Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

96 Tasting Notes

92

This tea is amazing! I received this sample from Verdant Teas in with the rest of my order, and I have to say it is going on my shopping list. A beautiful roasted Tieguanyin that has a wonderful light aroma and nice lingering taste. It is highly addictive, and makes you keep coming back for more steepings. Truly one that you must try.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Kashyap

if you like this one consider also ‘Strong Fire Oolong – Tieguanyin’ from the Tao of Tea…rich almost chocolate meets kombu flavors, dark knotted leaves, complex carob, caramel notes…

E Alexander Gerster

Thanks! I have not yet ordered from Tao of Tea, and this might give me a good excuse (as if I need one). Your description sounds fascinating. :)

Kashyap

send me an address and I could send you a sample of this

Kashyap

let me know if you want a sample of this I might have one…just send me an address

David Duckler

I am glad that you enjoy the 10-Year Aged Tieguanyin. The farmer who sold this to me was very proud to pull it out. He wanted me to notice how the creamy and floral notes of greener tieguanyin still come through, even with the aging and firing. So many of the samples I tried of the darker Tieguanyin felt burnt, they just tasted like caramel and brown sugar, which is a bit simple. Definitely be sure to steep this one out multiple times, as the flavor gets more rich in later infusions.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

This is one of those teas that has me mystified. I have read all the positive reviews, and I am a big fan of Yunnan Yabao tea, and yet this version tastes nothing like I had hoped. I have made three valiant efforts over the past week, doing multiple steepings at different temperatures, and all I get is tea water that tastes of old hay. :(
I’m not putting a numerical rating for now, since my experience was so different from everyone else — I thought I had a pretty good palate, but this leaves me with a big question mark…

Kashyap

white tea has a vibrant shelf life of about 6-8 months…and i would dare say if the tea is not a sheng pu-erh or a dan cong and is over 2 years old, I would expect it to be quite stale and flavorless and to have lost much of its complexity…my guess is your palate is fine…the tea is just…er….old

Jesse Örö

White tea is quite interesting. As far as I know, oxidation of whit tea is not fully stopped, as it is only sun dryed. So, theoretically it will oxidize with time, possibly changing, maybe even developing it’s flavour. But well, it is supposed to be drank fresh, and by your description I would think that aging white is not that good idea.

David Duckler

Yabao is a little different. In China it is actually aged, both loose and in bricks. The younger stuff tastes more similar to a white tea, though with more honey and less of the crisp vegetal notes. As it gets older, you get more and more spice out of it. I have a 15 year old brick of the stuff that has aged fantastically. I think it is treated more like sheng pu’er. As for the hay taste, I can see where you are coming from. I think it has developed a mustiness, but I like the way it pairs with the pine notes. This is the most intense Yabao I tried when picking one out. Most of what you get in America is much lighter. People are somewhat split with this tea. I do know a few people who dislike those notes you are getting and prefer an older brick version I have that is way sweeter and creamier. It is good to hear another perspective on it as I decide which one to bring in next. Thanks!

As for aging straight white tea: Definitely! My friends in China love to pull out their 20 year silver needle and white peony when I visit. Interesting stuff. My only concern is that it sometimes seems less rewarding than aging a more traditional sheng pu’er, since the changes are way more subtle.

I am working on finding some good white teas. I have tried over 50 samples from farmer friends, but I think I am closing in a source. When I do get it in, it will be absolutely fresh. I would be embarrassed to sell any tea that wasn’t supposed to be aged if it were more than a few months old. I buy before the picking and arrange 2 day air shipping to get the teas in the same week they are processed.

E Alexander Gerster

Thanks for your words on Yabao. It is interesting how we develop different likes and dislikes — which are based on a wide range of perceptions in our brain as well as the taste buds in our mouth. Even when I don’t “Like” a tea, I am generally glad to try it, because I learn something new! I tend to pick up on mustiness in teas (and wines, etc) that others don’t. Wish I could selectively turn it off. :)

David Duckler

I know what you mean. I always get at least 3 or 4 other people to come by for a tasting before picking out teas to bring in, because, like you said, so much of taste is based in the brain, and linked to memory. My favorite party game is to have everyone taste a tea and fill out a tasting chart, and then compare the radically different responses. (Super nerdy, but hey…) If you do end up ordering again, I will put a sample of another Yabao in the box that the people who disliked this one tended to like. Mysteries like this are what keep tea fun and interesting.

Spoonvonstup

Wow! I am so sad to hear that this tea didn’t perform for you! I am also quite mystified, too. I wish I lived somewhere near Florida at all so I could come visit you and make this tea for you and find out what the difference was and what happened.

The only time this tea hasn’t been sweet, sparkling and delicious for me was when I brought some to work and experimented with putting it in a tea bag. The paper of the bag seemed to suck up too much of the flavor and replace it with it’s own paper-y aftertaste, and I realized later that I actually hadn’t put enough tea in the bags. This tea is really light, but really large in terms of individual bud size, which might lead some to just not use enough leaf. (First time I bought this tea, I asked for an ounce, and as the store measured it out, they just kept pouring, and pouring, and pouring……).

I even had this the other day iced, and it stood up to the tuna / risotto / roasted asparagus of my dinner meal. I filled a brew basket about 3/4 of the way with buds (maybe more) and put it in a tea pot that brews for two standard-sized coffee mugs. I filled the tea pot all the way with boiling (212 C) water, and then left it to go set the table and carry the food into the dining room. It probably steeped for five or six minutes. I then poured the tea out into two tall glasses that were about 3/4 full of ice (8 cubes). The cubes melted almost instantly, and then I added three more cubes to each to actually make the drink cold.
Even after all of that extra water melting in and the savory taste of the food, the tea was still the delicious thing I’ve loved so much! Extremely sweet in a sparkling way, very full and thick and unexpectedly floral.

Could you describe the three different ways you tried making this tea? I want to try a replicate it at home to see what I get out of the tea. As much detail as possible would be helpful, ie: how many grams of tea (or how much of a brew basket, etc), how big was the pot/gaiwan/etc, how hot was the water, how long did you steep, what kind of water did you use (tap, filtered, bottled, distilled, reverse osmosis)?

I will confidently back up what Verdant says about Yabao and aged white tea, and I’m sure there are many others around steepster who could do the same. I lived in China for about a year, and learned most of my Chinese spending my weekends at a tea market. There was one woman who specialized in selling white tea only, and she had several vintages of bricks of white tea that she was selling; about half of her shelves were full of beautiful bricks! Another good tea friend of mine had a stash of 1992 bai mu dan (white peony) that she pulled out for us to try on several different occasions: it still had that great texture of white tea, but the citrus-y notes of white peony had blossomed into something really full and juicy and intriguing and mouth-watering.
Yabao is really really fun, and it really does get more delicious over time. I would recommend it to anyone hands down as an easy to tea that doesn’t fail to impress.

Oh E.A.Gerster! I am so puzzled and sorry that this didn’t seem to perform for you like it never fails to do for me! If I’m ever headed over your way, or if you ever find yourself in Minnesota, I want to get together and make this tea for you (along with a bunch of others, of course! it’s always so fun to meet new tea friends).
Looking forward to hearing about the details about how your prepared this tea so I can experiment at home.

E Alexander Gerster

Spoonvonstup – Thanks for your post! I wish I was in the Minnesota area so I could share a cup, or two with you. :) I’ll send you a post with my various tries at this one, and maybe you will find out what I was doing wrong… Or that my taste buds need a serious tune-up. :)
Not many friends here in Miami that want to join me for tea. The one or two TeaGeeks that I know are pretty addicted to black teas, and are not too adventurous. More soon…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73

This is one of those puerh teas that generally age well, if they are stored properly. When I first purchased my beeng (disc) of 2006 CNNP Yellow Label, I was surprised at the quality of the leaves (good mix of leaves and buds) and the pleasant, lightly smoky aroma. Be careful if purchasing through a local Asian market, as it does tend to absorb odors from around it, and you must give it a good sniff before purchasing. Better yet, purchase it from a tea vendor that has taken care to preserve and store it carefully.

As with most puerh’s of this type, the first infusion should only be for washing and awakening the leaves — trust me you will be sorry if you start out by sipping before the second infusion! I like the creamy earthiness that prevails, and multiple steepings can take amazing journeys through subtle woodiness, sometimes conjuring memories of a stroll through the forest, or of fresh sawed lumber.

This is not a terribly complex puerh, but if you value a good simple and interesting tea, often at a true bargain price, it may be one for you to try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

97

Rainy day in Miami. Hot and steamy outside, cool and comfortable inside. Time to brew up my sample of 2006 Artisan Revival Stone-Pressed Shang…

Beautiful leaves with a lovely aroma. First leaves I pull out are a bud and two leaves—open and full; a good sign. Gaiwan gets loaded up, leaves rinsed, then a three minute steep at about 200 degrees.

Clear golden amber liquor. Smooth, sweet, woodsy and a lingering earthiness. Hmm, and an extra aroma of what… flowers in a forest? This tea is good… seriously good. In fact, I turned off the TV to really focus on my second steep.

There is that aroma again. Alluring and sensual. Taste? Even better! Same smooth woodsy earthiness, with just a hint of dryness, like fresh hay. It looks as if I am going to write one of those over the top reviews… for a tea I just met. I would write more, but I think it is time to go back for a third steep. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Nathaniel Gruber

Yeah, it is a really, really amazing tea…and that is why it is the top ranked tea on Steepster!

A three minute steep time! That is something that I’ve never tried with this particular tea, and now that you’ve mentioned it I am going to have to try that out.

David Duckler

Nathaniel, you will have to let me know how your three minute steep goes. The Xingyang family workshop recommended 2 minutes, even in a small Gaiwan or Yixing for their pu’er, so why not this one? It is a good test of quality.

When I got this in, the woman who provides it in China told me that she took some liberties with my order. I had ordered an incredible stone-pressed brick, and was skeptical of any other, but when I tried this, I felt like I must have been in trouble, because it was too good. It took my wife to stop me from putting this on in private pu’er storage. I very glad that she did! More bricks of this one are on their way right now from southern Yunnan to exotic Minnesota where we are based.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

The aroma of corn (or buttered popcorn, as another reviewer mentions) is almost overwhelming on the first steep of this puerh. I have to say that I much more enjoyed the multiple steeps that followed, where the taste of the tea could actually compete with the aroma!

It is earthy, light and a delight to experience. It was really appropriate on the Fourth of July, as there was no roasted corn on my table. There is a roasted corn drink that is made in Korea, and I wonder if it tastes anything like this? Definitely could not be as good as this wonderful tea…

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Nathaniel Gruber

I totally agree that the aroma can be overwhelming at first. I think it is amazing that the flavor and aroma of corn is coming simply from a tea leaf! Such a unique tea…one which took me a very long time to really appreciate, and I’m still learning to appreciate it more all of the time.

David Duckler

This tea was too weird to resist! The first batch that I tried was so corny that I couldn’t bring it in, but this one seemed to be a great balance, and definitely a good illustration of how the flavor of a tea changes over multiple steepings. Tea is just THE coolest thing ever…

E Alexander Gerster

This IS one wild and crazy Tea! And it is done without mixing the tea with any novelty items or flavors. I had fun with this one, and will continue to have fun off the rest of my mini tuos. Thanks for keeping me smiling!

E Alexander Gerster

There is an herb in the southern Yunnan called Nuo Mi Xiang, or Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye, which is apparently used by the Dai people to cool down during the hot humid days. I think it is used in some puerh teas to give it a “glutinous rice” aroma — which to me smells more like popcorn. I wonder if it is used in this tea? There do appear to be more than two types of leaf in these — and they are still truly fascinating an delicious!

David Duckler

Very interesting. I will ask about it next time I talk to the grower. I know “nuomixiang” as “sticky rice aroma,” a common profile used to describe certain pu’ers. I didn’t know that there is a plant by its name as well. It does look like there is a lighter leaf involved. Whether it is a mix of two cultivars, or two different species, I will have to double check. I have seen actual rice in tuocha before, and rose petals. Thanks for the lead on this. I am glad you are enjoying it!

David Duckler

Alright, what I found out so far is that the leaves of the rice plant are picked and used for tea scenting. Sometimes a few leaves are left in after the scenting process. Scenting can also occur while the tea is still on the plant and growing, in the case of this pu’er, which absorbs the aroma of the corn that the farmers use to fertilize it, or Laoshan green which absorbs soybeans. It is possible that some rice leaf was added to bring out the natural corn aroma by giving it an earthy-grainy base.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

There are many cheap Darjeeling teas out there, but I doubt you will find one this good at this price. I picked up 10 ounces for less that $5 at my local Indian Grocery, and was pleasantly surprised. Good flavor and just the right hint of muscatel in the very pleasant aroma. The tea leaves are not the highest quality, but what a value for the price of a loose leaf Darjeeling.

A good tea to pair with an Indian meal. I should mention that you should never steep this tea for more than 3 minutes. The tin says steep for 5 to 7 minutes, but this will be a bitter brew that looses any of the delicate nuances. Maybe it is this way for their Russian clientele who use this more in a samovar — and thin the tea as needed.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95

Yesterday I received my first shipment of tea from Verdant Tea, and I feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store! I quickly took a good look and smell of all the contents, and tried a pu’erh that I will review later. I saved this Laoshan Northern Green to start my day, and have to tell you that I absolutely love it. Beautiful aroma, rich and comforting.

If you like Chinese green teas like Huang Shan Mao Fen, LongJing, or Tai Ping Hou Kui — then you will probably enjoy this solid northern green as much as I do. This morning I tried it in three steepings, loading up my Korean infuser cup (from Rishi). Soft, rich, earthy, vegetal and a bit of mossy character coming out on the last steep. And if you seek out what true ‘cha qi’ is, you might just find it in this cup. :)

Thank you David for importing such a wonderful tea!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94

Talk about a nice oolong. I enjoy the sweet grass note from this autumn tea, where the faint floral fragrance is mostly like orchids. From the first steeping you can tell these are premium leaves, prepared with care. Through multiple infusions, you take a journey of tremendous gratitude. I was truly lucky to receive 50 grams of this tea as a gift, but now that it is gone… I guess it is time to check out Yunnan Sourcing’s website. :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

54

I love a good mug of Ceylon black tea, and waited to try this out on a rainy day… but the “Sonata” was not what I had hoped for. Perhaps the tea-meister was having a bad day when he blended this batch. Brisk? Oh-yeah, and how! But perhaps the sample bag was old, or ?? Tried two infusions, then made the rest into a pretty good iced tea. If you are looking for Lipton in a loose tea format, then this might be the one for you.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

79

As a regular drinker of Maeda-en’s Genmai-cha, I was happily surprised by Adagio Tea’s version. The first thing you notice out of the bag is that it has a much sweeter aroma, and the sencha green is of a much deeper hue (higher grade sencha?). The first steep has an almost overwhelming aroma of roasted rice and popcorn, which subsides quickly so that you catch a bit more of the vegetal green. Nice!

Now the true test for me is the second steep, which I enjoy even more. True to form, the sencha flavor comes forward, and there is a freshness which I never find in the Maeda-en teas. There is a nice balance here, and I am beginning to think this will become the new staple in my cupboard… The Adagio Genmai Cha is about double the price of Maeda-en, but I think life is much more about quality than quantity, especially in tea!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.

Location

Miami, Florida, United States

Following These People