98 Tasting Notes

20

I’m not crazy about this one. I prefer the other Yellow tea Tea Source offers, Wild Kwan Yin. That one reminded me a bit of a cross between green and white teas—in a good way. That one interestingly called for steeping at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 minutes, like an oolong. This one called for 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes, more like a green tea. It’s certainly very…er… subtle. Too much so for my tastes. Not quite as bad as Silver Needle. It’s not like drinking hot water, but too close for my tastes. There’s also an odd aftertaste. I don’t know how to describe it. Not quite metallic, but not really vegetable. Maybe this is what the description means by a note of “sweet roasted cornhusks.” My aunt out and out disliked it. Not a tea we’ll order again, although drinkable.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

This tea is on the black side of oolongs. In fact, I read that Brandy Oolongs are oxidized from 85 to 90 percent. So if Pouchongs embody the green exteme of oolongs, Brandy Oolongs are at the other end. Personally, I loved the tea, and would rate it at the high end taking only my own tastes into account. But I share these teas (and the expense) with my aunt, and she didn’t like this one at all. The label and description on the site says this tea has a “phenomenal floral/stone fruit aroma.” My aunt doesn’t like flavored teas. I could swear I tasted peach in this. It definitely had a floral/fruity quality more pronounced than in an unflavored tea I’ve tried. Which is a lot of what I did like—and I suspect precisely what my aunt did. So, since I try to rate these to help me decide which teas to purchase again, I’m docking this so it’s just out of that high rated range. But personally, I thought it a winner.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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45

The package label describes this as “medium-bodied, smooth, and slightly fruity with a toasty note in the finish.” Given the name, I thought this might be the TeaSource version of Adagio’s Formosa #8. Like that one it’s certainly one of the darker Oolongs; if I didn’t know better, I would think this is a black tea given the color and taste. I’ve seen Darjeeling and Ceylons that have steeped up lighter in color. I wouldn’t mistake this in taste for either though. The Adagio Formosa #8 is described as “raisiny.” I’d say this makes me think more of caramel or cinnamon. I’d agree with the “toasty” in the description but really am not tasting a floral or fruity note as described. More than a little astringent, too. I think I prefer Adagio’s version. The TeaSource version is enjoyable, but not one I think I’ll order again. Maybe it’ll improve on a second steeping (I’ve read with repeated steepings the astringency is reduced, and the fruity/floral note more pronounced), but I prefer to order those teas that steep up well from the very first.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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49

Description on package: “This classic tea is aromatic with fruity undertones reminiscent of fresh plums, and a toasty flavor in the aftertaste.” I can’t say I taste anything plum-like, but I do agree about the toasty flavor. Otherwise this tastes like what I think of the generic, typical ur-oolong. Very similar to Iron Goddess, in that not-green but not-black way with that astringent, mineral note. It’s a tea I’m certainly enjoying, but not I think distinctive enough that I’d buy it again.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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91

The description on the package says: “This lovely greener oolong steeps up floral, sweet, fresh, with a noticeable silky/smooth/creamy quality usually only found in much more expensive teas.” I definitely appreciated that creamy, milky/buttery quality in it. I didn’t have the mineral taste I don’t adore in oolongs, and despite being described as a green oolong, it didn’t have a vegetal quality either. I just got in a bunch of new oolongs from TeaSource to try. I’ve tried four out of the seven, and so far this one is my favorite. Not just because I like the taste, but it has a taste that sets it apart from the generic Tieguanyin/Tung Ting Oolongs. It doesn’t displace as a favorite oolong Pouchong, Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) or Oriental Beauty. But it’s definitely one I’d order again and would like to have as a regular in my cupboard.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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47

The description on the package calls this a Fujian oolong and says it “steeps up light to medium-bodied with a sweet silkiness and a hint of fresh, floral flavor.” It’s on the green side of oolong, but I liked the lack of a mineral taste. It’s a smooth oolong reminiscent of a Tung Ting or Ti Kwan Yin. It didn’t rock my world, and I doubt I’ll buy it again, but it was very enjoyable for all that.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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25

The label on the package describes this as a “fine Tung Ting style oolong…medium-bodied and silky with sweet, fruity notes, and a lingering aftertaste.” It’s definitely on the green side of oolong, and really is quite pleasant—at least on first steeping, with a bit of the mineral note often found in oolongs. It’s a middling tea, one I’ll enjoy while I have it but not one I’m likely to reorder.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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16

The description on the package says: “This is the classic Taiwanese oolong: wonderfully aromatic, smooth, silky, slightly sweet, and floral. Made from the Jin Suang cultivar, this tea is enjoyed all over the island.” We tried a Jade Oolong from Adagio that by and large we liked, even if not a favorite. My aunt frankly hated this one from TeaSource, and that’s not a word she has used before for Oolongs. She said she rushed drinking it to get it over with. I wouldn’t say I feel as strongly, but like her this isn’t one I’d order again. It had almost a fishy smell to me, and it’s a lot more astringent and mineraly-than the Jade Oolong from Adagio—a disappointment.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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30

Description on package: “These rare downy pearls have an aroma like a spring meadow, and the liquor has a very smooth, sweet, creamy note, with just a hint of garden fresh just-picked vegetables.” This to me tasted like a cross between Yinzhen (Sliver Needle) and Bai Mudan (White Peony) since it struck me as not as strong as the last. It’s just strong enough to have my liking—my complaint with too many white teas is that they’re barely discernible in appearance, scent or taste from hot water. I do taste something faintly vegetal about it, which is my complaint with green teas, but had that smooth, faintly floral taste I like in white tea. Still a bit too subtle for my tastes though. When it comes to White Tea in the future I think I’ll stick with White Peony.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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55

The tea leaves are curled with light tips and it steeps up as dark as coffee. It’s a bit earthy, reminiscent of some Keemuns and Yunnans I’ve tried. At times I’ve dislked such teas, I found a TeaSource Empire Keemun and Dian Hong nigh undrinkable to my tastes. I tend to prefer Indian to Chinese blacks by and large. I quite enjoyed this one—mellow enough in that earthy note for me not to be put off, and I imagine this might pair wonderfully with milk, but it’s quite nice plain. I have enough of this I might feel different with more acquaintance, but for now I’d say this is a tea I could enjoy everyday, but not a favorite.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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