757 Tasting Notes
I bought a bunch of Tieguanyin samples and then opted for this as a smaller free sample, which is too bad because I’d take an Ali Shan over a Tieguanyin any day of the week (and I have so many Tieguanyin packs). Oh, well. That’s what this mass oolong drinking marathon is all about; getting my priorities straight!
I have two cups of this on the go: one is a gongfu style (+10sec) and the other is a “western” 1-2min steep at +200F. Both get a rinse, as usual.
Both cups emit a delicious concoction of vanilla, flowers, grass, corn husk, and even a hint of jam. The first cups are sweet, creamy, with notes of corn and jam. I taste a bit of coconut too. A butter note acts as a thickener to the broth, and make this a rich cup. Grass is, thankfully, not the distinctive force it’s been in some of the other green oolongs I’ve had of late; the vegetal notes are more distinctive in the western cup.
Anyways, there are lots of great notes on this tea, so I’m going to do the lazy thing and not ramble on about each individual steep.
Steep Count: 3 (x2) (ongoing)
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Jam, Kale, Vanilla
Ordered a sample of this and drank it up as a full pot last night. If rooibos blends were like this more often I’d possibly enjoy them. Also goes to show that my dislike of rooibos or honeybush isn’t necessarily towards the base or being over exposed to lower grades; I can sure taste the woody-hay rooibos here. I just think the light coconut-vanilla flavouring works well in conjunction.
Flavors: Cake, Coconut, Hay, Vanilla, Wood
Cup Scent: butter, toasted nuts, flowers, savoury seaweed sprinkles (subtle)
To taste, it follows the precedent set by the scent, making for a savoury cup full of cream, butter, nuts, and gentle flowers. It’s probably the most mild “Jin Xuan,” natural or scented, I’ve had in recent times. It’s nothing special in my books, but it’s buttery-cream profile makes for a comforting cup, with excellent steep value.
I drank up all my other Jin Xuans, so it’s nice to discover I have some left. I didn’t realize what this was or pay too much attention when I initially placed an order online. It took seeing the unfurled leaves to realize what this was. Whoops.
Steep Count: 6
Florals reminiscent of dandelion came out strong on the third steep. It reminds me that dandelion wine is on my “too try” list.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Roasted nuts, Vegetal
I couldn’t find any definite info on this tea from Verdant’s website; I want to say it’s the same as their “Mi Lan Black” offering but I’m going to stick with the exact labels used on my packet for the sake of filing. My tea doesn’t quite look like those long big twirled leaves either, although the dry leaf was a kind of twine strip.
The flavour profile is practically on par with their Mi Lan page description; dark, rich honey, spicy sandalwood, charred sweet potato, etc. This first steeping has a comfortable note of bitter leather too. Citrus notes come out in subsequent steeps.
Anyways, this was a nice break after mostly drinking teas on the greener side of the spectrum. Like a nice scotch or whisky after a rainstorm of vodka. Or a blackberry after so many strawberries. I love silly comparisons.
Steep Count: 3
Sample provided by Verdant Tea. Thanks!
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Honey, Leather, Spices, Sweet Potatoes
Sad sipdown, that now puts me in dilemma on whether or not I want to place a premature order at What-Cha or to wait a couple sad months without this tea. I’d have to speed through the White Rhino or Golden Snail, or suddenly fixate on trying that Rose Jin Xuan. Mm, rose cream (I’ve already vividly imagined this future tea drinking experience).
On Sticky Rice: I’ve decided that, while this is a casual drinker, the unique savoury flavour also makes this somewhat of a mood tea. I’m usually in the mood but sometimes I’m not. If I neglect the early steeps it can get a little too vegetal for my tastes. That’s why this doesn’t quite make it into my 91-100 flawless teas, despite the copious amount of notes I’ve written.
Steep Count: 3
Three steepings was about my average across the board but this tea can easily handle 5-6 when I’m committed. It helps that at 90C, I can steep it at 45s start and be completely satisfied with the flavour; What-Cha recommends 1-2min but I’m a flavour wimp.
(2016 fall harvest)
Flavors: Cream, Rice, Vegetal
I’ve decided that this is a tea style (aged white) that needs to be in my cupboard all the time. So far, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have subsisted solely on samples from generous Steepster users and companies, but I think it’s high time I officially invest and stock up!
Why do I love this kind of thing? For starters, it combines my favourite floral, hay, and fruity notes of white tea styles with the smooth, creamy-earth profile of an aged tea. It also proves to the world that you can be the low-grade by-product of Silver Needles, and still retain ALL the class. Dance on, classy tea.
This shou mei has a heady sweetness that I associate with blueberry wine. I can’t say why shou mei’s and blueberries are interlinked in my mind, but there it is. Not sure anyone else would get that particular flavour. It turns into a spiced juniper berry in later steepings.
Steep Count: 3
Sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!
Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Earth, Floral, Honey, Lemon, Spices, Sweet, warm grass, Wood
I enjoyed this one a lot, and wanted to right up a nice note about it. Unfortunately, I seem to have inhaled my whole package on the way out the door.
All I can say is that it was good, the description is spot on, and I kind of miss it. Also, it’s slightly better than hot buttered spiced rum because I can’t actually taste dark rum (definitely not my favourite hard liquor, except in elaborate cocktail form, where it then becomes lovely).
Now that it’s gone I guess I’ll just have to make due with actual hot buttered rum; the weather here is almost perfect for it (why, overcast rain).
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Orange Zest, Spices
While superficially reminiscent of the old Fantasy Island blend from David’s Tea, this blend is boozier, brighter, and more acidic (thanks, Bergy). There’s also no coconut, but it makes up for that in vanilla marshmallow, and even more berries.
It’s surprisingly juicy, with all the sweet-tart dimensions that blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries bring to the table. It’s a refreshing cuppa, even when consumed hot, without milk. The vanilla and the woody fluff textural quality of the marshmallow root gives it that desirable berry dessert vibe. The bergamot is actually not that blatant, merely complimenting the lush berry flavours with its floral/citrus profile.
If you love Bluebird’s Vicky’s Spongecake, DT’s Fantasy Island, or AQTT’s Black Cherries in Sweet Cream you’d probably enjoy this too.
This sample was generously provided by 52Teas. Thank you!
Flavors: Bergamot, Berries, Blackberry, Marshmallow, Raspberry, Strawberry, Tart, Vanilla, Wood
Sipping this sample down by drinking it western (3min) and gongfu style (10sec, etc) simultaneously. Lots of seaweed and umami notes ensue. Would it be too much if I drank my seaweed tea while eating my seaweed snacks? Only time will tell.
Steep Count: 3 (x2)
(2017 spring harvest)
Flavors: Beany, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
After not enjoying my cup of roasted Tieguanyin yesterday, I switched back to some “plain Jane” Tieguanyin (more or less). Actually, this one is a little fancy and has a succulent honey flower aroma. I’ve never actually sniffed a chrysanthemum (ala Verdant description) before, but it’s a deep sweet flower smell.
The flavour is an interesting contrast; I thought it would be a syrupy sweet to taste but it’s more a “pasty” nut. Verdant’s soybean description works, but husked sunflower seeds also come to mind. The floral note has a syrupy “texture” to it but it isn’t what you’d call sweet, unless you’re thinking of the subtle sugars picked up in grass, tofu, or nuts. It’s altogether a very smooth, fluid cup that is at once mild but also contrarily rich (butter, vanilla).
As per Verdant’s description, this does taste like the (extremely mild) smell of marigolds but it definitely doesn’t taste like the “taste” of marigolds- at least not mine (spicy floral veggies). The steeped oolong leaves do kind of smell like the taste of marigolds though.
A spiced note comes into play in subsequent steeps. I can also see where the matcha note comes from. I’m chuckling that I want to write that this tea tastes like TEA, but when you think of that sweet, grassy, nutty, floral quality that good, fresh matcha can have you’ll get it (hopefully).
Steep Count: 6
Pine, nut and mineral notes are particularly noteworthy on steep 4 and onward, with the return of vegetal spice on steep 5.
(2016 fall harvest)
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Pepper, Pine, Soybean, Vanilla, Vegetal