137 Tasting Notes
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
This is my second dragon well from Teavivre. I tried this side by side with their other nonpareil dragon well, She Qian, for comparison. It wasn’t even close. The She Qian, a delicate and sublime green tea, is clearly superior in every regard. The Ming Qian’s leaves have a nutty, chestnut aroma and taste. They aren’t quite as pristine as She Qian nor as tasty. The tea has a basic dragon well flavor and it’s not particularly remarkable. I would describe the flavor as a light vegetable broth. It’s not as sweet nor as refined as the other one. A pretty lackluster tea overall.
Okay I’m upping the rating on this one after an enjoyable session this afternoon. I steeped it gongfu and then combined the steeps into my travel tumbler. The tea is much improved by compounding the steeps this way. Sweet orchid aroma and flavor and a honeyed orange blossom like aftertaste as it cools.
I still think it’s too expensive for what it is. Glad I got to try it but likely will not revisit it in the future.
Flavors: Floral, Nectar, Orange Blossom, Orchid
My first spring green of 2016 and definitely worth the wait. The dry leaves in a heated vessel exude a luscious creamed spinach aroma. Tea brews to a delicate, pale liquor that embodies the freshness of the leaves. There is a gentle grassiness accompanied by a a soft chestnut flavor. Eventually it transitions to a light vegetable broth. The mouthfeel is crisp and smooth. Nothing too strong or in your face. This is a pretty mellow tea as far as dragon wells go. It’s thinner than Teavivre’s Premium Dragonwell but the taste is more refined.
I recommend steeping this in a tall glass. Normally grandpa style is annoying because of leaves getting into your mouth, but I didn’t mind it here because the tender buds are so delicious. And the beauty of watching these leaf buds dancing in the water only adds to the enjoyment. A very invigorating and refreshing dragon well tea.
Flavors: Garden Peas, Grass, Spinach, Vegetables
Finished off the last of my stash of this tea as a cold brew the other day and I’m sure going to miss it. This is by far the best jasmine I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot. It has a soft, silky jasmine flavor that just tastes divine. The little petals of jasmine floating in there are a nice touch. I feel white tea pairs better with jasmine than green or oolong and really allows its floral character to shine. I tried this side by side with Yunnan Sourcing’s jasmine silver needles – an excellent tea in its own right – and found this one slightly more enjoyable. But I also find most high quality jasmine teas taste pretty similar, so while I would buy this again I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way for it.
Flavors: Creamy, Jasmine, Vanilla
This was less impressive than Eco-Cha’s other lower priced offerings. It’s light and buttery with an orchid and steamed vegetables flavor. Nothing mind-blowing or memorable, just a decent jade oolong. I don’t get the hype about Da Yu Ling. This is the second one I’ve tried and both were underwhelming. Maybe it’s the scarcity of the tea, but to me its not worth the price it commands. Fortunately there are far better Taiwanese oolongs out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Flavors: Orchid, Vegetal
I blew through my green tea stash faster than expected this winter and picked up this tea to hold me over until the spring greens arrived. I’ve never had a pan-fired Japanese green before and was intrigued when heard about this rare tea.
The dark curled leaf resemble a mao feng more than sencha, understandable as this is processed similar to Chinese tea. Wet leaf though is broken and a deep verdant green, like a typical Japanese green. The first steep is mostly nutty, like toasted grains. There’s a bit of grassiness to it as well. Second steep brings out more of the grassiness and a vegetal body as the nuttiness softens. The liquor is bright green like sencha. I would characterize the flavor as a hybrid of steamed and pan fired tea. Third steep is smooth and vegetal. Unlike steamed tea, this has no astringency even at higher temps and longer steeps. It works well grandpa steeped too.
Cold steeped though is where this tea really impresses me. It brings out the best balance of flavors – sweet vegetal with a hint of floral and umami. While I still prefer a good sencha to this, I appreciate its fresh clean flavor. At $12 and some change for 100g, it’s a pretty exceptional value and a great daily drinker.
Flavors: Grain, Toasty, Vegetal
I love straight teas that taste flavored. This one smells and tastes very tropical and fruity. The wet leaf has an strong aroma of juicy fruit and honeycomb. The tea starts off with white peach and coconut, gentle florals and a soft body. Steeped further, pineapple and a little creaminess develops. There’s a bit of minerality and a delicious lingering fruitiness. The pina-colada flavors remind me a lot of WP’s Golden Lily. Come to think of it, it has some milky tones too.
Only negatives are some rather large twigs and the flavor runs out pretty quickly. By the 4th steep, most of the flavor had been wringed out. All in all, a very pleasant and satisfying tea!
Flavors: Coconut, Floral, Milk, Peach, Pineapple, Tropical
After months of anxiously waiting and dreaming of this tea, I’m ecstatic to be reunited with it once again. And it’s just as good as ever. The dark green leaves scattered with pink buds are visually stunning. The scent of the dry leaf is pretty intense, but the cherry blossom and sencha are in perfect harmony with each other. You can tell they’ve used a high quality sencha base. The tea is grassy and buttery with a hint of floral cherry flavor. Nothing fake about the sakura flavor either. It’s light and very natural, similar to salt-pickled sakura blossoms but without the saltiness.
I underleaf by a lot but otherwise closely follow Den’s steeping times and temps. The cherry comes out more in the first two infusions while the 3rd is mostly sencha. Lately I’ve started blending it with other teas with great results. I cut it with regular sencha when I want to tone down the sakura flavor and genmaicha for added nuttiness. And it’s incredibly refreshing cold steeped.
Flavors: Butter, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Grass, Vegetal