Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

I got a sample of this tea a little while ago and just finished it off. Based on when I ordered it, I believe it to be the Winter 2016 crop. The leaves are vibrant and green, and the aroma from them is floral and buttery, with just a bit of a savory character to them.

The tea starts off with mostly vegetal flavors, kind of kale-ish with a buttery texture. The finish is more fruity or floral, and the tea has a mouthwatering sweetness. It is very easy to drink.

As the session went on, I found it getting more juicy and/or crisp, and the finish became more buttery. The tea went on and on and on, easily 16 steeps, maybe up to 20. It seemed like no matter how many times I steeped in in the last half of the session, it just kept on giving a nice and pleasant creamy flavor. Not as flavorful as earlier infusions, but very drinkable and tasty.

This is an awesome green TW oolong. I will definitely be ordering some when I make my next order from BTTC (hopefully soon!).

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Kale, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Didn’t realize this was an iron-pressed cake when I bought a sample of it. Those normally annoy me greatly, but this one wasn’t too bad. It took some work to chip a piece off the sample and then get that piece to break up in my gaiwan, but nowhere near as much as some of these other highly compressed cakes I’ve tried. The aroma after my rinsing didn’t please me too greatly – a bit leathery and acrid with a bit of a camphor-y aroma. Not damp or musty though.

The first steep was a little unpleasant – leathery, cloudy liquor, but there was some pleasant woodiness underneath which gave me hope for the rest of the session. The leaves also look a lot better than most highly compressed tea I’ve seen. Not too great of quality, but not absolutely lawn-mowered.

The rest of the session got better for sure. Mostly woody sweet notes, with maybe a bit of a floral touch in the early part. The texture was milky, but did not really fill my mouth, and the flavor did not linger a long time. I didn’t pick up any qi off of this one either.

Seems to be simple, decent tasting aged sheng. Not a lot going on though, so no chance that this would be a full-cake purchase for me.

Flavors: Leather, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
S.G. Sanders

Mmmmm, lawn mowed tea. :P

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Finished off my sample of this one western style. I didn’t take much of any detailed notes, just what I remember. The first cup was nice and rich, a bit of chocolate, malt, and honey. From this cup alone, I was convinced that Western Style was better for this tea than gongfu, but the rest of the session made me less sure. The tea dropped off a cliff both flavor and intensity-wise after that first steep. It was still good, but more of just a light honey sweetness like when I was brewing it gongfu. Even when I accidentally let the third steep go for nearly 30 minutes!

Seems to be a black tea on the lighter side of things. Easy sipping.

Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Just tried this one for the first time last night – I brewed it up gongfu. Pretty nice looking leaf. It smelled chocolatey and a bit malty when I sniffed the dry leaf. The flavor simple. Just got some honey sweetness and a bit of sweet malt. Pleasant though. No astringency or off-flavors or anything. I’m going to try to brew the second half of my sample Western-style and see if it yields anything more interesting for me.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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88

A Beautiful Taiwan Tea indeed! Nice black tea flavors with plenty of nuttiness and fruit sweetness. Really nice dark caramel notes throughout.

In terms of smokiness, this tea is lightly smoked (by its own admission on the package.) For me, the balance is just right. If you focus, you can pick up wood smoke flavors. Really, though, the smokiness is less of a flavor and more of a backdrop that causes the lighter flavors (like fruitiness) to pop, or adds a depth and richness to darker flavors like caramel.

Tasty stuff.
*
Dry leaf: chocolate, stewed berries, sweet/pungent herbal (licorice or sassafras), malt, peanut. In preheated vessel – chocolate and fruit jam notes prominent, dark caramel.

Smell: roast pecan, dark caramel, malt, fruit jam, stewed berries, wood smoke

Taste: roast pecan, dark caramel, light pine wood. Rich fruit jam (plum, blackberry) aftertaste. “Mincemeat” notes… Smoke notes are present, but not prominent.

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I picked up a small sample of this with my first order from BTTC. It is one of the sweeter shengs I’ve tasted to this point. The dry leaf had a sweet and sugary aroma – it smelled like icing to me. After I rinsed it, the aroma became a little bit less sugary, boasting some sweet floral notes and a bit of a vegetal scent resembling kale.

The flavor was mostly green and floral sweetness. The first steep had a sweeter, almost caramel vibe to the finish, and for a few steeps there was the slightest hint of apricot to the finish. The texture was silky smooth, but not supremely thick. Bitterness was effectively nonexistent in this brew. I accidentally forgot about the tea at one point, allowing it to steep for ~5 minutes well before it was ready for such long steeps, and the resulting brew was decently bitter, but still quite drinkable. For most young sheng, that sort of steep would be undrinkable. With so little bitterness or body to this, I’m not sure it would age into anything of note, but it was a pleasant and easy drinker in its youth.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Green, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81

Here’s my latest sample sipdown. I wanted to break up my oolong binge, so I spent my offtime today working my way through a sample pouch of this Indonesian black tea. I don’t have a ton of experience with Indonesian teas, but I found this to be an approachable, pleasant tea. The only real knock against it for me was its lack of staying power.

After weighing my sample, I discovered that I actually had 12 grams of tea rather than the standard 10, so I prepared this tea two ways. First, I conducted a couple of single steep Western sessions to get me going in the morning. For these, I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. After work, I conducted a gongfu session. After a very quick rinse, I steeped the remaining 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes. To be honest, this session completely fell apart. The tea faded much sooner than anticipated, so I had to adjust my approach in the early goings. Then I got distracted and a 45 second infusion turned into a 1 minute infusion. That’s why there is such a sudden increase in steep times after the 30 second mark. There was supposed to be another infusion in there.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted intriguing aromas of malt, brown toast, caramel, wood, and honey. After the rinse, these scents were joined by subtle spices. The first infusion saw the vague spice scents separate into distinct aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg. I also began to pick up on a hint of chocolate. In the mouth, the liquor was smooth, offering gentle notes of malt, chocolate, caramel, wood, cinnamon, nutmeg, toast, and honey. Subsequent infusions offered stronger honey, caramel, chocolate, malt, toast, and spice notes. The sort of generic, indistinct woodiness was replaced by subtle notes of pine needles, juniper berry, and cedar. Impressions of minerals, cream, marzipan, and mild tobacco also began to emerge. The later infusions washed out quickly, but here it should be noted that when I refer to “later infusions,” I mean everything after the 20 second mark. As I stated earlier, this tea faded quickly. The odd thing was that it didn’t give up the ghost until I decided to blow it out with a 7 minute final infusion, and even then, there was a little left, but not enough to justify pushing onward from there. Anyway, I found these infusions to be dominated by a gentle mineral presence and a dry, nutty maltiness, though there were still faint impressions of caramel, toast, wood, and tobacco in the background.

The Western infusions were a little different. They were even smoother and gentler, offering pronounced honey, chocolate, malt, toast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel aromas and flavors. I didn’t get the strong woodiness of the gongfu session nor did I note cream, tobacco, and marzipan. There was, however, a subtle mineral presence toward the finish.

After trying this tea two ways, I came to the conclusion that this one worked better Western style for me. This tea did not have a ton of longevity, so using it in a lengthy gongfu session was not particularly satisfying. It also did not change much, further limiting the enjoyment I got out of it when I tried it gongfu. This tea was described as a daily drinker by the vendor, so I doubt it was ever intended for such a treatment in the first place. I still felt the need to try it though. Overall, this tea was nice. I loved the flavor profile, and unlike the previous reviewer, I did not note much in the way of astringency. I could see this tea being great for daily use, but I do have to knock it a little since I feel that it is not all that much of a bargain, especially when one factors in its inherent lack of longevity and versatility.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Malt, Marzipan, Mineral, Nutmeg, Pine, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Popped a bag of this open a couple weeks ago to compare with the “Old Style” Dong Ding from the same vendor. While the “Old Style” might have more complexity, I appreciate the slightly increased flavor potency afforded by the baking/roasting – it’s a reasonable trade-off:

Filtered Santa Monica municipal water, to glass cha hai, to my Taiwanese purple clay tea-pot (mostly used for heavy roast oolong), back to the glass cha hai, into my porcelain cup.

Pleasant, sweet, slightly vegetal aroma post-rinse.

3 steeps at 45 seconds: Amber liquor; hay, paraffin, roast nuts, butter bean, and toasted honey in the nose and on the palate – floral/herbal notes emerge in the finish, which is surprisingly long and satisfying. The lingering sweetness reminds me of custard.

6 more steeps, gradually extending from 60 seconds out to 3 minutes: As above but the character of the aftertaste settles down to a more unified note (reminding me of fennel pollen), and the color gradually becomes both lighter and more drab. This remains drinkable for a long time, with day-old leaves giving you a few more steeps the following morning, the flavors diminished but not lost, flattened but not disordered…

Similar to the Old Style Dong Ding, but exchanging some of the subtle complexity for a bit more longevity…well balanced and gentle, but not too light.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML

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80

Over the weekend, I came to the realization that I still have far too many tea samples lying around the house. I get bored with things pretty quickly, so I tend to mostly order samples rather than larger amounts of tea. Rather than keeping the amount of tea on hand low, however, I just end up with mountains of 10 gram samples. So, I am now working feverishly toward reducing the number of tea samples I have. I started working on this one last night and finished the last of it this morning before going to work. I found it to be an interesting oolong, but I do not think it would be something I would want to have on a regular basis.

I tried preparing this tea two ways. First, I conducted a three step Western session in which I steeped 4 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 195 F water for 2, 3, and finally 5 minutes. I was not impressed by the results. I was expecting strong aromas and flavors due to the amount of leaf I was using, but the liquor was very mild and subtle each time. I then used the remaining 6 grams for a gongfu session. After a very quick rinse, I steeped what I had left in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by infusions of 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. The results were much more interesting this time around, so I will be limiting this review to a description of the results of this session only.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted subtle aromas of honey, cream, cinnamon, and grass. There was a floral presence too that I could not identify. After the rinse, I detected clear aromas of lilac, hyacinth, lily, and honeysuckle. The cream, cinnamon, and grass were still there, but I also began to catch hints of spring honey and vanilla frosting. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet, though the vanilla frosting, cinnamon, honey, and floral aromas were stronger. They were also now joined by hints of saffron and coriander. In the mouth, however, the liquor was extremely mild. Flavors of cream, butter, grass, cinnamon, and vanilla frosting were evident and there were traces of flowers and honey toward the finish, but not much else. Subsequent infusions saw the honeysuckle, lily, lilac, and hyacinth appear somewhat more clearly on the palate while the already noted impressions of cinnamon, butter, cream, vanilla frosting, and grass strengthened. The coriander and saffron arrived as well. I also noted the emergence of impressions of hay, cucumber, beeswax, and an indistinct nuttiness. Interestingly enough, the tea, despite its complexity, was dominated by a clean, pure honey tone that sat atop the other aromas and flavors. The final infusions briefly featured clean, pure honey notes, but were soon dominated by cream, butter, grass, and a mineral presence that emerged later than anticipated. At points, I thought I could detect cinnamon and vanilla frosting lingering in the background.

This was a very complex oolong, but the dominant honey impressions made it seem lighter and simpler than it was. Fans of very honeyed aromas and flavors would probably love it, but I was hoping to see the honey integrate more with the other aromas and flavors. Still, this was a quality tea (glancing at the lovely, full leaves was confirmation of that) and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a respectable high mountain oolong. It just was not what I was expecting. In the end, I liked it, but it did not offer what I tend to look for in Ali Shan oolongs.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Frosting, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Saffron, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
teepland

I always enjoy reading your reviews—you have so much detail in them. Very helpful!

eastkyteaguy

As always, thank you for the kind words.

Evol Ving Ness

I second that. Thank you for the care and effort you take in your reviews. Much appreciated.

Daylon R Thomas

Third that. They are helpful, especially for oolongs because people tend to use the same descriptors for them after a while whereas you are much more specific.

CrowKettle

I love your reviews too. Next time I get in head to go on an oolong shopping spree I’m giving them their much deserved weight :)

Daylon R Thomas

Wow, thanks! People do better reviews for their favorite types of tea anyway lol.

CrowKettle

eastkyteaguy & Daylon R Thomas: currently my main references for everything oolong related.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the feedback.

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From the Puerh Tea TTB. with this one I couldn’t get past the wet storage taste. The taste of wet wood was just too much for me. It lasted even into the tenth steep.

I brewed this ten times in a 75ml teapot with 5.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute.

Flavors: Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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92

Oh man, I have plowed through so much tea today. I went out of my way to squeeze in a gongfu session with this oolong earlier in the evening. I had been meaning to try this one for some time. I wish I had not put it off for so long because I found this to be a very nice tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I detected mild aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, sweetgrass, and fresh flowers on the nose. After the rinse, I detected stronger vanilla, cream, and butter scents coupled with custard and considerably more defined aromas of orchid, lilac, violet, and honeysuckle. The first infusion produced a similar aroma that also began to reveal hints of cucumber and citrus. In the mouth, I mostly detected vanilla, cream, butter, custard, and sweetgrass balanced by touches of flowers and cucumber. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of cinnamon, pear, tangerine, green apple, and pineapple, as well as what struck me briefly as a mix of coconut, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Minerals also began to emerge on several of these infusions. The later infusions displayed a stronger mineral presence, but remained mostly savory, somewhat vegetal, and smooth. Hints of fruit and flowers were still detectable in the background at points.

This was a nice oolong. It had a ton of character and depth. The fruitiness and the strong savory notes, in particular, were impossible for me to dislike. If you are a fan of Taiwanese oolongs, this one is definitely worth trying.

Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Cinnamon, Citrus, Coconut, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Pineapple, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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82

Comparing this to the winter 2016 unroasted Yushan available from BTTC.

So, what’s the difference in terms of taste? First, there is a definite charcoal flavor in the roasted version. Think charcoal briquette. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s there.

Second, the floral, vegetal, and herbal notes in the arrival of the unroasted version are not there. The arrival of the roasted version is a vague nuttiness with the phenolic notes of the charcoal roast. The salty umami of the unroasted version is also muted in the roasted version.

Finally, the finish and aftertaste are slightly different. The unroasted has a thick fruitiness while the roasted has a bit more tang to it – more citrus and lemongrass notes, even a little medicinal notes in it.

So, overall, it seems the roast does not add much to it. The nuttiness is vague and does not develop on the palate. The charcoal notes are interesting, but not delicious. The more interesting notes of the green version are muted or not present.

I’ve noticed this with several roasted Taiwanese teas, with the roasted versions being more ho-hum than the greens. The strange thing is that I love me some Wu Yi oolongs, and generally don’t drink much green oolong. But, as far as Taiwanese teas are concerned, the green versions have significantly more depth.
*
Dry leaf: peanut shell, dry chocolate, cocoa powder, Mexican chocolate, dill, parsley. In preheated vessel: more nuttiness and syrupy honey sweetness present.

Smell: charcoal briquette, soy/lima bean, buttery and sweet veg – sort of like glazed carrots

Taste: roast nut, peanut shell, charcoal, marine saltiness and umami. Some cilantro and parsley notes. Citrus, lemongrass, cherry, and cherry cough drop (Smith Brothers) in aftertaste.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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90

[Review of 2016 winter harvest]

This is quite a complex tea. It starts off with sort of the usual herbal/vegetal things you have with green oolongs, then, WHAM! You get hit with some serious savory notes. There was a strong marine saltiness that showed up. Not unpleasant, but very strong and very present. As salt does, however, it highlighted the top notes and made the sweetness pop in the after taste.

If you have ever put salt on honeydew melon to help highlight the flavors and sweetness, then you will really dig this tea. Same kind of experience going on.

So, have I ever put salt on melon like some kind of weirdo? Heck yeah, and it’s awesome. This tea is unapologetic in its flavors, which I like, and it rewards you with a prolonged, serious fruity aftertaste. Great experience.
*
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Dry leaf: very herbal – dill, parsley, coriander, hints of floral-honey notes. In preheated vessel – roasted corn and vegetal notes appear, thick honey and honeysuckle sweetness.

Smell: coriander, dill, sea water/salt/marine, honeydew melon, hints of peach

Taste:
ARRIVAL – herbal – dill, parsley, vegetal/floral
DEVELOPMENT – salty, marine umami, nori. The saltiness is not a background note, it is full-on salt flavor in the mouth. Melon notes develop
FINISH – salted honeydew melon, mint
AFTERTASTE – thick with honeydew melon, fresh peach, and peach-flavored gummy candy. Lemongrass and coconut. Mint herbal hangs around for a while too.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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96

The smell coming from the wet leaves of this tea is similar to an Assam black tea with a little bit more sweetness in the back of the tea with some spices as well. I did a question ck wash to open the tea up despite it being only semi rolled/twisted. The first steep came in quite minty which I was not expecting but is delicious. This tea tastes like a minty Assamica that has a lot of sweetness behind it. It has quite a bit of complexity and is completely delicious! I would love to get my hands on some more of this tea as I only received a sample of this but it is absolutely delicious. You like darker oblongs with quite a bit of body, complexity and flavor that this is the tea for you. It does not taste very roasted at all so if you don’t like smokiness don’t worry.

Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Mint

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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86

Very smooth, yet powerful tea. Stewed figs, with a little fresh peeled bark taste to the mouth. Medium thickness to the tongue and lots of flavor towards the front of the mouth. Definitely hydrating. Calming and strong energy to the arms.

Flavors: Bark, Dried Fruit, Fig, Goji, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 11 g 20 OZ / 600 ML

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Thank you so much Andrew!

I was curious about these. I had a feeling they would be a cross between a Jing Mai Sheng and an Oriental Beauty, and they were. I played with this one starting out with short steeps, then lengthened time to three minutes after steep three, then five minutes. It could get a little astringent, but barely. The texture was very smooth, and the taste was dominantly floral with a sweet-sour like apricot fruitiness. It definitely leaned more Jing Mai then oolong for me, but it had the cleaner and smoother body of an oolong overall. The orb also lasted me the day, so you can play ball for it nearly as long as you like.

Sad news though: my glass gaiwan, my only gaiwan broke because the glass was cold from the forty degree weather seeping into the house going against hot water for a rinse. I rinse my utensils for the very reason of warming them up and not breaking them. Hopefully I can find a new one because Gaiwans really make the difference in the quality of my teas.

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I got this as part of the Liquid Proust 2017 regional oolong group buy.

I used 10g steeped at 190. No rinse, first steep was 30 seconds, then 20 for steep two.

Although it is a rolled oolong it opened up straight away. The smell of the wet leaf is hard for me to place. I get strong savory notes, with floral sweetness underneath.

The taste, classic floral notes, green grass, spring day.

I will definitely be purchasing more of this tea.

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Floral

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I liked the green Yushan, but I’m prejudiced. This oolong would probably store better anyway.

Shorter steeps Gong Fu worked best for me by starting at around 15 seconds and slowly adding to that range to emphasize the fruit. I also had to catch it while it was hotter to get the fruit and florals that I would want. The roast was pretty obvious and the tea was fairly savory bordering on butter toast or squash, but it was fruitier than I expected with honey in its profile. Some florals popped up though the roast dominated the tea. This took some skill to get a good balance between the more green elements and the more savory ones.

I’ll write another note. I still love me a good Da Hong Pao and Yan Cha-heck, I prefer them to many blacks for dark teas, but I still prefer greener oolongs to drink more often than dark ones. This one specifically was more medium in roast which I like, being very similar to a Dong Ding in more than one way-especially in the nutty fruity thing it had going on. I enjoyed it, but it would not be a go to tea for me.

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85

I received this tea from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy hosted by Liquid Proust

I tasted this side by side with the un-roasted “sister tea” in a nice long session with a friend who is new to oolong, I will include comparison notes as well as reviewing the un-roasted tea. Both are brewed 5g of leaf in 200ml glass teapots with 190F water and 30 second infusion times (taking into account the ~10 second pour)

The dry leaf smells like a light-medium charcoal roast with a suprisingly strong floral scent, must stronger than the un-roasted tea. The teapot lid smells of dandelions and honey by an old campfire where only ashes remain.

The liquor brews up a delightful gold with a bit more opacity than the un-roasted tea. The smell is again like a field of dandelions. The taste is very good, sweet with notes of caramel and burnt sugar moving into a edamame like savory taste. The mouth-feel is thick and creamy with notable cooling effects upon inhalation.

Steeps two and three loose progressively more floral taste and sweetness in favor of the savory notes. It tastes like grilled zucchini or a fresh miso soup, and the mouth-feel is getting thinner as well.

Steep four tastes like roasted walnuts and has an oily consistency that it keeps until steep 10 developing into butter notes around steep 7. The tea was quite pleasant to drink throughout the session, but the first three were the best.

The charcoal roasted tea is notably more savory than it’s un-roasted partner, although the roasting seems to have increased the floral aroma. While not quite as good at first; the charcoal roasted tea holds good flavor for much longer than the un-roasted and was notably more complex. The un-roasted tea was a bit one note (although that note was glorious)

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Char, Dandelion, Honey, Roasted nuts, Soybean, Walnut, Zucchini

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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88

I received this tea from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy hosted by Liquid Proust

I tasted this side by side with the charcoal roasted “sister tea” in a nice long session with a friend who is new to oolong, I will include comparison notes as well as reviewing the charcoal roasted tea. Both are brewed 5g of leaf in 200ml glass teapots with 190F water and 30 second infusion times (taking into account the ~10 second pour)

The dry leaf is more subdued than I would have thought with a strong and biting oolong scent and not much else. The teapot lid carried an extremely strong floral scent with more strong oolong notes.

The liquor brews up a stunning gold color like a freshly filtered apple juice and smells like a meadow of wildflowers and grass that has just been mowed down with their scent still thick in the air. The taste is what really took me aback… before this I didn’t really see what the fuss was about the floral oolongs fetching high prices, I have had floral tea before I figured it was just a pretty common tasting note, I was dead wrong. This is ambrosia truly the nectar of the gods I am drinking. The pure sweet floral taste with hints of fresh honey and beeswax made me exclaim out loud how wonderful it is, and the rest of my group could not stop talking about this infusion. The mouthfeel is like a thin broth with an excellent lasting sweetness.

The second infusion was a pale comparison of that first taste with the same general notes but a bit of orange zest sourness coming through. The third infusion loses a bit of sourness and keeps mostly the same. Steep four is much more buttery and grassy getting progressively fruitier and less flavorful until it died at steep 10.

Overall this is a great tea; however, you trade longevity for amazing tasting early steeps. Maybe this is a tea that would be better western style to really bring out the early notes, as after steep three it wasn’t a tea I was fond of, but before that it was amazing.

The charcoal roasted “sister tea” is more muted early on; however, I was able to take it all the way to steep 10 and still enjoy it. The roasting mellowed out the floral notes, but made an overall sweeter more well rounded tea. It also had significantly more umami flavors and more cooling.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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88

[Review of either spring or winter 2016 batch]

A toasty little tea. It’s like you’re sitting around a campfire, and one person is roasting some pecans and another is lighting marshmallows on fire and blowing them out just in time to achieve that flambe-marshmallow goodness. Put toasted pecans and flambeed marshmallows together, and I would say you have this tea.

There are a few other notes in there, especially some red fruit. It’s quite a rich experience. The nuttiness is noticeable from the get-go. However, the sweetness of the marshmallow, toffee,and caramel notes balances the roasted nuttiness quite well.

A wonderful, interesting experience. A bit expensive (for me) for a black tea, but the quality is excellent. Also, the sweet notes in this tea are unlike any other black tea I have tried.
*
Dry leaf – grassy, dry floral, like dried flowers; some darker notes – black currant, hints of dry chocolate. In preheated vessel – nutty caramel, roast pecans, rich buttery caramel, some red berry notes

Smell – roasted pecans, buttery caramel, toffee chocolate bar, red currant, fresh cherry

Taste – heavily roasted almonds and pecans, fire-toasted (blackened) marshmallow, buttery caramel, hints red currant and fresh cherry (particularly in aftertaste)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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91

This is a good tea. I took a 10g sample and spread it out over three sessions with my trusty little 60ml gaiwan. Each session brought out significantly new and different notes.
The more I became familiar with the tea, the more it surprised me. And that, my friends, is a good tea. This is a tea to explore, with lots of flavors hiding in little nooks and crannies.

In general, it is very similar to a black/red tea (specifically a Taiwanese black), with a bit of slightly aged leafy white tea. It’s nutty and fruity and caramely. But the flavors behind these foreground flavors are where things got interesting: oatmeal cookie, cherry-chocolate, that weird “mulberry” note that I noted in other Taiwanese black teas… Quite a busy, but complementary, flavor profile.

The price is reasonable for the experience it provides.
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Dry leaf – currants, honey floral, light floral (lavender?), dried dates, Fig Newton, mulberry, dark syrup. In preheated vessel – intense plum and honey notes; red tea-like prune notes

Smell – floral, sweet and perfumey, green leaf and green stem, dry nuttiness – roasted peanut and peanut shell, a certain sweet and floral waxiness (“mulberry”), date, toffee

Taste – NUT: almond nut and peanut shell, nice dryness; FRUIT: prune, mulberry, waxy fruitiness, date, fig jam; SWEET: honey, malt, oatmeal cookie, dark toffee, light milk chocolate, cherry hard candy

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Western leftovers.

My need for green oolong is starting become more desperate. As for this, I’m not sure if I would make it my daily green oolong yet. The first steep western was grassy and bitter with a few clean florals. The later two steeps were much more my speed with florals and tropical fruit, especially after it cooled down. This is still great quality for the price and one of my favorites of the group buy, but I am biased.

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