12 Tasting Notes
Very fresh, beachy grass smell. Smells like my great grandmother’s garden at the beach. Very fresh and clean smell. Slightly aromatic while steeping, a bit like fresh seaweed and hints of freshly cut wood. Definitely smells like a reserve tea and is very floral.
First steep was for 1:30 minutes @ 195F, with 5 grams for 8 ounces. The best first impression I have is that it tastes very uniform. Is very fresh tasting and clean. Has a perfect mouth feel and does not leave any odd textures in your mouth, perfectly wetting. 1:30 minutes is definitely the way to go. It tastes very green, yet is still distinctly an oolong tea. Amazing high end tea, where every sip is better than the last.
Second steep was for 1:45 minutes. The tea noticeably smells more like a classic oolong tea. The taste is just a more mild version of the first steep, with the same mouth feel. However, the first steep is definitely the best by far. Still very good. Third steep is doable, but would not recommend a fourth.
Flavors: Floral, Green Wood, Seaweed, Wet Wood
This tea smells amazing. It reminds me of toasted and grilled corn on the cob. It has a very pleasant sweet, yet toasted, aroma and also smells faintly of nuts, wood, and vanilla. Best toasted aroma I’ve smelled to date. After brewing, the aroma becomes distinctly more vegetal.
First brew was for 2 minutes at 200F, with 5g per 8 ounces. It tastes good, but not nearly as good as it smelled. It is still good, but after the first hit of toasty, the flavor becomes very very subtle and almost disappears completely. I apparently like my tea very strong, since I would enjoy this much strong.
The second steep (2:15 minutes) was actually better than the first steep. The tea becomes much more vegetal, while still maintaining the roasted flavor. It is because of the second steep I bumped my rating up from 62 to 68.
Flavors: Toasted, Toasty, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood
The small is similar, but very different from the Traditional Mao Xie. It is not toasted smelling at all, and is much more “green” both visually and aromatically. Smells strongly of kale and spinach.
First steep was for 2:00 min at 195F, with 5g for 8 oz. Tastes like artichoke, spinach, and a little bit like kale. Very good depth of flavor. Doesn’t taste anything like the Traditional Mao Xie. It almost tastes more like a green tea than oolong. However, I’m still improving my palette, so I can’t be 100% sure.
Held up well to 4 steeps. I enjoyed this tea, but not enough to buy more of it.
Flavors: Artichoke, Kale, Spinach
Received as tea of the month club, labeled “Traditional Mao Xie”. Smells really good, a bit like caramel and very toasted smelling, with a hint of sesame. Very very good smelling.
First steep was 2:00 min at 200F with 5g of tea for 8 ounces. Smells like autumn leaves that have been caramelized with sugar. It tastes good, but is very underwhelming. I feel like it needs to be 4 times as strong. Next brew I’m going to do half the water and see how it changes. I do like it though.
Second brew increased flavor a bit, but it still seems to be a one note tea. It is still good though. Four brews in and still very good.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Caramel
Very earthy aroma, with a hint of seaweed. While steeping it is very aromatic, smells strongly of honey and flowers with a slight whiff of dried grass/hay. At the end of steeping, the remaining leaves smell even more like dried grass/hay and honey (in a very pleasant way).
First steep was 3:00 at 180F. Very mellow and sweet taste in first steep. Flavor lingers on the tongue slightly longer than other teas. It is very floral. I’m having a hard time describing the taste, however it is very good.
Second steep was for 3:30. The flavor was the same, just slightly less intense. Still very good for the second steep. I really enjoy this tea and look forward to trying more Silver Needle.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Flowers, Hay, Honey
Was labeled simply as “Laoshan Green”, and came in a sampler kit. I really wish I knew exactly what tea this was.
First steep was at 1:15 min with 2.5 g of tea. Smells very good. Like asparagus, artichokes, and seaweed. More like artichokes though than anything. The website recommended 4 g, but I thought that was too much.
Very clean flavor, very vegetal in a good way. Deep and does not taste like grass at all. No hints of bitterness. Absolutely love this tea (loved it so much I just spilled most of the cup on my keyboard). After the first steep, it feels like it could be my favorite everyday-green.
Second steep was for 1:30 min. The tea reminds me of a better version of the amazing green tea you get in authentic Chinese restaurants. The second steep was almost as good as the first. Definitely a favorite.
Flavors: Artichoke, Asparagus, Vegetal
Seems a bit old, it came in a sample pack. Smells like roasted carrots almost. First brew was for 1:15 minutes at 200 F, with 1.5 tsp / 8 oz. Earthy sweet aroma, reminds me of roasted vegetables (carrots and beats). Initial impression is that it is similar to the other Tieguanyin, but does not taste like Japanese Sencha. Tastes more similar to black tea than green, which in this case is a good thing.
The more I drink this tea, the more I like it. The toasted rice taste is VERY subtle (doesn’t even come close to Genmaicha though).
Flavors: Honey, Roasted, Toasted Rice
Was just labeled as Tieguanyin from Verdant. The aroma is a very healthy fresh vegetal green smell. Mix between spinach, asparagus, and artichokes. An earthy vegetal smell.
Initial taste is very similar to Japanese Sencha (which I don’t like), but less grassy. Has a classic green tea taste to it. First steep was for 1 minute, although they recommended 20 seconds (always too low). No hints of bitterness. Too similar to Japanese Sencha for my tastes.
Second steep was for 3 minutes, and it had a deeper flavor. Tastes like a more oxidized Sencha. Would definitely recommend steeping for 2-3 min. A good tea, but not for me.
Flavors: Hay, Kale, Spinach
Very deep fragrance. Smells like burnt sugar (in a good way). Initial steep was for 30 seconds as directed at 205 F. Very light and refreshing taste when stepped for 30 seconds. Hints of brown sugar, very pleasant. I can’t decide if I want the tea stronger, or it is perfect the way it is.
The aromatics are very comforting and inviting.
Second steep was for 2 minutes. Didn’t change the flavor nor the strength. Potentially a first steep would be better longer. I think 1-1:30 minutes might be a better steep. Would need to experiment, but this was from a sample pack.
Update: Tried the tea a second time with a steep time of 1:20 and 3 grams of tea per 8 cups. I love it just as much as before, but think it could have steeped for less time (1 minute is probably the best). The strength at 3 grams is perfect.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Molasses, Roasted, Wood
Nuanced flavor. Very subtle. Wet and watery tasting. Very neutral, but not bad. This tea makes me think that I like teas that are richer in flavor. Very obviously steamed during processing.
Second brew is more mellow, but very similar.
Very hard to have more than 1 cups worth. It does not draw me in and bring me back for more.