This is my second review in a series of six samples from China Cha Dao
Experience buying from China Cha Dao: I responded to an offer on Steepster for free samples. Received exactly what was stated in the offer: fresh tea and very generous sample sizes. On their website on eBay they have a good variety of tea for reasonable prices.
Age of leaf: Stated as harvested in 2011. Received in mid-summer, brewed in very early fall 2011.
Packaging: small, clear bags with small label printed with the full name of the tea.
Dry leaf: similar roasted aroma to the Da Hong Pao I sampled previously, but not quite as strong; long, slender, dark brown leaves.
Brewing guidelines: four 8-oz cups of water used, leaves loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added. (I tried to keep the following guidelines as consistent as I could throughout the series)
…………….1st : 195, 2’
…………….2nd: 195, 3’
…………….3rd: 190, 5’ (mild flavor, so no forth attempted)
Aroma: very mild, fresh and pleasant fragrance.
Color of liquor: light amber color.
Wet leaf: aroma is intense, almost harsh, but they also have a tiny hint of caramel? Leaves are dark green with a few small brown leaves here and there. Otherwise same appearance as the Da Hong Pao: lots of large leaves with a fair amount of smallish pieces that look chopped and a few stems. For this oolong, most of the leaves were on the bottom at the end of the first steeping, and all were on the bottom for the remaining steepings.
Flavor: tastes like most oolongs I have had, with a roasted flavor—-like coffee—-but much milder than the Da Hong Pao. A little more pleasant once it cooled a bit. On the second steeping, not as harsh, and not as coffee-like. I’m not certain, but it seems I am picking up a very faint hint of something fruity in the after-taste.
Value: Free 10-gram sample (Thank you Jerry Ma @ China Cha Dao tea on Ebay!). His regular tea is very reasonably priced, I judge ($7/125grams).
Overall (I consider myself a newbie when it comes to oolongs) This on was not as interesting as the Da Hong Pao, but it was still an enjoyable oolong. I tried it chilled, mixed with some chilled passion fruit flavored black tea: the combination was quite interesting! This tea is not something I would buy and brew up, but I don’t mind drinking it.