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Recent Tasting Notes
GCTTB Going to be a few of these today if i can have quick breaks while working.
This was sort of middle of the road for me. Not a bad tea, decent cup of slightly honeyed brew…but nothing out of this world. it was smooth and enjoyable, but not a tea i must have in my cupboard. Happy to drink it again if it comes around though :)
The dry leaf of this tea smells melon fruity delicious. Tossing the leaves into a warm gaiwan, I notice a wet hay smell that I typically associate with silver needle and bai mu dan teas.
The first steep (20s at 175F) brews up a little bit lighter in color than a shou mei. It’s delicious and thick with notes of sweet citrus and spices. I notice a little bit of bitterness on the finish that I think could have been avoided by cutting this first steep down to 15s. This is the bottom of my sample bag as well so I think some of the broken leaves probably contributed to that.
It’s hard to believe that this tea isn’t scented or flavored in any way (I mean that in a good way). The citrus flavor is so obvious and sweet.
This tea continues to be delicious in subsequent steeps despite my accidental overbrewing. Note to anyone who reads this comment before trying this tea for the first time – use lighter parameters than you normally would for a strip oolong. I would start at 15s followed by 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, etc.
Flavors: Citrus, Orange, Spices, Sweet, Thick
I normally don’t get too excited about dragon well, but this one really made me sit up and pay attention.
I steeped 1g of leaves grandpa style in a tall glass teapot. The dry leaf greets you with a wonderful aroma of roasted vegetables. The taste is a medley of green veggies. I picked out notes of snap pea, edamame, and green beans. It’s nutty, but not overly so and has a juicy, thick mouthfeel. There’s a depth of flavor here you don’t usually see in dragon wells, which tend to be subtler than other green teas.
The longevity of this tea is remarkable. I started brewing with 175 F water and due to laziness didn’t bother reheating the water when refilling yet it maintained a robust flavor and the cooler temperature brought out more sweetness.
I was a bit apprehensive about ordering this tea because dragon wells are usually best when fresh and this was already several months old. However the flavor was still spectacular. I can only imagine how amazing it must have tasted when the tea was freshly harvested in the spring.
Flavors: Fruity, Nutty, Peas, Soybean
An interesting change of pace from regular Japanese sencha. Closer to a Chinese green tea in character, it has long needle like leaves that when steeped give a pale yellowish green liquor and a buttery, clean vegetative taste with a hint of chestnut in the finish. However it lacks the umami and grassiness of a real sencha. Think of it as a Chinese green tea minus the nuttiness.
Taiwanese green teas from my experience are pretty mellow and this one is no exception. It’s low on astringency and has a soft and mild flavor. Personally I found it a a bit bland for my taste but I think this would be a good green tea for newcomers.
Flavors: Butter, Smooth
This tea is really growing on me. Perhaps it takes my tastebuds a bit of time to transit from my daily black teas to the subtleties of oolong and the gentle taste arrangements and rearrangements of one steep to the next. This tea is a bit of a kaleidoscope of milk, butter, coconut, honey, with the slightest bit of green. A masterpiece.
This cup is disappearing in greedy gulps after my initial slow luxurious sips once it had cooled enough for drinking.
Even when it begins to wane after five or six steeps, it is still lovely.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Honey
This really really nice milk oolong with cream and lovely floral notes is taking me now into a still very flavourful fifth steeping. Perfect tea to be drinking on a sunny warm day. The weather seems to think it is spring here. I’m certain it’ll snap to its senses soon and plunge us directly into the deepfreeze we in February deserve and look forward to.
Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Sugarcane
The dry leaf smells like sweet milk chocolate and is made up mostly of fuzzy pale golden buds. In a warm gaiwan, the leaf smells intensely of chocolate and then fruits. Kind of a fruity trail mix sort of thing.
Starting with a 10 second steep, the tea is lightly sweet and the primary flavor is malt. I push the tea a little harder on the second steep and am rewarded with some of the chocolate I noticed in the dry leaf and decent thickness.
I’m met with some bitterness and astringency in later steeps but the overall profile remains much the same. This tea is fine but unfortunately I think it smells better than it tastes in the cup.
Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Malt
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s been a while since I’ve tried a new tea! I’ve mostly been sipping down flavored stuff lately.
This one was perfect for this afternoon, since I started the morning off with a green. Wet leaf smells of caramel and chocolate. It reminds me a bit of some Chinese blacks, aroma-wise. There could be a little orange peel in there, something fruity. The brew smells of a weaker version of the same. However, a coworker said he got mushrooms off of the brew, so…who knows?
I brewed this one strong, like Valerian steel. I poured that entire 10g into my 155ml gaiwan and gave it a good 5 seconds. It’s strong! Malted, bitter orange caramel bomb. The brew is orangey red in its anger, and very Indian tasting.
As strong as I brewed it, I’m half expecting it to get out of the cup and run away. But for the expected bitterness, there’s very little astringency. A credit to the leaf?
My dear friend gave a very generous portion of this tea. I’ve wanted to try it, but wow, this amount is insane.
Anyway, this tea works Gong Fu and I’ve yet to do it Western. It is a very dry tea-so dry that I remember this tea is literally made of twigs. ‘Autumn leaf pile’ is right and I get a very fall feel though it’s not bad now in winter. There is a little bit of a fruit quality that I associate with white in the background-lychee is close, maybe honey, but it’s buried beneath the leaves in taste. A bit smoky too. Yeah, it’s on the complex side.
I’m not sure if I like it or not though I thought I would. Maybe a few more tries might get me to change my mind. It’s dry overall.
I brewed this one up Western, but may not have used quite enough leaf. Either that or it was just a very light tasting tea. I got a bit of raisiny fruity sweetness and some malt, but those notes were hard to pick out as this tea was just too light – I used about 4g in 8oz.
Flavors: Malt, Raisins
I drank this one immediately after the “Vietnam Red Buffalo Oolong”, and in that one I detected what I thought was a hint of cinnamon. THIS one also has that taste, but much much stronger, so I thought for a second I’d somehow cross-contaminated! But nope, it just really has a strong spicy-cinnamon note to me. When my roommate smelled it however (she didn’t taste) she said “smokey” instead. So I drank again, and after thinking on it, I suppose it’s possible I’m interpreting certain “smoke” flavors as “cinnamon”. I’ve had some bad run-ins with icky “smoke” tasting teas, but I like this one, so perhaps my mind is just trying to give the “good” ones a different word than “smoke”. Anyway…food (or drink) for thought!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Smoke
I have an odd memory of strongly disliking this tea, so I have left this sample lingering for quite some. However, today I decided to give it another go, and I am very glad that I did. This is a surprisingly decent aged oolong. The rolled leaves are slightly darkened with notes of rich honey, raisin, dry grass, and plum, with an undertone of burnt sugar resin. I warmed my gaiwan and dumped the pebbles in. The scent opens into some roast with plum, tobacco, and fruity but dry aroma. I washed the leaves once and started steeping. The taste begins with a fantastic flourish! A strong smooth note of graham cracker, crystal sugar, with the fruity tones of apricot and pear. The brew is thick and lasting with a wonderful plum aftertaste. I really enjoyed that first cup. However, the brew progressively gets woodier and darker with each steep. The second steep is an in between state of fruity sweetness and woody dryness. The third steep is nothing special. This is what I call I one steep wonder, but it was pretty wonderful. With this tea, I recommend high temperature and longer steep time, for the roasted rolled balls need time to open and thicken the soup. The qi is a bit odd, for I can only sense a lot of head compression. I enjoyed the first taste of this tea, and I wish it would have lasted.
Flavors: Apricot, Burnt Sugar, Dry Grass, Drying, Graham Cracker, Honey, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Sweet, Wood
First steep of this I get a very prominent floral taste. No astringency or bitterness, just flowers, flowers everywhere, up my nose and in my mouth. Haha. It’s also a wee bit cinnamony/spicy, sort of in conjunction with the floral.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral
Comparing this one to Ted Buffalo. Turns out a bit lighter which makes it great to drink alone while the Red Buffalo is bold enough to drink while eating something as well.
Semi sweet, a little texture, and some depth that comes through the oxidation that mimics a black tea in taste but an oolong in all other regards.
Good tea, but not as bold as I would want this style to be.
I got this tea only as a sample because it was very intriguing to me. The smell of the dry leaves is really hard to describe. It’s kind of sour but you get a hint of roast. The leaves themselves are pitch black (being heavily roasted).
The first steep (rinse) didn’t have a lot of roasted flavour and I got a lot of the bitter melon flavour, a bit sour. The second steep and the ones that followed the second steep were quite different. They were very smooth, surprisingly, but had quite a very thick roasted aroma to them that was coupled with a rather nice sour-ish aroma.
Flavors: Plums, Roasted, Sour, Thick
This tea pleasantly surprised me. I of course prefer the Li Shan What-Cha offers from Taiwan, but this is pretty good stuff. Definitely floral and creamy gong fu with a 15 second rinse followed by a few more steeps for 30 sec, 45 onward, but I got a little bit of a tropical fruit thing going on amidst all the creaminess. The taste reminded me a little bit of a plantain. So, there you have it. A creamy floral oolong with a fruity accent. It would be a decent daily drinker, but I admint that I am a little too snobby and want me some more Zhangpings or Li Shans.
I love silver needles. This is my third try of a regional silver needle, and they are all so different it’s shocking.
The Yunnan Silver Needle has a delicate grassy smell, with light hints of something more leafy and green. Very savory, I would compare it to a vegetable soup broth.
It’s a sweeter silver needle, slightly fruity. There’s definitely a sweet corn-like taste that’s very appealing. Smooth mouthfeel, not as supple as the Kenyan Silver Needle, but definitely acres better than the Nepal Silver Needle. The smokiness at the end is very subtle, so don’t go comparing this to a lapsang souchong. I think the savory sweetness of this one might have won me over, though. This is such a friendly little white.
Flavors: Cedar, Dandelion, Kettle Corn, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass
This is my very first real very young pu’erh I’ve had. I’ve had some aged raw and ripe pu’erh before, but those didn’t appeal to me that much. So, I thought I would get some raw pu’erh and since I needed some more tea I could use for daily drinking, I got an entire cake. The cake is quite loose and can therefore be broken apart without too much work. The smell is very floral, sweet anf fruity and so is the tea’s taste. I managed to get it up to 15 steeps without the flavour changing to a very bad one. The only thing that was added from steep to steep was the astringency. The tea, after a couple of steeps, started to dry my mouth out a bit, but I believe this is to be expected from young pu’erh. The astringency isn’t too bad though.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Sweet
I got this tea only to try because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When I first opened the package I was immediately greeted by a very pleasant and fruity smell, so my expectations for the taste where quite high. I put the entire cake into my Gaiwan, boiled up some water and the smell coming from the wet leaves was just as good as the smell of the dry leaves. The first steep (the rinse) was very light in taste and had a light liquor colour. The later steeps got darker and the taste change from a very fruity and honey like taste to a more dark, nutty taste. I was able to steep this tea 10 times and all of them were very nice.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Nutty
First impression of the aroma – Wow nutty. Very nutty on the nose with the slightest bit of a vegetal smell.
Very full-bodied taste. Nutty, very slight bitterness but not astringent. What smelled kind of vegetal tastes more floral, probably like a jasmine taste. It doesn’t have that full sensation of covering all of the tastebuds on my tongue like other teas though. Very focused on the back of the tongue.
Second infusion is brilliantly better than the first, as usual for me. A lot more sweetness comes in at the second, and less of the bitterness. Not a bad tea to get cozy with.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Nutty
Ordered a sample of this with my first what-cha order, and I was pleasantly surprised!
The dry leaf smells like birthday cake/lemon ice cream, very pungent and delicious smelling just like a dessert. I was a bit concerned that it would brew up tasting very different, but luckily the liquor tastes exactly as I thought it would.
Sweet, creamy, custard, lemon, and thick. Like a lemon egg custard or fresh lemon cream cheese frosting, or even halo top’s lemon ice cream.
I brewed this at 190 with infusions that were very very short considering it was a white I didn’t want to push it too far and risking it turning bitter. Luckily the 5-10 second infusions were the way to go.
By the fifth or so steep it starts leaning more towards butternut squash, still good and but not as sweet and a little more savory and starchy (but not unpleasantly so)
I only have 10g of this (5g now!) but I’ll definitely buy a 50g pack with my next order from what-cha. This immediately goes on my “to buy” list, and I’m not even out yet!
Described in one word: Delicious!
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Custard, Fruity, Lemon
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