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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m dipping a little further into the backlog than I have lately with this one, as I finished my sample pouch of this tea somewhere between early and mid-November. It seems that I have more unposted reviews from last month and the first week of this month than I realized. With the semester over I can now get cracking on clearing out the backlog that has accumulated over the past month and a half, so I should hopefully have things more or less caught up by the end of the year. Anyway, this was an excellent Dian Hong, and that should not come as much of a surprise to those familiar with Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s offerings. Despite their primary focus being on Taiwanese oolongs, they do have a history of sourcing quality black teas and oolongs from Yunnan Province.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of raisin, prune, cedar, tobacco, malt, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, cocoa, cream, and butter accompanying a stronger malt scent. The first infusion introduced scents of roasted peanut and baked bread. Once in the mouth, the tea liquor revealed notes of malt, raisin, prune, cedar, tobacco, and baked bread that were balanced by pleasant honey undertones. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of cinnamon, cocoa, orange zest, black pepper, caramel, vanilla, and eucalyptus. Strong butter and cream impressions as well as subtler notes of roasted almond and roasted peanut emerged in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, black pepper, eucalyptus, cocoa, and brown sugar. At this point, I should note, however, that as the tea gradually and gracefully faded, the liquor settled into a groove where it consistently offered mineral, eucalyptus, cream, malt, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and baked bread notes that were accented by hints of honey, cinnamon, cedar, and black pepper.
This was one of those teas that I could not help but rate highly because there was nothing off about it. In my opinion, it offered everything that one would expect of a great Dian Hong. There was nothing strange or lacking, nothing out of place. This was just an expertly crafted tea that produced a wonderful drinking experience. I have no problem with recommending this one highly to fans of Dian Hong or anyone just looking for a quality black tea.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Tobacco, Vanilla
Here’s another tea I had gotten halfway through taking notes on until I visited this page only to see eastkyteaguy had yet another spot-on review for something I was drinking. Almost every aroma and flavor he noted I picked up on except the menthol. At one point, there was an addition of cinnamon to the aroma and at times toward the end, the dark honey notes seemed to mingle with some light molasses.
I approached this tea a little differently than him, using a 150 mL gaiwan (which was nice
to use again and made me look forward to next spring’s green teas!) and started with
200F water with a rinse and steeps of 30 seconds. Once the ball opened up about halfway, I increased the water temperature to just off boiling to see how it would perform when pushed. The tea was steadfast in its presentation, budging not toward bitterness and maintaining its light astringency. After I got through 7 steeps at 30 seconds, I was too caffeinated to continue, so into a pint jar the leaves went and into the refrigerator. I’ll see how that turns out tomorrow.
I’m not fond of honey-flavored teas but for some reason, the honey notes in aged/aging
whites I find desirable. This tea was a good example of the style even in its dragon ball
format. It’s a forgiving tea that’s full of sweet, fruity, floral, nutty and slight savory aromas and flavors and it possesses an ease of brewing, making me think it would appeal to a range of drinkers.
Another one of the samples I got from derk, this is exactly what I was craving today.
I haven’t tried the unroasted version, so I don’t have a point of comparison, but to me it seems like a very careful roast. It is not overpowering at all. The tea has full body and beautiful floral fragrance. I found it to be very refreshing in the mouth, cooling in the throat and body warming. The mouthfeel is bubbly, thick and soft.
The taste has a decent balance, but verges on the umami side. It has vegetal qualities of bamboo shoots, savouriness not unlike egg yolk and slightly sour, yoghurt-like, finish. Of course, there are also notes from the roast, but I dind’t find any of them to stand out too much. I feel like the roast created a very nice robust base, but at the same time preserved a lot of the character of the tea. The aftertaste is one of the most interesting I have experienced – I get an aroma of lavender (and eggs), throat-feeling of menthol and taste of sage. It is also super long and over time evolves into more sweet domain.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bamboo, Butter, Herbs, Lavender, Menthol, Mint, Roasted, Sage, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal, Yogurt
Teapot time. 5g, 100mL, 195F, 10s rinse (drank) and 10 loosely timed steeps of 10/15/20/25/30/35/45s and 1/2/5m.
Unknown harvest, first ever Taiwanese tieguanyin. This was a very complex tea and I found it difficult to form an entire picture of its characteristics so in this note, I’m focusing on aromas and tastes.
Dry leaf smelled surprisingly fruity and cool given this was roasted. There were also hints of roasted peanut and dark green vegetal. Warmed leaf produced very strong aromas of roasted peanut, dark chocolate, orchid? and marine. Rinsing the leaf really opened up the profile. It was strongly pungent, something like tomato sauce, sweetened collards and roast strangely turning into plum, purple raisin, dark chocolate and a hint of pineapple. Again it changed, ending with dark-roast coffee, collards, brown sugar and more pronounced pineapple.
Because of the unfolding nature of the rinsed leaf scent, I continued to sniff the leaves every steep and found them to be consistently strong in aroma with evolutions of charcoal, wood, brown sugar, dark chocolate, pomegranate, stewed greens, roasted grains, roasted peanut, wet wheat and mango. The liquor also was very fragrant, mostly with notes of light fruitiness, chocolate, marshmallow, roasted peanut and brown sugar. It reminded me a lot of the Charcoal-Roasted Yushan aroma. The bottom of the cup smelled like brown sugar throughout. With all that said, obviously the fragrance of this tea is very engaging and a highlight for me.
Moving onto the liquor. It remained fairly consistent and strong in flavor in the first three steeps, starting with kind of an oyster-seawater-seaweed and banana leaf on the sip, turning into pine, vanilla, salt, brown sugar and peanut. The second steep saw the addition of an unripe mango aftertaste. The mouthfeel was interesting. I’ve read in numerous reviews about teas with a powdery mouthfeel and this was the first time I experienced such a texture. That and a moderate astringency lasted the entire session.
Banana leaf came in heavier on the third steep and turned into green banana, persisting until the end. I also noted a strong cooling sensation, especially felt in my ears. By the fourth steep, the marine notes faded and there were additions of molasses, coffee and minerals. As the session progressed, the prominent tastes moved around a bit, with butter and rice, unripe mango, roasted chestnut, grapefruit, bubblegum and a metallic tone. In the end, the liquor became very astringent and ended with a pronounced butter. Aftertastes ranged from strong banana leaf/green banana to fermented fruit and buttered green vegetables.
As I said before, this was a very complex tea. Even though it seems there was a weird assemblage of robust aromas and tastes, they all flowed together really well. It was strangely cool and warm, marine, fruity, starchy, vegetal, savory, and salty. All of this together made for a session that really captured my attention and focus. I’m glad this was my introduction to Taiwanese tieguanyin and I’m really looking forward to dipping into the few others I have in my collection.
Is everyone ready for a potentially controversial tea review? I finished a sample pouch of this tea back around the end of the first week in September, but I purposefully put off posting a review until now. I know that this tea did not get the most consistent reviews here on Steepster, but man, did I love it! This was one of the best and most interesting white teas I have tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 22 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, 12 minutes, 16 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of malt, black pepper, pine, cedar, tobacco, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted nuts, cream, and marshmallow that were underscored by a subtle sugarcane scent. The first infusion brought out more of a sugarcane scent along with some indistinct hints of stone fruit. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, pine, cedar, tobacco, cream, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of marshmallow, sugarcane, and black pepper. Surprising impressions of caramel, honey, and eucalyptus lingered in the mouth after the swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of eucalyptus, caramel, ginger, hay, oats, apricot, and plum. Notes of ginger, oats, minerals, vanilla, apricot, plum, butter, wheat toast, and hay appeared in the mouth along with somewhat stronger impressions of honey and caramel. The final few infusions emphasized surprisingly resilient, well-defined impressions of minerals, marshmallow, malt, cedar, roasted almond, black pepper, and tobacco that were chased by fleeting notes of ginger, hay, honey, caramel, and eucalyptus.
Like I said earlier, this was an interesting white tea. It had a ton to offer, and I think that patient and open-minded tea drinkers would likely get a kick out of it. Hopefully, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company will bring this one back soon.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cream, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Hay, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Oats, Pine, Plums, Sugarcane, Toast, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wheat
I finished this 10g sample pouch of what I think is Spring 2018 harvest. Kind of. By throwing it out.
So… this tea does not play well with long steeps gongfu. It tasted pretty good in the first steep, light-bodied and oily with minerals, salt and a playful lemon but entered bad territory very quickly in the second steep with the leaf smelling very sulfuric with eggs and peanut and butter. Tastes of florals including lilac along with some kale and fresh sugarcane. But it was weirdly bitter with a an overripe honeydew aftertaste that did NOT mix well with the sweetness and florals. By the third steep I made an audible ‘Eugh.’ and the aftertaste was like buttered, nearly rotten winter squash. Like wtf?? Into the compost with you, you bad leaf.
So… stick with short steeps. Plenty of florals in the mouth early on, and with the swallow some lemon water followed by light saltiness. There was a weird fleeting aftertaste of potting soil with the first steep, but I could look past that. The liquor continued to stay pretty light in taste with some vegetal coming forward and light astringency that lasted. The aftertastes were the most prominent part of the tea with a good mix of butter, fresh sugarcane and fresh florals (my guess would be iris) with an addition of coconut cream?, changing into light pineapple, then banana leaf and ending on light peach. Around the fourth steep, the buttery taste became quite prominent and the liquor had an accompanying slipperiness in the mouth and on my lips. The last few steeps ended with tastes of corn and light butter.
Idk man, this tea was all over the place and although it started off nicely it became totally unbalanced. I’d be scared to brew it western :x
Edit: just to add to the confusion, the dry leaf was wonderfully fragrant with a strong pine nut note I wish showed up in the flavor.
Teapot time :) Spring 2018 harvest (I think).
5g, 100mL, 195F, short rinse followed by 8 steeps at 10/15/20/25/30/45/60/90s
This has to be one of the most pleasant high mountain oolongs I’ve come across thus far.
The dry leaf was very fragrant with savory, floral and sweet notes. In the warmed leaf, I think I could identify the savory note as buttered pumpkin, sweet cream and honeydew almost overripe. The florals I recognized were very sweet lilac, honeysuckle and faint orchid. These all became more apparent with the rinse.
The tea started out fragrant and full of flavor with tastes of minerals, vanilla, cream, butter, grass, strong but not overwhelming florals, light pumpkin. As the tastes lightened from the fourth steep on, I caught additions of sweetened coconut, then pineapple followed by lemon water and ending on a light, dark green vegetal note.
The dynamic aftertastes were a highlight of this tea. Very nice floral, sweet and buttered winter squash aftertaste on the first steep that made me go ‘Wow.’ That transitioned into a stronger floral fruitiness with some faint cooling, followed by green apple, to salt and pear, peach and finally ending with a nice mineral savoriness. The liquor was smooth and light throughout, producing a good amount of salivation, though I did notice a little bit of scratchiness in my throat.
I like that this tea didn’t have a noticeable energy, just a really pleasant delivery of tastes and transitions. Neither a floral nor vegetal bomb. It may not appeal to those who aren’t fans of minerals or saltiness but for me this tea had everything I could need: savory, sweet, floral, fruity, minerals, and a barely perceptible astringency.
This tea invokes an imagery association within me more than it pushes me to analyze its aromas and flavors. I feel like a butterfly recently metamorphosed and sipping wildflower-scented dew in the sun. I don’t put any stock into that feeling, meaning this tea is no better because of the imagery. It’s definitely the lightest of the three Lishan I’ve tried recently. More lemon mineral water that induces salivation, asian pear and honeydew. Some very light vegetal, nothing pronounced. Thick but not very sweet. Florals are present, stronger in the nose than in the mouth, like I can smell them on the breeze but don’t have my face buried in a bouquet. Barely any astringency. Could be a good daily drinker due to its lightness and it performs well both gongfu and western. I can’t say I’m inclined to purchase more. Somebody with a more refined palate might appreciate more than I do.
I think it’s Spring 2018 harvest based on website info but the envelope has no date.
Finally, the last of my freebies from a BTTC order. Since I don’t care much for honey blacks, I kept 3g of this to sample before forwarding the remaining 25g to a friend who enjoyed it.
I’m not sure when this tea was produced. Gone gaiwan, 3g, 60mL, 205F, short rinse that I ended up drinking followed by 9 steeps at 10/15/15/20/25/35/45/60/90s.
Dry leaf smelled like faint beeswax, warmed had the addition of honey and wood. Rinsed leaf settled back to wood with faint honey. This was a very smooth red-orange liquor with gentle sweetness, complementary tannins and no bitterness to be found. It started off strong in taste with mostly honey and cinnamon (just like those cinnamon honey sticks) with a fruity backing and undertones of nutmeg, green beans and herbs. As the session progressed, the cinnamon, nutmeg and herbs faded and the wood in the wet leaf came forward with the addition of some minerality. The tea faded away gently. Spent leaves were very healthy looking.
I think this would be a great tea for people new to loose leaf, especially brewed western style and possibly in a thermos. It’s good but the rating reflects my rather non-existent preference for honey blacks.
Well, I screwed this one up early on between oversteeping and not knocking down the temp fast enough. I started off with the suggested minute-long soak in boiling water (which produced a drinkable cup) and lowered the temp only slightly with each steep until I realized it was still too damn high. Finally got down to 190 and decided that was good.In the beginning, even while the tea was kicking my ass with bitterness and astringency, the liquor was thick and sweet with a light mushroom brothiness, some unplaced fruit, cherry, plum, unplaced herbs, minerals, light apricot, walnut/walnut skin tannins, very light floral incense and faint butter and caramel. I’m glad I kept pushing. After the onslaught due to tea abuse subsided, there was an after party featuring crazy date sweetness in the back of my mouth and a pleasing sourness on the sides of my tongue. Lasted a good 11 steeps even with my screw-ups. Sparkling, clear orange liquor with a pink tint.
I think if you pay attention to this tea, you’ll get the right amount of bitterness and astringency. I wish I had more :/
EDIT I wanted to add, if you do buy these, buy more than 1 (unlike me) so you can play around and find the water temperature and steep times that produce your favored cup. I can see it being light if you’re not the type of person to push your brews, but it also has the ability to be darker and quite complex.
This was yet another June sipdown. I only had a 10g sample pouch of this tea, and if memory serves, I drank it sometime around the end of the third week in June. I’ve developed a greater appreciation for Taiwanese black teas over the course of this year, and I was itching to try this one because it was a black tea from the heart of Baozhong country. I found it to be an excellent if often subtle black tea, one that was more or less perfect for afternoon or evening sipping.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, wood, and straw. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of baked bread and roasted almond. The first infusion then introduced a definite scent of pine as well as roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, straw, pine, roasted peanut, baked bread, and roasted almond. Subsequent infusions offered new aromas of butter, cream, and caramel, though later in the session, I began to note a clean mineral presence on the nose coupled with a petrichor-like quality. Notes of minerals, cedar, and cinnamon appeared in the mouth along with subtle hints of date, raisin, and sweet potato. The later infusions emphasized mineral, pine, cream, and roasted almond impressions that were underscored by lingering honey and raisin hints.
This was a smooth black tea with particularly pleasant woody, nutty, creamy, buttery, and fruity qualities. Due to it being so mellow and lacking noticeable bitterness and astringency, I could see it making a wonderful introduction to Taiwanese black teas for the curious drinker. Though some of Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s recent black tea offerings have been hit or miss for me, I was impressed by this one.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cream, Dates, Honey, Mineral, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Straw, Sweet Potatoes
This is the third of four freebies that came with my tea order. Thanks.
Well tea friends, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, consider me a goner. Mastress Alita might still have my address. Feel free to alert the authorities. I have no idea what’s in this herbal tea but one would hope BTTC isn’t trying to pluck off their customer base. I ate a whole frozen pizza for dinner and I’m drinking down samples and ends-of-stash, so naturally this ‘Skinny Tea’ was my last pick of the night, lol.
1 bag to 160z of boiling water, steeped forever. Brews a dark amber. Smells like somebody drizzled golden syrup on a wet carpet remnant, no joke. As time goes on, the syrupy smell gets darker and thicker. They say to drink it once it’s cooled but I’m bucking suggestion. Tastes like wet carpet soaked in golden syrup. Reallly sweet like stevia in the back of the mouth. This might be as sweet as Verdant’s Gan Zao Ye but thicker. Going down quicker than anticipated. Ohh it’s getting strongly minty. Nice. The end tastes the same but with a major dose of green bell pepper. What the hell is in this bag? Has anybody tried mangosteen fruit before? I wonder what it tastes like.
No rating because not on the website.
EDIT: I am alive and well rested. I actually quite enjoyed the flavor despite the wet carpet smell. The syrup quality was satisfying and it ended up tasting kind of red-fruity. The green bell pepper at the end was not off-putting and provided an interesting savory note. I’d purchase more if I knew what was in it; I am hesitant to buy herbal teas without ingredients listed. Even then that is no guarantee that non-standardized and untested herbal blends coming directly from any location do not contain potentially life-threatening ingredients.
Here is yet another tea review from the backlog, this one coming to you from mid-late June. Like many of the black teas I have tried from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, I found this to be a quality offering, though I do have to admit that I have had better and more memorable teas of this type. I found this particular tea to be very mild, mellow, and smooth and unfortunately somewhat lacking in the expected assamica punchiness.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, honey, toast, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted nuts, butter, and cream. The first infusion introduced a more definite roasted peanut scent and a little woodiness to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, toast, butter, honey, roasted peanut, wood, roasted walnut, and sweet potato. Subsequent infusions brought subtle aromas of cocoa, brown sugar, and molasses to the nose. New notes of molasses, orange zest, raisin, brown sugar, cocoa, and minerals appeared in the mouth alongside a subtle earthiness and hints of fig. The final infusions emphasized lingering malt, mineral, cream, wood, and orange zest notes that were underscored by traces of cocoa, roasted walnut, and brown sugar.
As mentioned in my introductory paragraph, this was a very mild, mellow black tea. It lacked bitterness and astringency in the mouth, making it very easy to drink. I also noted that the leaves were gorgeous; indeed, this tea was obviously the result of a high quality picking. Unfortunately, this tea was also just not that memorable to experience. It failed to leave much of an impression on me. I enjoyed it while I was drinking it, but aside from its ridiculous smoothness, it did not stand out much from some of the other teas of this type I have tried.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fig, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Walnut, Wood
When purchasing teaware from BTTC, proceed with caution. Get all the information you can, including return policy, before making the purchase.
This is both a review of the teapot and my experience with the vendor.
Ah. So, I had been looking for 2 years for a teapot when one finally caught my eye. This one was it. I had recently passed a brutal Calculus 3 six-week summer session and decided to reward myself with my first ever teapot purchase.
First the pot. I received a beautiful matte black clay teapot, not nearly as striking as the blue metallic finish pictured. It feels great in my hand, is a good thickness for high mountain oolongs (as in it won’t cook them or release heat too quickly) and rarely leaks when the hole in the lid is covered. Even when filled full with water, as the lid is placed no liquid comes out the top. The pot has an internal filter that allows for a 7-second pour both with only liquid and with expanded leaf. The pour cuts off instantly with no drips as soon as the pot is tipped back. The hand-pressed detail on the sides is amazing. The artist’s name is carved into the bottom along with the year of crafting.
Which was awesome and all except I ordered the blue teapot pictured. There was no information nor were there pictures on the page that alluded to different colors being available, nor a drop-down menu where I could pick a color. After receiving the wrong color teapot, I contacted the vendor. I will say the vendor’s response had scammy language and I decided not to follow up as it’s not worth dealing with people like that. Maybe he thought I was trying to swindle him and got defensive. I don’t know. I also had to deal with three different email addresses in my correspondences. Consistency is appreciated as a customer. Three email addresses is excessive.
The teapot itself is very well made and perfect for my desires. BTTC needs improvement in customer relations. I will continue to drink, enjoy and review the tea I ordered while remaining impartial and have some good sessions with this teapot.
Edit: I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks about writing this and still managed to make it sound a little dramatic, which I don’t want, so I made some changes. I just don’t want anybody else to have unfulfilled expectations regarding their teaware.
I received this as a 10-gram freebie with my order, thank you. I don’t know much about this tea beyond what was stated in an email. Made of autumn 2012 leaves, ‘pressed and sent source direct in the early days of the company’ and stored in Taiwan since. As of this review, it’s not listed on the website.
5g, 100mL, 205-212F, 10s rinse, 5/10/15/20/25/30/45/1m/1m15/1m30/2m
Dry leaf has a fragrant pu’er smell and looks and smells like it’s getting some age. Mostly dark brown leaves with some still light gold and beige needles, velvety and catches the light. A 10s rinse produced aromas or plum, smoke, tobacco, dark wood, resin, very warm scent.
The first steep zapped my tongue with something like sour plum. The sensation was similar to placing a 9V on the tongue. The taste was already thick with stonefruit, prune, butter?, cream, mineral with some sourness in the back, a tingling tongue and persistent aftertaste.
Second steep was similar but thicker with mushroom broth, some faint notes of thyme and fennel. I noticed my gums felt tingly, too, and my teeth felt like they were buzzing. The aroma of the leaves here transformed into bold apricot, tobacco and some smoke.
Third steep was quite herbal, with stonefruit, tobacco, leather, blackberry and faint non-cooling spearmint. Creaminess faded. Strong astringency noted. I noticed the aroma of the liquor here. The cha qi began kicking in mostly in my head, with a pressure felt in my eyebrows, sinuses and ears. It was very warming. These sensations subsided soon enough and I was left with a relaxed concentration that was suitable for nighttime studying.
Fourth and fifth steeps became lighter in flavor and texture with some bitterness showing up. Still very astringent, though. It felt like my whole mouth was being sucked inward to a concentrated point of astringency on my tongue. The astringency loosened in the sixth steep and I noticed some salivation. The flavor became more medicinal with a bittersweet aftertaste of a dark floral like violet.
Seventh steep became a little more bitter and sourness began developing on the sides of my tongue. Eighth and ninth steeps became almost unbearably sour, causing some indigestion. Despite this, I kept brewing and was rewarded with a lightly sour meatiness much like salami in the tenth steep, and a faint smoke. I had to stop at the eleventh steep because of of the indigestion but that one produced the lightly bitter dark violet from earlier with the sourness persisting and the return of astringency and minerals. I would’ve liked to keep pushing but I just couldn’t handle the sourness any longer. The spent leaves definitely look like they’re getting some age; they’re light brown with a tinge of green. Some needles present and it’s kind of stemmy.
Overall, I really like the flavors and strong aroma. I can move past the astringency but the indigestion-inducing sourness in the later steeps killed it for me. I’d be excited to see how a whole cake transforms after another year or two in storage. I think I’ll tuck the other 5 grams away and try again in a year. I’m thinking the cakes need a change in their Taiwan storage to get rid of that gut-rotting sourness.
Refraining from a rating since as of this review it’s not listed on BTTC’s website.
Not much of another tasting note, just some additional info.
Steeped in my 100mL teapot with short infusions and more leaf (6g) I picked up on hints of blackberry, banana leaf, violet, cherry, cinnamon and wtf… camphor? and tangerine zest? So. Much. Clean. Salivation. Maybe some more settling/airing out tamed the bamboo shoot, which is a bonus. Hm, I like it more than I thought, especially with more leaf. Doin’ the bump.
I revisited this tea finally and I have to say it was quite different brewed with the longer high mountain oolong gongfu timing. It tasted less sweet and more vegetal like zucchini, had more minerality and less bamboo shoot sourness and there were additions of wood charcoal and walnut/tannins. Something like banana leaf was pronounced in the aftertaste, mixed with some kind of floral like ?violet?, something vaguely ?fruity? and a faint sweet almond oil. Orchid showed up later on the swallow.
I feel like the tea was a little too mellow and it lost a lot nuances in aroma and flavor that were present when I brewed with shorter steeps. I think it’s safe to say I like this tea but will stick to my usual short gongfu infusions for the remainder of the bag.
May 2018 harvest.
What a weird tea. I’ve never had something so savory.
4g/195-200F/100mL clay gaiwan. Didn’t keep track of the number of steeps or write detailed notes but it was definitely long lasting.
Dry leaf smelled like roasted peanut butter and brown sugar.
Warmed gave aromas of roasted peanut minus its butter and chocolate.
The wet leaf started out on a really pleasant note of bamboo shoot, sugarcane, vanilla and orchid. Starting with the fourth steep, that moved into a pretty sour and strong-smelling bamboo shoot.
The aroma of the liquor never contained any of the bamboo shoot notes. Rather it remained fruity with orchid and marshmallow with some chocolate coming in and out.
The taste of the liquor started out awesome with undefined fruityness moving into sugarcane, peanut, bamboo shoot, mineral and grass with butter and marshmallow in the back of the mouth. Later steepings had the addition of toasted rice and orchid with the peanut disappearing and an aftertaste of kettlecorn. Following that, it just became sour bamboo shoot and cooked ripe plantain with sweetness. The liquor was never thin. I really enjoyed the consistency ranging from oily to silky.
Really odd tea. I don’t think it was bad, just something I’ve never experienced. I’ll refrain from a rating until I try it again.
Yesterday, I received my first BTTC order. Thus far, I’ve already finished the Taiping HoKui freebie and later found myself perusing their website for a teapot. (Please, please nobody buy that blue one tonight!!) My hand ended up back in the shipping box on its own accord, as if it were non-chalantly possessed. It picked the most expensive 10g sample, a high mountain oolong, of which I have little experience. Bare with me. I’ll do my best to not make the review too long or convoluted.
April 2018 harvest. 5g, 100mL gaiwan, 195F. 10 second rinse followed by 9 steepings at 10/15/20/25/30/45/55/1m10s/1m30s and final truly spent steep at 2m15s.
Dry leaf: orchid, vanilla and butter at their best with a whiff of muted ceylon cinnamon.
Rinsed leaf: buttercream, orchid and vanilla.
The aroma of the leaf remained strong and stable in the first three steeps: orchid, vanilla, brown sugar, violet and collards with butter coming in on the second steep and cream on the third. The aroma of the liquor started off all sweet vanilla and orchid. The taste of the liquor had an underlying mineral and grass theme throughout, starting off with vanilla, orchid, very light ceylon cinnamon with the addition of butter and cream. Nice and silky with a light cooling sensation in the third steep. At this point, I found myself sweating and very relaxed.
In the fourth through sixth steeps, the aroma of the leaf was much the same as the first three but with the vanilla fading out. I’d say the collards became the prominent scent, accented strongly by orchid, cream, butter, lily, violet and a hint of lilac in fifth steep.
Here is where the aroma and taste of the liquor began changing with each steep. Fourth steep produced an aroma of orchid, lily, violet and cream and taste the same as the third. Noticed some salivation here. Fifth steep had the base of the fourth steep with the addition of both the pronounced scent and taste of honey. At this point, the liquor began thinning a bit, and I noticed both a light drying and slickness on the tongue. In the sixth steep, the aroma changed but still had the base orchid, lily, and violet. I also caught fleeting orange blossom and banana. The taste of the liquor here was mostly mineral and floral, backed up by lettuce and grass.
In the seventh steep, the aroma of the leaf began to fade into spinach with honied florals. The aroma of the liquor also began to fade into just orchid, cream. Butter and cream made a reappearance in the mouth.
The eight steep saw the appearance of pine and camphor? in the wet leaf in addition to the spinach and honey. Liquor aroma and taste continued a pleasant fade with orchid and honey in the nose and orchid, butter and mineral in the mouth.
The ninth steep produced a nice, light ending with leaf smelling of peas and wood, aroma of faint rose, apricot and orange blossom and taste of mineral, wood and butter. I tried a tenth steep at 2m15s to see what else I could pull but it literally produced hot water.
This tea is delightful with it’s dominating notes being very sweet, orchid/floral and creamy and possessing a silky mouthfeel. It was well backed by butter, pleasant dark vegetal notes, grass and a not-overbearing minerality. Like I said, I don’t have much experience with high mountain oolongs but this Dayuling seemed very balanced. Nothing was out of place and I feel that it ended on a good note. Good for a treat given its price and lack of longevity.
Received as a free sample with my order, thank you! Not listed on their website as of this review.
Gone grandpa. Weighed it out, about 5 grams. Split between 2-12oz glasses, one for me and one to share. 160F.
First time with this style of green tea so I wasn’t really sure what an appropriate leaf amount was but 2.5g per cup turned out to be pretty good.
Awesome shades of bright green, flat-pressed leaves that released an effervescence when I poured water into the glass. Whiff of sulfur. Let it brew for a few minutes. Aroma was light, with mostly nectarine and some vegetal like sweetgrass and green bean. Taste was nice and fruity, with yellow and white nectarine, passionfruit, sweetgrass and green bean. Slightly drying. A pleasant surprise of non-cloying coconut was sitting near the bottom of the cup.
With the first refill, some of the less-than-paper-thin leaves began to disintegrate. Drying mouthfeel increased greatly and the flavors remained consistent but lighter. What leaves ended up in my mouth were edible and not bitter. After the first refill, I’d say this tea was done.
I wish I had more so I could try it cold-brew but my boyfriend wanted in on this sample, too. I’d also like to try it with lower temperature water.
Overall, I’m glad to have tried this type of tea for the first time and will probably seek it out in the future. I enjoyed the fruitiness and refreshing quality. I think having a small snack of fresh mango would complement this really well and detract from the drying mouthfeel.
Refraining from a rating since it’s not available on BTTC’s website as of this review.
I recall going through a one ounce pouch of this tea during the first half of June, but I cannot pinpoint a time frame for my review notes beyond that. The label on the pouch listed this tea as Authentic Muzha Tieguanyin, so I am making the assumption that the listing I am posting this review/tasting note under is for the same tea. Overall, I found this to be a very, very good Muzha Tieguanyin. It faded a bit quickly on me, so I had to knock a few points off the initial numerical score I meant to assign it, but otherwise, I had no real complaints with this tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, char, banana, and pine. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of raisin, roasted grain, and brown sugar. The first infusion then brought out scents of vanilla and roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of char, cinnamon, pine, roasted grain (barley?) brown sugar, golden raisin, vanilla, and roasted peanut that were underscored by hints of grass and butter on the swallow. I caught a rather indistinct sweetness too. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn buttery as well as slightly fruitier and grainier. Notes of toasted coconut, toasted rice, cream, cooked lettuce, cattail shoots, banana leaf, mango, coffee, plum, and minerals appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of caramelized banana and grilled pineapple. The final infusions emphasized lingering impressions of toasted rice, minerals, roasted barley, char, and cream balanced by soft notes of vanilla and golden raisin.
I know that Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company has seen a bit of drama over the course of the past year, but I cannot help being consistently wowed by or at the very least appreciative of the products they offer. This was a gorgeous tea, perhaps a touch underpowered in the later infusions, but gorgeous nonetheless. I would recommend it highly to established fans of roasted Taiwanese oolongs as well as those looking for a quality introduction to such teas.
Flavors: banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Coconut, Coffee, Cream, Grass, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Peanut, Pine, Pineapple, Plums, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal
Here is yet another tea review from the backlog. I purchased a two ounce pouch of this tea way back in early autumn of 2016 and finally got around to drinking it during the first week of June. Fortunately, the vacuum seal held up as the tea had not faded in storage. I tend to like roasted Jin Xuan whether it is flavored or not, so it should come as no surprise that I ended up liking this tea. I have no clue why it took me so long to get around to trying it.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of toasted rice, cream, and vanilla. After the rinse, I picked up on new aromas of butter, steamed milk, cocoa, and brown sugar that were underscored by some indistinct vegetal scents. The first infusion then brought out subtle scents of coconut and pineapple. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of toasted rice, cream, butter, vanilla, and steamed milk that were balanced by hints of cocoa, pineapple, and some grassy, vegetal tones. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn increasingly more vegetal as well as a bit floral and somewhat fruitier- I noted subtle aromas of mango, peach, dandelion, orchid, and daylily on many of these infusions. New notes of daylily, mango, popcorn, minerals, dandelion, cattail shoots, roasted barley, watercress, orchid, daylily shoots, peach, and spinach appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging coconut and brown sugar notes and stronger hints of grass. The final infusions offered lingering impressions of minerals, cream, butter, vanilla, toasted rice, and spinach that were backed by hints of orchid, grass, pineapple, and coconut.
A roasted Alishan oolong that offered a nice mix of aroma and flavor components, this was the type of roasted Jin Xuan I tend to like. Unfortunately, it was not among the best teas of this type that I have tried over the years. In places there were some notes that came off as being slightly too overbearing and/or artificial, and they distracted me somewhat. Still, I must reiterate that this was a very nice tea. I wish I knew more about it.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Cocoa, Coconut, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Mango, Milk, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pineapple, Popcorn, Roasted Barley, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal
Patience is the key word here. First, patience as the ball opens up. It takes it a while, but luckily the early infusions will have some flavor if you let the ball sit and do its thing.
Second, patience while drinking. This is a subdued tea. The flavors are very light – the overall flavor, in my humble opinion, is basically a black tea blend. It has some fruit and floral notes to keep it interesting (even some spiciness that reminded me of black peppercorn), but really, I tasted a high-quality English breakfast tea.
Not that that’s a bad thing, but if you are coming here because you like a whallop of flavor like you would find in an oolong or pu’erh, you won’t find it here. On the other hand, there isn’t any bitterness to subdue – and I was brewing it HARD to find some flavors.
So, I find this tea to be a novelty, and maybe a good gateway for those looking to bridge the gap between English breakfast and more authentic Chinese teas. However, for those already drinking more serious teas, just be aware that this one is very mild and easy-going.
Dry leaf – honey, dried apricot, slight perfume floral. In preheated vessel – honey-lemon black tea notes.
Smell – honey, light apricot fruitiness, light black tea blend, hint of cinnamon butter, sweet floral, grape leaf, and black pepper
Taste – light black tea blend with notes of honey and apricot. Hints of black pepper and lemon. Aftertaste is lightly fruity with some citrus cutting through it.
Hey gang, I’m still playing catch-up with regard to my postings, and in order to bring myself one step closer to getting caught up, I figured I’d take a few minutes out of my working life to share my thoughts on this tea. I finished a sample pouch of it around a week ago and have just been sitting on my session notes since then. I found this to be a very nice Alishan black tea, though it did not display quite the longevity to which I have become accustomed from such teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 3 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 5 seconds, 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, cedar, and pine. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of malt and roasted nuts. The first infusion then added a hint of cinnamon to the tea’s bouquet. In the mouth, I noted flavors of honey, cedar, pine, and malt underscored by hints of roasted peanut, butter, and caramel. The subsequent infusions then introduced stronger roasted peanut, butter, and caramel flavors while the tea’s bouquet became spicier, fruitier, nuttier, and maltier. I noted the somewhat belated emergence of cinnamon in the mouth as well as new flavors of nutmeg, minerals, plum, brown toast, brown sugar, roasted almond, cream, and raisin. I even thought I could catch a vague impression of cardamom in several places. The later infusions (those from the 1 minute mark forward) washed out very quickly. It took some work on my part, but I managed to detect notes of minerals, cream, butter, and malt backed by undertones of caramel and raisin.
The only other rolled Alishan black tea to which I could compare this tea was the exceptional Alishan Black Tea from Floating Leaves Tea that I tried last fall. Compared to that tea, this tea was similar, though not quite as complex or long-lived-it faded much more quickly and did not offer the unique floral impressions of the other tea. Still, this was a more or less very good Taiwanese black tea, one that was very much worth trying. Though their expertise more lies with oolongs, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company normally does a more than respectable job sourcing black teas as well. This tea was no exception.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Butter, Caramel, Cardamon, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins