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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s been a little bit since I wrote about the club teas. The Long Feng that was from the beginning of this year is frickin’ amazing and durable. The Red Oolong and the Qing Xing black, I felt mixed about. The Red is too heady and overpoweringly sweet, while the Qing Xing black has some honeyed prunes, fruit compote, and blackberry spice notes I like from Taiwaneese blacks, but just a little too much fruit compote for my personal preference. It may grow on me, but for now, I’m still experimenting with it while my mom enjoys it for what it is.
Now, for this one. It’s basically a more refined Meishan Alishan oolong that compares to an Alishan Qing Xing. I would not have noticed that it is a bug bitten tea drinking it straight, because the honey note is something that I’ve usually tasted and preferred in the Alishans I buy. The unctuous honey notes and roast are more prominent with more leaves and longer brew times, retaining more of the bug bitten quality. I’m glad that they kept the roast light because the notes could have been heavier with more roast. I also deeply enjoy the fact that it has very little vegetal qualities to it, which is kinda refreshing. The body is a little bit thinner, so it does require a bit of leaves to get going gong fu, but it does do better western and it does not have any real astringency. The honey notes may be more pronounced and then border on lemony, but it is a flexible and durable tea with some nice florals like violet. I also have not tasted the roast notes yet, though they are a little noticeable in the dry leaf.
Despite how straightforward this tea is, I do very much enjoy it and will be sad when it’s gone. I’m not raving yet, but I know it will grow on me over time.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Lemon, Smooth, Sweet, Violet
This is a great tea! The smokey caramel aromas after steeping fill the air and give a very comforting sensation. After a quick wash, the early steeps have a mildly smokey and roasted character with caramel flavors. There is a very mild bitterness and slight astringency that seems to coat the tongue with a floral sweetness that lingers after swallowing. Exhaling fills the senses with a floral honey. I can see why this tea is award winning. As the leaves open up, the smokiness fades and the tea starts to become similar to a Taiwanese high mountain oolong with less grassy notes and not as overwhelmingly floral. I think eco-cha’s description is spot on.
I started with a 10 second steep, then 15, 20, then up to 45 seconds.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Floral, Pecan, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Sweet
This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted! It has a long-lasting mildly bitter flavor that sits with you well after you finish sipping It feels warming in the throat. Its flavor is complex – spicy, herbaceous, roasted, fruity, slightly sweet, with a sweet and bitter finish. It has a slightly viscous mouthfeel. I am sad I only have a few grams of it left.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Black Pepper, Caramel, Fruity, Herbaceous, Nuts, Roasted, Spices
I am sooo sleepy today, great epic piles of tired, but I only got a little bit of sleep so that is probably why. Of course the reason I was not sleeping last night was totally worth it, I was hit with the urge to paint and got two miniatures painted. One is a horned owl on a stump that is going to live with Oolong Owl, which was a bit of a pain…I learned that painting wood and feathers to make them look realistic and not cartoonish is complicated when you have never done it before, fun times! The other piece I painted was a modified reaper miniature, modified specifically to be Liliana Vess from Magic the Gathering. Lucky for me the only modifying I had to do was add her head thingy (stolen from an angel she offed, because she is a bit of a villain) I was able to find a model that worked as a stand-in pretty easily. At first I painted her with the demon lines etched into her skin, but with a combination of being a 32mm figure and recent art not really showcasing them I ended up removing them. Always glad to be in the mood to paint.
Hurry, run to Eco-Cha and buy their Organic Osmanthus GABA Tea, there are only three boxes left! Honestly this made me go ‘ah crap’ when I saw how little is left because I want to snatch them all for myself! But yes my dear tea friends, you guessed it, this is the tea the rambling will cover today, Eco-Cha’s first blended tea, it blends my favorite flower to have in tea (or on its own) Osmanthus with a Four Seasons Oolong processed as a GABA Oolong. This is one of the most uniquely aromatic teas I have sniffed, first off, it is immensely sweet, almost candy like. Notes of gentle cashew butter and honey start off the notes, they are the mildest, but then an explosion of papaya, juicy plums, apricots, and heady sweet osmanthus flowers dance in my nose. It is a party that is pretty intense in those leaves.
Into the gaiwan for a bath the leaves and flowers go, and wow, just wow, the aroma is crazy! It starts with a gentle woodiness and toasted cashews and then explodes into a tropical cascade of sweetness. Pineapple, papaya, plums (ok that one is not tropical) peaches, and very rich osmanthus and honeycomb note at the finish. The liquid has a touch of nuttiness and a tiny touch of woodiness, but the real show stopper is the papaya, guava, pineapple and plum notes. It is almost candy sweet, and the heady nectar of osmanthus at the finish just makes this tea smell decadent.
First steep, so I could talk about the taste, but before I do allow me a brief moment to talk about the killer smooth, it is buttery while also being slippery, like biting into a papaya without the sticky aspect. Speaking of papaya, drinking this tea is like eating a papaya, pineapple, apricot, guava, and plum all at once. With a generous sprinkling of pollen and osmanthus, both of which lingers into the aftertaste. It is heady in its sweetness, but is never cloying, one of the joys of osmanthus, it has flower tones without being overwhelming like rose or jasmine.
Second steep, the aroma is not much changed, but it does get more intense (I was not aware that was possible) I feel like I need one of those paper umbrellas for this tea. The mouthfeel is smooth and thicker, nectar like, it clings to every part of my mouth while drinking. Tasting, the notes are similar, the start instead of directly falling into a fruit bowl eases into it with notes of cashews and a touch of woodiness, then it is the fruity bombastic intensity of the middle. At the finish there is the sweet honey osmanthus and apricots with a slightly tangy underripe plum bit at the end. The aftertaste is all osmanthus all the time and it is heavenly.
Third steeping, ok, I am going to be honest, by this point I am so tea drunk and zoned out by this tea that my notes are unintelligable. I can read ‘juicy’ ‘fruity’ ‘sweet’ and ‘dear god this is pure undiluted magic’ so I am no help. I got a few more steeps out of it before I was ready to call it quits, at which point I decided to take the mostly spent leaves and put them in my Libre for a cold-steep overnight. By morning the result was a lightly guava and papaya tasting tea that was immensely refreshing. And if you were curious, my box of this tea is about half empty, I am trying to not guzzle it all away.