32 Tasting Notes
Quick overview/TLDR: A delicious tea featuring intoxicating creaminess and rich brothiness. Dark green (but not bitter) vegetal flavors mix with gentle minerality and subtle floral notes.
Dry leaves: Very dark, twisted/curled leaves, mostly intact, with some stems. Dry leaves have characteristic oolong roastiness, brown sugar sweetness, a bit of cocoa powder.
Brewed in gaiwan (~100 ml capacity), 4 g of tea. Started with ~200F water. Quick wash. Wet leaves look deep green and smell that way too, smell of cooked hardy greens like collards, a touch of vegetal bitterness, but with a lot of butteriness in the smell too.
First steep: ~5 sec. The color is a clear light brown with touches of orange and green. Wonderful creaminess in flavor, with light to medium body. A slight tickle of bitterness and minerality on the tongue as it goes down.
Second: A bit more than 10 sec. Leaves are still somewhat compressed and partially curled but starting to open up. Leaves smell quite savory. The liquor has even more of that luscious creaminess. Like a tasty vegetable broth made with lots of extra virgin olive oil. Still feeling that minerality on the tongue and throat.
Third: ~20 sec. Color remains that light golden brown, but a bit deeper in shade. Some of the buttery texture has thinned out, but it leaves a wonderfully soft, gentle, creamy aftertaste (or “afterfeel”) in the mouth.
Fourth: ~30-60 sec (let it go a bit longer here). Leaves still haven’t completely unfurled, but are starting to expand and fill the bowl nicely. Liquor was noticeably darker this time. Intoxicatingly creamy aroma with those light savory/brothy notes. The longer steep brought back more of the buttery texture, while I’m also getting noticeably more tingly minerality. I’m starting to notice a gently floral quality and sweetness, particularly at the back of the mouth/throat. As the tea evolves it’s becoming more balanced, blending the creaminess, minerality, savory and sweet components.
Fifth-Eighth: Bumped the water up to near boiling (whatever temperature my kettle kept the water on its “keep warm” feature). Increased steeping time.
Overall these steeps feature a lighter, honey-like color. They continued to have less creaminess (although still a noticeable amount) and more minerality, with an overall weaker flavor. But the flavor was different with each infusion, some bringing out more roasted flavors, some with more sweetness.
Overall feel/energy: Mellowing, comforting, the creamy quality of the tea seems to spread through your body. Mild giddiness/drunkenness. Very easy on the stomach, helps control appetite. If you do a lot of steeps, you’ll start to get some caffeine energy/jitteryness, but I find it overall balanced and pleasant.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Kale, Mineral, Olive Oil
For review, brewed around 150F for a little under two minutes for the first steep. Pours a medium cloudy green, plenty of sediment from my pot with a clay filter (recommend using a mesh filter for this one). The smell is sweet, comforting, and slightly brothy. The texture is thick, almost creamy. The taste has that sweet-savory balance of cooked shiitake, but with a more green/grassy flavor. There’s a touch of bright, tangy sourness on the palate and a light astringency on the tongue. The overall effect is quite comforting. The second steep is thinner and slightly more bitter.
Flavors: Broth, Grass, Mushrooms
My goodness, that name is quite a mouthful. :-) This tea features short grass-like pieces of leaf a lovely dark green. For this review, steeped at around 170F for about 2 minutes. First steep was a cloudy yellow-green that tasted quite broth-like, noticeably salty with a slight sourness. Something like a seaweed broth. The next steep was sweeter, with the saltiness replaced by a more grassy sencha flavor with some bitter notes creeping in, but overall weaker in flavor. The third steep had little flavor left.
A quality tea, and a good price, but the savoriness is not my favorite flavor profile.
Flavors: Broth, Salt
My first experience with Japanese oolongs, and I’m impressed. Leaves are a rich dark green, rolled into irregular shapes. For this testing I brewed at 200F in a kyusu clay pot. The liquor was a dark gold with a touch of green, slightly cloudy. The taste is a rich but restrained floral flavor (the seller says it’s gardenia, specifically—I don’t know my flowers well enough to confirm). The light roasting gives it a smooth palate with light sweetness and not much bitterness. The texture is light and refreshing, but with a touch of buttery avocado richness.
By the time I got around to reviewing this, the tea was about 6 months old and had lost some of its initial vibrancy, but still quite good. I did three steeps. The third was noticeably lighter in color and, while it still had some nice tingly effervescence on the tongue, has lost much of its flavor. So I’d stick with 2-3 steepings on this (unless perhaps you’re trying very short steeps).
Overall a lovely discovery at a reasonable price that will proves Japanese oolongs have a place on my tea shelf next to the Taiwanese and Chinese.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green
A nice, quite dark oolong. Undoubtedly overpriced, but good oolong nonetheless. The leaves are dark like a black tea, and the taste is almost as strong. The dry leaves are loosely rolled curly strands.
The taste is fruity, earthy (but clean), and balanced. Prominent flavors of dried plum and raisin, fruity but not sweet. An touch of toasted grain. A slight bitterness to balance things out.
The texture is clean and smooth, low astringency.
Flavors: Plums, Raisins
Irregularly shaped nuggets, dark green to dark brown. Dry leaves have a sweet, almost cake-like smell.
Broth has a comforting, silky, mildly brothy texture. The first steeping has a sweet, vibrant taste like fresh, lightly sauteed summer squash. The next few steeps add depth with a slight bitterness like steamed spinach.
It started to lose flavor at 3 or 4 steeps for me, so not the longest-lasting tea, but wonderful while it lasts.
Flavors: Spinach, Zucchini
Tightly rolled, very dark green nuggets. There is a nice floral aroma along with a brothy, almost creamy scent.
The first few steeps are very green, as opposed to a more roasted oolong. Strong umami. brothy flavor with a fairly thick mouthfeel. The umami notes dominate, there’s just a hint of the floral notes in the brewed tea. Later/longer steepings bring out a touch of mouth-puckering astringency that adds a nice bite to the flavor.
A hearty and vibrant tea nice for breakfast or midday.
Flavors: Broth, Floral, Vegetal
Tea Trekker continues to bring very high-quality tea to aficionados. This is one of their many Darjeeling offerings, and it’s a second flush.
This tea brings a strong, fruity (muscat, stone fruit) aroma and flavor—breathing in the steam from your first cup is heavenly. It’s balanced by the right amount of astringency and slight bitterness to give it some edge and bight. A light, clean texture with a touch of silkiness. Maybe a hint of maltiness lurking, but that’s not the main focus. This is a refined but invigorating tea that’s perfect for a first cup in the morning.
Flavors: Grapes, Muscatel, Stonefruits, Tea