19 Tasting Notes

50

The liquor smells predominantly of black tea and something I can’t quite place (it’s a really prominent smell, however, and I’ll edit this once I figure out what it is). Almost chocolate or coffee…but not quite. As it cools, it smells much more like a rich black tea. The liquor is a reddish amber, almost greenish on the edges. The flavor struck me as rather two-dimensional. It’s not a really simple flavor, but it definitely doesn’t seem particularly nuanced to me with this steeping. It tastes almost the same as sit smells, with more of a nearly-pine flavor, but in a not-quite-smoky way. I’ve seen it described as creamy or other such adjectives, and while I get that, it seems more sweet, but in a way that you might imagine old wood to be. At first, I cared for neither the odor of the dry leaves, nor for that of the liquor. I felt it tasted really…not off, but not really in a direction that I like my tea to go. As I sip it, however, it starts to seem much more drinkable. I think I’ll definitely enjoy what I have, but would choose something else in the future. Certainly an interesting tea, though.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Jiāng Luo

+1
My feelings exactly, I unfortunately think this will be my last mt tea order as I was let down with just about every tea I tried from the order what else did you get with your order?

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67
drank Shan Lin Xi by Dragon Tea House
19 tasting notes

Bakey! This is completely different from the greener shanlinxis. I was a little disillusioned at first when I bought it, because I was expecting something completely different, but this is a nice tea.
The liquor itself hints at the slight astringency, but the overall flavour of the tea is roast. This is a more traditionally made oolong, and mostly tastes like a superior, medium-roast muzha tiekuanyin (starting to wish fewer things did), EXCEPT, I’ve just noticed an almost milky aftertaste on the back of my tongue, which is incredibly intriguing. It’s a very mild-mannered tea. There’s just the very slightest hint of a floral note, but I wouldn’t describe it as a floral tea by any means. A very, very nice roasted oolong, however.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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98
drank Shan Lin Xi by Seattle Best Tea
19 tasting notes

I’ve had a fair number of Taiwanese oolongs, and I have never had a tea I liked more than this. Nothing even close. It’s a green, small-leafed beaded oolong, and doesn’t have a remarkable dry leaf odor, but after steeping- ooooh, after steeping. It’s almost-but-not-quite creamy, with a slight astringency and pretty, goldenrod liquor. But more than anything, it’s so incredibly floral, like perfume, but if perfume were actually nice. I shared it with a relative, who insisted it must be scented with gardenia, which it is not. It’s a pleasure to breathe in and even better to drink. The mouthfeel is smooth, and the cup smells lovely after you’ve sipped the tea from it. It is, however, really easy to brew it not-quite-right and end up with a good, but not mindblowing cup aof tea. I sort of enjoy this, however, as it gives me a goal of perfection to work towards. I’m incredibly cheap about tea, but this is one I’ll shamelessly spend too much money on, because it’s just exactly what I want.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Shan Lin Xi by Dragon Tea House
19 tasting notes

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71

The dry leaves are medium-sized (somewhere between Li San sized leaves, and those of smaller oolongs) and tightly-curled, with that nice color mixture of forest and grass green.
Absentmindedly almost drank all of it just now before doing a proper note. It’s definitely a very pleasant sipping tea; very reminiscent of tiekuanyins that I’ve had. Not floral, but warm and smooth. The liquor is an orangeish gold, and has a fair bit of tiny leaf ‘crumbs’ that slipped through the strainer. (I don’t mind those at all, and they collected mostly only in the last cup) It has a smooth mouthfeel and is quite easy to just keep drinking, as it tastes and feels nice, but isn’t so magnificent a tea that I’d feel guilty for just drinking it while doing other things.
Overall very pleasant, but my mind isn’t really blown. I am, however, a fan of the more green and floral oolongs, and this one is just a pleasant, very lightly bakey oolong.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82

This is definitely a really pleasant tea. Though I keep seeing it described as a fruity tea, my experience was definitely predominantly with nuttier flavors. I’d never had a tea before that struck me as nutty, and this was a pleasantly surprising change of pace. The leaves themselves are pretty to look at; they’re all different shapes, but still somewhat uniform, and they’re a lovely mix of brown, black, and white-ish. The liquor is somewhat darker and more orange than the greener beaded taiwan oolongs, and gives the impression of being heavier, but is generally a refreshing but cozy pot of tea.
It also, compared to other teas, seems rather forgiving as to steeping time. I had just added the hot water for one tasting, when something made it necessary for me to leave for a bit, and I returned to oversteeped tea. Considering how long it had sat (maybe five to ten minutes, instead of 45 seconds to one minute), it was still quite drinkable.
A novel and pleasant tea for the money, and I plan to get more in the future, as I have depleted my sample packet.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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44
drank Milk Jin Xuan Tea by Lydiatea
19 tasting notes

I wouldn’t describe this tea as bad, per se, but funky might be applicable, here. At first I was really enthusiastic about it, and that kept me from initially noticing that this is just sort of weird tea. “Oh boy, jin xuan, finally”, I was thinking.
Tasting it later, after the initial excitement of having received it had worn off, the closest flavor I could think of to compare would be baby formula.
Tea shouldn’t taste like baby formula- that’s weird. It has a definite just…flat taste to it. The flavor is warm, and not offensive, but it’s just a little bit too off and not at all like a nice milk tea.
I suspect that it’s probably flavored, and don’t think I would purchase it again. I shared it with some friends, however, and some of them quite liked it, while others shared opinions closer to mine. The price at least was good, and the seller is prompt. I also don’t buy things from eBay without allowing for a certain margin for weirdness.

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

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60

The dry leaves are much larger than most other oolongs I have had, and unfurl into long twigs with several large, whole leaves on the majority of them. What oolong balls open up into almost always astounds me. I brewed this tea gongfu-style in a small porcelain teapot.
With this steeping, I got a faded dandelion-yellow color broth that had a simple, bakey aroma without too much apparent depth. While I’ve not had other Jade oolongs, this particular one seems at least very closely related to a medium-baked Muzha tiekuanyin. The taste at first seems relatively two-dimensional, but it has a light, pleasant astringency paired with a faint, almost honey-nut tone, along with a ubiquitous, slight herbaceous underscore.
I’m not particularly crazy about this tea, but I’d definitely recommend it for someone who likes lightly roasted tiekuanyins.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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77

Who can resist an ounce of tea for a dollar?

The dry leaves are lovely, fairly-tightly curled and smell absolutely wonderful; like a fresh, floral Taiwan oolong. The first steeping yields a greenish-honey colored liquor, which has a lightly floral and even more mildly herbaceous smell. The taste is much more…polite than the smell of the dry leaves leads me to think it will be. When sipped quite hot, the predominant flavor is that vegetal, herbaceous quality that you get from the odor. After it has cooled for a few minutes, the more timid floral-ness comes forward slightly, and sometimes there is what seems like a slight hint of almost a honey flavor on the back of the tongue, which is quite nice. Unlike many other oolongs I’ve had, which seem sometimes to be the most floral when they have cooled a bit, this tea is definitely at its best when quite warm.
The wet leaves seem to mostly be large, single leaves, but mostly whole and with that pretty tell-tale purplish oxidization on the edges. There are some lovely little tips, and some broken pieces of larger leaves, but they are mostly large, whole leaves.
This is a very pleasant tea, and an incredible bargain at $11.00 for 5oz. (~141 grams)
Edit: I brewed this tea gongfu-style in a small porcelain teapot.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I live with my paternal family and boyfriend on a small, family-owned alpaca farm in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been drinking tea, not considering tisanes, since I was relatively small and first allowed caffeine. Here, we are lucky enough to have two lovely, non-chlorinated wells, so I have relatively unlimited access to nice water that doesn’t influence the taste of my tea, and it certainly feels like a privilege. I prepare tea gong fu style, sometimes with an Yixing pot, and sometimes with a small porcelain pot or gaiwan, as that works best for many of my greener oolongs. I love learning, talking about and making tea.
One of my favorite things about making gaoshan oolongs is the focus and care that takes to make them truly shine. If I’m having a rough day, I can sit down and just focus on the time, temperature of the teaware, etc, and it is completely distracting from whatever is upsetting me.
I think that, however, the most fun is in trying new teas (particularly oolongs; they’re just too wonderful) and working with them to learn how to make them taste their best.
I had a job at the island’s tea shop for a while, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn and teach about teas, and to taste anything I wanted of the stock.

Location

Washington State

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