161 Tasting Notes
I’m surprised Shibi tea has managed to fly under the radar for so long. IMO, this is one of the most underrated Taiwanese oolongs out there. It encompasses the flavor characteristics of some of the best high mountain teas.
The scent of the wet tea leaves is floral with subtle notes of coconut and tropical fruit. The first couple of infusions are quite light and merely tease your tongue with hints of flavor. Around the 3rd/4th steeps is where the tea really begins to show its stuff. A creamy body rich with flowery nectar, stonefruits, apple, and a hint of coconut in the finish.
I tried this alongside the spring harvest, and enjoyed the fuller, more luscious flavor of the winter crop. In fact, I’m finding myself preferring the winter harvest for Taiwanese tea in general for the clean and smooth taste.
Flavors: Apple, Flowers, Nectar, Tropical
I finished off this tea 3 weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about how good it was. This is an elegant oolong, light but full of subtlety and depth. The dry leaf smells flowery and bright. Strong notes of hyacinth waft out from the wet leaves in the teapot. The tea itself is a delicious medley of lychee like fruitiness, flowers, and mineral sweetness leaving behind a long lasting aftertaste. There’s are undertones of tart citrus and lingering balsamic notes. The taste is fresh, clean, and delicate. I enjoyed how the flavor changes with every sip of this tea. Definitely a tea you need to sit down and pay attention to in order to fully appreciate it.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Lychee
Tried this tea today after I had a tea emergency at work. My stash ran out and the only thing left in my work tea drawer was a sample tea bag of this. This tea is just…meh. It had that fake citrus kitchen cleaner aroma – not very inviting. The brewed tea had a strong, slightly tart citrus flavor which competes with the smokey green tea base. The citrus is overpowering at first but tames down a bit as the tea cools.
Once more I’m reminded of why I’m drawn to straight and mildly flavored teas. The aggressive flavoring combined with low grade tea kills it for me. If you want citrus you’re better off just brewing your favorite green tea and adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to it.
Flavors: Bitter, Lemon, Lime, Smoke
This is a tasty, serviceable Japanese green tea with a lighter flavor than regular sencha. There’s less grassiness here and more of a smooth vegetal flavor. The color of the tea liquor is a pale yellowish green and the tea leaves are large and flat.
I like more greenness in my sencha so I steeped it a tad longer and at slightly higher temperatures. I usually steep sencha around 160 F but I got better results at 175 F with steep times of 1:10, 0:30, and 1:30. This produced a richer tea and boosted the umami and chlorophyll content in the taste.
Sadly, this tea didn’t survive fridge storage and developed an unpleasant vegetal bitterness forcing me to chuck my entire stash.
While good, this tea and most of what I’ve tried from Yunomi seems to lack the oomph of other Japanese greens. I suspect the lack of vacuum packaging causes some loss of freshness.
Flavors: Grass, Umami, Vegetable Broth
Bleh. Another Adagio tea bites the dust. At this point I’m something like 0/24 with Adagio flavored teas and should know better, but they are 5 mins from my house and generous with samples so I keep trying them.
This one smelled promising. The dry leaf had a warm aroma of vanilla bean and wood and it brews into a beautiful deep red color. But the taste of the brewed tea is another story. The vanilla flavor really knocks you over the head, overpowering the rooibos. After a few sips, I felt as if I were drinking a bottle of vanilla extract. There is a little spice in there too but none of the other flavor notes are decernible because the vanilla dominates. Perhaps a splash of almond milk might make this is a little more palatable.
Flavors: Vanilla, Wood
I did a big oolong order from Yunnan Sourcing recently and this was the best tea of the bunch. A bit surprising because I’ve struggled with dan congs before and normally shy away from roasted teas.
The roasting on this tea though is subtle and accentuates its honey and fruity flavor. I’m still fine-tuning the brewing, but my experience with it has been amazing. The natural sweetness of this tea is unreal – hard to believe it has no added sweetener. The honey flavor is thick, coating your entire mouth and then finishes with a nice mineral touch. I’m not getting any of the floral flavor that others described. Occasionally, it hits you with a stunning peach flavor that’ll make you swear you were drinking a flavored tea. At present I can only coax it out by cold-steeping the half-spent leaves. I’m sure there’s a way to hot steep it to get even more peach out of it. Currently I’m doing flash steeps with boiling water which works okay. May need to experiment with lower temperatures.
This one makes an awesome cold brew and I can see this being a perennial buy.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Peach, Roasted nuts, Sweet
Bought this as a shincha this past spring. Being a deep steamed sencha, it needs hotter water to fully express itself. I steeped this for 1m at 175 F followed by a flash 15 second steep with boiling water. The taste is buttery smooth and sweet. The grassy, vegetal, and umami notes are in harmonious balance. Nothing aggressive or overwhelming about this tea. Personally I prefer my senchas to have a tad more grassiness to them but this is still a very pleasant and satisfying cup.
Flavors: Grass, Vegetal
This is an enjoyable tea with a heady aroma of honeycomb and orange blossom. Lots of juicy citrus and floral fruitiness along with a slight tartness. The taste and scent of this tea lives up to its Pomelo & Flower name. It compares favorably to TTC’s Citrus Scented Four Seasons which is quite remarkable considering this one is unflavored. The difference is YS’s is fruitier and thicker while the pomelo scented oolong has a more refined taste. Both are good in their own right, but lately I find myself craving the YS tea more.
I’ve tried many different ways of brewing this tea, and flash steeps at just below boiling seem to bring out the best flavor. Short steeps are key to minimizing bitterness. Packs a nice cha qi/caffeine punch too.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Orange Blossom
Lovely aroma, refined and delicate jasmine flavor. This is a top shelf jasmine tea that has a very natural taste. It’s not overly perfumey nor fake-tasting like many other varieties of Jasmine tea. The silver needles are in a harmonious balance with the jasmine. It’s the perfect tea for grandpa steeping or cold brewing.
If I had to fault anything, it would be that it doesn’t really distinguish itself from the upper echelon of jasmine teas. Yunnan Sourcing and Verdant’s silver needles taste very similar. Between these three, you could close your eyes and pick any tea and it will still be more or less the same.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Jasmine, Vanilla
I’ve been on a dragon well binge this spring and this is the latest installment. I am a bit unsure about how to rate this tea because my experiences have been very mixed.
In the beginning, the tea was wonderful. Smooth and crisp with a nice body and zero bitterness. Subtle notes of creamed spinach and green bean could be detected along with a classic, soft chestnut. The flavor was well balanced and clean.
But alas the lovely fresh flavor of this tea didn’t last long. Within a few weeks, there was a noticeable drop in flavor. The tea went from sublime and smooth to tasting like chicken soup. Not sure what made it go south so fast, but it seems this one loses its freshness pretty quickly.
Flavors: Cream, Grass, Green Beans, Spinach