108 Tasting Notes

86
drank Bi Luo Chun by Dobra Tea
108 tasting notes

Rich, but with a light body. That’s the contradiction of this delicious small-leaf variety. Usually I attribute this sort of rich texture to large leaves like Liu’An Guapian or Tai Ping Hou Kui. And yet these small leaves really soak into the water for a cloudy and mouth-filling infusion. This tea is also fairly tippy, which definitely accounts for its airy body and artichoke green flavor. There’s a hint of dryness in the aftertaste, but the light vegetable flavor stays on the front of the tongue for a while.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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95
drank Bai Yun Oolong by Norbu Tea
108 tasting notes

It’s my day of delicious, full-bodied oolongs apparently. Golden and rich. Never tasted better.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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97

This really has become one of my favorite teas in my collection. Sweet and roasty taste. An aroma of toasted chestnuts and the texture of light cream. Lots of infusion potential. I’m not sure if the tea is getting better (certainly possible as rolled oolongs tend to do this) or if my taste is just aligning with it more.

Also maybe worth noting that I’m pretty sure the pinyin for this tea would be ‘hong shui’ (紅水), meaning ‘red water’. Taiwan uses many different romanization systems, though, so who’s to say what’s correct?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

Sweet and a little tart with the definite flavor of blackberries. I liked the smooth earthy aroma and I may have sensed black cherries in there as well. Rewardingly mellow lingering taste that fades into a lightness. In fact, there’s potential to be too light with this tea.

The first few infusions I tried at 15 seconds or so, and they were good, but fairly light and generic shou puer. Afterward I gave it a good soak and found the richness I remember from tasting this tea in the shop in Lijiang. Some nice big leaves in there too.

This bing is 400g, so I should be drinking this one for some time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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85

One of the many treasures I brought back from the most recent trip to China, this tea is rich and savory. Not as bold as its less-tippy cousins, this hong cha has a lightness of body and character that would normally have me thinking of a white silver needle. It’s not surprising, really, since the leaves are all buds. All the delicious cacao and savory spices are there in the aroma and taste, though, to remind you that you’re drinking a Dian Hong. A perfect combination of body and lightness for a summer evening.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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75

Richly roasted but bright and energizing in a way that I don’t usually expect from a Shui Xian. The aroma is earthy and comforting. When I bought this tea I actually thought I was buying a Da Hong Pao, but I suppose it’s easy for one roasted Wuyi to taste like another. Dark long twisted leaves with some twigs in there as well, which I usually would prefer not to find, but in this case I think it adds a bit of Hojicha-style nuttiness to the taste. (I imagine there’s a grade of this tea without the twigs too, and I’d love to drink that one.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Ben Youngbaer

I don’t remember the twigs in mine but maybe I just glossed over them in search of a nice full leaf for my journal

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94

Infused Chinese-green-style with leaves floating in a tall glass, this tea makes a long-lasting cup. A little sweet with a gentle body and a bit of the “smoky” taste I attribute to Yunnan teas.

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81
drank Alishan Black Oolong by DigniTea
108 tasting notes

Refreshing, even on this hot day. Comforting on the stomach like a gently roasted Gao Shan, but rich and velvety like a tippy Dian Hong. Still fascinating.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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94

Ruby red infusion. A salty, sweet taste almost like strawberries. I was getting worried because when I unwrapped the cake the edges were beginning to fall apart.

I thought at first perhaps it was a poor cake that I had gotten (although I had tasted it in Kunming). The edges of the Bing pulled apart easily at my touch, not needing a pick of any kind, but the appearance of the leaves, inside and out, was beautiful and without any obvious discoloration. The aroma was what I’d expect from a well-aged Shou puer.

The flavor is excellent. Mellow and soft compared to younger or lower-quality cakes, with a developing richness that I can’t wait to try as it continues to mature.

Infused in a Jian Shui pot.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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83

Very clear, light gold infusion. The aroma of a much richer and darker black tea, maybe reminiscent of a Chinese Dian Hong (滇红). A gently sweet and soft taste with a hint of dryness in the aftertaste which implies that the lightness of body is inherent and not due to under steeping. Whereas I usually expect a rich body underneath quite a punch of floral flavor from a First Flush Darjeeling, this is much more mellow and it’s a good thing.

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Bio

A tea geek (and also general geek) in Burlington, Vermont.

I’m drawn to the beauty of a steaming cup with snow falling outside. When I see a tea leaf, I see the long road and hundreds of hands that have brought it from the sun and soil to my pot.

I think that tea can be a way of life.

Location

Burlington, VT

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