145 Tasting Notes
Backlog. I tried a number of different spring green teas from Teavivre recently and this was my favorite of the bunch. The pine needle shaped leaves are bright forest green and exude a fresh green and floral aroma. The taste is sweet and crisp like lettuce with a light body. This is a very clean tasting tea with little to no grassiness or heavy vegetal flavor and no bitterness. I didn’t mind getting leaves in my mouth because like the Shi Qian dragon well, the leaves were quite tasty. I think this would be a good choice for people trying green tea for the first time.
Thank you to Teavivre for the sample!
Flavors: Lettuce, Vegetables
This is one of the teas I used to be fond of back in the day when I first discovered jade oolongs. My palette has since evolved, but I can still appreciate this tea. It’s fragrant with a pleasant orchid flavor, that isn’t too cloying as TGY can sometimes be. There is a touch of lilac and rose and a subtle vegetal background. A sweet aftertaste lingers following the initial steeps. It can take boiling water without becoming bitter.
Verdant’s instructions call for short steeps which result in a fairly light-bodied tea. I recommend combining steeps for best flavor. This compares favorably to last year’s Early Spring TGY. The difference is this year’s harvest isn’t nearly as long lasting. There is a noticeable drop in flavor around the 4th or 5th steep.
Although I’ve mostly moved on from Tie Guan Yin, this is one I can see myself repurchasing in the future. It doesn’t beat you over the head with flowers and has the most balanced flavor profile of all the TGYs I’ve tried.
Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Orchid
Picked this up from a Reddit tea sale. The best way to describe its taste is like a low grade jasmine tea from the Asian supermarket. Overpowering flavoring with a bitter finish. It’s prone to bitterness even when cold steeped. Trying this tea made me feel like I was drinking a bottle of cheap perfume. It’s not even close to Taiwan Tea Craft’s exquisite Citrus Scented Four Seasons, which is the best pomelo flower tea I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Astringent, Jasmine, Perfume
This is an assertive green tea with a strong vegetal flavor and aroma. Notes I could detect included green bean, cooked spinach, toasted rice, and stewed vegetables. A chestnut or peanut like flavor is present too – especially if more leaf is used – along with a tiny bitterness at the end. This isn’t my favorite, but may be interesting to those who want a green tea that’s robust and less subtle.
Flavors: Green Beans, Spinach, Toasted Rice
I was turned off from trying Jin Xuans for a while because I don’t care for the heavy butter taste that most of them have but this one was a real winner. It’s wonderfully floral and has a sugarcane like sweetness that complements the hint of milky flavor. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of milkiness to this tea, which suits me just fine. This and Shan Lin Xi are my favorites of the Eco-Cha teas I’ve sampled so far.
Flavors: Floral, Sugarcane, Sweet
This is a step above most generic four seasons oolong teas. The flavor profile is a little difficult to pin down as it changes every time. Sometimes it reminds me of TGY. It has the same sweet floral essence but not in your face. Thinner body and more delicate. Using more leaf accentuates its fruitiness and nectar especially when brewed in a yixing teapot.
Though I enjoyed this tea, it pales in comparison to BTT’s four seasons oolong which has a far more complex and memorable flavor.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet
I liked this better than Teavivre’s Nonpareil TGY. It has the classic TGY flavor profile but mellower and not over the top floral. Just a nice, smooth orchid/violet flavor. It’s a little one-dimensional to me but still a nice every once in a while tea.
Flavors: Orchid, Violet
Backlog. I was surprised at how much I liked this dragonwell. Out of all the long jings I’ve tried, this one is the most robust.
This tea has the aroma of cooked vegetables, and is slightly smokey. Dry leaf is fragrant though I noticed quite a bit of broken leaf. The first sip was delicious. Sweet vegetal and smooth. The body is thicker than the Teavivre dragon wells I’ve tried. As the tea continued to steep however, it developed a deep stewed vegetal flavor that reminded me of gunpowder green tea. Eventually it went bitter and left behind a smokey, broccoli like aftertaste.
I steeped this one grandpa style and though I only tried a small sample, I suspect it works better with short steeps. Longer steeps bring out more of the undesirable characteristics of the tea such as bitterness.
Flavors: Bitter, Broccoli, Chestnut, Smoke, Vegetal
Thank you to Teavivre for the generous sample.
Teavivre’s description of this tea as gardenias and milk is on point. The dry leaves have a sumptuous floral fragrance while the taste of the tea liquor is buttery smooth. Not surprising considering its from a Jin Xuan cultivar. It doesn’t take too kindly to long steep times. I had the best results following Teavivre’s brewing method (rinse, 25s, 25s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 90s, 2m).
The first couple of steeps taste like green tea. Vegetal and a little minty/herbacious. A buttery body develops with successive steeps accompanied by faint floral notes and a hint of pleasant bitterness as it goes down.
A serviceable tea though I wished there was more of the gardenia in the tea itself. Not really a fan of the milk tea flavor profile either. I like my gao shans floral and nectary sweet.
Flavors: Butter, Herbaceous, Vegetal
It’s been a while since I’ve had a TGY. Having grown accustomed to Taiwanese tea lately, I found the taste of this tea to be distinctively different from other green oolongs. This is a very flower packed tea, orchid to be precise, with a heady floral aroma. There’s little to no fruitiness or mineral notes. The flavor is like the essence of orchid with buttery tones and a hint of vanilla. I recommend short steeps because the flavor can quickly become overbearing if steeped too long.
While I enjoyed this tea, it’s not one I’d go out of my way for again. The flavor doesn’t change much from steep to steep and it’s floral aspect, though powerful, is one-dimensional. I prefer the more complex and subtle flowery notes of Wenshan Bao Zhong.
Flavors: Butter, Orchid, Vanilla