Eco-Cha Artisan TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Fascinating material. Slightly looser than average balling on the leaf. About ⅘ of the leaf material looks heavily oxidized: dark-matte black, with just a hint of shine. The slight shine could be due to a very slight roast. The remaining ⅕ of the leaf material is green. Not jade green, mind you. Rather, the material is a matt green/yellow. This contrast of heavily oxidized, with comparatively green leaf, is really fascinating. It’s the first time I can recall seeing a wulong processed this way. Dry leaf gives off a very mild, roasted aroma. Steamed aroma is a typical roasted smell, with a hint of wood.
Brewed aroma is very faint. Some bakers spice, and a continuation of the woodsy roasted note. I must say, the leaves brew up in an absolutely gorgeous manner. The contrast of muted green and brown remind me of observing a forest. Tea liquor is a crystal clear, light gold. It has the look of a great depth. First sip reminds me of rum raisin. It’s got this slightly alcoholic, cinnamon, sweet raisin thing going on. Towards the back of the mouth, I get a slightly tannic sensation/taste. This tannic note provides a nice contrast to the comparatively higher notes I mentioned previously. Finish is long, with the tannic note starting to slowly dominate the palate. The tea liquor is thick. This is one of the few teas that I would call meaty. It’s worth mentioning, that this is a high energy tea. I feel more than a bit spacey.
With the second brew, I start seeing even more hongshui character. Tea liquor is a golden red. Taste remains relatively stable. Only noticeable change is an increase in Taiwanese red tea character. IE tannic sensation, slight bitterness, menthol like sensation in the throat.
Third brew changes things up again. The golden color of the first steep is only present in the top ¼ of the liquor now. The rest is a nectarine red. Interestingly enough, the aroma has gone in the opposite direction. It’s gotten very floral. In a way that reminds me of an unroasted jin xuan. Taste is moving towards the darker notes. There is some remaining alcoholic cinnamon, but it’s almost entirely in the finish now. A strong, dark chocolate note has taken over. Bitter like cocoa nibs. Beneath that is a lingering woodiness, and raisin tartness. A tannic sensation can be found in the back of the mouth.
It’s worth noting, that my head is entirely in the clouds right now. I feel a strong “lifted” sensation in my facial muscles. It’s euphoric in nature.
Fourth brew doesn’t evolve any. Which is okay. I’m enjoying everything this tea is doing, so I’m okay with it staying on its current path.
Fifth brew is somewhat lighter. Liquor looks like it’s transitioning towards the gold of the first brew. The ratios are now inversed. Now it’s ⅘ golden, ⅕ red. Aroma is very sweet, and mildly malty. Taste is also very sweet now. Almost all the bitterness is gone, and just a hint of tannic sensation remains buried in the finish. I’m a bit conflicted with this development. It is a smoother tea now, but that’s because it’s lost a lot of its complexity.
I predict the tea will continue to taper off from here. It might not have longevity, but this tea does show a lot of evolution of color, flavors, and aroma.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Menthol, Raisins, Rum, Tannic
Eyeballed this one, maybe about 5-6g to a 100ml, boiling water and a rinse to preheat.
I’ve tried only one hong shui style oolong other than this one, and so far I have to say I am an avid fan of this style of tea! This particular tea was intensely sweet at the start, but underlaid with a rich, complex soup that reminded me of tomato broth. The first sip fills the chest with a steamy aroma when I inhale after drinking and continued drinking coats the throat strongly, leaving a long lingering feeling and warmth in addition to sweetness,. The color is a beautiful, rose gold tinged copper.
The other hong shui I tried was less sweet and more intensely thick and tomato-ey, but this is also quite good and I find myself drawn to the depth of this tea, which resteeps remarkably well as I got at least eleven steeps out of one session, although the first three steeps are my favorite.
Flavors: Broth, Fruity, Mineral, Sugar, Sweet
I have to admit, this tea smelled and tasted a bit off-putting to me when I first brewed it. Maybe it was the unfamiliar roasted nuttiness in an oolong that seemed strange to me? But the more sips I took, it really, really started to grow on me. It is truly unique and sweet and smokey and nutty, and I ended up really enjoying it.
Ah, this is such a great daily drinker, and exactly why I love oolong tea so much. It’s green and vegetal, with a perfect level of floral notes without being sickeningly perfume-y. It’s a crisp and uplifing tea.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
I’ve had this sample sitting around for a quite a while and no longer remember whose stash I acquired it from. I need to start making note of that.
Anyhow, poured the whole sample into my gaiwan, which ended up being just about 9 grams. Did a quick wash and let the leaves sit while I refilled and heated the kettle before the first steep.
Light gold liquor, light and sweet in flavor, with the characteristic creaminess coming through more in the second steep. Light florals start to push through in steep three.
All in all, this was a good one!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet
Light, creamy, sweet, and predominantly orchid/nectar flowers in my cup, this is a clearing and uplifting green oolong. The aroma tends to retain more of the milky creaminess than the actual taste, but there is definitely a nice milky texture for the first few steeps of this. There’s a slight bit of astringency as the tea goes on, but nothing major or off putting, it actually defines the slight corn silk and flower notes more clearly, I think. There are some nice throat coating feels and sweetness as well.
My takeaway: this is a nice non-flavored milk oolong with more fullness than most green oolongs I’ve tried. More flowery than I’m usually a fan of, but every now and again that’s quite nice.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Creamy, Honey, Nectar, Orchids, Sweet
When it comes to scented teas, some flowers translate into better flavor than others. I was excited to try this blend because I love the fragrance of gardenia and had never experienced it in tea form before.
I brewed 4g in a 120ml gaiwan using almost boiling water for 1 minute, adding 20s to each subsequent steep. In a heated gaiwan, the tea leaves have an alluring aroma of perfume and flowers. The taste is like jasmine and rose combined, sweet with notes of warm spice. It reminds me of a high grade jasmine green tea but lacks the clean and delicate taste of a real jasmine tea. It’s pleasant enough though not particularly remarkable. The heavenly, lustrous aroma of gardenia flowers unfortunately can’t be found in the taste.
Flavors: Flowers, Spices
I think I got this one from a reddit swap or sale. I used 5g in a 100mL gaiwan with 200F water. The dry leaf, which was comprised of larger than average little nuggets, had a nice and creamy “green” aroma. Once rinsed, I smelled notes of sugarcane and popcorn.
The first steep was vegetal with a bit of sweetness – it actually reminded me a bit of broccoli. After that, I got about seven steeps of creamy, milky, floral, sometimes sugarcane flavors. The tea had a nice thick texture to it, matching with the milky flavor. It also had a bit of a throaty feeling for a couple of those steeps. Less regularly, I got nectarine aftertaste and an occasional cucumber note. I gave it three more steeps after that, but those ones were pretty flat and dead. This one wasn’t as crisp as some High Mountain oolongs I’ve had, but it was still quite nice.
Flavors: Broccoli, Creamy, Cucumber, Floral, Green, Milk, Peach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick
Thankfully a friend sent some of this to me. ShanLinXi is my favorite type of oolong. All the feels. This one is a bit lighter in terms of thickness than some, it the size of the leaf and the feels are on point.
This is easily one that can sit in the cupboard for who cares how long or short and it will continue to brew nice. Quaility leaf with a smooth taste. Provides an enjoyable session with multiple infusions. I’ll need to try all of their SLX and see if one has the thickness and depth I want, even if this is solid… I’m getting more selective :)
I used a few more leaves this morning mid gong fu-western. First steep was 50 seconds, 2 min, 1 min so far. I still get the florals and the hyacinth, but now I get the sugar cane sweetness to it. Sugar cane is a weird note for me anyway. It’s sweet without crystals tracing into my stomach. I’d describe it more as a grassy, green sweetess-like the smell of sugar, or the air between sugar crystals in your mouth. Or how Vanilla is sweet without it being, well, straight sugar. Those are the more vivid descriptions brought to you by flowery approximate language.
Like the description says on the website, it’s more like fresh greens than anything else with a cleansing aftertaste. It still reminds me of a Tie Guan Yin. But getting that much out of 20 grams of tea for $2 is awesome.
Now it’s time for the teas demographic: a little description I haven’t included in a while. I would recommend this to a newer drinker as something to try just to know how complex, light, and subtle this tea varietal can be. In essence, it would be an educating tea to say “Jin Xuan’s can be flowery and light, but they taste like buttery fresh greens usually. This is a great example of it. Get more if you like it, or make only a few more stops with other teas if you don’t .”
As for more experienced drinkers, I would think this is more for someone who likes their oolongs, and their Jin Xuans light. Or someone who likes delicate teas. After going through MANY Jin Xuans, this is probably one of the better flavored ones. I am biased to the florals, which is another thing that might deter or welcome drinkers.
I’m curious if the winter crop is any creamier or sweeter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is more floral overall.
Important note: it is a spring crop from 2016.
I need to try this tea again. I attempted gong fu, but I did not use enough leaves for that session. What I’ll write is very similar to what Luckyme described.
I tried 45 seconds, and I get a very light creamy floral-something that reminds me of lilac, or more accurately hyacinth. I hesitated hoping it wasn’t leftover soap staining my vessel.
So I switched out vessels, and I get more of the same florals after three minutes. Still incredibly light, but lightly buttery and lightly vegetal. I do get a little bit of a savory vegetable taste, yet they are softer compared to the florals. It does remind me something of a Tie Guan Yin, or even closer, Mandala’s Unflavored Jin Xuan, but lighter like the Tie Guan Yin.
The next time after 4 and half minutes, there was some sweetness coming out, but floral sweetness. Vanilla popped in my head, but more as an after tone of the hyacinth.
The next at five minutes was a little bit more vegetal savory, but light and floral as ever.
I need to try this again. I’m pretty impressed that the hyacinth floral was the strongest aspect of this, but I have hopes that I could get this tea to brew sweeter. All this $2 for 20g, then $12 for 150g…that is a bargain.
Upon the correction later, starting at 3 minutes Western at 180 F, I get more of a fruity note in the middle of tasting it. Maybe something close to a pineapple skin. I do not quite get as much hyacinth, but a strong floral character remains with a lightly buttered vegetable background.
An afternoon tea session care of a tea friend via a tea swap.
I seriously want to marry this tea and make little tea babies. A mixture of brown sugar toffee, almond, cocoa and sweet yam in both the aromatics and flavor notes. I’m in love.
5g, 120ml, boiling temperature with a 30s first, 10s second and climbing 5-10s with each subsequent steep with an eventual 120s final infusion.
The dry leaf:
A late afternoon tea session that went into late evening.
Dry leaf aromatics like fresh baked bread and roasted coffee beans. The liquor, a beautiful golden yellow hue, was just simply smooth roasted dong ding goodness. Some roasted peanut notes with extremely subtle florals trying to peek through.
6.6g, 100ml Purion, 190F with a 30s first, 10s second and climbing in 5-10s intervals from there.
The dry leaf:
An evening tea session care of a tea friend via a tea swap.
Aromatics like fresh out of the oven honey baked bread. Flavor notes of chocolate, light malt and hot buttered caramels. Simply intoxicating. Major tea high.
6g, 100ml, 190F, 45s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s and 120s.
The wet leaf:
A late night tea session thanks to a tea friend who provided me this tea via a tea swap.
Creamy smooth mouthfeel and buttery flavor notes meets vegetal goodness with a nice buttery popcorn finish. Aromatics of fresh made butter and honeysuckle. Beautifully bright buttercream yellow hued liquor.
6g, 100ml, 190F with a 30s wake up and a 5s next with 5s climbs till the leaf waned which was at least seven good steeps of nice flavor.
So good that I joined the Eco-Cha tea club immediately. I look forward to the other samplings I received as part of this tea swap as well as the monthly club offerings.
The dry leaf:
The wet leaf:
The final leaf:
I was turned off from trying Jin Xuans for a while because I don’t care for the heavy butter taste that most of them have but this one was a real winner. It’s wonderfully floral and has a sugarcane like sweetness that complements the hint of milky flavor. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of milkiness to this tea, which suits me just fine. This and Shan Lin Xi are my favorites of the Eco-Cha teas I’ve sampled so far.
Flavors: Floral, Sugarcane, Sweet