1155 Tasting Notes
I’ve wanted to try this one for a while, and thanks to Whiteantlers, I finally can. I know there are two separate Muscat teas from Lupicia: the Queen’s Muscat, which blends green oolong and white tea, and this one, which is the darker version. I am so glad it’s the darker version.
I see people divided on this one: Either it’s too artificial, or it plays into the muscatel elements very well. For me, I was actually surprised how natural this one felt to me in terms of the mouthfeel. Muscadine wine, and Muscato, popped in my head instantly drinking it, having the same sticky sweetness that can glue my lips with its syrupy thickness. Better yet, it’s what I imagine “Muscatel” tasting like before I taste a Darjeeling, only to be disappointed by dryness and malt. I know Muscadine is named after Moscato, but still, very muscatel. This one delivers “muscatel” in the juiciest sense of the word. The flavor is intense and obnoxious, but I was able to cut it very easily with Gong Fu Cha style short steeps in increments of 5-10 seconds.
I gave some to my mom, and she instantly liked it with an “Oooo, this is tasty,” but then, she didn’t finish it. She let it get cold as she played World of Warcraft in our subterranean cooled basement. I come back about two hours later, and she’s finishing it.
With a raised brown and an open face, she remarked “I actually like this better cold.”
Again, it was like chilled Muscadine wine. There was more to the tea, and the roast comes out as the flavoring bleeds out into the earlier brews, dissipating in the late ones.
Other reviews have already described it in detail, but this is an oddball tea. It’s great if you know what a muscat is, and love it. It’s overpowering if you hesitate with the word “Grape.”, because this is grape soda in tea form.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Grapes, Muscatel, Roasted, Sweet, Thick
Some semblance of stability on here it seems. A part of wishes I went ahead and wrote the notes to let them cascade and save myself some time.
Anyway, thanks to Whiteantlers, I got a massive unexpected surprise on my door step a few days ago.
I saw her name, smiled, and then when I opened the package, I went “Damn….”
“You know me so well.”
I smiled in glee at the treasures, and immediately went to a particular tea that I’ve been coveting for a while from Lupicia-the fan favorite, but misunderstood grape bomb Muscat Oolong. Of course, more on that one later.
For now, this backlog of the many other backlogs I want to do, comes first. I was surprised Orchid Phoenix was not already added, and I was happy to try it. I love Milans, and Totem usually has teas with more refined notes and flavors, and a pretense more than quality that demands high price.
So does it have the usual roasted heather honey woodsiness you can expect from any Milan, with some more Lychee in steep one, but it does not expand beyond “Notes of honey, black pepper flowers, and sandalwood.” Accurate, yes, and I only got 4 rebrews out of it and the sandlewood “burned” into the last sessions. I liked it in steeps one and two, but it got muddled by the sandlewood notes later on being too woodsy.
I’m glad this was a sample, because $14 for this particular tea is way to high for only giving you 4 sessions after a minute for the first steep. I feel that this one is oversold, but I also feel that way about Totem Tea’s hiked up prices period. I still enjoyed being able to try it, though.
Flavors: Burnt, Honey, Pepper, Wood
I wish this site would actually save my notes….
Okay, I need to let out some tea verbiage confetti. Before I do that, I will say that the majority of the teas that I’ve drank so far and have mentioned are not on steepster yet, so it will take some time for me to put them up. I missed it when companies used to put the teas on here themselves. Oh well.
Moving onto this one, Wang Family teas never dissapoint. Oolongs dominate their catalogue, but they are all different, but they are all smooth and easy to drink. Gaoshan’s are usually smooth by default, but Wang’s teas smoothen out the rougher edges of their teas, whether that edge is the nuclear spinach quality of most high mountain green oolongs, or the smooth out their roasting edge by relying on charcoal, or at least roasting the tea to caramelize the sugars evenly in their tea.
The Dragon Boat Festival brought up a few new finds on their website that I had to try. I was already scouting out their Oriental Beauty, and thinking about getting more of their Shan Lin Xi because it works as a good morning tea, but then they had to add a few more interesting additions, including this fine tea.
It’s a wild grown one, so I expected some heavy florals, maybe fruitier qualities. The companies description is vivid, breaking it down session by session after the rinse and the 55, 45, 55 second pattern. They describe sweet orchid coating the tea’s flavor, and then detail osmanthus and mung bean in the middle steeps. They found stonefruit and brown sugar in the aroma of the later steeps.
I personally got it in reverse order, and used around 5-6 grams instead of 7. The dry leaf is extremely sweet, having some stonefruit and brown sugar qualities with the already in the dry leaf. I also got more of those notes in steep one after the rinse rather than the third ones. Orchid, followed by osmanthus were obvious. Mung bean and orchid described the rest of it. It was not as vegetal as other Shan Lin Xi’s I’ve had, which is nice given how sweet it is. I also find that it did not evolve to much in the later brews up to brew 7, but they were balanced, sweet and refreshing.
I really enjoyed this one, and the leaves were huge. Even the dryleaf looked like oversized dragonheads. My only nitpick is the price, since it was $16 per 25 grams. I usually expect a little bit more complexity with that price point. It’s a quality tea for sure with a sweetness that stands out against other Shan Lin Xi, but it still has the flavors you can usually expect from this quality tea. I don’t regret buying it for a minute, and I recommend Gaoshan devotees to try it, but I can also see more people being picky about the lack of complexity.
I’d like to see if someone has a similar reaction, though I have a feeling I’d rate it on the higher end than some people just because of my preference for easy going teas. I’m tossed up between 87-92 for the rating.
Flavors: Beany, Brown Sugar, Floral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Stonefruits, Sweet
I should have added this earlier when it was still on the website. The Dayuling was priced at $17 per oz, which is expensive, but not bad for a Dayuling. Hopefully, Brenden or someone can edit this note page appropriately. I also wanted to get it out there that WP did sell Dayuling.
From what I remember, the website described it in very general detail, focusing on the cotton candy texture and teas inherent sweetness. “Being in the know” about this type of tea cuts off the rest of the description.
I gotta confess, I love Dayulings despite being rivaled in flavor by the lower elevation teas in my opinion. All of the Daylings I’ve had are comparably fresher and sweeter than many Alishans and Shan Lin Xis, but it’s an effervescent sweetness that’s not thick or heavy. Not bubbly, but green and light as feather. Effervescent may not be the best word since it literally means to boil up with bubbles, but it works for the green and lively energy I get from Dayulings. I also tend to find that they are not very durable on average, but if they are, the have full stamina and a monster of a commanding price.
Some of the best Dayulings I’ve had were from Floating Leaves and Wang Tea, but even those on the pricier end that tradeoff the opportunity of other teas because of their cost. You could argue the same for this one, but it’s not a bad price for what you get.
I haven’t had the luck I wanted to with this one. I was impulsive and drank it immediately after I broke the air-tight seal. I could smell it, and it did have a green grape of cotton candy sugar cane quality in the dry leaf, but even Western, the flavor was muted. Light, effervescent, and green-absolutely. Flavorful beyond those notes? No, or at least not yet.
I did try again Gong Fu, but steep three was the only pronounced one. Lemongrass was the most prominent note, or for people who can see past tasting note pretension-a light green oolong. I do think the issue lies in the prematurity of breaking the seal, but more importantly, my water quality has not been the greatest for the past few months. I do use a water filter regularly that makes a difference, but I have had to do it through my city tap water which has a little bit too much minerals in it. The chlorine taste really blocks the flavors of my better teas, so I stopped drinking them for a time being because of it.
I ordinarily refill purified water from the local grocery store or Meijer, but since COVID, I can’t refill my bottles like I used to, and the sanitized bottles are regularly out, and restock is delayed due to increased shipping times.
Are there any economical recommendations of getting better water? I’ve managed with my blacks replacing my filter regularly and relying on my more basic profiled teas that aren’t altered too much by water quality, but it’s still problem. I should catch up with my 20+ of backlogged teas anyway.
Back to this one, I can’t judge it properly yet. I can recommend Brenden’s Taiwanese teas if you don’t want to wait for international shipping times in the U.S., and while they are slightly more expensive than I prefer, they are a good medium for high quality teas.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Floral, Lemongrass
Whiteantlers!!!!! So glad to see you on here again!!!!!
Anyway, I’m still way behind on my backlog, especially for Wang Tea (GREAT FOR OOLONG LOVERS), Whispering Pines, Fraser Tea, and a new one also from Colorado, Trident Cafe. I have loads to write about that a few teas, but for the most part, my notes will be limited and more concise. I am going to put up the ones that really demand my attention or memory, though there are some new developments from these companies that are all worth looking into.
Beginning again on this note, I was on a sachet hunt before the beginning of lockdown for work teas. Since I could not reasonably afford the kind of tea I want, I figured I could get something to boost my productivity and my own zen in my classroom.
I’ve seen Dan Cong sachets before, and have always hesitated since the leaf quality will likely not be as pronounced and probably have more broken leaves and woodsier tones. i’ve seen an osmanthus dancong sachet blend on Amazon, but I don’t exactly trust them because of their third party problems. Since there was a 20% sale, I got these last year and was pleasantly surprised.
The company doesn’t exaggerate the notes at all, and it was medium to okay quality like I expected, but, I still got a full dancong flavor and the nutty and iris notes I associate with a 8 immortals, or a Bai Xian. Dry leaf is earthy, and floral like a bamboo forest, and it’s surprisingly more medium green and floral, a little bit closer in roast to a medium light roast Dong Ding. Macadamia, almond, and more iris radiate from the cup after about 2 min western, and then I leave it another minute, bringing out more gong fu, and the palette matches the scent. The texture is actually kinda viscous, and there are some nice roasted undertones amidst a predominantly woodsy and floral tea. Again, the woodiness is a little bit more like bamboo and maybe even roasted coconut, but it’s not over the top.
Astringency is not super present in this one, but it can get slightly bitter and almost too woodsy or earthy. If you do it right, it has a nice camphor thing going on. If you do it wrong, it’s bordering on cardboard, but there’s enough umph from the florals to do it otherwise. I still lean towards iris or chocolate orchids for the florals, but there some creamier ones too like hyacinth and honeysuckle, though I’d be interested to see if someone disagrees and describes the florals better.
This one can give you two to three rounds out of the bag depending on how you brew it, and it personally ranks as an 85 for me. I expected it to be more of a 75, but I was pleased that a sachet oolong had enough complexity to get me guessing on the florals. There was no doubt that this was a Bai Xian or a Dan Cong either, which might disappoint some people because I know several find this region’s teas finicky and temperamental. This one is a lot more easy going that other’s I’ve had and definitely more on the Green end like a Yu Lan, even a Wu Yi Qi Lan, but if you’re not into woodsy or floral, than you can skip out on this one.
If I were to describe this tea in a shorter statement, I would describe it as the ultimate medium mellow tea. It’s got enough complexity for oolong nerds to appreciate some complexity actually being preserved in a tea bag, but it’s a decent enough presentation of a Dan Cong that can give novices a better idea of the varietals commonly floral and woodsy character.
Flavors: Almond, Bamboo, Camphor, Floral, Honeysuckle, Nutty, Orchids, Wet Earth, Wood
One of my favorite blacks from whispering pines so far, and one of many teas I’m behind putting. At this rate, I might just put the teas I really liked on here so I don’t have to fuss. The list will still be long, but there are some that definitely need to get on Steepster, especially from What-Cha, Wang, and Whispering Pines
Back to the tea. It has a very creamy texture and leans on the fruity end of black teas. For you tea snobs, it does have a lot of similarities to its less oxidized oolong counterpart when it comes to the tea’s osmanthus like florals and almost apricot like flavor. Nectarine is probably more accurate. There were times I thought of berries, though it’s more akin to the nectarine, but I would not say this is a intensely stonefruit kind of tea. Fruity and intensely sweet with creamy honeysuckle florals, yes. Mega peachiness? Maybe not. I was thinking more passionfruit. Creamed honey, maybe some caramelized sugar. Later steeps were lighter, and its oolong heritage shined through. Shorter steeps makes it especially resemble the oolong counterpart, but with more body and flavor.
It also lasts quite a bit of time western or gong fu. I use my longer 30 second intervals with 5 grams, and upped the by 30 sec each time. I know, not precise. Western was also a lot more experimental, staying in at 2-3 min for the beginning time, but then I did whatever afterwards. Thank heavens this one is forgiving. There are a lot of similarities to some Taiwanese blacks in how sweet it is, and reminded me of Nectar, another good tea that’s occasionally sold on Whispering Pines. This one is more complex in my opinion, but Nectar had a little bit more staying power and was thicker. This is thick, that one was THICC. I feel that there is more to say about the teas notes, but I can’t put it into words right now.
In terms of quality, the rating should be closer to a 90-93. It is also a lighter than average black with little to no astringency and moderate malt. Some might be iffy about it because it is a more mild black tea, but it is by no means as faint as a golden bud black. In terms of how I like my tea, it’s perfect because it’s light floral and fruity. In terms of price, I remember it being decent. Tie Guan Yin blacks are hard to find, and even with other big companies like Yunnan Sourcing and Verdant, they are pretty much seasonal.
You could of course try Tealet or finding vendors/farmers directly, but Brenden does a good job curating teas like this. Sweet tooths, rejoice. I would definitely buy this one again.
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Nectar, Osmanthus, Passion Fruits, Smooth, Sweat
Thank you Brenden! And thank you derk for putting up the page!
I really liked this sample. The leaves were fairly small, like hairs picked off from a golden fleece. I plowed through it quickly over two days and kept on drinking it semi western in a large 12 oz mug and in increments of 1-2 minutes. I’m sorry if I’ve lost the usual specific description for notes….I’ve been backlogging….and I have at least ten more teas to do or more.
Back to the tea. This one was more floral than normal for me compared to some other golden hong cha, but it was very satisfying. I got the same notes derk did in terms of the cocoa,grains, creamed honey, and pepper. I also got some fruity melon ones that were vague but noticeable like cantaloupe. The tea was still predominantly floral, sweet, cocoa, caramel, and balanced by even malt, though it was not overly tense like an Assam or even some Keemum. Viscosity was also nice, and while it was on the lighter end overall for a black, it still provided plenty of body. It’s personally been one of my favorite gold strands blacks from whispering pines so far.