67 Tasting Notes
(FREE SAMPLE PROVIDED BY ESGREEN, THANK YOU!)
In a third monthly shipment of tea samples sent to me by ESGREEN I got this TGY. There are other goodies like Hou Kui and Dan Cong, so I’m hoping to review those soon as well.
I’m not keen on drinking Tie Guan Yin, and I guess I can blame really low quality leaf that was first introduced to my palate. It was about two years ago that I ordered some cheap TGY on eBay and I barely drank a third of quarter kilo bag. It was too flowery and astringent to me although I tried to make it in different ways I always got similar results. So I gave the rest to my friend saying that if he don’t likes it he may throw it away, compost it, or whatever he wants.
Anyways, I’ve tried two nice TGY’s recently, and this is the latest addition. I must say that I was surprised when I read on ESGREEN’s site that TGY should be brewed by using 1 gram of dry leaf per 50 ml. So far I got used to overcrowded teapot, using a whole 7-8 gram foil bag, but it seems that I might pull off three sessions with single bag now.
Gaiwan (85 ml)
Leaf – 2 grams
Water – 100 Celsius
Time – 55 sec, 45 sec, 70 sec, 100 sec
Leaf & Infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is somewhat small for an average TGY and tightly curled with some thin brown stalks. It’s pale emerald tone reveal that this might be one of those low roasted TGY’s that have a prominent orchid aroma and short shelf life. Deeper sniff reveals some buttery notes.
Wet leaf – Thin with dull green tone, slightly oxidized on the edges. Most of the leaf is whole but there are some ripped and broken ones due to its delicacy.
Infusion(1st) – Clear liquor with light emerald tone and touch of yellow hue. Orchid note is subtle but consistent with some buttery notes in background. Taste is light and crisp, astringency-free and long lasting flowery aftertaste.
Infusion(2nd) – In second steep, light and aromatic refreshing profile is being boosted by some grassy notes and there is a light tingling in throat with short linger.
Infusion(3rd) – As orchid aroma fades buttery notes take the lead, giving a more of saturated aspect to this infusion.
Infusion(4th) – In this infusion almost all of flowery fragrance is lost and buttery note seems to lost its intensity as well. In return, this made a way for a sweet finish to develop and linger for some time.
Infusion(5th) – Identical to previous with slow decline in overall taste.
Conclusion – Although I didn’t pushed this TGY to its limits I really enjoyed sipping this, and it seems that I’ll be finishing the rest very soon. I was really surprised with its quick taste shift in first three steeps and I think that it’s a good candidate for TGY introduction and those kind of people that don’t like to wait for too many steeps to notice the difference in taste.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 7 grams (2 tsp.)
Water – 100 Celsius 250 ml
Time – 1 min, 2 min, 3 min
Leaf & Infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is tightly rolled with distinctive, fat stalks with medium to dark emerald green tone and an impression of oversized Dong Ding oolong. Aroma is similar to TGY with its orchid-flower notes. Aside that, there can be sensed some subtle buttery aroma in the background.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf is big and fat, airing with flowery freshness. There are up to three leafs on a stalk with various thickness ranging up to the wooden texture. Some of the leaves are slightly oxidized on the edges and there are some that are wrinkled.
Infusion(1st) – First steep results in clear light golden liquor that airs of condensed milk with flowery notes in the background. With light body and refreshing mouthfeel it has an initial dash of astringency that quickly disperses under the adaptation of palate. Buttery and milky notes appear after swallowing in upper palate, moving through the nostrils. Halfway in the cup some vegetal and grassy aspect starts to appear. Milky profile settles down and entwines with refreshing orchid notes as the liquor cools , making it more enjoyable.
Infusion(2nd) – Liquor color shifts to a green hue with consistent milky and less notable flowery notes. At this point vegetal note shifts to grassy aspect.
Infusion(3rd) – With third steep milky notes seem to have already reached their climax in previous steep and leaving space for grassy aspect to take the lead. Aside that, there’s some bitterness involved, but still in the pleasant range, with a hint of astringency that lingers for a short time
Conclusion – I got this tea some three months ago and drank it in slow progression. It reminds me of other Taiwanese rolled oolongs with similar buttery notes and less stable liquor output when compared to Jin Xuan. I could complain that it’s instructed to use 7 grams of tea per 8 Oz pot, which is too much for my routine (and pocket), but then I can use 3 grams and enjoy two consistent brews (3 min, 5 min).
All in all I’m satisfied with this tea, but I don’t drink it often and keep it for my occasional undesired rice pudding craves.
Here is a blog review for two of Teavivre’s Jin Xuan Milk Oolongs. Just copy-paste the link on Google Translate using Croatian to English setting.
Vessel – Porclain gaiwan 85ml (3 Oz)
Water – 95 Celsius
Leaf – 4 gr (2 tsp)
Steep time (in seconds) – 30, 30, 45, 75
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Dry leaf appears to be somewhat broken to 0,5 – 1,5 cm pieces with about 1/3 of stripped and casually twisted leaves that are about 4 cm in length. Leaf is mostly black with some brown hue on edges and stalks with intense roasted profile. Other than roasted notes there’s some floral and cocoa hints as well.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf fills the air with roasted notes with augmented cocoa and moderate floral notes when compared to that of the dry leaf.
Infusion(1st) – Liquor is medium brown with just a hint of red that can be associated with some black teas. Aroma of this Da Hong Pao is similar to that of Honey orchid Dan Cong, floral and roasted. With first sip a lot of floral impression is released with medium body and roasted finish and aftertaste as well. With this tea profile at least some bitterness is expected but none appears during this infusion.
Infusion(2nd)- Second infusion comes with more prominent roasted notes and floral whiff. In between sips some vegetal sweetness appears in throat (sweet pea).
Infusion(3rd) – With third steep comes a small decline in color and liquor seems more clear than from previous ones. Taste is also affected and it’s somewhat lighter while roasted profile gets more elegant and introduces molasses finish. After few sips liqour gives more thicker feeling as it rolls over the tongue.
Infusion(4th)- This infusion follows decline in terms of appearance and body but grainy texture and hints of bitterness comes into play as roasted and, now almost non-existent, floral notes fade out and leave room for minty fresh aftertaste.
Conclusion – As this is the first Da Hong Pao I had an opportunity to taste I really don’t have much clue as if this is a good tea or not. It served me well throughout four-five infusions, both with gaiwan and teapot but there’s almost a steep decline after second infusion. If I would compare consistencies of Dan Cong (from the same seller) and this Da Hong Pao, the latter gets outclassed by 2:1.
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
This will be the first tea from sample pack I’ve received from Teavivre some month ago or so. I’m not a big fan of jasmine scented teas, I’m OK with mild jasmine aroma but when there’s a tea scented with perfumy and overpowering impression it makes me run for the hills.
With a sample pack weighing 5,5 grams I managed to distribute it for traditional western and gaiwan gong fu brewing method, so I’ll be doing western method now and gaiwan gong fu some other time.
This tea was chosen for me to review by one fan from my Facebook page, so if you’re from ex-Yugoslavia area I encourage you to check it, just search – Dobri čajevi.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 2,5 gram (2 tsp.)
Water – 80 Celsius 200 ml
Time – 1 min, 1 min, 2 min
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is somewhat broken (most likely due to handling and tight packaging) revealing its flakey leaf texture, but it retains a lot of whole buds with white-grayish color texture and almost completely covered with fine white hair. In complete sample pack there’s only few yellow jasmine flowers. Jasmine scent is mild, pleasant and natural.
Wet leaf – While brewing this tea almost no buds sank, with few standing upright as heavier stalks free of air get soaked up. Once drained, buds air with cucumber-like aroma and appear more fat with emerald green color and accent on veins.
Infusion (1st) – First infusion is clear with light gray-yellow hue and on the bottom there are some leaf parts that have managed to pass through the strainer. While jasmine aroma seems to be gentle but firm, and almost sweet-like.
Taste is soft, fruity (peach) with jasmine finish that lingers for short time. On first sip, the tea makes a strong impression, as with additional sips that stretch out sweetness even more and introduce smooth, silky flow across the tongue and light tingling sensation in throat. With last sips minty freshness appears and one can enjoy lingering fruity peach and jasmine notes in between.
Infusion (2nd) – Second infusion is more intense in taste, and even savory. As jasmine aroma shifts to almost an undertone, for best enjoyment it’s better to drink it when it gets almost lukewarm as sweetness and smoothness get accentuated. With last sips some dryness on tongue can be noted.
Infusion (3rd) – Third infusion reveals less delicate but still pleasant aspect of this tea as it gets more dry and even with a touch of astringency.
Conclusion – As I’m not a fan of jasmine scented teas I was actually surprised how much pleasant sips I got from this one. This tea is both delicate and delicious even if I got this session a bit of the balance with steeping time, but I’m sure that I would get it even better provided that I have more leaf. Anyways, I’m expecting some good results with the rest sample and gaiwan brewing method.
(Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!)
It’s been a while since I’ve written any notes on Steepster, and the reason behind it is that I’ve been under some stress – college, looking for new flat to move into has put me away from refining my sribbled tea notes. I’ll try to write tasting note a day (or every other, at least ) since I have a lot of samples waiting for some time.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 2,5 grams
Water – 100 Celsius 180 ml
Time – 3 min
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Black with very little red hue, glossless and broken. Has a honey-like syrupy aroma with faint flowery hint. I’ve never experienced a broken Keemun with this many fine nuances such as this one.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf is ripped, thin, with dark reddish hue with only few leaf stalks to be found. A simple sniff reveals warming honey aroma.
Infusion – Liquor appears to be of ‘default’ black tea tone, coppery-reddish and deep. As this grade is more of a blending ingredient it lacks a light body of more fine Keemun and rolls over the tongue more as medium-bodied.
Surprsisingly, this broken grade is very sweet and flowery, especially at the end, where sweetness sits for some time while a faint flowery note diminishes.
Fine notes of honey linger over the palate as freshness in throat starts to develop, quite a surprise actually. After a few sips a roasted aspect with hint of molasses comes into play with just a tiny vegetal hint that can be detected with some concentration.
Conclusion – For a broken grade this Keemun is quite a treat and surprise, too. I guess I wasn’t expecting that much fine notes that are usually involved with finer grades of this tea. I usually tend to judge a leaf by its grade, looks and price, but every now and then some harsh looking leaf shows up and slaps me into face, or better to say – palate.
Typing note at the spot
This is currently my favorite black tea, head to head with delicious Dian Hong I tried recently. The only thing I don’t like about this one is that it’s pricey. That’s why I don’t drink it often and save it for some special occasions… not that much special though… you get the picture.
1st – 1m
Enjoying every precious sip of this orange-golden heaven. It reminds me of Bailin Gongfu, just like Tea Pantheon mentioned, but with additional lith smoky note and somewhat grainy texture without baked, sour-like finish that Bailin has. One can’t but notice a strong cocoa impression with molasses in background and nice puerh-y thickness.
2nd – 2m
Symphony continued. Tones have settled down a bit and I’m easily able to distinguish them apart, whereas in previous infusion I got a full-power punch. Palate seems to be coated with buttery bitter-cocoa impression lasting for a few minutes, without any evolution whatsoever.
3rd – 3m
A good deal of roasted notes has faded away, but for three minute steep this tea has a lot of character remained along with cocoa notes and grainy texture. My whole tongue has fell under tingling sensation right now with a light bite in throat that won’t let go. Amazing!
4th – 4m
I just realized that I haven’t paid much attention to the leaf and liquor. I think I’ll do that another time…
This infusion is actually SWEET with medium character and fading cocoa notes. Since this is my first time brewing it in gaiwan I think it’s still good for another one or two steeps until it gets into my ‘flat zone’. I’m getting more of coating on my palate than in previous infusions but this time tingling sensation spreads through out the entire mouth.
5th – 5m
Still sweet, almost identical to the previous infusion, light like a keemun. I can still sense some cocoa.
6th – 6m
I guess this will be the last infusion. It’s pretty much watered down with just a touch of sweetness but still present grainy texture and tingling sensation.
That’s it for this ‘at the spot’ note. I usually write down my notes and try to make some sense out of it later.
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
A sample of this tea came along with another four sent to me by Teavivre. My thanks to Angel and the rest of Teavivre team.
Few days ago I god my gaiwan and since then I’m sticking to it. You can say that I’m the kind of person that excessively sticks to something newly discovered (if I like it of course).
With 85 ml gaiwan I used 4 grams of leaf (sample being 5 gram total) and boiling water. Infusions (in seconds): 20,20,30,40,60,120,240,480
Dry leaf looks really small and sort of chopped-up with a decent amount of golden-coppery buds and soft dusty and earthy notes with a hint of spicy undertone. The shape reminds me of those Pu-erhs stuffed in dried mandarine/tangerine.
After preheating the gaiwan and a short leaf rinse I steeped for 20 seconds. What I got was a deep red wine infusion typical for ripe Pu-erhs with just a little of leaf particles at the bottom. First sip and I’m already impressed. For me it usually takes until second or third infusion with ripe Pu-erhs until I get to feel a full body image and decide to brew more or dump it. This one kicked me at the very start, actually. It’s medium thick with light roast impression and sweetness on tip and a hint of pleasant bitterness on the end that sits there for a while. The bitterness tends to evolve to slightly peppery sensation as it fades out.
Liquor looks the same as in previous infusion but it has more clarified taste with smoothed out roasted and sweet notes and lacking bitterness.
Slightly more intensive than previous infusion. Although it’s pleasant I still like the first one the most.
I was a bit surprised to see that the color is starting slightly to fade, since I wasn’t expecting for that to happen until 5th or 6th steep. Maybe I should have used more leaf.
In previous infusion there was a lack of bitterness only to emerge back in this one and taking the front with robust overall character. There isn’t much of evolving peppery-tingling sensation though.
With a slight color degradation I’m getting less roasted and bitter flavors and more of sweetness to it. It’s a nice twist, but it isn’t too impressive. At this point a mild throat-stiffening appears, something that I would expect much sooner.
I don’t see any liquor color degradation in this infusion. It’s really nice how it got more sweet and smooth with light mineral, clay and even sour undertones.
Same as previous with even more smoothness and nutty aftertaste radiating from the throat.
I’m pulling the plug here. The taste is getting more thin while getting more of mineral background. Someone might enjoy this but not me.
The wet leaf gives away a deep black and oily impression with mild earthy scent and aroma of dried/smoked plums. I can’t but notice some stalks and cylindrical shape of incompletely opened leaves.
To wrap it up, this is a nice Pu-erh that I would enjoy the first three infusions but after that it isn’t that much impressive until last few infusions with its sweet and smooth accent.
Free sample provided by TeaVivre. Thank you!
Dark greenleaf is twisted and lightly rolled in snail shape with about quarter of white buds. This Bi Luo Chun reminds me of White Monkey Paw since its so fluffy and doesn’t seem to deviate much in appearance. When I phisically compared the two, they’re almost identical!
I brewed two one-minute infusions using 250 ml glass teapot using 3 gr of leaf and 80 Celsius water.
First infusion, strained after one minute shows off light green-yellow tone with steamed vegetables (something like zucchini or peas, not sure) along with some leaf sediment at the bottom. Initially, the liquor doesn’t seem to show any signs of astringency, it’s fresh, light and moist. Second sip reveals some chestnut note hiding in background. Half way in, astringency silently moves in stiffening the gums and leaving the tongue dry and on the very root sweetness lingers. As I go past half the cup the intensity of dryness and astringency increases but still not shifting to leaving off unwanted overall impression.
I’m not a big fan of Bi Luo Chun, but I can keep up with astringency/dryness as long as it doesn’t get past this point.
Second infusion shifts more to vegetal element with accent to dryness and somewhat astringency that are in the same range as second half of first cup. There isn’t any sign of that sitting sweetness from previous cup. Half way in and dryness moves to throat with starchy texture and tongue registers just a hint of bitterness righ just after the swallow.
The leaf could take one more infusion that would be even more dry, astringent and even bitter. I’m really satisfied with first cup but I would pass the second one if I’m in ‘spoiled palate’ mood.
Wet leaf reveals notable broken leaves due to handling and transport. There’s a large of first leaf that has just separated from the bud which is characteristic for this tea that is harvested early in season. With deep sniff fresh and grassy profile is savored with vegetal note in background.
Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!
I received about half a dozen of samples from ESGREEN two months ago and I wanted to try this Pu Erh ball with gaiwan which I didn’t have at that time, but I was fortunate enough to have won 3 Oz gaiwan on eBay auction recently, for quite a bargain price of $4.25 with free shipping.
I did a total of ten infusions with my 85ml gaiwan with water temperature of 90-95 Celsius. This 9,5 gram Pu Erh ball has a faint earthy touch with minty note in front. Reminds me of mini tuo cha but with more serious look about it. With two washes
of ten seconds each I did my first steep with like 15 seconds.
1st – 15s
What I got was dirty brown and pink-ish infusion that could/should have been another leaf wash, but I drank it anyways. It had a nice flovery (or should I say ‘orchid’) note with roasted background finishing with a hint of pleasant bitterness. When I thought about it few moments later, it reminds me of liqueur as I picked up an alcohol-like note radiating from my throat. After a few sips I start to get a tingling, almost pricking sensation in throat with numb, sore throat sensation as I finish the cup. There is very little sediment at the bottom.
2nd – 15s
In second steep I got a deep and thick brown-red liquor that is typical for well infused ripe Pu Erhs. For some reason I associate this appearance with that of strong black coffee. Earthy note is overpowered with roasted impression and you can sense a decent orchid fragrance at the very end. Liquor is smooth with strong character and long lasting roasted note. Coffee, anyone?
3rd – 20s
Appearance of third infusion is identical to that of the previous one. In terms of tasting it’s almost identical to third infusion but with a certain dryness on tongue root with diminishing orchid note. As I was careless to drink this tea on empty stomach I started to feel a punch so I had a quick bread and dry meat snack to prevent any further discontent.
4th – 25s
Identical to previous one and it really goes well after a meal.
5th – 30s
The best infusion! It’s identical to previous two but with more balanced notes and really nice thickness.
6th – 40s
This is where I started to increase from additional 5 to 10 seconds and it really proved out to be a good decision. Enjoying a rich cup of dark brew!
7th – 50s
At this point I start to get a feeling that liqour color is slowly fading out as I could see a circle imprint on the bottom of the cup. It’s still deep and tastes nice without any significant changes though. The ball shape of leaves has completely dissolved by now.
8th – 65s
Raising time for additional 15 seconds. I’m definetely sure that it’s loosing more of color intensity. I thought that this would be a sturdy, monotonous Pu
Erh, but no, citrus rind note emerges out of the blue along with peppery sensation on tongue and notable mint-like freshess airing from throat.
9th – 75s
I did only 10 seconds increase on this one because I got a feeling that I might be ‘squeezing too much of the juice’. What I god was a nice minty aftertaste with faint citrus and peppery notes from previous infusion.
10th – 90s
I really thought that liquor color would fade to pink hue by now, but it isn’t. It’s keeps decreasing in intensinty but still it’s like 5 more steeps away.
Oh well, this is going to be my last infusion for this session. I feel that my senses (and stomach) are saturated. Mineral note is prominent in this one, and when I look
back it started to apear around 8th infusion but I really didn’t pay that much attention to it.
All in all this is the best Pu Erh I’ve had so far in terms of strong and roasted character. It has much to deliver and it can be a bit dull in first few steeps but it has a few nice surprises later on if you stick with it.
I was careless enough to forgot to smell the wet leaf. Bummer.
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
Yesterday I found some scattered tea notes and one of them was Teavivre’s Huang Shan Mao Feng.
Dry leaf is very long with partially twisted first leaf. Apart from its usual green texture I noticed a few leaves with somewhat yellow and brown hue to them. With a deep sniff dryness with hint of sweetness to it is revealed, and when dropped in pre-heated teapot you get some starchiness rising to nostrils. When it comes to visual appearance his tea has hardly any broken leaf and seems to take a bit more volume than my other Mao Fengs I have in cupboard.
I steeped this tea in glass 250 ml teapot three times (and I could have gone for more if I wasn’t full) with 80 Celsius water, and 60 – 60 – 90 seconds steep.
First infusion came out clear and really pale jade. During steeping barely any leaves sunk since I added them on top. Light bodied and sweet with lingering
fruity note (apricot, peach… not quite sure) that completes at tongue root after wallowing (peach). Every sip seems so thirst quenching, refreshing and amazingly good. As I empty pitcher I don’t see any kind of residue.
Second infusion is still clear like first but with more of jade tone to it. With slightly augmented peach notes comes a faint Tie Guan Yin-like note in background with just a hint of astringency. Few seeps in and I start to notice how my throat is getting a bit dry, almost sore-like, starchy…
The appearance of third infusion is identical to that of second. As I’m not intending to steep it further I removed wet leaves that filled my room with light Tie Guan Yin-like aroma. When it comes to tasting this infusion reminds me of 4th steep of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin (look it up in my previous notes) with grassy-vegetal body. At this point I thought that I might squeezed a bit too much out of the leaves and that I should’ve steep it just over a minute.
Although I can’t recall much of the experience with this particular tea I can, however, tell that this is the best Mao Feng I’ve had so far. I guess I should write more in-detail impression just after finishing my cup in future.