580 Tasting Notes

2.5 tsp for 500mL water @82C, steeped three minutes.

I received this as a sample of the Toronto tea Festival 2017 Tea Tasting Box — Oolong Tea.

Dry leaf: mostly black tea leaves with some small pieces of green tea, various bits of bloosing, and tiny pieces of dried peach. Aroma: very fragrant with peach and black tea.

Wet leaf: just a beautiful riot of colour, like a forest floor.

Liquor: light bronze. Peach aroma quite strong. Black tea dominates but is gentle; the cooler water keeps the tea from getting bitter. I can taste the green tea, and the touch of jasmine comes out, too.I cannot detect any oolong in the taste. This is a very tea, lots going on. Some astringence, perhaps from the added flavours. The peach taste is fairly close to the real thing. Not sure if the tea needs the jasmine. Light body. Some bitterness in the finish; a shorter steep time might ease that.

If you like peach-flavoured teas, this one’s worth trying.

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2 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped three minutes.

I received a sample of this tea as part of the Toronto Tea Festival 2017 Tasting Box — Oolong Tea.

Dry leaf: tightly rolled, light ot medium green. An unfortunate whiff of condensed tomato soup in the scent.

Wet leaf: gorgeous long and twisty medium green leaves with some stems. Vegetal aroma, edging to briny.

I need to say this upfront: I generally don’t enjoy vegetal and brothy teas. Sometimes I think of soup; sometimes I think of scallops. So I’m not sure I can fairly review a tea with such qualities.

Liquor, first infusion: palest green, almost a pale yellow. Vegetal and slightly briny aroma: buttered greens, faint whiff of scallops. Delicate taste of buttered greens with a sweet and floral finish. After swallowing, however, I get a dominant vegetal taste left in the mouth. Not getting much of a floral aroma.

As the tea cools, some mineral notes come out. Vegetal dominates.

If you like a vegetal green or oolong, this will probably suit you.

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2 tsp for 500mL water @ 90C, steeped four minutes.

I got two excellent infusions: lots of body and flavour. The oolong itself is mild and slightly floral. The ginseng powder is lovely, just sweet enough, with plenty of ginseng lift. I expect I could have gotten a very good third infusion, too.

Dry leaf: little green pebbles. Cute.

Wet leaf: deep dark green, shiny.

Liquor: pale yellow and a slight green tinge for both infusions. Light to medium body. Some “bite” from the ginseng, which I really like. I’ve not been able to get ginseng oolong for at least a year, so this was a treat. I’d recommend this without hesitation.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @ 95C, steeped five minutes.

Yeah. I know. Water’s probably too cool. I made the tea in a double-walled glass beaker that can’t take water over 93C, so I;m pushing my luck as it is.

Still, this tisane shuodl have a little more flavour and aroma. Very little scent, and what I do get is of rooibos, not strawberry. I’m glad this blend has no hibiscus, but it does lack something. The rooibos is not woody, but it is flat and nearly tasteless. The flavouring — artificial? natural? fruit0based? the label only says “flavouring” — doesn’t add much.

I don’t enjoy giving poor reviews. This is two in a row for Citizen Tea. Jeez, now I’ve got tea guilt.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @95C, steeped four minutes thirty seconds.

I often steep China black teas in water just off the boil to avoid bitterness, especially in lower-end Yunnans and Keemuns.

It didn’t help. This Golden Monkey disappointed me: bitter and woody. Something like … earth, I think, sort of a dank smoke. I know, that sounds terrible, and I really don’t want to slam this tea. other Yunnan Golden Moneys I’ve tried are lighter, sweeter, and give an enticing scent. This one didn’t have much scent, either. Dang.

I will try this one again with 100C water, but I expect what I object to now will only be stronger with hotter water.

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.

The packet says 100C water —that seems a bit high for an oolong. As it’s been a few years since I could drink a milk oolong, I am very hesitant to rise scalding the leaf with such hot water. So I did 90C.

I’m trying a sample of this for the 2017 Toronto Tea Festival. I signed up as a taster, said I like oolongs, and I and got in, and that meant a lovely box full of oolong samples. My last milk oolong was from DavidsTea, and, sadly, DT had gone to milk-flavoured oolong—not the same thing at all. The flavouring left an odd taste I did not like, and I’ve not tried anyone milk oolong since. I really miss it.

So this is a lovely surprise. I can’t confirm whether this tea has any flavour added. The strong butter notes make me wonder. I hope I’m wrong.

Dry leaf smells very buttery, more butter than cream. Dry leaves are tight-rolled and dark, dull green. Wet leaf after first infusion smells more faintly of butter and of mild green veggies. Wet leaves are a less dull but still dark green.

Liquor: pale gold, as one might see in a white tea. No down. Light to medium body; I expect this will lighten will subsequent infusions. Creamy mouthfeel without being heavy and coating.

Not a sweet milk oolong, but certainly not bitter or harsh. Some distant floral notes in the scent but no floral notes in the taste. Some hints of stone fruit as the liquor cools. Slight mineral finish that I really like. No astringency … but there is a gentle bite on the finish that makes me think of apricots.

This is only my third milk oolong. It’s more complex than I was expecting. I’m looking forward to further infusions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes 15 seconds.

I know, I know: what’s with that criminally long steep time?

I got distracted.

Much longer, and the tea liquor might bite back with a soapiness. It does bite back a little, clinging to the tongue. But that’s okay, because it’s also offering florals and spices and fruit and some faint incense and …

Wow.

A thickness, too, almost creamy. Ginseng notes.

A rewarding tea. I really like this one.

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1.25 tsp in 250mL water @95C, steeped four minutes.

I’ve been really slack with my tea notes. The past spring and summer got wicked busy, and I had a few health issues. Throughout the summer, however, I’ve been thrilled with the Verdant Tea of the Month boxes. The different oolongs are an especial treat for me, and I’ve learned a TON about strip style versus rolled style … and I’m developing a new appreciation for toasty oolongs. I still prefer the lighter, floral ones, but hey, please Verdant, educate me.

That said, I’m reviewing the Wuyi Gongfu Black because it’s the one I drank most recently. I did not expect to enjoy such strong mineral notes with a cocoa-bike back tea, but I did. The mineral notes are almost sweet. I’ve enjoyed this tea while working; its not so arresting that I just sit and think only of the tea. My loss, I expect. Still, a delightful Chinese black tea, gentle yet nuanced.

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Writer and tea fiend. Author of THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

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St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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