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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the last sample supplied to me from my first order with Vicony Teas. Thank you Mr. Richard Zhang for the free sample! This tea is not a smoked Lapsang Souchong, but still carries a small smoky hint in the leaves.
The golden color of these leaves told me that it was made of buds. The dried leaves themselves smelled floral. When I first saw these leaves, my first thought was that they were thinner than Angel Hair Pasta! The brewed leaves smelled chocolaty, as did the other Lapsang I tried from this company.
The chocolate aroma of this tea was more pronounced than that of the previous one I tried. It also had a great floral aroma. The color of the brew was a dark amber. What a wonderful tea!
The taste was also sweet, and had a slight smell of tree bark. I really liked this tea.
Overall, I’m very happy with the teas supplied by Vicony Teas Company. I will be ordering from them in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Richard Zhang, at Vicony Teas for this free sample! I’ve only one more free sample to go.
Note: I edited this post due to a slight error with brewing instructions, on the Vicony Teas website. Thankfully, they corrected it.
The dry leaves are a dark black. One of them had a golden hue to it, however. They smelled malty and sweet. The brewed leaves were very leathery in consistency. Some were a dark brown, others as black as before. They smelled muscatel, and almost acidic (in a pleasant way). They were very aromatic, and had a different appearance than other black teas (the length in particular.
The color of the brew was a hue of copper-brown. It smelled smooth, light, and chocolaty. It tasted slightly malty, woody, and was very smooth. In fact, it was silky smooth- a really nice feature of this tea. There was a slight sweet after taste, and a floral finish with each sip.
The second steeping had a much more light, and brassy-brown color. This cup smelled very floral- much more than the first. A honey-like sweet aftertaste followed my first three sips. After that, the malt made a return. I liked the second steeping better than the first. It enhanced the more subtle flavors.
I am very pleased to have gotten to try this tea (thankfully it tasted better when steeped longer than the original 20 seconds). This is also my first Lapsang Souchong that has not been smoked. A pleasant experience overall.
This is the first of three free samples supplied by the Vicony Teas Company. Thank you Mr. Richard Zhang for the sample!
Only the top two or three leaves were used for production. The leaves looked very much like a Dragonwell tea. There was a nice floral scent emanating from them. There were no lone stems, and the leaves were medium-sized. It smelled very fresh. The brewed leaves smelled very toasty and vegetal.
The very first smell I got was of peanuts- Honey roasted peanuts. Then, I noticed a slightly toasty smell, similar to Genmai Cha. I was expecting the leaves to fall to the bottom of the glass, like Dragonwell, but this did not happen. As the tea cooled for 20 seconds, I began to smell a honey-butter aroma, without any grassy or vegetal hints at all. The brew was a light yellow complexion. It did not lose the nutty aromas. The taste was also slightly toasty, but not as nutty as I had expected. I did notice a very tiny hint of buttery-goodness towards the end of the sip.
This tea was pretty good. I would recommend this tea for late morning to evening.
This is the very top quality of Taiping Hou Kui. It is not sold on Vicony Tea Company’s website, and had to be specially ordered. I understand that only 10kg of this tea was produced for this company. Taiping Hou Kui is one of my favorite teas, so it will be nice to try some in the top quality.
These leaves were 100% hand-plucked, and hand made. They are more dark green than the ‘Superfine Hou Kui Tea’, and have more prominent grate marks on one side. The other side does not have as much grate marks, but shows the leaf’s veins near the stem. The leaves are very thin, but not as flat and brittle as the ‘Superfine Hou Kui Tea’, which was almost transparent. There were slight variations in height, and all of the tea consisted of the top two leaves of the plant. The dried leaves smelled very floral, and very sweet. It reminded me of honey suckle. This was much different than any other Taiping Hou Kui I have tried before; it was a stronger floral smell. The brewed leaves were very elastic, and smelled vegetal, but floral as well. The stems were more red, and had a reddish-green hue to them.
The brewed tea was an extremely clear, medium-yellow color. The brew smelled vegetal, and was actually hard for me to detect. The initial taste was sweet, but turned into a floral, honey suckle taste. Nectar; there was a light vegetal flavor, overcome by nectar. This tea is very sweet, and has a very floral aftertaste. It was a very nice tea.
This steeping yielded a very floral cup. I actually found this steeping to be more sweet! This one retains all of the characteristics of the first one, but more pronounced. Very good.
I could tell that much care had gone into making this tea. It was not pressed by machines, as other Hou Kui teas are. I love the look of the leaves when they brew in a tall glass, and love the delicate flavor. I can see why this is classified as a rare, and ‘’Luxury” tea. I’ll be ordering my Nie Jian Hou Kui from this company again.
This is the first of 2 teas I bought, and 3 samples I received from Vicony Teas Company. This grade is the second highest for Taiping Hou Kui (Bu Jian), however I also bought the highest grade of Taiping Hou Kui (Nie Jian) which has to be special ordered. When ordering, I was very impressed with the company’s assistance, and customer support. They had some of the best customer-company communication I have ever had while buying a tea.
These leaves were very long, and paper-thin. They had a nice, light green color, as well as darker green parts. They were very delicate, and the slightest movement would crack the sweet-smelling leaves. Some leaves were as long as my forefinger, while others only as long as my pinky finger. There were not any pronounced grate marks on this Hou Kui, but I assume they will be on the Highest grade. After brewing, the leaves they smelled very vegetal. They were very elastic, but still delicate. They danced around the inside of the tall glass I brewed the tea. Only the top two leaves had been chosen for this tea. Very good quality leaves.
The color of the brew was a very clear yellow-green. It was not in the least bit cloudy, despite me having brewed the leaves in the tall glass without a filter before removal. The brewed tea did not smell floral, unlike what I had expected. Instead, it smelled more sweet, like a sugarcane. As for the flavor: it was very light. The flavor was lightly sweet, and also floral (which was a surprise, because the scent was not floral at all). It had a very faintly vegetal finish.
It had a sweet and floral aftertaste, and honey notes could be picked up in the back of my throat while sipping. This is a very nice tea to introduce me to Vicony Teas.
I made the fourth steep as soon as I got up this morning. There is still so much flavor, and I think I may like this cup best! I don’t know if it is because I am having it with my English muffin or some other reason, but this is really hitting the spot.
This fourth cup is tasting more like a white tea, but after the sip I am getting that little tingle of sheng.
This is quite a tea you have discovered, K S – thank you for sharing!
At last, the moment I have been waiting for! I wanted to taste this one when I could concentrate on it, treat it with careful attention, and squeeze every last possible steep out of it. This is a gift from K S. Thank you!
The leaves seemed to have a sweet, fruity smell. Either that is the melon K S was referring to, or the bag picked up a little of the scent of the Superfruit Sencha. If the latter is the case, I am pleased to say that I believe the taste is unadulterated. As I pour the hot water over the leaves, there is foam, like suds, but I didn’t use soap on this pot and as usual I rinsed it several times before using it tonight. Each steep got a new little froth at the top of the pot. Odd thing to happen, but this doesn’t taste soapy at all, so I have no idea what it is doing.
I have only had one or two shengs. This one is smoother than Ziyun Puerh Maocha, but has that same top note of brash youth one finds in shengs. It is in the aroma only, not in the taste. It really looks and almost smells like a sturdy white tea, but the sheng flavor is there for certain. My first impression was that this isn’t quite like anything I have tried before. As I tried to come up with descriptors, broth came to mind. I could really see using this a soup base and adding some spring onions and chives and soft wonton wrappers and sweet crunchy vegetables. Yes, it would make a wonderful spring soup base!
There is a strong grain flavor, too. I think it is oats that I taste most here. I am not getting cucumber right now. We’ll see if that comes up in later steeps!
Steep two: this is heartier, and I taste the maltiness more. The tea seems dark (in character, weightiness) and oaty as I sip. Now in the aroma, if I Inhale really deeply, there is a fruitiness. That must be the cucumber. They always seem so fresh and crisp and that is mixed with the salty oat flavor.
Steep three: The color remains strong, this tastes salty! Lovely oats and broth, warm white bud or silver needle flavor, mixed with sheng.
Thank you, K S, for a really neat tea experience and for the opportunity to taste such an unusual tea! When I stop sloshing, I may go for another steep!
Pale yellow brew. This is a gentle quiet tea. As the cup cools it developed a buttery sweetness. A light bitterness underneath the flavor to cleanse the palate. The second cup was the most amazing. Copying from my blog – The smell of the wet leaf in the second cup was more like the fresh air at the lake. Nice and refreshing. The second cup is even lighter in flavor. This is new. I am getting a sticky lip feel at the front of the sip with this green tea. Normally, I associate that trait with sheng puerh. Interesting.
Ok, this is really messing with my head and fascinating me at the same time. Now that the second cup is cooling it tastes and feels like I am drinking a warm cup of milk. This isn’t a milky oolong. How is it doing that? The sip starts a bit sheng like, then to lightly bitter green, and on to milk late in the sip. A beautifully complex cup.
Vicony will send out samples to reviewers for those interested. http://www.viconyteas.com/
10 second steeps on this one! Malt, honey, sweet potatoes, and light smoke. This is an amazing tea. The first day I had this I could smell it the rest of the day. I had to brew it again right away. I had four 12oz mugs. It would have gone more. If you are interested I have a longer review on my blog.
Think Bailin Gongfu and you will know exactly what this tastes like – chocolate, malt, and wheat. This is so very, very good! Bohea and Bailin Gongfu appear to originate on different mountains but apparently they both produce excellence.
I have been trying lately not to duplicate my Steepster posts with what’s on my blog. This tea is so wonderful I am going to break my rule -
This is the third of the Vicony Teas Company samples I have received for review. This Yunnan Silver Needle White Tea is a sheng puerh. It is listed as Art. No: BYP12 on Vicony’s website. The leaf on this looks like a normal loose leaf silver needle white tea. Very white and very fresh. It has only the mildest scent.
I used my wooden spoon to measure out a healthy scoop of the leaf. I used 12oz of near boiling water and my press. The first steep was 2 minutes. The leaf danced in the press, hanging from the surface of the water. The brew is very clear with nothing floating in it. The color is a dull green. So far there is not a lot that even hints this is puerh other than the slightly darker brew color. There are no scents I normally associate with sheng or raw puerh. In fact it has little scent. Just a hint of fresh hay.
I lift the cup and sip. Ahhh, there it is. At first you catch notes of melon and cucumber but as subdued glimpses really. This gives way to the wonderful leather taste I usually reserve for shu puerh. Actually, I am not sure I have ever tasted it in a sheng puerh. As the cup cools the melon really comes alive and blends with the leather. The result is pure joy. Now it is developing a natural sweetness. I feel a nice coolness on my breath. This is really seriously good.
Cup two was also steeped for 2 minutes. It differs from the first in some respect. The leather is less pronounced but still obvious. This has become even sweeter and slightly more like white tea in taste. The melon / cucumber notes are more prevalent. The more the cup cools the more it takes on a grainy flavor – something like wheat.
Cup three continues with the grainy taste. The leather has disappeared.
On cup four the grainy taste has turned to pure malt. Each cup has grown darker. This one is golden in the press and caramel in the cup.
This white puerh is not the flavor blast that puerh fans often expect. On the other hand this is one of the most complex puerhs I have ever tried. It has zero bitterness. It is a lighter more delicate cup that white tea fans will greatly appreciate. After only one session with this I am hooked. This should be in your tea cupboard!
As others said about this type tea – the leaves are huge. I did a long review here: http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2012/08/vicony-teas-company-premium-taiping.html
Short review – My experience was different than others describe this. The orchid flavor tastes mineral and mushroom to me. It has a lingering aftertaste but I did not find it naturally sweet. It went great with a ham and turkey sandwich. I like it but not love it.
See how white the leaf looks in the picture? Well, it really is that white. This leaf is gorgeous. It tastes just as good as it looks. Cucumber and melon, with a lingering sweet aftertaste. Superfine is not just the grade of leaf with this one.
For those interested Vicony asked me to mention they supply samples to reviewers. You will have to meet a few conditions and they do ask for a phone number. The few hoops were worth it to try this one.
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this tea.
This is a stellar Keemun, very robust flavor with a smoky tone. A fantastic burnt-sugar sweetness. A delicious wine-like finish. Very good!
From my It’s All About the Leaf review, available at: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/1668/tea-review-vicony-teas-keemun-hao-ya-b-2/
The first time I tried this, it was so smoky, bitter, and strong I couldn’t finish the glass. So I threw the sample into a drawer and tried to forget about it. Then, a few months later I found the sample again, and decided to brave trying it again.
This time, I decided to make sure I used an extremely short steeping time. And it helped, immensely. Now, the smoky flavors have done from trying to remove the skin from your nose to a more pleasant woodsy flavor. Like chewing on tree bark. The brew tastes very masculine and robust. Lots of tannin, lots of body.
I still don’t like it much. I feel like it’s a bit of a bully of a tea; pushy and strong and ready to hit you if you don’t treat it exactly right. Others may like it, especially if you’re a black coffee fan or like the stronger, darker flavors. Me, I’ll reach for something else.
Vicony Teas is the end-all/say-all to Keemun excellence. Heck, they were there at the drink’s inception. So, I think they have a heads-up on what’s good and what’s not. This is a new type of Keemun – only about ten years old – processed in a way similar to Bi Luo Chun (a famous green tea). And there are similarities. The flavor profile is creamy, sweet, smokey, woody, and a bunch o’ other things. I just can’t think of ‘em at the moment. It’s a very complex cup that only slightly deviates from the Keemun norm. I’m okay with that.
A longer review of this is now up at www.itsallabouttheleaf.com. This is a nice, tangy Keemun for no-frills, no-flavors, non-adulterated black tea lovers.