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Recent Tasting Notes
My foray into Chinese greens continues with this unique, long leaf tea from TeaVivre. Their Long Jing dragonwell is already amongst my top 5 green teas and this one looks like a dragonwell with extra large leaves.
What stands out most to me about this tea is the smell of the leaf, both dry and wet. The dry leaf smells faintly of kombu and when the leaves are wet, they smell strikingly similar to dashi (fish broth). Thankfully, very little of the dashi aroma made it into the cup. There is a note of seaweed in there which is oddly contrasted with a fruity note I would describe as melon or pear. Not much vegetal flavor and virtually no astringency at all.
Overall, a very delicate and light-bodied tea. Quite different than the green teas I’m used to. I prefer grassier tea but I wouldn’t refuse this if it were offered to me. Definitely worth a sip and I’m glad I got to try it. I brewed this in a 150 ml gaiwan using about 7.5 leaves (roughly 1 gram) and got 2 good steeps out of it.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Melon
The floral in this is almost non existent. In the early days, when I wasn’t fond of floral, I recall that high mountain oolongs were my less flowery gateway into appreciation of stronger florals, but I don’t remember them being this lacking in the floral department.
Nevertheless, this is a good oolong. Nutty, creamy, bready. It’s like Teavivre’s Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea without the floral. If I pay attention, I can detect a slight floral aroma and a mild sweet taste that may or may not be attributed to a floral flavor. Perhaps I’ve become desensitized to the florals and don’t notice them as well when they are subtle.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Nuts, Vegetal
Sweet, roasty, yummy. I like roasted oolongs, but sometimes they get carried away with the roast. It’s nice when other flavors sneak through as they do in this tea. It must be a tieguanyin thing. I’ve only had one other roasted tieguanyin that I can remember and it was sweet too – but more floral sweet where as this one is fruity sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Sweet
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Since Teavivre recommended only 4g, I split the 7-gram sample packet and had two sessions with two different sets of steeping parameters. The first from is Teavivre’s website: 10, 20, 30, 50, (accidentally skipped 70), 90, 120. The second is my own: 30, 60, 90, 180, 300.
I smelled the dry leaf aroma two ways. First, I stuck my nose into the packet, then I heated the gaiwan bowl with boiling water, poured that out, and let the leaf sit in the bowl for thirty seconds. What a wonderful aroma! It’s one of those you can’t stop smelling. A combination of cocoa powder, gingerbread, and cinnamon. I knew this leaf would smell great if it were amplified by a heated bowl. Great start to the first session. The wet leaf aroma smells differently – sweet potatoes, then, after the leaf aired for a bit, freshly baked muffins.
Against a white porcelain cup, the liquor has a beautiful and clear burnt orange color. The texture is consistently smooth and little thick. Full body. The flavor profile doesn’t evolve, but it’s filled with individual notes that I taste all at once yet can pick out separately. This goes for both sessions. There is the cocoa and the sweet potato, but also subtler notes of wet wood and clover. Sweet and bitter simultaneously, with a coffee aftertaste. This has a soothing and warming effect on me.
This is forgiving and easy to drink, therefore good for the Western brewing method and beginners to Chinese black tea.
This is a sample from Christina. Thanks Christina for the sample! I really enjoyed this tea this morning brewed gong fu. I am finding my list I printed out for doing gong fu really isn’t that good. It’s what everyone says. Just go by the feel. Their recommendation for first infusion is about 6-8 sec. That’s way too short for this green tea so I left it until it had a little colour.
This tea reminds me of an Anji Bai Cha. The leaves look the same – long and straight. This tea also borders between a Japanese and Chinese tea. It has that sweet snap pea aroma (smells soooo good) you find in Japanese teas. It’s also in the taste but this brews up very light. A pale pale yellow. The snap pea taste hits the tongue followed by a light buttery/chestnut taste. These are the things I love about Anji Bai Cha only some of the Anji Bai Cha’s I’ve had have been stronger than this tea. This is a very delicate tea and very tasty!
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Peas
I can’t stress enough how much I suck at picking apart the various flavours in a straight tea, so I won’t even try to go there. But what I do know is that I love this. And it can tolerate my habitual over-steeping, which is always a good quality. I don’t really get the taste of cocoa in this, but a feeling of it, if that makes any sense. Like it’s a dark, rich, smooth taste that is not exactly cocoa, but somewhat similar to it in feeling. Like a cousin to cocoa. Or something. Behold my eloquence!
Either way, great cup, so far everything from Teavivre has been a delight. Will order again once I run out!
After noticing the flavors listed with this tea’s description, I almost thought I was still on the page for the Qing Xiang Dong Ding that I just reviewed. I wouldn’t have described this one as nutty or bready. Creamier than other tieguanyins, yes. I suppose the creamy texture can easily lead one to think of a nutty flavor. Perhaps it would stand out more to me if I didn’t sample it in such close proximity to the Dong Ding which is super nutty bread supreme, lol.
The floral in this is sweeter, rather than sharp, relative to some others I’ve had. Not much else to say here. It’s a tasty cup of delicate floral with a hint of cream. :)
After a while, all the teas of the same type start to blend together and I forget what an oolong I’ve had in the past tastes like relative to one I’m having now. Or what the difference is between Dong Ding and Tieguanyin. So, After my first isolated cup of this tea, I decided to brew it with two other oolongs I had in my cupboard (one a tieguanyin and another unknown, but I strongly suspect that it is also tieguanyin).
Unfortunately, I have no other Dong Dings to compare it with at the moment, but the tieguanyins definitely helped to put things in perspective and help me to isolate certain characteristics that I would otherwise be oblivious to.
So, without further ado, my tasting notes:
This one has a very creamy mouthfeel. I notice the floral notes first, especially in the aroma. As the tea cools it develops a nutty or bready flavor. Not something I am used to in a green oolong. However, after reading some other tasting notes, it looks like there is some question as to whether or not this oolong is slightly roasted. I’d still say its a green one, albeit unique.
the creamy breadiness sort of works its way into a soupy vegetal flavor — almost. It’s as if it’s trying to become a green tea but not quite. The floral brings it back to its senses. :p
Pretty good over all.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Floral, Nuts, Vegetal
This is a tasty smoked tea. I get a lot of the notes listed in the description. Smoke, earth, pine, scotch, leather, molasses, ash and tobacco to name a bunch. Or at least there is one note that tastes like any of those things.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
This is one of those teas that tastes better when you combine all of the infusions. I brewed it gongfu style following TeaVivre’s instructions (rinse, 30s, 30s, 35s, 45s, 1m, 1.5m). I poured all of the infusions into a pitcher and tasted them as I went along. The individual steeps were unimpressive. Flat and slightly bitter with some unexpected milky notes. Combined though, a honeysuckle sweetness began to emerge. The milkiness was no longer there but some bitterness remained in the after taste. This was a meh sorta green oolong for me. Palatable, but nothing to write home about. Glad to have finished my sample so I can move on to other teas.
Flavors: Astringent, Honeysuckle, Milk
Very unique flavor. There are distinct honey, floral, and fruit notes that I am more accustomed to finding in leafhopper oolong teas, but this tea is not as heavy on my stomach as those oolongs tend to be.
I can’t see myself drinking this tea on a regular basis – I tend to go through alternating phases of craving or being completely put off by honey notes – but it may show up in my cupboard from time to time.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Sweet
I’ve only ever had a couple silver needle tees that I absolutely love. I tend to prefer White Peony as far as white teas go.
While this isn’t my favorite white tea, it has some things going for it. It has the characteristic hay flavor, of course, but it’s not so intense to either make me sick or feel like I’m eating my father’s horse-food-flavored cereal. Instead, it has a subtle hay note and a creamy mouthfeel. Sometimes I can detect something sweet, but it comes and goes.
Flavors: Cream, Hay, Nuts, Sweet
I’ve had the golden tips and the full leaf, but not this one, so I picked up a sample in my last order. The leaves are pretty…dark brown/black with a few golden strands mixed in. The color of the liquor is also a beautiful red color, even in first infusion. It tastes sweet, with subtle notes of malt, cherry, and potato. It reminds me a little bit of Whispering Pines’ Wildcrafted Dian Hong. Maybe I should do a side by side comparison with the rest of my sample. Super smooth, but light in flavor, overall. I wouldn’t mind drinking more of this and I don’t think it’s terribly pricey either. :)
I’ve heard dancongs are really hard to gongfu. This is my first one so far and I’m excited and a bit terrified to try this. What if I screw it up? Whatevs, I have 100g of it so it doesn’t matter if I use couple grams to practise. Maybe?
Guang Dong Phoenix Dan Cong has nice roasted-smoky aroma to it, there is also hint of cherry and wood. It’s not as roasty as Da Hong Pao, which was reeeally roasty to my taste. This Guang Dong might suit my taste based on aroma.
I did really quick 1st steep, like 5 seconds. Taste is not expected, I thought Guang Dong would be something like Da Hong Pao, but this is vegetal and mildly roasty. It has some tannis and really really sweet, a bit cherry like and floral scent. Also it has pleasantly astrigent mouthfeel that I really like. I’m going to push that ‘recommend’ button right away.
Next steep was something between 10-15s, maybe closer to 15s. I’m getting some sweet potato, and woodsy notes, quite strong, but not overly-strong smokiness too. There is also something berry-ish like blackcurrant. This tea is really insteresting since it seems to have typical flavours both to green and dark oolong with its roasty-smoky and floral-vegetal flavours.
I tried shorter steep again to get that nice cherry note, but now it turned smoky and bitter. What did I do wrong? Maybe next one will be successful… And yes it is. Now there is some dried fruit, blackcurrant, honey and… peach? This is definitely my favourite steep. I’m sure this will give many more steeps, I will write about them later.
I’m going to practice with this, but it seems to be really complex tea with a lot of different flavours. Does dancong better in chao zhou-teapots (or yixings). I’ve always wanted one to my collections, but I’ve also heard these are better in porcelain gaiwans
Flavors: Black Currant, Cherry, Earth, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Raspberry, Roasted, Smoke, Tar, Toast
I brewed half of my 5g sample yesterday and the rest of it today, both with 12 oz water for 3 min. For some reason, though, yesterday’s cup seemed sweeter and more floral than today’s. Perhaps I didn’t divide the sample as equally as I thought. Today the tea tastes much stronger of hay. Apparently this tea can be easily tweaked to bring out more or less of these flavors. A gong fu brewing would probably yield the best of everything, but I only take the time for that once in a while.
Flavors: Floral, Hay, Sweet
This is a very floral oolong. Other reviewers have mentioned buttery notes. I think it’s there but it’s quite subdued to me. Overall this is an excellent oolong and a quality Tie Guan Yin for the price.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for two minutes after giving it a 10 second rinse. I think this would be much better brewed Asian style but this morning I am in something of a hurry and don’t have the time. There was a slight bitter note to the tea that I think would dissipate by a fourth steep or so.
My “Anniversary oolong-order” from Teavivre came today. I somehow ordered only oolongs! Teavivre actually made me an oolong-addict so now circle is complete. Along with this I got some dancong, anxi TGY and anniversary sampler + some samples. So much new tea to taste…
I’ve only tasted Dong Ding-like oolongs like Green Jade and I’ve loved them so this was obvious choice to try. Aroma is delightful, sweet and fruity with hint of pea-like vegetality. Big oolong balls are light to dark green in color and they have a yellowish brown stem.
I used 5g/60ml, a porcelain gaiwan and 90C water for green oolong (maybe a wrong choice, but I like to live dangerously).
Tea is mildly yellow and has very little aroma. Taste is sweet, but mild. Maybe it needs hotter water.
Taiwan Dong Ding starts to open up despite wrong temperature choice. Sweet and fruity taste and aroma with little astrigency. Tea color is now greenish yellow.
Going even more green. Same taste as in 2nd steep. Nice creamy-buttery mouthfeel and taste.
This tea is just as I imaginated. It’s beautiful, it has nice sweet, fruity and creamy taste with buttery mouthfeel and wonderful aroma. I just likey-likey this kind of oolongs. This was from 2014 so it’s bit over an year old. I wonder what would fresh one taste like… More tasting notes coming from this one definitely.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Sweet, Vegetal
This tea is very tasty. It has strong notes of chocolate. It has weak notes of malt. This is fine by me as I prefer notes of chocolate. I added sugar to this tea so I’m not sure but I think it’s got some sweet notes too. This is another tea from Teavivre that I think is just a good value for the quality level. It’s not up there with Whispering Pines but it’s damn close and less than half the price. It’s really quite tasty, almost but not quite spectacular. I think it’s better than their Fengqing Dragon Pearl Tea.
I brewed this once in an 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 min. I almost used boiling water but thought to read the directions on the label which call for 194 degree water.