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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you so much to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sampler of oolongs! I love oolongs in the fall and winter, they are just so comforting.
This is my first experience with a gaiwan and I will definitely need more practice because I almost burnt my hand. I followed the websites steeping parameters (R, 25s,25,30,40,60,90,120,180)
The first 4 steeps were very floral and has milky aroma and mouthfeel. There is a natural sweetness.
The last 4 steeps lost a bit of sweetness and seemed a little more vegetal.
I also want to sample this with the western method so I know where I really stand with this.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
I’ve been wanting to try the sample for quite some time now. Unfortunately I caught a cold and it impaired my tastebuds and I really couldn’t taste anything. :(
With that out of the way, I’m ready to jump back into my daily gong fu tea sessions. Anyway, onto the tasting notes:
The first steep had a really nice balance of vegetal, sweet, and buttery characteristics. It’s really smooth and nothing seemed bitter of off-putting.
Some nice spice/cinnamon came out during the third steep.
Onward down to the eighth steeps, it maintained a nice flavour that was true to the initial steep’s aroma. It finishes off somewhat weak, but not so much that I only taste the water and not the tea.
Overall I’m impressed with how well it steeped, the balance between the flavours, and that I couldn’t taste any bitterness or off-putting flavours. It never seemed too dry or overpowering either. The price is a bit steep, so I could see it as a nice gift. I think the flavours justify trying it out if you have a discerning palate for quality.
Steep parameters (as suggested by Teavivre)
85ml water in a gaiwan, sample (7g?), rinse and 8 steeps (30s, 50s, 70s, 90s, 120s, 120s, 150s, 180s)
This was a nice sweet, smooth, vaguely chocolatey cup! Had a little floral thing going on in the front too, always lovely when it’s light like that. It’s also fun to watch the balls unfurl and fall to the bottom of my glass teapot (also from Teavivre). Good morning treat. Resteeps ok for the most part too.
Thanks once more to Angel and Teavivre, and I apologize for taking so long to get to all of them! But I really enjoyed all of the samples I received and this one was no exception.
The dry leaf smells sweet and green with a good amount of floral. It lacks the milk candy creaminess I normally associate with a Milk Oolong, but it smells really good, regardless.
First Infusion (200F/2 min)
There was a surprising amount of creaminess, and a lovely buttery mouthfeel. The taste is delicate and very lightly orchid-floral, as well as that very classical green vegatal taste oolongs have. The ending is sweet and lingers.
Second Infusion (200F/2 min)
Very slightly creamier, more orchid in this cup with a smoother finish (that I didn’t think possible!)
Third Infusion (205F/3 min)
The creaminess actually drops off here, and it becomes a more floral cup with hints of sweet hay and subtle fruits.
Fourth Infusion (205F/3 min)
The cup is primarily sweet, fruity and green at this point, with the type of butteriness I expect from some green tea, though the flavors are getting more delicate. This is also the first cup I’ve gotten any astringency from.
I would imagine I could get a fifth steeping out of this, but a sixth would be difficult. I think the leaves outlasted me today, though.
Overall, a very good oolong. Not as creamy as I’ve come to expect from milk oolongs, but good in it’s own right, with sweet orchid and veggie notes.
Thanks Angel for this sample!
Sorry everyone that I kind of fell off the planet. I basically got into a school-induced rut. But here I am, with a new review for the tea I just received today and I’ll be brewing in the precious little gaiwan that Teavivre also sent me.
The dry leaf smelled surprisingly fruity to me. I’ve only had one other dong ding and it was much more roasted smelling than this one. The leaves are rolled into large balls, maybe even a bit larger than what I’m used to seeing.
I managed to use the gaiwan without burning myself too badly! It was my first time using one and I’m surprised it was this simple. I think that the leaves are gorgeous when brewed in this fashion. I had been worried about using the wrong amount of leaves, but it turned out just like all the photos I’ve seen!
The aroma of the tea is very floral and green. I love lighter oolongs, so this is right up my ally. There is a very light roast to this as well. I enjoy that it is there, but not so upfront that it overpowers the other smells and flavors. There seems to be a lot of flavors in this cup. Sweet, green, floral, roast, and something else that is a bit elusive; pepper?
Either way, this is a pretty brilliant tea that I’m going to continue enjoying tonight.
Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea (Flavored) has the dry scent of, as you can expect, osmanthus. Holy bells. That is some flower power right there. It’s like sticking your nose into the center of a Peachy Ring; after one whiff, you want to brush the sugar off your nostrils. The steeped aroma is much more savory, with the peach hanging subtly overhead.
Our first infusion yields that odd tongue-sensation that you get when two divisions of the flavor spectrum are sandwiched together, in a space that just too close for comfort. Sweet and Savory are crammed into a tiny elevator, forced to squeeze up against each other, and neither one is happy about the situation–which leaves the drinker… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/
Another “Superfine” tea, Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea, hides its fragrance very well when dry. It’s like sniffing a clean table; you get nothing. Once steeped, you get some nice orangey flowers warming up your day, the delicately edible kind like marigolds and sunflowers. In fact, more than the petal part of the sunflower is the scent of sunflower seed. (If you’ve never had sunflower seed butter, go put it on your toast. Now.)
With the first infusion, its liquor the color of a watery Post-it, the sip is full of those sunflower seeds. But not just any seed… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/
The last of our “Superfine”s, the dry Superfine Taiwan Quing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea keeps to itself, smell-wise. You get hints of possibili-teas; some petals, some mineral salt, some herbyness in the sage-y vein, but otherwise nada. In the cup, this steeps to an interesting effect: someone’s been cooking veggies all day–zucchini, celery, and bok choy–but then decided to blast the room with Febreeze and the veggies came out on top.
Definitely the greenest of our oolongs so far in the first infusion, when you get down to the sip-’sperience. Meadow-green, hot-sun-on-wet-grass green, Fifty Shades of Green. With a similarly faint yellow liquor as the Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea, this stuff is tailor-made for… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/
The dry leaves of Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea put us right into floral mode. Something rosier than a jasmine, though–most oolongs just hit you with white flowers and call it a day. This one, however, has got a promise of peony. Maybe even actual camellia. Once steeped, the aroma really softens up to yield greener, veggie-er notes.
For the first infusion, don’t be afraid of taking your time with it. Even if it’s rapid-fire gong fu, a solid minute should do–any less and the taste is out of sight, still stuck in the high mountains from whence it came. That initial cup is as light as dancers’ tulle. If you prefer growly, heavy-bodied oolongs, this sure isn’t one of them. Its liquor just barely blushes with color, that pale shade of an open lime. Might as well give into the temp-tea-tion to… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/
Our Superfine Taiwan Moderately Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea, however, caters right to the mouth-pleasure of ethu-tea-asts who crave a heartier cup. Dry, the roasted leaves are nutty goodness in the bag. But since they’re only moderately roasted, you still get the underlying vegetal base, so the resulting nut is a bright pistachio. Maybe even a Brazil nut or macadamia as well in there; soft-toned stuff to keep from overshadowing the garden leaves. Strangely, all the nuts disappear from the tea’s scent once steeped.
The first infusion has… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/
The dry leaf smells so fresh, sweet & grassy! It’s not often that a tea smells this fresh, especially when it’s traveled across the ocean, but this one is so lovely.
Sipping… oh, this is really nice! I’m getting a bit of a honey combined with the nicest floral notes. I love how the flowers complement the sweetness of the cup instead of overwhelm everything. I don’t taste a whole lot of vegetal notes that I detected in the dry leaf scent, but am enjoying the honey and flowers instead. This cup also lacks any astringency — everything is so smooth and sweet! Delicious!
Thanks to Teavivre for such a tasty tea!
Thanks to Dexter3657 for these ones.
I smell sweet maltiness as I wait for the tea to cool to a drinkable temperature.
The flavour is about what I expected. I think these ones are nicer than the ones I got from Tealux, but they aren’t really to my taste. I think I should revisit this style of tea in a year or 6 months to see how my preferences have changed. :)
Thank you to Teavivre for the free sample! I somehow was one of the winners of the oolong giveaway a while ago, but didn’t get around to trying them until now. Anyway, this oolong was a bit less creamy than I expected it to be based on the name and other reviews. To me, it had a little more of a sour and bitter taste to it. It also leans toward the greener, grassier taste than anything else. That being said, I probably could have been a little more careful with the temperature and steeping time, so I won’t give it a rating for now.
Edit: In later steeps with a slightly shorter steep time (because of the bitterness from before), I’m getting a sweeter, more buttery taste.
When Angel at Teavivre asked me if I wanted to sample some Taiwanese teas, I couldn’t reply back fast enough! There is just something about tea from this region that makes me very happy! Most of them, that I have tried anyway, have a creaminess and sweetness that slowly grow in intensity the longer you sip. By the bottom of the first cup it reminds me of caramel. This tea is quite floral, and isn’t as creamy as others I have tried but it still has the awesome aftertaste. The leaves smell very fresh, and the tiny little pellets they start out as turn out to be quite large leaves. Always fun to watch the leaves unfurl!
Thanks again, Angel! You people at Teavivre ROCK!
I am not a pu’erh expert but I liked this one. The packaging is very nice and it’s not fishy. In fact, I ordered a lot of pu’erh samples from Teavivre and so far I haven’t been disappointed by any of them. I would need to do side by side tastings to pick out my favorite.