediately jumps to the upper echelon of teas I’ve tried in the last few years. Based on this and the two Darjeelings I’ve tried recently from Tea Trekker, it’s clear they choose their teas intelligently.
Given the bias toward Chinese teas on Steepster, I feel I need to carry the torch for the poor forgotten darjeelings, which are still the tea I feel compelled to drink most often. I don’t think I need to repeat what Tea Trekker has already provided in terms of description. I’ll just affirm that this is a tea where every component is in perfect balance, creating a harmonious whole. The perfume is perfect—not too strong or too subdued. It really is the prototypical second flush.
The dry leaf is among the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen and highly unusual for a darjeeling. The picture doesn’t accurately represent the length and thickness of the leaves. Both the wet and dry leaf have a strong aroma of soybeans, also unusual for this type of tea. The soybean remains in the flavor along with the classic muscatel taste. There’s absolutely no astringency or bitterness—the tea is incredibly smooth and drinkable. I’m still trying to decide whether it’s too subtle for my personal darjeeling preferences. It doesn’t grab your attention; instead, you must bring your attention to the tea in the same way some music can remain in the background, but once you listen closely, you realize how great the music is.
This is a nice “combo” tea. It’s all fully oxidized darjeeling, but some of the leaves have been left green to peek through in both the appearance and the flavor. It’s nicely dry and snappy, a solid afternoon pick-me-up. I think this would be a good one to feed to friends who are only familiar with tea-bag tea so they can start to understand the wonders of loose leaf.
Weeeeellll… I guess you can’t love them all. A little fairy told me that.
The color here is amazing, like pale amber. And the dry tea smelled nice, but the wet tea had a heavy earthy smell. I did two rinses and some short steeps.
This sample is from AllanK and he did warn me of the strong bamboo flavor, but it’s a bit overwhelming at first. It seems to taper off in later steeps. And even though the earthy flavor gets quieter, it lingers at the end of the sip. I can handle it a little better when it’s at the front of the sip and more pleasant flavors remain in the aftertaste.
I’m really grateful to try this one and I have enough for a few more sessions. Maybe I’ll learn to like it a bit more.
This tea is absolutely incredible. I had drank it before and liked it western style. I needed to gonfu this to get the full effect. This tea had strong notes of honey and fruit notes as well, perhaps apricots etc. This tea was naturally sweet. This was amongst the very best tea I have ever had. At one point I added fresh raspberries to it, but it was so good without them I stopped adding them, wanting to get the full flavor of the tea. I normally only rate ripe puerh to be this good.
I steeped this five times. I wanted to steep it some more, but I need to sleep tonight. I steeped it in a 150ml gaiwan with 190 degree water and 6g leaf. I steeped it for 15 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. The spent leaves had an honey like aroma to them, not the usual vegetal aroma you often get from oolong. This was as good as any tea I ever drank.
In fact, this is the last tea that Cha He will ever hold. I managed to break it tonight. It was as if the Cha He had tasted perfection and couldn’t bear to have another tea so gave its life. Does anyone know a US seller for tea presentation vessels, or Cha He.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
The first time I drank this tea I was put off by the strong bamboo flavor, but it is growing on me. There is a sweet flavor behind that as well and I will have to gongfu this tea sometime soon. Today I brewed it western style as my morning tea. I brewed it once in an 18 oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 15 sec.
Most of my Liu Baos I notice have this bamboo flavor, it must be common to Liu Bao. At first I thought it was poor storage on the part of Tea Trekker, but as the puerh I got from them did not have the same flavor I doubt it. It could be that these Liu Baos were stored in bamboo before I got them, that is common with Liu Bao.
Pleasantly fruity with a slight taste of toasted grain and a classic tea fragrance. Very good quality tea with little bitterness or astringency but not enough body to make a good breakfast wake-up beverage. It is meant to be served in perfect tiny cups with tiny, expensive sweets.
This tea still tastes more like an oolong than a black tea to me. It is good, somewhat astringent and quite malty and just a little bitter, just a little. It has a roasted barley taste to it like a da hong pao but not tremendously pronounced. There is another flavor behind that which I can’t identify well. This is a good tea but I don’t know if its good enough to buy again.
It should be noted that the leaves of this tea are dark black and rolled like a Tie Guan Yin oolong tea, not straight and wiry like the average black tea.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 200 degree water and 3 tsp leaf for 3 min.
Flavors: Roasted Barley
This review may be a little sketchy, because I drank it this morning before being called in to work. It is an enjoyable, slightly bitter tea that tastes much like an Oolong rather than a pure black tea. It has a little of that characteristic oolong bitterness along with some black tea sweetness. In fact, if you just saw this tea and didn’t know what it was you would definitely think it a heavily roasted oolong. However, it is fully oxidized. It is available from Tea Trekker and I think they do a good job of sourcing their teas. It is good enough so that I might buy it again but am unsure, so many teas to try after all. I steeped this twice in a 18 oz teapot, planning to steep it just once. The second steep I put into a thermos and took to work. First for two minutes then for three. I used 2.5 tsp leaf and boiling water. It is called frozen summit because it is so high mountain that you can get frost in the warmer months even the summer I think.
Very delicious Oolong. No harshness, bitterness, or astringency. This is lightly roasted so it has a great balance of cream, floral, and lots of natural sweet notes.
The leaves do open up to look like a hairy crab as the tea is named after :)
Flavors: Cream, Honey, Honeysuckle
I got this as a freebie with a Tea Trekker order and was looking forward to it since Golden Monkey is one of my favorite varieties. I was kind of disappointed. It was a rather thin brew with none of the nuttiness or slight fruit sweetness that I have come to expect from the monkey. I’ll try the rest in a gaiwan and see if that helps focus the flavors, but I’m not optimistic.
Origin: Fujian Province, China
Dry Leaf: Cute compressed squares of fall colors; greens, browns, rust, black, each wrapped in paper.
Method: 22oz ceramic teapot – 16 oz H2O
1 square = 10 grams tea
185F for 3 minutes
no rinse but I will if brewing gong fu style—-the square did open right up and is not tightly compressed but it is best to rinse :)
Wet Leaf: Long stems with 2 large leaves attached that have been rolled inside the squares.
Scents of honeysuckle.
Liquor: Clear, dark golden with scents of honeysuckle, cream, butter biscuit.
Flavor: Rich, flowers, nutmeg, peas, asparagus, clean mouthfeel-not too creamy.
Flavors: Asparagus, Flowers, Garden Peas, Nutmeg
From the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden, single estate located in the Himalayan hills of mid-eastern Nepal.
Gardens are located at 6,000 to 6,500 feet in the ‘hills’ around Hile, a typical Himalaya hill-town, about 15 km west of Ilam (the major tea-producing region of eastern Nepal) not far from Sikkim and Darjeeling to the east, and Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) to the north.
I could tell I was going to like this green tea because the dry leaf smells like White Peony white tea. The leaves are gorgeous, twisted and plump at the same time. Their color is beautiful moss green with snow cream green leaves mixed in.
I brewed this Western style and I think I under leafed it a bit and it was still fantastic.
The wet leaves smell zingy and like grape leaves or the dolmas wrapping/ grape leaves.
The liquor is a light pearl green color. Gorgeous.
The flavor is cream and has a creamy thickness to the liquor. I taste the grape leaves with tiny tiny elements of butter bean. There is a slight cleansing to the palette so this is a great after meal tea.
I re-steeped the leaves in my gaiwan to concentrate the flavors and found that these delicate leaves do not want to be re-steeped because I brought about some bitterness :(
One steeping and delicious!!!
Western style today and I put in the recommended TBSP leaves. This tea has a tiny balance of bitter but not too bad. Otherwise, it has good flavors of cream, greens, and maybe a touch of almond.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Green
2014 Pre-Qing Ming – Yunnan Province China
Wow!!! The dry leaves are so attractive, light moss green and white delicate threads. All uniform and the scent is fresh, Spring scent, hay, greens, nutty.
The liquor is a light champagne color with scents of butter bean, fresh spring peas and vegetables. Each leaf has opened up to be a perfect light Spring green bud. Very pretty.
So fresh and loving the chance to taste this new tea. The flavor is buttered peas with chestnuts. It is like green tea and white tea together. There is a natural sweetness that resembles white tea and then the green tea is nutty and a subtle buttery pea with no bitter or astringent qualities. This is really really delicious green tea!!! Probably one of the best I have ever tasted.
Having a cup this afternoon. This is a great green tea to pair with a savory snack or meal. It is buttery peas flavor with an accent of chestnut or almond and even has a bit of salinity to it. The dry leaf is gorgeous too.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Lima Beans, Peas
Miaoli County, Taiwan 2013 Late Spring Pluck.
The dry leaves smell of rye bread and they are larger leaves than I have seen in other Oriental Beauties that I have tried. They have the distinctive speckled appearance of browns, dark browns, moss greens, and cream leaves.
Brewed this Western-style and tasted at 2 minutes, wasn’t sweet or strong enough so left the leaves steeping for a total of 3 minutes.
The wet leaves turn into large brown fall colored leaves with an orange spice scent.
The liquor is golden brown and has flavors of apricot, tangy grape skins, cream.
Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Grapes
From wild tea bushes, Fujian Province China. Organic 2013 Pre-Qing Ming.
I love these leaves! They are wild, curly, different colors of green , and they smell creamy and of dried sour cherries.
The liquor is golden, smells creamy and like wild flowers, cooked peaches plus a little wild strawberry.
The flavor is cream, graham cracker, herbs, tiny tiny touch of sweet wild strawberry. Very delicious,, I love white tea and this is probably the best one I have tried. Yum
Second Steeping — same amount of time and temp and still delicious !!!
Flavors: Berries, Cream, Peach, Plants, Stonefruits
This is one of the most attractive and interesting teas I have enjoyed!! The dry leaves are little tiny rolled pearls with a shiny patina, very beautiful. They don’t have as strong as a scent because they are so tightly rolled as to preserve them. The skill to do this must be high.
The leaves unfurl to be tobacco brown curly smoky cuties.
The liquor is dark brown, chocolate-looking smoky and tobacco scented.
The flavor is very thick, rich with a slight touch of sweet but not too sweet. It has a mineral flavor too. No bitterness or astringency. Good
Thank you Tea Trekker for this lovely sample!!! Loved it!!
Drank the rest of this sample today and I wish I had more. It has some smoky elements that taste like Lapsang Souchong but not overpowering, just subtle and then mixed notes of a sweeter black tea. Such a beautiful dry tea and then interesting flavors to drink!!!
Flavors: Mineral, Tobacco
Had this yesterday on April Fool’s Day but Steepster was broken on this entry and April Fooled me lol.
This tea was Sooooooo delicious!!! Rich, thick, smooth, well-balanced. Like coffee with lots of cream in it and a subtle sweetness. Touch of oat. Really enjoyable to drink and no bitter or astringency!!! Yum Yum
Thank you to Tea Trekker for this sample with my purchase, loved it!!!
Second Steeping was still great!! Sweet note is gone and it’s not as creamy rich so I’d probably end with this brew as I don’t want to lose the goodness :) Very yummy and need more but I think it is unavailable right now :(
Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Espresso
Dry leaves are cute, tiny, curly, dark moss green whiskers lol with the scent of minerals.
I brewed this in my kyusu.
The liquor smells like fresh cooked greens and is light spring green colored. The wet leaves are very dark spinach green. Scents of buttered beans and spinach.
The flavor is minerals and butter bean. This tastes just like my everyday green teas, I really cannot name the flavor that I call mineral. It is very unique and tastes like rocks smell because I have not been tasting rocks lol. I wish I could pin another tasting note on that mineral flavor. Green tea flavor, I suppose, because this is the only place I have every tasted that taste. Just an Earthy good tea :)
I like that I brewed this one at 170 F too.
I Steeped this 6 times total using my kyusu and it was great every time. It was probably able to steep another couple of times but I was full of green tea by that time :)
Brewed this Western style in a cup size glass teapot at 170F for 2 minutes. This tea has a very mineral scent and flavor. It has mellowed out since I opened the package and I am tasting buttery and bean notes as well today.
mao jian (Mao2 Jian1) = downy tip (毛尖), i.e. new bud, high grade but perhaps lower grade than mao feng. This term is used with lücha
Flavors: Butter, Lima Beans, Mineral
Yummm I am really digging black teas now,,,I just needed to learn more and know which ones to buy!! I love this tea!
The dry leaves are heavy, thick,, gold and dark brown colored all twisted perfectly the same size. They smell like sorghum.
I like the brew I did on this one, 190F for 3". It gave the liquor a caramel brown color but still able to see through and also with scent of caramel.
The flavor is fresh, clean, sweet, raisin, sorghum, no tannin or bitter. Very Very good!!!
Second Steeping – equally as delicious, steeped also for 3" at 190F. This tea has absolutely no harshness or bitter or grit to the tongue. Just sweet clean flavor. Love!!!
Third Steeping needed 4 1/2 minutes. Still good. Probably wouldn’t do another steeping, this was its last good one :)
Having a pot of this Western style this morning. 190F , steeped 2 cups for 3 minutes.
Very malty scented and flavor but not as much sweetness. It has a touch of sweetness. The wet leaves show that this one is all buds and very young leaves. Very nice tea.
Had some of this Gong Fu style this morning.
Flavor is honey sweet. This tea can take longer steeps for flavor and it has no bitterness or astringency bc this is high quality tea. All gorgeous buds.
Got a new tea pet who enjoyed this tea as well :)
Gong Fu style this morning. Naturally sweet, malty, golden liquor, delicious Yunnan tea!!!
jingdong (Jing3 Dong1) = (景东 or 景東) a pu’ercha growing region in western Simao Prefecture
wuliang (Wu Liang) = according to legend, the man who invented oolong by accident by neglecting to dry tea leaves promptly
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Raisins
I wanted to try some really new and fresh tea and this is really it!! The white tea leaves are still beautiful shades of light green and smell fresh with a slight vegetal or green scent. The leaves feel different in that they have a bit of weight to them because they are so fresh.
The liquor is the distinctive white tea creamy clear color and smells sweet.
The flavor has hints of honey, butter bean, and a tiny tiny touch of sugarcane.
This is really delicious white tea!!
Second Steeping is just as delicious and a bit more sweetness came thru this time with the butter bean and greenness staying in the background.
Third Steeping ,,,flavors not as pronounced but still wanted to try a third since this is a great tea!!
Having a pot of this after lunch. The threads are so pretty,,a sea foam green and cream colored mix of little twisty cuties.
Then the wet leaf reveals that they are all very young and small tender buds!! This is a very delicate and lovely tea!!!
Flavor has green tea qualities like a Long Jing met a White Peony and they had a baby and the baby got mostly Long Jing’s genes lol. Very Very delicious tea for after lunch :)
6/10/14 Having another pot,,,delicious!! I baby these leaves. I poured the water into my pot and then tried to ease the infuser with the delicate leaves into the heat so as not to burn them. Very buttery and not as lima bean tasting. I am adding butter as a tasting note ;)
Had a bit of this today after I had a couple cups of black tea and a cup of yellow tea. This is very mild and creamy. It has some vegetal notes but there is also cream and a touch of honey. Beautiful dry leaf too.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Honey, Lima Beans