282 Tasting Notes
I bought this tea in 2018 because it was recommended as being fruity. I was a bit skeptical since this is a Wuyi oolong, but I decided to go for it. (I believe a 15% off sale was involved.) I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of strawberries, grain, honey, and roast. The first steep has notes of honey, walnuts, grain, wood, roast, and flowers. There’s an indistinct fruity aftertaste. In the second steep, I get peach, raisin, and strawberry, along with more roasted nuts, honey, grain, and wood. The floral notes become more prominent in the next couple steeps, but honestly, this is still mainly about the wood, nuts, and roast. I don’t get any spice, as Roswell Strange did. The tea doesn’t change much over the session, fading to wood, minerals, nuts, honey, and roast near the end.
While this tea doesn’t really change my mind about Wuyi oolongs, it indeed has some fruity elements. I enjoyed how smooth and sweet it is and won’t have trouble finishing the bag.
Flavors: Floral, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Peach, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Strawberry, Walnut, Wood
Yay! The Great Steepster Freeze of 2020 is finally over! I’m glad all my notes were actually saved and I don’t need to repost them.
I haven’t tried too many aged teas, so this is a learning experience. Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample. I didn’t know how to steep this tea, so I used my old parameters of all 7 g, 120 ml, 200F, and rounds of 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long steeps.
The dry aroma is of old wood, char, and roast. The first steep has notes of oak, sandalwood, chicory, minerals, and roast. The roast and minerals get stronger in steep two, and a honey element emerges. The flavours keep getting more intense as the session continues, and there’s definitely a bit of decayed wood in there, too. Generally, this is a smooth, woody tea with a sophisticated profile. The smoke and roast are more noticeable in later rounds, but this tea doesn’t evolve too much over the session.
While it’s not something I’d typically drink, I enjoyed this aged oolong for its exotic woodiness and smoothness. As khboyd said in a review, it reminds me of a Wuyi oolong. I’m sure it would have been even better in the fall or winter. I can’t wait for this unusually hot summer to end, not least because drinking hot tea in this heat is kind of annoying.
Flavors: Char, Decayed Wood, Honey, Mineral, Oak, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth, Wood
This is the last of the six teas I bought from Cha Yi. It’s a darker Taiwanese oolong from spring 2020, which I grabbed near the beginning of June when this year’s teas were few and far between. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus three or four uncounted infusions.
The dry aroma is of berry jam, honey, and cookies. The first steep has notes of stewed raspberry, blackberry, currant, other red fruits, plum, honey, and cookies. The second steep adds some malt and mild tannins, mimicking the bite in raspberries and other berries. The third to sixth steeps are a lovely combination of peach, plum, muscatel, honey, cookies, and berries and have a long, fruity aftertaste. Honey and roast become more prominent in the seventh steep, although there’s still lots of berries and muscatel. The final steeps have notes of berries, muscatel, malt, pastries, butter, roast, earth, and minerals.
This is a fruity, crowd-pleasing oolong with many of the flavours I like. Featuring the typical jammy, stonefruit notes of Hong Shui oolongs, this tea is really enjoyable and is well worth the price. It’s also incredibly persistent, lasting well beyond the number of steeps I had planned. Definitely consider getting it if you buy from this company.
Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Blackberry, Butter, Cookie, Earth, Honey, Jam, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Pastries, Peach, Plum, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Roasted, Stewed Fruits, Tannin
I bought this back in 2018 based on the catalogue description. I have a well-known weakness for Mi Xiang black teas—and anything else with pronounced honey and fruity flavours. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of honey, malt, stonefruit, and muscatel. The first steep has notes of honey, malt, cookies, wood, nectarine, blood orange, and muscatel. The second steep adds plums, apricots, brown sugar, and additional malt. The tea is a bit drying in the mouth. In the third to sixth steeps, the plum, apricot, and muscatel notes get stronger and the tea has a typical Mi Xiang profile. The final rounds feature honey, malt, wood, tannins, faint plum, earth, and minerals.
Compared to the Mi Xiang Hong Cha from Cha Yi that I drank a few days ago, this tea has more pastry notes and a wider variety of fruit, but the flavour peters out more quickly. This could be due to the fact that this tea is two years old now. Honestly, though, this is a minor fault and I’d be happy to drink either of these teas.
Flavors: Apricot, Blood Orange, Brown Sugar, Cookie, Earth, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Plum, Stonefruit, Tannin, Wood
Thanks to Fong Mong for the free sample, and sorry for taking so long to review it. Fushoushan is one of my favourite mountains, and I somehow wanted to find a way to get two sessions out of the leaves. However, this didn’t work out. I steeped the generous 7 g in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of apricots, orchids, honey, and other flowers. The first steep has notes of apricot, orchid, lilac, honeysuckle, sweet pea, honey, cream, spinach, nutmeg, and grass. The second steep adds notes of brown sugar, herbs, and arugula, and the florals and stonefruit get stronger. The next couple steeps have a nice balance of stonefruit, herbaceous, sweet, spicy, and floral flavours, with hints of custard and caramel. The spinach and grass start taking over in steep five, although the floral, honey, and herbs are still prominent. The session ends with spinach, veggies, grass, and florals.
This is a nuanced and complex oolong that checks all the boxes for a good high mountain tea. The nutmeg and stonefruit are particularly pleasant. While the Shan Lin Xi and Li Shan are probably better bets in terms of the price, this Fushoushan is a nice treat.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nutmeg, Orchid, Spinach, Vegetal
I bought this tea in February along with a bunch of other herbals. It was a choice between this and lemon myrtle, and I can’t remember why I picked the verbena. I’ve been drinking it off and on, and despite how simple it is, I’ve been enjoying it. For this session, I steeped around 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug using boiling water for 3.5, 5, and 10 minutes.
Dry, the leaf smells of lemon and herbs. The tea has notes of lemon, herbs, camphor, and honey. If chamomile tea tasted like lemon, it would taste like this, if that makes any sense. It has a long lemon and herbaceous aftertaste. The flavour doesn’t change over the three steeps.
I’d recommend this tea for those looking for an herbal tisane that doesn’t have any of the usual suspects (hibiscus, rosehips, licorice, or mint). While I’m dubious of the health benefits, it is indeed a nice, calming infusion to have at the end of the day.
Flavors: Camphor, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon
I bought this in 2018 to compare it with the fresh spring Mi Lan Xiang. I wish I’d added it to the database then, as it’s been taken off the Camellia Sinensis website. Since I don’t have a catalogue description, I can’t say whether this is an aged version of their regular Mi Lan Xiang or a different iteration of this Dan Cong. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of roast, char, honey, wood, and faint guava. The first steep has well-integrated notes of honey, roast, barley, orchid, guava, wood, and roasted nuts. The second steep adds lychee and hops. Far from being only in the aftertaste, these flavours present themselves up front as well. They continue in the next couple steeps, and I also get a hint of orange. The char and roast become more prominent in steep five, but not to the point that they obscure the honey, guava, lychee, and orchid. Wood and incense appear in steep seven, and the roast gets stronger, though it’s still not overpowering. The persistence of the signature honey orchid flavours is amazing. The session ends predictably with honey, roast, and minerals.
If this is indeed an older version of the same tea, which seems likely given that some flavours are found in both, it represents a marked improvement. The roast level is about the same, but rather than hiding around the edges, the honey, fruit, and floral notes are front and centre. If I hadn’t read the labels, I’d have pegged this as the newer Dan Cong. I’m glad I had the chance to compare these two teas, and will keep an eye out for older Dan Congs in the future.
Flavors: Char, Floral, Grain, Guava, Honey, Hops, Lychee, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Roast Nuts, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Wood
I bought this tea fresh in 2018 along with a 2010 version to compare it to. But as often happens with ambitious tea experiments, this one fell by the wayside. However, I thought I’d better do it while I can still use Steepster, so I unearthed these teas and am ready to drink a lot of caffeine.
I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of honey, roast, orchid, and faint fruit. The first steep has notes of honey, roast, hops, grain, and orchid. It’s drying in the mouth, with a beautiful honey scent at the bottom of the cup. The second steep has stronger honey and roast notes, with faint lychee, wood, and what I would call green plant stems. The third and fourth steeps have honey, roast, hops, grain, and char in the foreground, with a lingering aftertaste of guava, lychee, roast, orchids, and honey.
To try and coax the complex flavours in the aftertaste into the actual tea, I lowered the temperature to 190F for the next couple steeps. This seems to have been a mistake, since though the roast is less pronounced, there’s more greenness and the honey/fruit is still not coming through. In the seventh steep, the honey and roast let some orchid, violet, grass, cream, and other florals make a faint appearance. The end of the session features roast, wood, tannins, and minerals.
Perhaps due to its age, this tea never really fulfilled the fruity and floral promise of its aroma and aftertaste. It’s quite heavily roasted, and the roast dominated the tasting experience for me. Other reviewers, who presumably had the tea when it was fresher, didn’t have the same impression, so maybe this is a consequence of two years in storage.
Flavors: Char, Cream, Drying, Floral, Grain, Grass, Guava, Honey, Hops, Lychee, Mineral, Orchid, Plant Stems, Roasted, Tannin, Violet, Wood
This company carries a version of this tea every year, and the one I’m drinking is from 2018. I love unsmoked Lapsang Souchongs and this tea came highly recommended. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using boiling water for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma of these long, curly leaves is of lychee, pineapple, tart fruit, malt, and flowers. The first steep is extraordinarily fruity and smooth, with flavours of lychee, pineapple, raspberry, cranberry, flowers, malt, grass, and chocolate. Baked bread, orchids, and a stronger pineapple flavour emerge in steep two, and there’s a floral and lemon/pineapple aftertaste. The lemon becomes more pronounced in steeps three and four, joining the tropical fruit, tart, and malty profile of the tea. Orange and wood appear in the fifth steep. By steep seven, the malt starts getting stronger and some tannins appear, but the pineapple, lychee, and raspberry persist. The end of the session sees more tannins, malt, minerals, earth, and still, gloriously, those pineapple and lychee notes.
Aside from the 2019 Yuchi Assam from What-Cha, this is, hands down, the best black tea I’ve had this year. It’s fruity, complex, smooth, long lasting, approachable, and surprisingly affordable for its quality at around $13 for 30 grams. (I know this isn’t exactly cheap, but did I mention how awesome this tea is?) Drinking it has been a high point in a somewhat lousy month. I’m not sure why TheTea.pl hasn’t gotten more press, but I think many of their teas are amazing. Some of their oolongs are too roasted for my palate, but others, like this one, have the fruity, floral notes I love.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cranberry, Earth, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Pineapple, Raspberry, Smooth, Tannin, Tart, Wood
I bought a 10 g sample of this tea back in February, when Taiwan was still shipping to Canada. (What a long time ago that seems!) I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of malt, sassafras, raisins, and flowers. The first steep has notes of sassafras, cream, malt, cinnamon, raisins, jasmine, soy sauce, and menthol. The second steep is heavier on the raisins and malt and has a metallic undertone. The raisins become more like grapes in subsequent steeps, and the sassafras, malt, and cinnamon notes persist. The end of the session has malt, tannin, wood, and mineral notes.
I found this to be a fairly average Taiwanese Sun Moon Lake black tea, although the heavy cinnamon and menthol were pleasant. I’m glad I steeped it at 190F, as I imagine the astringency would be greater at higher temperatures. I’m sure I’ll be able to better pick apart the flavour notes in these types of teas when I’ve tried more of them.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Jasmine, Licorice, Malt, Menthol, Metallic, Mineral, Raisins, Soy Sauce, Tannin, Wood