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Recent Tasting Notes
A sample I removed from the travelling european teabox organized by Kitty (thanks!), and one which waited till I was in the right mood. For some reason, this type of tea is so spring like, so pure and grassy and green, and the calendar says March. Let´s pretend it is Spring!
I liked this very much, though not sure how much how can say about it other than ah, dragonwell, a nice smooth one. Floral, and greeny and all so soft somehow. I think I screwed up the steeps (but in a good way), maybe let the first and second steeps be too long, those were heavenly, the third steep was one too many though!
One of my tea goals for 2014, in addition to Not Buying Any Teas in January (check) and Trying All The Peach Teas (working on it) is to try more unflavoured greens. This tea fits the bill.
My aggressive lack of knowledge about various tea regions and leaf types really puts a hamper on things, though – it’s very hard to discuss something completely out of context. I feel like I’m a kid at one of those Kid’s Day at the Art Museum type events – you know, a four-year-old pointing at a Mirò, howling, ‘Nana spilled lemonade on the wall!!!’
Cute? Yes. Helpful? No.
With this tea, for example, there is a dominant scent and flavour I can’t quite place – it’s not like something I’ve had before, but it’s sweet, and light, and subtly perfumed. It seems too easy to always retreat to ‘grassy’, or, ‘vegetal’, or ‘buttery’, or ‘hay-like’, because most unflavoured greens (and oolongs) have those characteristics to varying degrees.
I don’t quite know what to do about it – is this a typical LongJing? How do I know unless I drink more LongJings? Where do I find a LongJing to compare it to around midnight on a Sunday in Rome? (It’s probably best not to ask, there’s no telling what goes on in the park where I live after dark.)
It’s a little frustrating. I know I enjoyed the f*ck out of this cup and that it made me happy and smiley and that I really want to drink more unflavoured green teas.
That’ll just have to do for now.
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Thank you Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
3oz / 85ml 212℉ / 100℃
5 Grams Tea
6 steeps : rinse,15s,20s,30s,40s,70s,140s
Rinsing time is around 5 seconds
The leaves are a lovely blend of brown and gold which are highly reflective. They have a sweet yet highly perfumed scent, rather musky and earthen. Must note there are a fair few sticks present in this sheng.
Picture – http://tinypic.com/r/2ut2aeh/8
First Steep – 15s
Golden in colour with a creamy yet floral musky scent that almost comes across as being astringent. It tastes a little astringent too but in a nice way, like a thick vegetal and floral way. In other words thickly sweet but not too much.
Second Steep – 20s
Still thick and sweet with a slight astringency and mineral tang. Resembling a savoy cabbage or fresh broccoli at the moment but in a lighter and more floral way. Is also a little buttery.
Third Steep – 30s
Ok very thick now, reminds me of raw brussel sprouts. Still very sweet too but the butter has vanished.
Fourth Steep – 40s
The astringency and musk has increased again which as cut the sweetness down. There is still a nice floral after taste though which lightens though has left me with dry mouth.
Fifth Steep – 70s
Not as thick or astringent now (thankfully) but it is increasing it’s floral notes. like peony and tulip. Still keeping the broccoli aspect but a very soft one.
Sixth Steep – 120s
Yes definitely the final steep, all that remains is a subtle waxy flower perfume that leaves the tongue rather dry.
Overall – Honestly I was expecting to love this as sheng is my favourite form of Pu Erh but unfortunately I found this one rather astringent and thick throughout. I love a sheng with full on flavour and I expect some extreme mineral elements with astringency but this was just too much for my personal liking. Still it wasn’t a complete waste on me, while I wouldn’t buy this Pu Erh I did still enjoy trying it today.
Thank you Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
Water : 3oz / 85ml – 194℉ / 90℃
Use 5 Grams Tea
5 steeps : rinse,25s,30s,60s,90s,120s
Rinsing time is around 5 seconds
The Oolong balls are a very earthy brown colour with hints of red. Medium to large sized balls (mostly) with a rough average of 5mm in length. Due to the high oxidisation the balls are rather dry and crisp. They have a dark scent, like burnt wood and leather.
Picture – http://tinypic.com/r/14o0ojp/8
First Steep – 25s
Colour is medium tan/brown and it has a strong burnt wood yet slightly floral scent. Flavour is smoky and wooden with medium thickness (to start with). I can also taste flowers towards the after taste, sort of sweet and perhaps darkly fruity too, like prunes.
Second Steep – 30s
Still tasting the burnt wood but it’s thicker now and a little dry with some leather.
Third Steep – 60s
Very rich now but also smooth. The leather is more like a clay now but the burnt wood still dominates. A little sweet and floral in the after taste.
Fourth Steep – 90s
The burnt wood has toned down somewhat to allow the sweet flowers to shine through. Also getting more fruity notes this time like fresh, plump raisins.
Fifth Steep – 120s
All that remains is a mild yet still smooth floral Oolong with sweetness and a touch of smoke.
Overall – It was a nice Oolong that offered complexity, maturity and above all an array of flavours. It was very smoky and wooden but smooth in contrast which came across perfectly. With a touch of flowers and fruit at times, this was one very nice Oolong and has made my lunch time extra special.
Gongfu Teapot – 8oz
Water Temp – 80ºC
Steeps – 1m,2m,3m
Raw leaves are long, thin and crisp with a sweet, grassy and perfumed scent.
Steep 1 – 1m
Light, sweet, floral, grassy, dry
Delicate and refreshing, sweeter than expected and also left a fresh but dry hay after taste.
Steep 2 – 2m
As the strength has increased the sweetness has decreased though is still present. A touch astringent. It’s much more floral and mineral now but still with minimal dryness. Also picking up fresh spinach.
Steep 3 -3m
Buttery and mild once again but keeping it’s floral sweetness and touch of a dry, perfumed after taste. Very fresh and mellow.
I enjoyed this Long Jing more than I thought I would. While I love green tea Long Jing is usually too dry and perfumed for my taste and has suffered a bed reputation with me for a while. I don’t know if it’s purely down to quality but simply some Long Jing I like and others I hate. This one I like.
Today has been officially declared as Oolong Day in my house due to recent tea cravings for something mineral yet sweet. Since my husband has two weeks off we decided to do an ‘all nighter’ last night and we stayed up until 9am when we decided to have a nap for a couple of hours. We have been having a marathon gaming session of The Last Remnant and Oolong goes so well with it.
This Jiu Jiu Jiu is as delicious as I remember. Very sweet and floral but dry and light. A lovely combination for any Oolong.
Jiu Jiu Jiu is very fun to say, that is my reason for buying this tea. Not as intelligent a reason as I would like but it’s as good an answer as any.
The tea consists of dark green and light green leaves rolled into medium sized loose squiggles and balls. They have a pungent mineral green scent mixed with sweet flowers.
In flavour this is floral, buttery, sweet and vegetal in a delicate/mild package. To be precise I taste notes of fresh spinach, dandelion petals, honeysuckle and seaweed. There is a hint of dryness in the after taste.
A very light and tasty Jiu Jiu Jiu that would be great to use with my yixing flask when I go on walks and day trips. Would also perhaps be something that I would re-purchase.
First Steep – 30 seconds
Colour is light yellow with a slightly sweet wooden aroma. Flavour is very mellow with highs of honey, wood and clay. Very mild for a first steep.
Second Steep – 1 minute
Wonderfully smooth keeping it’s honey and wooden tones. It’s also developing a mild fruity prune like flavour. The bottom of the bowl has a light floral touch.
Third Steep – 2 minutes
As it strengthens both the honey and the wooden tones become stronger which softens the teas flavours as a whole. Incredibly smooth and non astringent. A little dry and musky in the after taste.
Fourth Steep – 3 minutes
The colour is darker in colour now and more yellow than the first steep. Not as mellow as the previous steeps and the clay has grown to an almost tang but it softens in the after taste very quickly. Still sweet though not honey like, more floral sweet and nutty like peony.
Fifth Steep – 4 minutes
More wooden now but still with plenty of flavour. More leathered now than wooden as it’s slowly getting darker in flavour but remains balanced with the wonderful sweet peony tone. Still very smooth and mellow.
Additional – Sixth Steep – 5 minutes
Toned down somewhat from the last steep but still a lovely mellow drink. This bowl has leather, wood, musk and toned down peony. It’s not nearly as sweet as the first few steeps, although you could argue that I’m just used to the sweetness by now which is why I don’t notice it as much.
Additional – Seventh Steep – 6 minutes
Very peony like and dry but still with very little astringency. For me I would say this is the last steep. If you liked your tea subtle and mild then it would be suitable to carry on but for my personal tastes this is the perfect place to stop.
Overall this Pu Erh has remained beautifully mellow and featured virtually no astringency at all. Definitely one of the softer Pu Erh that I have tried but even as soft as it was there was enough flavour to be very relaxing and pleasing. Also this tea kept it’s flavour over many steeps.
For pictures and more information please view my blog.
Thank you Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
I’m house and dog sitting for my parents (again) for the week and I took a large hoard of tea with me to get through in my time here. This is the first sample I will be drinking to initiate my stay.
The leaves are long, thin and crisp which resemble miniature swords. They have a medium green colour with a silver glow and some small hairs. After a short breath of fresh air the leaves have a sweet and floral scent on the side of being perfumed but also with a hint of rich green grass.
Vessel Capacity: 200ml Gongfu Teapot
Tea Quantity: 5g (loose leaf)
Water Temperature: 75°C
Infusion Times (in seconds):
First Steep – The tea is light yellow once steeped with a subtle green and floral aroma, much toned down from it’s raw state. Flavour is sweet, green, floral, grassy and light. For a Mao Feng it’s very light and refreshing, much more than I was expecting but for me it’s preferable this way. No impurities or bitterness. I would maybe say it was on the verge of tasting like sweetpea mixed with fresh spinach.
Second Steep – This steep has increased it’s sweet essence but reduced the floralness and replaced it with a light vegetal taste. Fresh spinach is still very fitting for describing the flavour but much sweeter. Still overall it’s on the light end of the scale but very pleasurable. Sometimes all you want is a subtle green tea.
Third Steep – The most subtle of the three steeps but some flavour is present. Now it has tones of being sweet and green but unfortunately it’s spinach flavour has gone. :(
Overall it was a very light and refreshing Mao Feng with sweet floral and fresh spinach highlights. Thankfully there was no dryness or perfumed flavour in the after taste which made this a very pleasurable tea. Definitely one of the lightest Mao Feng that I have ever tried but it is something I would drink again.
Thank you very much for this sample Wan Ling Tea House. Another generous 5g sample for me to try. :)
The Oolong leaves are thin, long (roughly 3-4cm) and a little curly. The colour is dark brown almost black and they have a strong smoky wood and leather scent with hints of currant. Heavily oxidized and mature.
Brewing all 5g in my Gongfu teapot (just over 200ml) for three steeps.
First Steep – One Minute – The tea is golden brown in colour with a thick and toasted wooden and ricey aroma. Reminds me a little of toasted rice but much stronger. The first few sips reveal a deep toasted and smoky combination with hints of forest trees (wood and a very dark green flavour), mature currants and dry nuts. Also on the sweet side. For a quick 1 minute steep it’s delicious and full of flavour.
Second Steep – Two Minutes – A little richer in both scent and flavour now but the overall effect is the same as the first steep. Still with hints of smoke, toasted wood, a dark green leafy essence and a finish of dry nuts. It’s not as mature as some other Oolongs that I have in my collection but it’s still a very pleasing heavy roasted tea.
Third Steep – Three Minutes – Lighter in colour than the previous steep, resembling the first steep very much in colour and aroma. Flavour is much milder now however and unfortunately some characteristics have been lost. All that remains is the toasted wooden remains of a fine Oolong.
Overall – This is a very nice Oolong that offers the multitude of flavours that a mature, heavily roasted Oolong has but without the heaviness. It’s on the lighter side of being heavily roasted I should say. I really like that though, sometimes a full on heavy roast is just too much. The flavours remained consistent and I’m very happy with the quality and drinking experience.
This is something I would seriously consider purchasing when I finish my other heavily oxidized Oolongs.
Thank you very much Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
The leaves are (mostly) very long being roughly 6cm on average with only a few that have broken into smaller pieces. They are a mixture of dark green, medium green and hints of brown in appearance. Closer observation reveal fine hairs that shimmer silver. They have a sweet and vegetal scent, similar to kale, sweet pea and peony all mixed into one. Very nice and spring like.
My sample was a generous 5g and for the sake of this review I will be using my large teapot which holds roughly 6-7 cups worth of tea.
First Steep – One Minute – Colour is light yellow with a subtle green tint. Aroma is very subtle but there are hints of sweet flowers. Flavour is very gentle and sweet with highlights of sweet pea and fresh grass. The light flavour makes it a very refreshing first steep.
Second Steep – Two Minutes – Darker yellow in colour this time with a stronger aroma that resembles spinach, kale and sweet pea. Very green and sweet. Flavour is still on the delicate and sweet side despite having a much more robust aroma. It keeps it nice and refreshing. It’s a nice sweetness level, not too much but enough. Also a little dry in the after taste.
Third Steep – Three Minutes – Grassier now in flavour but still sweet and floral with only a hint of astringency. Much smoother than I was expecting for the final steep. Stronger kale tasting now too with a mature, dark green vegetal essence.
Overall – This Tai Ping Hou Kui is a delicious and sweet green tea that contains joyful essences of flowers, vegetables and grass which make this a pleasure to drink. Very smooth and refreshing throughout.
Thank you Roughage for this tea sample!
The tea was so sweet. Sweeter than most tea’s I’ve had, even other Oolongs, and tasted like ripe pear and creamy pineapple.
I put my nose close to the wet leaves in the gaiwan, and the perfume wafted up around me as though I had sprayed the air with an exotic floral mist. The end of the spray was sexy and peppery.
One evening in Kauai, I went to a beach where there were no other people. It was almost sunset, and the small beach had many rocks the size of small boulders, strewn about. They were like stepping stones going from the beach out to the sea. It was easy to walk for quite a distance before the water reached my knees, so I left the shore and chose a rock to sit on out where the only sound was gentle waves, and the water lapping against my feet.
Soon the sunset changed the sky to gold which reflected on the sand through the clear water. I was a glowing golden statue sitting on a rock in the sea. http://flic.kr/p/dT1Yd4
When I was drinking this tea, I remembered the beauty of Kauai and the golden sunset. This is a shimmering Oolong, smooth and sweet.
I love to drink tea and go back to places that have moved me. One of the reasons I drink tea often.
Having a cup of this tea this evening. Still just as lovely as I remember it. Crisp, sweet, with delightful fruit notes.
A really nice body for a white tea … fruit notes that are at one moment plum-like and the next, I notice notes of apricot. Just a slight, drying sensation toward the end leading into the aftertaste that is sweet with honeyed notes.
Wow! I am loving this!
It is crisp and strong in flavor – much more so than I would have ever given a bai mu dan credit for having! Strong fruit notes of dried apricot and a lovely sweet tone. This has less of a hay-like flavor that I often associate with a white tea and more of a earthy tone, and the sweetness softens even that earthiness. Lovely and floral too. Really nice, honey-sweet.
I’d recommend this one to those who love white tea, as well as those who think that white tea is too softly flavored for them. This has some intense flavors going on. It’s a good one!!!
Ooh, I’m first! :)
So, yesterday I had an infestation of nephews. They are not bad lads but they do take a lot of work to keep entertained and seem to require your attention 24/7, thus wearing me out. I had, and still have, a sore throat and was feeling a bit run down yesterday, so that did not help either. Still, there is an up side to this too. Elder Nephew likes tea. Better yet, he appreciates good tea already, despite not even being a teenager yet. Younger Nephew follows suit to join in more than because he really enjoys it.
Me: “EN, what would you like to drink?”
EN: “I’ll have one of your special teas.”
Please is no longer part of his vocabulary now that he is approaching his teens. Hmm. Well, a spot of tea would do to stop the pair of them bickering and ensure that peace reigns if only for a little while, so I dug this one out along with my Oolong pot. Note to self, I really need to get a Wuyi Oolong pot, because this will spoil the seasoning of my Anxi Oolong pot if I mix the two too often. Hmm, that’s just an excuse. I really just want another Yixing teapot because they are so cute and adorable.
Anyway, time to bring peace into the house for a wee while. I dug out the pot, the sample packet of this tea and the cha pan. We’re so rock and roll that we are going to do this one gong fu style. I threw the packet of tea into the pot and brewed away. Several cups of silent tea drinking later, I asked what they thought of it. YN was not too interested. EN commented that it was earthy. I could not get much more than that out of him though. He wanted to know if he was right. My answer that there was no right answer did not meet his approval.
So, this tea, it was earthy according to EN. I tasted a baked, malty, wheaty flavour that reminded me of Puffed Wheat breakfast cereal. There was an element of toasted rice in there, like a nice genmaicha. At one point I thought I caught a hint of lemon and honey at the back. The roasted flavour was lovely and made for a great drink to contemplate for itself. EN and YN sat quietly and drank their tea, but the interlude was all too brief. Then the chaos began again.
I left the leaves in the pot overnight and shall try them again later to see if there is anything left in them. I hope so, because this was a really good tea that I would happily drink whenever the mood takes me.
The dry leaf smells grassy and is a light olive colour. It is almost flat and looks great. The wet leaf smells meaty but retains the light olive colour. It looks fantastic suspended in my glass teapot. The liquor is almost clear. For all the colour it has, it might be plain water! But then the tasting proves this tea. It has a silky smooth mouth feel. It is light and refreshing. The meatiness of the wet leaf does not come through in the taste until the third steeping. Instead it is really light, sweet and a bit floral. All in all, this is a lovely, refreshing cuppa that is perfect for days when you need a light pick-me-up.
Drinking this Darjeeling today. I feel ashamed that I have not written it up before now though. The liquor is a golden brown colour. The aroma is more grassy than floral. It is creamy with a hint of astringency. I am not getting any dominant, readily identifiable notes in this one. It is lovely tea to drink but it tastes more sweet, smooth and a bit mellow with a Darjeeling flavour to it than it tastes of anything particularly identifiable. I think my taste buds and descriptive powers are failing me a bit today.
Writing this one up from yesterday.
I had a buddy round for a spot of gaming, so we sat and drank a pot or two or maybe three of this while playing. When my buddy first started coming round he drank Yorkshire Tea. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but he picked up on the loose leaf tea pretty quickly and now looks forward to sampling whatever new teas I might have in. This one is not new to me but I had not fed it to him before. Anyhow, it got the thumbs up from him. So, what did I make of it?
The dry leaf has a floral, muscatel aroma typical of Darjeelings. It smells good and inviting. It appears quite chopped with a fair bit of stalk in there too though, which might make some wary. The leaf varies in colour from pale green through dark green to brown, giving a pleasing appearance. Upon brewing, the aroma is again floral and grassy. The tea tastes like a Darjeeling should: light-bodied, crisp, muscatel-like. Then suddenly it hit me, there’s a distinct caramel apple note in there too. Crikey! That surprised me. What was missing was any real astringency. The tea was sweet through to the end. Admittedly, we were not paying total attention to the tea, but all the same, it was a splendid tea and there was a depth and complexity to it that made itself known despite our distraction.
Thank you Roughage for this Sample Tea!
I keep apologizing for my lack of knowledge about darjeelings. Like the clumsy schoolgirl I was at my first 6th grade dance, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. At age 11 and 5’9" there’s no way I was letting a short stubby boy even think of SLOW dancing with me (which they all wanted to do with their evil grins)!
Darjeelings grin their evil grins at me too. They all look the same to me. I don’t know why. I’M NOT A DARGEELING BIGOT!
Roughage was so kind to send me this tea. I need to buck up and slow dance with it. Sigh….
So…I smoothed out my dress, looked at my dance card and there were no instructions on brewing this tea. Oh great! What was I to do? No chit chat on the dance floor to get me going.
I had to duck in a corner to look up the instructions under another First Flush Darjeeling and just wing it.
(My cheeks were turning pink)
Ok, deep breath…I took the recommended steps to brew the tea and waited.
Everything stopped for 4 minutes. So long a wait.
The liquor was floral and golden amber. This was expected. I had seen this before.
What would make this different or special?
I went to a corner chair and sat down, putting my hands in my lap and looked down at my knees. “I must be stupid!”, I said…“I never can understand this type of tea.” And I sighed again. Then I just sat.
After a time, I walked back to my cup of tea and looked into it. I took a big sip and thought how it tasted a little like grape skins and peaches. It smelled like warm flowers but not orchids. I was about to say PASTRY but out of fear of being mocked…changed my mind (pastry ha ha ha)! There was a short biting bit of astringency that I didn’t mind. Instead of being too brisk there was balanced smoothness. Good flavor!
It appears that I had slow danced after all!
I’m sure I stepped on toes.
Either I’ll grow to be more elegant and refined a dancer or you’ll grow taller and able to match with me and be my teacher. I need all the help I can get.
(Hope none of you Darjeeling lovers mind my liberties…I mean no disrespect to the tea…I mean it when I say I am a Darjeeling idiot!)
Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a bit of this tea!
And what a lovely Keemun this is. I get what TeaEqualsBliss says about this being a “lighter” Keemun, but, I find a robustness to this too, not so much in body but more in the spice set in the background. This has a lovely complexity to it. It has a lovely peppery quality, rich yet calm and relaxed. This isn’t your “get up and go” kind of Keemun, it is more like a contemplative cup that you’ll want to explore.