13 Tasting Notes
A fairly standard rolled-leaf oolong: tasty and a good value. This is light and very crisp; it almost has a lemony ‘clean’ feel to it. The wet leaves have a slight buttery scent to them, but that doesn’t carry over into the liquid itself: both the smell and the taste are flowery.
This this doesn’t have the depth or tastiness of many higher-quality rolled-leaf oolongs, it’s good and the price is very fair. I got a lot of infusions from these leaves — sometimes 8 or 9 — but I like my tea light (and arguably weak) so others might prefer fewer.
After a few more drinkings: this tea is quite enjoyable and good, but I think it works better as an “occasionally” tea than as an everyday tea. Its interestingness and distinctness were great the first day, but after 4 or 5 days it’s starting to get a bit dull.
Overall, I’d liken this tea to a cross between Lapsang Souchong, Hojicha, and a dark oolong. The flavor is a little more Lapsang Souchong than Hojicha, with only a hint of oolong-ness, while the body and texture are more like a dark oolong than Hojicha, with only a hint of Lapsang-Souchong-ness. Also like a dark oolong, I’ve noticed that the leaves change from black to green when brewed. There’s a nice long, smoky aftertaste, with some astringency and just a hint of wood.
Although overbrewing doesn’t necessarily harm the tea, I definitely prefer it with a shorter brew time, at least for the first few infusions. I’ve been getting 6-7 infusions from the leaves (with a steep time of 2-4 minutes for the last few infusions).
I tried this tea for the first time today. As soon as I cut open the bag, the smokiness exploded out — this smells just like a Lapsang Souchong. The dry leaves are small, thin, wiry, and black; I had to check the producer’s website just to make sure this wasn’t actually a black tea. I gave the leaves a very quick rinse, and the smoky smell subsided, replaced by an almost malt-like scent.
I’ve never brewed this tea before, so I made three infusions with different brew times: 1, 1.5, and 2 minutes. The leaves were still going after the 3rd, so I imagine they could go longer. The liquid is a dark yellow color with lots of tiny leaf-hairs in it, and a relatively mild smoky scent.
Edit, after actually drinking the tea:
I like it: the taste is definitely smoky, but it’s mild — not overpowering. All three infusions were roughly the same flavor-wise, although the first seemed weaker than the others. It does have some characteristics of a light black tea, but it also has an oolong-ness to it. There’s almost a foresty/earthy taste hidden behind the smokiness, and a tiny hint of astringency.
Medium-bodied and smoky. While this didn’t blow me away, it was quite good and I’m looking forward to trying it again.
This was my last of this tea. I used slightly fewer leaves, with a longer brew time. Although today’s infusions came out a little less flavorful than previous ones, this is still quite good.
The “old cut grass”-ness is less prominent today; instead, there’s a hint of honey, particularly in the first few infusions. It also has a stronger aftertaste — a pleasant, mouth-drying astringency. I’d buy this again.
I used more leaves this time, to make this a little stronger, but it came out almost exactly the same — if anything, the first infusion seemed a bit weaker. I made five infusions.
The wet leaves have a strong, pleasant smell to them — very flowery, and stronger than I remember — and that smell makes its way into the tea’s flavor. This has a woody aftertaste which hangs around for a while. Very pleasant and enjoyable.
Edit: Later, I made three additional infusions using the same leaves (for a total of 8), using a longer brew time (3-4 minutes). There is certainly a hint of bitterness, but the tea is quite good overall — and much stronger. I suspect this can handle even more infusions, and that even the early infusions will be forgiving — next time, I’ll try some normal infusion times, instead of the shorter ones I started off with today.
This is my first time trying this tea; I like it. I rinsed the leaves once and used a rather short brewing time.
This tea first struck me as very “foresty” — bark, leaves, and earthiness — but there’s a strong flower scent and taste, and a bit of fruitiness (raisins?) too. I brewed it to a light orange color, but the flavor is still robust. There’s a bit of pleasant astringency, particularly on the aftertaste.
This is a solid tea with some complexity to it. While it might not be for everyone, it’s one I enjoy. I drank it by itself, but I think it might be even better paired with food or dark chocolate.
I got 4 infusions from these leaves. I think they could probably keep going for 1 or 2 more, but that was enough for me. =)
This was my last serving of this tea. This time, I made two 1-minute brewings and two 2.5-minute brewings, and it came out great — smooth with a nice, soft flavor. It’s rather nondescript and “average green tea”-like when brewed this way, at least to me, but it was enjoyable.
This is far too easy to overbrew. I somehow got this tea mixed up with a different one, and I brewed it like a normal tea (extra leaves, standard time and temperature for green tea) instead of doing short infusions. I’m reducing my rating by a few points. :-/
This still is not a bad tea — a lot of complexity shows through, especially when it’s brewed strong — but it becomes distractingly bitter very quickly. The taste is very mossy today, with some fruity overtones. The self-inflicted bitterness makes it difficult to enjoy, though.
Still delicious. I’m increasing my rating of this by a few points.
Today’s brewing was a bit stronger for me (but I like very light teas, so “strong” for me is likely “weak” to most people,) and it came out less grassy/composty and more nutty. Smooth and enjoyable.
I’ve been holding these for two years, and I used a weird brewing process today (3 of these in a 32 oz teapot, three infusions) so this review might not generalize well. I rinsed these twice before brewing.
Musky and soil-like, with some coffee overtones and a hint of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is mild, with more dirt and a faint hint of caramel. Noticeably bitter, but at the same time it does have some of the pu-erh sweetness. As it sits and cools (or maybe as I get used to it,) the bitterness is subsiding and the sweetness is becoming more pronounced.
I’ve been experimenting with different brew settings for some time; today’s experiment was good but not the best. Similar settings once yielded a wonderful dark chocolate flavor — one the best pu-erh experiences I’ve had — but I haven’t been able to repeat it.