Camellia SinensisEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I bought this as part of the 2017 Taiwan Tasting Kit. While it’s not the most outstanding tea in the world, it’s well worth the regular price of $10/50g. Like other Four Seasons I’ve had, it’s tangy and floral with hints of vanilla. It also has a spicy note in the first few steeps that is really enjoyable. Unfortunately, it gets vegetal quickly, petering out around steep six. I could see myself restocking this tea, but it’s not a priority.
I steeped 5 grams in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at around 200f for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 40, 50, and 100 seconds.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Spicy, Tangy, Vegetal
So, I tried this one with the pumpkin agave too a few nights ago.
I had the idea that a while tea might be a nice compliment to the agave because it would be light enough to showcase the pumpkin notes in a prominent way and what straw/hay notes were present would only sort of add to that overall autumnal feel. I chose this white tea specifically purely because I just have so much of it on hand.
It didn’t really work though, and it came out very muddled and borderline cloying tasting. It’s almost like the taste of the agave was too present and it just ruined the base tea completely. I also forgot that this white tea has some pretty strong stonefruit notes and to be honest they just tasted weird with pumpkin. Pumpkin and peach? Not a strong match up…
It was drinkable, so I finished the cup but it’s not something I’ll be revisiting.
Hot, and Western again…
Even though I’ve only had this tea one time prior to this cup, when I brewed this up it had such a strong familiarity to it – the kind of familiarity that definitely extends past trying it one prior time.
The taste was nice; very smooth with a surprisingly thick and viscous mouthfeel. The taste was a mix of hay, delicate malt, stonefruits (peach/nectarine/apricot), and autumnal leaves. If I had to pick a more abstract way to summarize the flavour I’d say it tasted the way that jumping into a pile of freshly raked, crisp orange autumn leaves feels…
I liked it a lot.
Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Hot hay, Malt, Peach, Stonefruits
Nabbed this one with my last order because I’ve been curious for a while; and why not try it now? I can’t think of a reason not to…
I suppose what I expected from this one was pretty much your typical Shou Mei flavour but just with a lot more body? In a way, I suppose it is that. It’s got a very thick mouthfeel/liquor, and the overall flavour is relatively full bodied (for a white tea) with a lot of natural sweetness. The top notes and body are both pretty tangy, with some supporting hot hay notes. The finish is much smoother, and has a bit of a wood chip/dried wood sort of taste to it.
For a Western cup, this was interesting with a slightly above average sort of complexity to it. I imagine this would be quite nice and smooth Gong Fu, though my gut feeling is that it probably wouldn’t be a very long lasting session. Something worth trying, though.
Dry stuff is Good ol’ apple-caramel crisp, extra butter.
Infuses in floral Oolong at first, lighter than expected, i’m getting a chalky/powdery vibe and some type of boiled pork or beef from the wet leaves, although, thats probably fancy renaissance bouquet for the educated noses out there, it really smells like the foamy stuff coming on top of a meaty broth.
It eventually releases full roundness and sweetness. Mainly Buttery florals but there is a milkshake thing coming in and out, great stuff.
Thanks Mr. Chang
Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Milk
From last night, with DT’s new Peppermint Agave that we’re doing for the winter.
I was so excited about the peppermint agave when I saw it, but I’m realizing now that it’s going to be a challenge finding teas to use it with that aren’t already minty blends. I thought I’d try it out with this one, a straight black tea, and maybe with a black base that hint of mint would work really well. I wasn’t a huge fan though. It’s just such a powerful flavour; and sure it really brought out the cocoa and malt notes in this black tea but it also really competed against them/drowned them out. I didn’t really love it…
And so, I think the challenge of finding a way to use this agave continues.
This one is actually setting in very nicely as a daily drinking black tea for me!
Normally my favourite straight blacks are Dian Hongs because they’re quite sweet and chocolate heavy – but this years as the seasons change I’ve found myself craving spiced teas a lot more than I normally do. Not Chai though, or straight up spiced teas. This is a really good compromise though, because it’s got lots of spice notes to it naturally: cinnamon and cumin primarily. Also notes of malt and rye.
It’s not an exceptional black tea, but it’s a consistent enough one that it works for a no frills casual daily drinker…
Notes of cumin, cinnamon, and bark and then the more typical notes of malt, and cocoa. If I hadn’t have known better, I almost would have said that the spicier elements of this tea reminded me of a Keemun (without the underlying fruity/jammy qualities) or August Uncommon’s Port of Shadows tea…
Very different compared to the last two cups I had, for sure.
I used the same amount of tea leaf this time, but with a shorter steep time. It was an improvement because this was a lot smoother mouthfeel wise, however there was also a faint watery quality to the flavour profile too. I mean, yes it was sweet and malty with honey and cocoa notes but it lacked body/presence.
More tweaking is probably needed still; maybe the same steep time as my first try but with less leaf?
So, I had a Camellia Sinensis order show up today! I actually placed the order not really for any tea in particular but because they were carrying an absolutely STUNNING jellyfish teacup that I just 100% needed to own. You guys don’t even understand; jellyfish have been my spirit animals as of late. They’re these gentle, floating water blobs that zap you when you get up in their personal space – how perfect is that!? Plus, all my good friends refer to me as an “asexual jellyfish”. I don’t know where that even originated, but it’s just a term now. So now I have this equally bad ass jellyfish teacup!
Anyway; while I was ordering I DID pick up some tea too – because you just gotta. That’s how addiction works. I chose this one because I have tried a Columbian Bitaco tea before and I thought it would be interesting to compare the two mentally, especially since this one was a pretty reasonable price.
The dry leaf for this one is really sweet smelling with distinct notes of honey, cocoa, and graham crackers that definitely piqued my interest/curiosity. Steeped up, it’s kind of similar to the dry aroma? I mean, it’s got hints of malt and honey but it’s also pretty brisk and full bodied with a thicker mouthfeel and a somewhat astringent and tannic finish. Also, a bit of a burnt sugar sort of flavour, too.
I mean so far my initial impression is that I like the other black Bitaco tea better it was smoother, and it had this very fascinating anise flavour to it. However, I think some tweaking could produce a very interesting infusion. Either less leaf, or less steeping time would probably fix the astringency and I bet milk and sugar or honey would make for a really nice breakfast tea with some of those honey notes getting exaggerated nicely.
Definitely excited to see where this tea will go.
Current rating is a conservative 69, with the belief that appropriate tweaking will result in a brew deserving of a better score.
I’m lost when it comes to steeping green oolong. There are so many different methods and parameters (western, traditional, and hybrid) spread across companies for similar to exact same types of oolong, that I don’t know where to begin. I’ve steeped this type of oolong at near boiling for 1min with pretty awesome results, and I’ve also done the same temp and amount for 20s for an equally fine cup. Most commonly, I see a 3min steep at about 90C, which is a coin’s toss for how it works out for me.
Life is hard.
Anyways, Camellia Sinensis recommends a rinse, and then a 4-5min steep at 95C. That never worked for me; I found it made the cup overly vegetal, on the verge of being sour.
For my very last serving I decided to follow a 20s steep time, with a touch and go, 1min range increase after the third steep, and this solved the aforementioned problems I had with this tea. I found that the liquidized floral-sweet qualities and the milk-nut notes of the cup were given more room to breath and take on a silky texture. The marine note I noticed the first few times all but disappeared.
Too bad I hadn’t steeped it like that from the beginning! It makes that that $12/50g tempting, indeed.
Steep Count: 4
Flavors: Dandelion, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Milk, Nuts
Cup Scent: butter, toasted nuts, flowers, savoury seaweed sprinkles (subtle)
To taste, it follows the precedent set by the scent, making for a savoury cup full of cream, butter, nuts, and gentle flowers. It’s probably the most mild “Jin Xuan,” natural or scented, I’ve had in recent times. It’s nothing special in my books, but it’s buttery-cream profile makes for a comforting cup, with excellent steep value.
I drank up all my other Jin Xuans, so it’s nice to discover I have some left. I didn’t realize what this was or pay too much attention when I initially placed an order online. It took seeing the unfurled leaves to realize what this was. Whoops.
Steep Count: 6
Florals reminiscent of dandelion came out strong on the third steep. It reminds me that dandelion wine is on my “too try” list.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Roasted nuts, Vegetal
Strawberry, caramel , lilac, lemon marmelade, milky chalky thing. Upfront but thin and somewhat unrefined in flavors. the taste is reminescent of those light roast pourover coffees which bears red fruits and caramel extract notes… i ain’t a big fan of this mix.
But it does packs big flavors at a smaller price.
mmmm this oolong makes me happy. I’ve set an agressive goal for myself today to get through 15 sipdowns (hello sipdown saturday!). Now i’m not even sure that i have 15 teas in my cupboard to sipdown, but that’s my goal. I’ve got 9 teas inbound and that would mean that even if they were in my cupboard, i’d still hit my sipdown goal haha. And then i can also justify possibly picking up tea in chicago. :)
Really appreciate the share of all these oolongs and green teas Crowkettle. As much as they’re not my jam – having small amounts of them IS totally up my alley :)
Delicious cuppa at work.
I added a bit of milk and honey to this one; while I love the flavour of straight Hojicha what I was really looking for from this cuppa was something very smooth and comforting and both milk and honey, especially together, seem to really do that for me.
Flavour wise, it was a mix of notes with none of them really being the “stand out” flavour or anything; they all just sort of vacillated in and out of the overall profile. Things like hazelnuts, roasted nuts in general, caramel, cocoa powder, coffee/mocha, barley, generic roastiness, cream. Overall, just a very toasty/comforting and sweet flavour with some serious dessert tea/note undertones. REALLY satisfying.
The most surprising thing about the cup was actually the colour of the brew though. With the milk/honey added it was sort of this weird browny taupe sort of colour? With like purple undertones. I’ve never seen that before with a Hojicha, and I wish I’d taken a picture because it was stunning!
If you’re using this grid of “taupes” as a reference though, I think it was something sort of like the deep taupe/medium taupe sort of hues. REALLY gorgeous, and I wonder if it’s something I could replicate…