Ten Ren Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
Ahhh. I am so very very excited about the fact that I got to leave work early today and don’t have to do any work tomorrow. I plan to try out some tea cocktail recipes tonight. I’ll let y’all know how it goes!
But to kick the evening off right, I shall begin with one of my all-time favorites. I had this with some cheese (Humboldt Fog) on toast. The jasmine aspect of the tea complemented the cheese well. As always, a comforting and delicious cup.
Subtle flavour. Maybe it’s the food I ate earlier priming my taste buds, or maybe it’s steeped wrongly to my liking (fragrant and bitter), but something is not doing it for me today because I can barely feel it there. ’Tis a true shame, remembering how much I usually do enjoy it.
Mmm. This goes beautifully with mildly spicy and garlicky sauteed bean sprouts with tofu. Just the right balance of green tea and jasmine with that ineffable flavor of Taiwanese greens that lingers drily in the mouth (see my previous tasting note for more detail – one day I’ll find the right words to describe this taste!). I’ve discovered that this is good for at least one resteep. Possibly two, but I don’t want to have that much green tea at this time of night.
Mmmm. I picked this up in Taiwan and have mostly been hoarding it since my return. The leaves aren’t totally whole, but they are very coarsely cut. The dry bags are only half full in order to allow for room for the leaves to expand. And seriously, it’s kind of fun to watch the tea bag fill up as the leaves absorb water. For those of you who care, the bags are pouches rather than triangle bags, and I can’t tell what kind of material they’re made of – it’s not as obviously plastic as the triangle bags and looks fibrous, but is also pretty strong.
The brewed tea smells distinctly but not overwhelmingly of jasmine. The color is a lovely gold. But you probably want to hear about the taste, so here goes. The jasmine is definitely prominent here. Personally, I like it. The underlying tea is rather grassy, which complements and supports the jasmine beautifully. There’s a lovely, dry aftertaste that I encountered in most Taiwanese tea that I still haven’t been able to find the right words for. It’s sort of… metallic-smoky, in a good way. I realize that’s a totally useless description that makes no sense, but it’s the best I can come up with. If anyone has experience with this tea and can articulate a better description, please chime in!
Overall, this is a great go-to tea that’s easy to brew in a hurry, and will always be a personal favorite because it carries good memories of my trip.
Thank you so much to Anna for this delicious sample!
I have never sampled an Alishan Jinxuan before so I wasn’t sure what to expect; although, I knew it is a greener Oolong, and you can definitely see that. I wasn’t getting much aroma out of the bag, so I warmed my glass press and warm, creamy, toasty elements greeted me. The wet leaves were creamy, roasty, toasty goodness. The cup is a lighter yellow with similar, but milder notes in the cup.
The flavor is so smooth and creamy (buttery), with decent roasty, toasty notes enticing my palate. Very smooth-I am wondering if juicy is apprpriate here, even though there isn’t fruity flavors coming forth. On the back of my tongue, I did notice a definite herbaceous quality to this tea, that is secondary to the other qualities.
My second cup was more aromatic from the wet leaves (more creamy, roasty, toasty, & now vegetal) to the cup itself. The cup was more medium yellow, with a sweeter, more pronounced aroma. What a soothing & calming cup, with a balanced and most flavorful creamy texture. Roasty, toasty, and buttery, with vegetal notes marching forward. Yes, definitely herbaceous in nature, but not bitter. The most enjoyable of the three cups for me because of the balance between the toasty and vegetal notes. Steeped for 1.5 minutes around 195 degrees.
My last cup was still full and enjoyable, but the toasty, creamy qualities were fading fast while the greener, vegetal notes stole the show. While smooth, these characters seemed a little boastful, and I wasn’t quite ready for the turn of events! I was pleasantly surprised, but longed for the former flavors. I used boiling water for a 5 minute steep.
The next night I used the rest of my sample, which was more leaf than the previous night. I was hoping to, and managed to get four quality steeps. My steep times and temps were as follows: 1.5 min at 180, 1 min at 180. 1.5 min at 195, & 5 min with boiling water. To avoid getting repetitive, I’ll say that the qualities and desciptions were similar, but more pronounced, aromatic, and flavorful from leaf to cup to stomach! The 3rd cup is worth noting, because the roasty toasty, creamy notes hung on a little longer, before completely abating to the vegetal qualities of the last cup. I did seem to notice lighter fruity flavors on my palate (peaches, possibly peaches), in the 2nd & 3rd cups. Juicy is quite appropriate here for sure. :))
Overall, a very delicious Oolong I would like to taste alot more. I did enjoy the vegetal qualities in the latter cups as well. Thank you Alishan Jin Xuan, for a delicious tea experience, and a special Thank You to Anna! :))
Cupped: Tuesday-Thursday, March 27-29, 2012.
Reviewed: Friday, March 30, 2012.
This tea was my first introduction to Oolong (in Chinatown, in San Francisco), and it was a “gateway tea” — it made me want to explore more Oolongs! While nowhere near the best or most interesting Oolong I’ve tried, I tend to keep this in the pantry. The light flavor is pleasant in the morning, and resteepings seem fairly consistent.
Thanks for another delicious tea Anna :)). My tea experience did not coincide with the description of the tea, so this review will be continued. My luncheon cup was steeped as shown below. Dry leaf is very tippy, and smelled earthy to me. Wet leaves smelled earthy, and woody, and like roasted marshmallows, so there was a definite sweetness noted. Cup color was very dark brown-muddy brown, with an earthy sweetness in the nose. Flavor was very smooth, filling my palate with earthiness and mushrooms. I was wondering if the sweetness of wet leaf aroma would excite my taste buds, but if it was there I didn’t taste/sense it.
I forgot my leaves a little in my second cup and steeped for 4.5 min. Cup color was darker and sweet in the nose. Flavors were the same as my first cup, but deeper. I was surprised by the sweetness of the wet leaves, and I really enjoyed the earthy, liquid mushrooms in my cup! This tea is smooth and delicious, and I really don’t believe it can be oversteeped. This is tea I could drink quite often, not every day, but I don’t drink any tea every day.
Cupped: Tue, 11-22-11. Reviewed: Wed, 11-23-11.
The leaves here are uniformly dark and around 1/4 an inch in length. The aroma is extremely pungent and smells heavily of dark wood and campfire smoke.
The aroma from the spent leaves is decidedly weaker. I’d say less than half as strong, but clearly still camp firey. There’s light sweetness to the spent aroma which doesn’t carry through any of the infusions, though it’s also lingering in the aroma from the extra-dark amber liquor.
The smokey, fired, woody flavors some out nicely throughout the brew and across three or four steepings. Unlike lesser grade versions of this tea, there’s relatively little astringency and almost no dryness on the palate. Just a smooth, steady, consistent campfire flavor.
If you like smokey teas, you’ll love this Lapsong Souchong. You may also enjoy it if you like Pu’erhs.