Wing Hop Fung

Recent Tasting Notes

87

Leaf – Slim, small, dark green leaves. Very slender, they open up slightly and appear to be just the young, fresh tips.

Aroma – Dry leaf is lightly sweet and grassy, like fresh lawn clippings. Once infused, has a warm, buttery, almost chestnut aroma combined with fresh greens like kale.

Liquor – Light yellow or chartreuse, almost golden in color. Very clear.

Taste – Medium body, noticeably dry and brisk with vegetal (asparagus, grass, green wood) and light nut flavors. Cashew maybe? Lingering finish.

This tea really gives the impression of being out in a high mountain meadow, right when a heavy fog is settling down and the grassy, woodsy smell that I associate with a fresh morning outdoors. Very pleasant, no overpowering odors or unbalanced flavors with just the perfect amount of dryness and astringency to keep it refreshing.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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84

Not as many rich golden tips a with other GM’s, but the dark, small dry leaves offer a mild grassy scent. Brewed western style at 4 tsp. per 3 cups of water at 4 minutes, the tea was a rich rootbeer brown, slightly cloudy, with a full malty taste typical of GM’s. I drink my tea unsweetened, and this one had a bit of astringency in the finish. Not unpleasant, it recalled the finish of a Darjeeling.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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66

I recently switched from coffee to tea, and have been exploring the world of loose leaf tea, trying a lot of different kinds. I’ve ordered a lot of samples from Upton Tea, and made a trip to Chinatown to pick up a few teas at Wing Hop Fung, which is one of the larger tea retailers in Los Angeles.

This was my first Lapsang, so I don’t have much yet to compare it too. It was the only Lapsang I saw at Wing Hop Fung, I suspect they don’t sell a lot of it, as compared to the oolongs and green teas. It’s very smoky, but I like it. I’ve been adding a pinch of it to other black teas (assams and darjeeling) and I find I like the slight smokiness it adds when used this way.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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96

I’m not a huge fan of oolongs. I usually get suckered into buying them at my local tea shops but rarely, if ever, end up drinking them. I’m taken initially with their dry aroma & then, if sampling in-store, I’ll enjoy the overall flavor. When I get them home, I just don’t find myself ever craving them. This one though? Wow.

I went to Wing Hop Fung to pick up another of my new favorite 5oz Finum brand double wall glasses with filter & hat. They’re just about perfect in my opinion; great for decanting to or brewing directly in. Anyway, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy any tea, but the ladies of Wing Hop Fung got me again.

They had an oolong on the counter for sale, but I wasn’t really impressed. As I turned away to leave the sales lady says, "You try this?” I look back reluctantly and she points to a container on the back wall. “This gooood.” It’s an oolong, that much I can tell, but otherwise the label doesn’t give me much more insight. I grunt… she’s got me.

“Sure, I’ll give it a try…”

A lovely sample cup and $78/lb later, this tea isn’t cheap. I didn’t want to get stuck with a large quantity that would sit on my shelf, but I wasn’t leaving without at least a little bit. In this case, just over 2oz for about $11. Yikes…

I was sold on the first taste. What was most obvious was the difference between the oolong they were giving samples of at the counter and this one. Like 2-D versus String Theory. The mouth feel was long, clean and lingering with a light tingle. Overall buttery in feel, taste and smell, without being overwhelming or overt like some oolongs. This tea is an exercise in subtlety that reminds you to slow down and pay attention. It forced me into the moment, demanding I be present.

The liqueur is a lovely light golden hue after a short 20-30 sec steep. Sweet tones dance about the palate from sip to savor. A juiciness prompts the salivary glands to flush and a brightness is left in the mouth. This is my idea of an oolong! It could very well convert me from my primary green tea ways.

And what’s brilliant is this goes on for steep after steep after steep, retaining color and flavor. I’m not really one for these 10-20+ steepings I read about on VerdanTea, usually maybe getting 3 or 4 if I’m lucky. But this tea is going strong well into the 5th steeping, and all for a fraction of the tea I’m use to putting into a cup. My 5oz cup was easily served with less then a teaspoon of this fine tea. Rolled tight, it expands to full leaves on the stem. I’m not use to seeing so much stem, in this case it’s pretty much uniformly 3 leaves to the stem. Kinda odd, but still kinda delicious.

As for caffeine, I’d put this on par with some of my favorite greens, alert but not edgy. OK, maybe a little bit more pep than the balance I look for with greens, but you’ll get no complaints from me. I’d say this would be a great after dinner tea, a digestive to stimulate conversation and lull its drinkers into savoring the present moment.

I’ve read some describe tea of this name as a “milk” oolong. I could see how this might be referred to as such, but I’m not sure it is. Overall this is just a brilliant tea and I look forward to enjoying it over time. Anyone else have any insight into this tea? Love to hear more about it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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100

Definitely one of my favourites now ! Its grown on me and I love it as much as the Silver Needle ! :-) Finding it to be subtle and even more aromatic ! ( but then I am a novice !)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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100

Being a total novice I could discern this from my current favourite – the Chinese silver needle. I found the Anji white to be aromatic and at the same time subtle. Nice :)

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66

*Quick note

Solid everyday green oolong.

I’ve had this for a while, often neglecting it for my more “complex” stuff, and never took the time to write about it. This was one of the first oolongs I ever tried. It’s great when you just want tea without any hassle. Brews great western, gong-fu, in-mug, etc., and tastes good.

Lightly sweet, subtly floral, and smooth, it’s hard to go wrong with this tea (especially for the price, less than $4 an ounce at the time this was bought).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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31

Cheap Da Hong Pao from Wing Hop Fung.

The dry leaf has a dark brown color with a woodsy toasty aroma. Most of the leaf is made of broken pieces and some dust.

Since Wing Hop Fung does not provide any instructions, I compared different brew guidelines from several sites and settled on 3 min steep time and 205F water temp. I brewed this on a gaiwan.

My first cup gave a dark clear brown cup with a toasty aroma and faint hints of honey. The tea had a strong toasted taste, slightly smooth, and with a faint metallic finish. It wasn’t unpleasant, but nothing special either. My second cup was more enjoyable as it featured a less strong toasty taste, smoother textured, but aroma was less present. My third cup featured more or less the same, but with a fainter aroma. Fourth cup surprisingly kept the same flavor as the second and third cups, but seeing no change in taste or flavor I decided to stop brewing it (as I wasn’t enjoying the tea that much).

Nothing special was found in the wet leaf.

Overall, I didn’t get anything special from this tea, toasty flavor overpowers all, if any, subtle flavors the tea might have. At times it felt I wasn’t even drinking an Oolong or Wuyi tea, more like a burned black. I can’t say I expected much as this was a relatively cheap tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

This tea reminds me of spring time, not only because of its name but unique smell and flavor. Although I’ve never seen the resemblance to a snail on any of the Pi Lo Chuns I’ve had.

The dry leaves of this tea were really small and curled up. They had a dark green tone with some white hairs covering several leaves and a subtle sweet aroma.

I prepared this tea using a tall clear glass (to witness the small leaves falling to the bottom of the glass), using 175F water, and 1 min steep time.

The resulting brew gave me a pale light green cup with a very sweet “spring” like aroma. The taste was very refreshing and sweet, with a slightly fruity hint. I re-brewed the leaves 3 times with no significant changes to flavor (other than a slight loss of flavor on each subsequent brew).

The wet leaves became light green in color and revealed tiny well preserved leaves. On an interesting note, the wet leaves smelled like boiled veggies.

Overall, I enjoyed this tea a lot, though brew temperature and steep time is a bit strict ( hotter water will make this tea bitter, longer steep time also makes it slightly bitter). Aside from the strict brewing guidelines, I really enjoyed this Pi Lo Chun. Great quality for a cheap price.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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59

This tea was one of the first Ti Kuan Yins I’ve ever tried, so I decided to try it again to see how it compared to the others I’ve recently tried.

I bought this tea at a local Chinese shop called “Wing Hop Fung.” The shop offers a wide selection of Chinese and Taiwanese teas, as well as Chinese goods and delicacies (bird’s nest soup anyone?). While I do not like the way they store their teas (large clear glass jars), their vast selection, cheap prices, and location (one in Chinatown, LA) keeps me coming back.

I bought about 2 oz of tea. The dry leaves had a mostly dark green color with some lighter green in between. The leaves were slightly aromatic, lightly oily to the touch, and with different shapes and sizes.

Since this tea did not have any suggested brewing guidelines (the store does not provide any tips on how to brew your tea unless you ask one of the sales ladies), I steeped each infusion for at least 3 minutes using 195F water and used a gaiwan.

The resulting brew gave me a clear bright green-yellow cup with a light floral aroma. As with my other TKY’s I tried to steep this tea at least 7 times.

My first cup was subtly sweet, lightly floral, with smooth mouth feel and a very nice nutty hint. My second, third, and fourth cup were pretty much more of the same, but with each subsequent steeping, the taste and aroma became weaker. By the fifth cup, the nutty hint was still there, but the floral taste was very faint. The floral aroma was also completely gone by now. The sixth cup was just a hint of everything that once was and after this one, I decided not to re-steep the leaves again.

The wet leaves were mostly well preserved, with different sizes, and some damaged/broken pieces. At least two or three stems were floating around in one teaspoon.

Now this is what I call an everyday Ti Kuan Yin! While the shop’s description makes it sound like this is a high quality tea, you can safely assume it’s not, thanks to its relative cheap price (around $5 per ounce). Overall, This tea has some the flavor, floral notes, and smoothness of a Ti Kuan Yin, but none of the complexities, intense floral aroma and aftertaste that differentiates the regular TKY’s from the extraordinary ones. I enjoyed this tea mostly for what it is, a cheap everyday oolong.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

I’ve had some good and some not so good brewings of this tea since I first logged it, and I think the difference is, as always, time and temperature. If I brew it too hot in the early infusions, there is a really unpleasant bitterness that comes out. If I treat it extra delicately, as I did today, starting with water at 150 degrees and moving up to 160 only after 2-3 infusions, it remains beautifully mellow, richly sweet, a little floral and very vegetal, more peas and fat asparagus spears than asparagus tips. It can be an excellent tea for the price, if treated nicely.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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68

Very nice, slightly citrus, smooth and crisp!

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78
drank Dayu Shan by Wing Hop Fung
311 tasting notes

A very nice oolong, quite pricey, actually, and I’m not sure yet if it’s worth the price. I’m trying to understand the buttery flavor other people have reported in Taiwanese mountain oolongs, like Da Yu Ling. Making this one in a small clay pot, about 5 grams of tea in about 100 mL of water. The water is near boiling—the Pino is keeping it between 198 and 212 degrees throughout.

First infusion was 30 seconds, not too sweet, but rich, floral, warm, a little spicy, and yes, a little buttery….I think that what I have been thinking of as a sun-warmed hay could be interpreted as buttery.

A little longer 2nd infusion is spicier, vegetal, still a little of the ‘buttery’, but the floral/sweet elements are a bit overwhelmed because of the overlong infusion. Third infusion, down again to about 40", better, the buttery is more prominent, but the sweet/floral is not as strong as the first infusion. 4th at 45 seconds is spicy, sweet, floral, but the buttery has receded this time. By the 8th infusion it’s getting pretty much to slightly sweet or spicy water.

In the end, this one presently lacks the very strong sweet and floral notes I expect in the best Alishan oolongs, and I suspect the difference is not the nature of the tea, but the storage conditions with the tea in a large jar instead of tiny vacuum sealed bags.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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81

Like with any Dan Cong Oolong, it’s easy to over steep so I like to brew it gong fu with very short initial infusions until about the 3rd or 4th infusion and then begin to drag it out a little longer.

The fruity notes of this tea are most apparent off the aroma of the wet leaves which look beautiful during the first couple of infusions just before the leaves start to unfurl.

While it is easy to over steep if not attended to, I do find that this tea can be brewed well on the go if you use less leaf in a cup and pour some hot water over it. I’ll do this in class, and as soon as I taste a slight bitterness, I’ll pour more water over the leaves from my thermos.

Definitely a good example of a Dan Cong. I would recommend picking some up if you’re ever in LA Chinatown.

@chanteashop

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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76

I have not brewed up this tea for a formal tasting, but it has continued to work beautifully as a bulk-brewed tea for the thermos. After a few hours it does lose some of its charm, but it is still tasty 4 hours after brewing.

Still need to do that gongfu cha….

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

I love teas that are thermos-friendly!

teaddict

It’s a great feature.

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100

Today’s infusion is so sweet, so floral, so rich and yet so delicate, so gorgeous, so perfect.

Love this brilliant tea.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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60

This has been a pleasant, reliable oolong in my cupboard for a long time. I am surprised I haven’t posted about it before. It is a dark, earthy, woody, toasty oolong, when brewed well, capable of some pleasing spiciness, but capable of a bit of surliness if mistreated.

A nice tea, but not a great one.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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86

This is a weird and wonderful tea. The leaves are gigantic, wide, flat, long.

First try with this tea was 30 seconds infusion at 160 degrees, about a gram of tea in 2 ounces of water in a small porcelain gaiwan. It is sweet, spicy, vegetal, floral.

So far, the 9th infusion is still very similar, very very nice: the vegetal flavor is weakening, mildly there, but the sweetness and spicy is still present. And this is not a super fancy version of this tea: I only paid $39.99/lb for it. The ends of the leaves are broken, so it’s not fully intact, but given the size of the leaves, a break or two in each does not seem to be making anything bitter.

Even after 5 infusions, the sweet/spicy scent is still there in the wet leaves.

It reminds me most of the Anji white tea I’ve been getting from WHF, but this one is a fraction of the price. I will definitely keep this one in regular circulation.

(photos on my web site here: http://www.well.com/user/debunix/recipes/TaiPingHouKui.html)
Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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76

Brewed up a thermos full of this one, and it retains its essential character of sweet, fruity, and mild herbaceous astringency very well despite the less than ideal brewing technique.

A very nice tea. Need to do a more formal gongfu cha session and report back!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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73
drank Xiang Bi Luo by Wing Hop Fung
311 tasting notes

A delicate and fresh smelling tea, with a classic Bi Lo Chun curly snail-shaped leaf, this green tea was quite inexpensive—‘from a new supplier’. I’m not sure it has the same stamina of the sample from Jingteashop.com from last fall, but still a lovely tea for the price. It does have potential for bitterness, so I am brewing it short and low temp, with a low leaf to water ratio—probably about 2 grams in a 5 oz kyusu. This is a great value tea.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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76

Another lovely series of infusions. Sweet, mellow, vegetal, just right for the evening.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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76

Today made this one again, still haven’t done it formally with photos and drinking each infusion separately, but I wanted a thermos full of tea, so used enough to stuff my 100mL red clay pot full when then opened, and from that brewed up a quart of tea. It’s been sitting a few hours, and the impression now is sweet, floral, not very earthy. Rather chameleon like vs my first experience with this tea. Delicious however you brew it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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