Ya-Ya House of Excellent Teas
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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks so much to Dorothy for this tea sample!
I think this is my first zealong tea so I wasn’t too sure what to expect here. She told me it wasn’t a good short steeper so I used the regular teapot method here and steeped it for 4 minutes. I think I had 2 tsp. or so of tea for an 18 oz. teapot.
I got a medium brownish red tea liquor here. The flavor of the tea is slightly malty and grainy with a very nice floral element. I’m impressed by the lovely sweet tone in the finish of this tea. It lingers for a while and is very pleasant; has a smooth almost creamy quality. This is an easy tea to sip on plain and I am really enjoying it this morning. It reminds me a bit of some Chinese congou teas I have had recently.
Thanks for the sample Dorothy!
The dry tea has a nice, dry, earthy aroma. I like the needle-like leaves, as most of the Yunnan blacks I get my hands on will be rolled in some way.
After a 5 second rinse (which elicited a nice earthy scent), I infused the leaves for around 45 seconds at a time. The liquor is a lovely amber color and the flavor of the first infusion is surprisingly smooth. There is a slight sweetness to the tea that I was not anticipating and I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of. Maybe it’s like the sweetness you experience when eating pumpkin or certain kinds of squash.
The second infusion has lost the mellowness and is giving a bit more astringency, which I find fun. Overall, it’s not bitter or anything, but a very nice tea to drink and enjoy.
Amount: 3 tsp
Water: 500ml at 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: floral, light, toasty
Steeped Tea Smell: Floral, fresh vegetal, slightly roasty, sweet
Flavor: Sweet, toasty, smooth, almost silky
Aftertaste: sweet, toast
Liquor: translucent honey yellow brown
Lovely, light, sweet! In addition it have this beautiful sweet floral fragrance that I could not stop sniffing. It is not a morning wake you up cup of tea but a slightly floral sipping tea. It is delicate on the tongue, but with enough presence to make sure you know it’s delicious.
500ml at 195°F for 3min
Just as good, slightly less smooth mouthfeel
Third steep was too weak at 4 minutes
I thoroughly enjoy this black! I don’t love it as much as the oolong
Rating: 4/4 leaves
I’ve never tried “gaba” teas before, so I was quite happy to see this tea sample included in my order of Zealong Black tea.
In the first steep I’m tasting candied fruit, roasted oolong, and a green veg-like flavour. Quite smooth and soft on my palate. The liquor is a somewhat dark amber colour.
Subsequent steeps became bolder in flavour but still maintained a good balance. I like how the later steeps tasted of candied golden raisins and cantaloupe melon. The seventh steep even brought out some cinnamon notes. There is some astringency but just enough to keep the body from seeming too dull.
Very happy I had a chance to try this once. Not sure if I’d buy this for the health benefits, but the flavour is unique and memorable. Getting the impression this vendor has great taste in tea. :)
200ml glass teapot, 2 tsp, 8 steeps (rinse, 40s, +10s resteeps)
I received a sample of this tea with my order for the early release Zealong Black. So thank you to Jo for sending it along!
The dry leaf is large and full. It has a sweet malty flavor that I find very pleasant. The wet leaf is smoky and reminds me slightly of a Lapsang Souchong. So at this point, I’m perhaps a bit concerned. I detect a semblance of the same aroma with the liquor.
The liquor is a very light amber. It is much lighter than likely any other pu-erh I’ve indulged in. The first infusion definitely carries the smoky flavor I was smelling earlier. It is woody and reminds me most of a hardwood, I would say.
I can’t say I’m overfond of this first infusion. It leaves too much of a malty, smoky aftertaste for me. With more than a moment, there is something mellower that comes out, but I can’t quite identify it.
The second infusion smells more strongly of smoke, but the flavor in the tea is certainly more mild. The maltiness comes to the forefront and this has become a much smoother tea already. I would almost say mildly chocolatey undertones are present as well.
The third infusion has lost the maltiness, but not the smoke. It is sweeter and of a more crisp flavor now.
Overall, I suppose this isn’t my favorite tea with too persistent a smoky flavor. Yet I did enjoy trying it out and can think of a few friends who will enjoy trying this with me sometime as well.
Upon seeing the opportunity to get an early release black tea from a plantation that specializes in Oolong… I couldn’t resist the offer and spent perhaps a few dollars more than I ought to have in order to be a part of this.
The leaves are large, dark, and gorgeous to me. The scent of the dry leaf is full-bodied and sweet. But not sweet in a sugar or fruit sort of way to me. It’s sweet like a handful of grain.
I opted to brew this gong fu style first in a 100 mL gaiwan. Each infusion was around 1-2 minutes (depending on the infusion), so perhaps I will try this again gong fu style with shorter infusions.
The liquor is a deep amber with a surprisingly mellow aroma. As Dorothy noted, it definitely is malty with a touch of barley. Drinking the tea is smooth. There is no astringency or bitterness to my palate. At first, I couldn’t quite identify what I was tasting. It was robust but mellow. There was a heartiness without being too much.
After a while, I realized that tasting this tea reminds me of tasting craft beers. There are a lot of the same flavors working their way through the tea as I have experienced in beer. It’s almost like there’s a very light hoppy after-taste that I find especially pleasant.
I’m looking forward to trying this again with shorter infusions and again in a western style pot.
Last time I brewed this western style once at 3 minutes, now I’m going to short steep it.
The liquor of the first steep felt really silky in my mouth. This short steep brought out some new flavours: floral, cinnamon, and the now familiar malt and barley flavours from my first tea session.
Second cup is very similar to the first, except the grape flavour really starts to come out here. Nothing really tastes out of place, and the floral notes are not strong enough to rub me the wrong way. The tea body and liquor colour are very light, with still no trace of bitterness or much astringency (much like my first experience with this tea).
Third cup left a nice sweetness at the back of my throat, but the flavours seem to be weakening.
Drinking on from the fourth to sixth steeps, the tea flavour continued to fade but the grape notes still built up in my mouth.
I tried extending the steep times a bit on the last two cups, but it was still really to light for my tastes. If I try this again I’ll probably do 3tsp of leaves, since 2tsp didn’t really fill up the gaiwan too much anyway.
Overall it reminds me of a few other black teas I’ve tried, but the grape flavour (reminds me of grape jam) makes this tea very unique and memorable. It didn’t turn out to be a great resteeper for me, so I’ll probably be drinking this western style in the future.
100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, (45s, 1min, 1m15s, 1m30s, 1m50s, 2m10s)
Recently there was a post on Steepster/Teatra.de about a special offer to buy a pre-release pack of Zealong black tea. It seemed a bit pricey but I love trying new stuff so I put in an order for 50g. (Although to be fair, the price is on-par with other high end black teas I buy)
My package came in the mail today, and along with the tea I ordered there were a few goodies: a photo of a Zealong picker in a tea field, photo of a tea cup in snow, and 2 tea samples (gaba oolong and FF ruby darjeeling).
For my first tea session I will be brewing it “western style” once at 3mins. Next time I’ll do multiple short steeps in a 100ml tea vessel.
Dry leaf appearance: big broad leaves
Liquor scent: malty, grainy
Flavour: Starts off very light, grainy, malty, with a sweet after taste. As I kept drinking, I started picking up on a unique flavour, not sure how to describe it other than “grapey”. It’s not a muscatel or concord grape kinda flavour. The tea body wasn’t bitter or had much astringency. Reminds me a bit of the “oolong-black” tea I tried from Yuuki-Cha.
Next time I brew this western style, I’ll try it at 5 minutes. The tea body is very light, so I think it could benefit from a longer steep time. This is my second experience with a tea from New Zealand. Before this I tried the Zealong Pure oolong, which I thought was pretty good. They all seem to be quite smooth and lack a sharp astringency.
Overall I found this to be an interesting black tea, but I won’t rate it until I do a short steep session.