The Mountain Tea co
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Recent Tasting Notes
For my debut into the online tea snob world, I chose the Medium Roast TieGuanYin from Mountain Tea. Mountain Tea specializes in Taiwanese oolong teas, but they sell a few green and puerh teas from other countries as well. This particular tea is very popular in the online tea community, and won 1st Place in the Traditional TieGuanYin Category of the 2012 North American Tea Championship.
In case you aren’t as obsessed with tea as I am, I can describe the tea a bit. TieGuanYin, also called 铁观音 or 鐵觀音, is a variety of oolong tea from Anxi in Fujian Province, China. The name translates roughly to “Iron Goddess of Mercy,” but you will sometimes see it sold as “Iron Buddha” as well.
The dry leaf has the appearance of a typical rolled style oolong. The leaves seem to be high quality. The leaves have a very notable roasted aroma, which is quite pleasant. They smell very sweet and caramelized. But overall, the smell is not too intense.
I brewed five grams of the leaves in my new tea tasting set. I bought this set at the Beipu Farmers’ Market in Beipu Township, which is in Hsinchu County in northern Taiwan. I’m pretty happy with it, although I had to carry it in my backpack for a week. I’m pretty surprised that this tasting set managed to make it home undamaged.
This tea is very interesting and complex. The first taste that hits my palate is the notable roasted taste. I suppose since the tea is called “medium roast,” I expected the roasted taste to be a bit more subtle. But it is certainly very enjoyable either way. With that said, this tea does still have a slight bit of the bite that is typical of greener oolongs.
As a result of this roasting process, the tea’s head note has a very caramelized flavor, with a noticeable honey sweetness. The tea is very nutty tasting, as roasted oolongs tend to be. Surprisingly, I also picked up on a toasted bread-like taste in this body notes of this tea, which many other reviewers online have noted. The aftertaste is very fruity, similar to the lingering apricot or peach notes that are common to some oolongs. However, this fruity flavor is a bit more like a dried fruit taste, perhaps a raisin note?
As I progressed through some repeated steepings, I was a bit disappointed that this tea did not keep its flavor so well. The roasted flavor of this tea became rather flat by the third and fourth steep. However, the fruitiness is more pronounced in the later steeps.
The tightly rolled leaves unfurled nicely. A few of the leaves are a bit choppy and bruised looking, which is generally not a great sign in rolled oolongs. However, this tea still appears to be high quality.
All in all, this tea is quite solid. If you tend to enjoy more roasted tasting oolongs, you will probably enjoy this. I wouldn’t say that this is the absolute best TieGuanYin oolong I’ve had, but it is certainly one of the best TieGuanYin oolongs I have had for the price. At only $9 for 2 ounces, or $18 for 5 ounces, this tea is pretty affordable. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this tea again, but I will certainly enjoy the rest of the bag and I would recommend it to others.
Flavors: Fruity, Nuts, Peach, Plums, Raisins, Roasted
Finally cracked this bad boy open today
My hopes were mixed as I know MT tea co has amazing dongfang meiren, award winning in fact, as well as other grades. That being said I am aware of the aging potential but have yet to see another cake of this nature so I was thinking is maybe more of a gimmick/way of turning lemons into lemonade (stale tea into a collector’s item). I purchased about a year ago and stored the cake in a big tin that is fairly airtight with approximately a LB of other various Dongfang meiren teas (the whiff once I opened it was intoxicating) in my cabinet of my kitchen which I am sure the temperature and humidity varies wildly.
All that being said not sure if I stored it with the best care but the tea was a bit of disappointment. The dry leaf still wasn’t sweet or much a smell at all. The first steeping was not like any other bai hao i’ve had before. It was the hallmark liquor color and the playful muscatel light tannic quality but no sweetness up front like usual and actually a rather strange menthol quality on the back end. I realize later that the cultivar might be red jade tai cha #18 due to the camphor flavors.
While not a bad tea, as I stated it reminded of red jade cultivar also from taiwan, I was hoping and expecting something completely different. I did end up prying a rather lot of fanning and dust rather than whole leaves so Im sure that was a factor. I will surely tinker with the brewing parameters/prying technique fairly soon so at the moment holding off on numerical rating.
Bottom line if you expecting something sweet look else where it reminded me of a cross between a darjeeling and tai cha #18 both of which I happen to like from time to time.
Flavors: Camphor, Menthol, Muscatel, White Grapes
Wow, this smells really sweet! The instant I poured water over it, it started smelling like candy, and the candy-scent didn’t stop wafting over at me from two feet away the whole time it was brewing. It’s also floral and lightly fruity… maybe lychee? (Not that I remember what lychee tastes outside of gummy candies anyway.)
I’ll do a second steep tomorrow. Hopefully.
Large leaves of dark green and brown fill my Gongfu teapot on this beautiful afternoon. This High Elevation Green was a birthday gift from my husband (which was much earlier in the year). I’m currently sorting my tea cupboard to group similar teas together, at the moment my green tea binge has grouped my green teas together for today’s use with this being the first on my list.
The leaves have a mild seaweed like scent, perfumed though heavily mineral and green.
A 30 second steep reveals a light yellow tea that smells like mild flowers and grass. Flavour is floral with light perfume style flavour with some sweetness.
A further 30 second steep reveals a more mineral tasting green tea, albeit remaining light and floral. A little dryness in the after taste. Rather smooth and lightly buttery. Floral wise I liken it to sweet pea.
Another steep which was increased to one minute brings out the dryness. This is by far the lightest of the steeps, though the mild floral and light butter notes remain.
A very gentle green tea with light floral and buttery notes with some mineral green. Not a favourite but a solid light and pure tasting green tea, a nice palate cleanser.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Sweet, warm grass
This is an extremely dark, smooth, oolong that’s rather unlike what I think of when I think of an oolong; the malty notes are reminiscent of a good Assam accompanied by a thick honey taste that’s oh-so-delicious. This is a perfect after-dinner treat (try it with red bean cakes, it’s great).
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt, Molasses
Rediscovering just how much I like Taiwanese oolong! For a while now I’ve been drinking mostly pu’er and Yunnan black, neglecting the first tea I fell in love with.
This is a very good one, still delicious despite not being very fresh. Mellow and juicy. Green-ness that reminds me of the amaryllis bulbs my grandma used to grow, balanced with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut with the bright tang of tamarind.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Tangy, Vanilla
This is a dark roast Sumatran grown oolong, with small tightly rolled nuggets of tea that seem to have been allowed to rest as there is no smoke or charcoal notes apparent.
After a rinse, the tea yields a maple coloured brew that maintained a fairly consistent flavour profile.
I used 1 TSP of leaves in 150 ml of 95°C water.
The first three steeps (35,30,25s). maintained a scent profile consisting of apples, and a sweet floral at times cocoa, malt and cinnamon were present.
The tea tasted of an empire like apple, sometimes with skin, cocoa, butter, malt, a floral note, and cinnamon. Often the darker more bitter notes would be most apparent when hot and then gave way to a more balanced tea full of fruit, floral and spice notes. In the last steep of this set an oatmeal note appeared.
I then did 2 steeps of 35 and 45s, that were fairly weak. Next time I would increase the steeping time by more than 10s at this point. The tea at this point had more oatmeal and malt, less cocoa and fading apple.
The last two steeps were 60s and 2 min. These steeps had tones of apple, oatmeal, malt, cocoa, cinnamon and a hint of honey.
Altogether an enjoyable oolong with good and distinct apple tones. Thanks Nicole, I’ve been wanting to try more of Mountain Tea’s dark Oolong’s.
This is an oolong that may appeal to lovers of light flavoured Tieguanyin and those who like sweet lightly floral Oolong’s. It lacks that biting ting that I appreciate in floral green Oolong’s, but it does leave a warming tingling sensation in the mouth from its spice notes.
The dry leaves are small tight nuggets that range in colour from a medium sage green to spruce green.
I covered the bottom of my 150ml Gaiwan with leaf and started with about85°C water. I ended up getting 9 steeps out of this tea.
Earlier steeps of this tea had a green floral lilac scent mixed with honey, peach, cream and cinnamon. In later steeps a savoury vegetal note appeared and the floral spice slowly wained.
Flavour notes I found in this tea included: lilac, cream, peach,honey, cinnamon, mint,vanilla, mineral notes, artichoke, spinach and stevia.
The floral tone in this tea is not overpowering and the cinnamon tone is quite nice. It retains a good mix of sweet, vanilla, fruit cream tones and spice for the majority of it steeps, and maintained a creamy body into the last steep. I prefer a brighter and sharper green oolong but this is quite pleasant and cleansing.
T&C TTB Tea # 23 Backlog May 30
Light-medium liquor with a light flavour. Mild apple taste, slightly earthy.
That’s all I got for you. Basically I considered this “straight black tea # 547389” and put it back in the box, because it didn’t really stand out at all.
Sorry for the spam of TTB reviews, I’m done for now!!
Buoyed by Dexter’s glowing review of this tea, I finally drank this tea last night.
It has quite a lovely rich, warm flavour. The first steep tasted a little like Chinese grocery store oolong in the orange tin if perhaps a little less nutty but subsequent steeps were much rounder, and richer in flavour with good roasted charred notes, balanced with caramel, cinnamon, stewed black cherries and apricots, cocoa, fall leaves, vanilla cream, and mineral notes. The first steep does have that odd mauvish colour that Dexter noted. Pretty tasty if you like dark roast teas.
The dry leaf is like the picture appearing very dark brown to black. They are heavily charred. The tea was well packaged as the nuggets remain solid and tightly wrapped in shape as I think the level of roasting may make them prone to crumbling.I steeped the tea 9 times at @95°C after a rinse (40, 35,40,50,70,90,150s, 4min, 6 min), 1.5 TSP in 170ml Taiwan.
The broth was a eddish grey tinged brown for first steep, more red tinged golden brown for others.
40s. Scent Charcoal tinged roasted grain note, caramel, sweet dried apricot mixed with cherry and plum, hint of fall leaves spice note
Taste Toasted grains up front opening to brown sugar caramel note, hints of fruit and leaves layered in bbetween, bitter cocoa mixes with sweet sugar in the aftertaste. black cherry like fruit note becomes stronger as it cools and charcoal moves to the background.
35s scent roasted note, caramel over cherry with cinnamon, cocoa, fall leaves.
Taste Roasted note blended with much stronger cocoa note and fall leaves, over caramel, stewed black cherry and cinnamon.
40s scent. fruit, spice and caramel, moving to the front combined with the cocoa, roasted note moving into background
Taste Caramel, cocoa, with roasted notes over stewed cherries and cinnamon, leaf note gone.
50s. Taste Roasted note caramel cocoa, fruit heading more to dried apricot.
70s taste . Roasted grain, cocoa, caramel, joint of warm fruit with cinnamon. Black liquorice tone in aftertaste.
90s. Taste same as above with a little vanilla cream and the caramel notes are mellowing, but the tea is quite sweet, with a hint of roasted ash note, less fruit, and more cream, cocoa and mineral notes
150 taste sweet notes fading, roasted grain notes, cream, and mineral notes, with fading caramel and cocoa.
5min taste cream, cocoa,roasted,notes,vanilla, caramel., mineral note.
6min taste continuing to fade but still flavourful.
The spent leaves are charred in such away that even though they have unwound the blades remain mostly wound and are curly not flat leaves are dark chocolate brown.
A really nice warm tasting tea!
I’m really in love with this tea. If you weren’t told it was an oolong, you would never guess. It kind of reminds me of a Yunnan Gold/Red.
If you brew hotter and longer, you get more spice. But I brewed about 185 in gaiwan, short steeps. Then I slowly increased time and temp with every 4 or 5 steeps.
The liquor is just gorgeous, especially once the leaves open up. The scent of the wet leaves is just intoxicating. Get a lot of prune, malt, honey, and hint of spice, like a cinnamon.
Flavor is great, really rich and luxurious. There’s a sweetness to it, but little kick of spice as well. It peaked for me about steep 4 or 5 in 100ml gaiwan. But I still got about 12 solid steeps from it. After the 5th or so, it becomes more one note, sometimes more honey, sometimes more spice.
Just a great tea. Real high quality leaves. Very happy, and great price. I’ve paid a lot more for much less.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt
Tea #35 from Considering a new TTB
Dark oolongs aren’t normally among my favorites, but this tea caught me by surprise. Instead of being deep and roasted, it was rather lightly flavored and reminded me somewhat of apples and honey, with only a subtle roasted flavor noticeable in the background. It’s such an interesting tea, I’m glad I decided to be a bit of a glutton and make a whole pot of it. What I don’t finish off tonight, I’ll be able to drink iced tomorrow. This seems like it would make an excellent iced tea.
This tea will not be continuing on, I finished off the last of it.
Upped the gram to water 7g/12oz and time (4 mins) which finally resulted in the taste and energy(weirdly enough because it seems to have zero bitterness) I was looking for. More of the flavor came through and I finally tasted the herbaceous brininess I smelled in the dry leaves. The more I drink this tea the more I like it.
Smells like pasta sauce…. the herbs in a red sauce that is and literally every time I smelll it I crave pasta and starch. Back to to the tea though it’s a very light flavor (never goes bitter boiling water for 20+ mins still smooth) it travels well since it can not be over brewed and seems to possess very little caffeine (not bitter at all nor does it give me an energizing “buzz”). So depending on what you are looking for in a green tea not bad.
Overall all it was an impulse buy, it being cheap and I have never tried taiwanese green tea before but I wasn’t that blown away I will try gongfu since it is actually a green heart cultivar so maybe I can get some body out of it if I use boiling water and high leaf to water ratio but until I get anything striking it will just be my buffer tea to drink in between stronger teas.
I am sick but I smelled a very strong food aroma that was familiar. It reminded me of the mixed herbs in a pasta sauce with a slight hint of briny seafood broth at the end.
Reminder I have a cold
Very light green similar to sencha color but lighter with a touch of yellow.
Taste was very light as well but 0 astringency (even after throwing boiling water on it) very refreshing tasted similar to a cold brewed sencha but even lighter more floral and more briny.
Will come back to this one when I am not sick and have taste buds.
Flavors: Asparagus, Fish Broth, Seaweed
Tea #31 from Considering a new TTB
This is another company that I’ve been meaning to place an order with, Dr Jim introduced me to them in another TTB I was a part of last year and I fell in love with several of their teas. This is one I haven’t had a chance to try yet and ended up being exactly what I was looking for this morning. I’ve been craving something sweet and this has a sweetness to it that tastes almost like peaches. I may consider ordering some of this in the future, I really enjoyed it.
This is a real “cover-all-the-bases” black/dark oolong, being slightly fruity, malty, sweet, floral, as well as roasted. A great choice for those who like a bit of everything, but not for those who look for prominent flavours.
First infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 3:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.
Fourth infusion – 3 g. per 6 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
This was the first oolong I bought online. I got it because it was on sale for $7. i was surprised about the quality of this light and refreshing oolong. It smells like sweet corn and has crisp feeling that reminds me of that feeling when I bite into a fresh white peach.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Flowers, Honeydew, Peach, Tannin