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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you to Mackie for this sample!
Confession time: I’ve never had ginseng oolong before. I don’t actually know what ginseng tastes like.
Steep 1: Tastes like a nice toasty oolong
Steep 2: It kind of tastes like matcha, if matcha steeped in oolong tea instead of water. I find the brew very flavourful and milky. Fairly vegetal, also. Like I said, this tastes a lot like matcha.
Steep 3: Maybe a bit fruity (mango)?, toasted grain, matcha/green tea, honey
Oddly enough, this brews very golden orange, not green!
Flavors: Grain, Green, Milk, Toasty, Vegetal
Stems, suppressed flowers, earth, there’s a musty, sweaty..ness, a bit of creaminess, but also some sourness, a slightly harsh astringency, grass, grape, something like lemongrass, or lemon zest. There’s something bitter too. Also, the musty sweatiness is pretty disturbing, and I’m not really sure how this can really appeal to anyone. But honestly that’s usually what I feel about baimudan.
Beans? ew beany tea.
I got a tea headache from this.
Flavors: Astringent, Beany, Cream, Earth, Floral, Grapes, Grass, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Musty, Sour, Stems, Sweat
The beginning is really sweet, right from the first steep, nice and thick ginseng flavours, cant really taste any of the leaf until much later in the session, it’s a bit grassy and earthy at first, and it develops a bit of lemon (maybe thats just part of what ginseng tastes like)
It gets a bit more complex in the middle, though still very much ginseng, and consistently sweet. Even after the leaves have unravelled.
Eventually most of the ginseng steeps out, after 10-15 steeps, leaving a .. not overly noteworthy tasting oolong; lemon, earth, wood, still with a hint of ginseng that never truly disappears. I actually quite enjoy it, even still, though I don’t have any other experience with ginseng oolongs. So maybe i’m not as credible as some, but I know that I like ginseng oolong! And this is certainly an affordable choice. It’d be interesting to try a ginseng oolong with a higher quality base, but I fear that this sort of thing is what manufacturers do with lower quality oolongs. Which is smart, because ginseng covers it well. Either way! A very enjoyable session :)
Also, this tea is what I’m basing ‘ginseng’ taste on, so if this is really bad ginseng, I’d have no idea! I can only describe it as sort of like matcha with a bit of ginger, earth, lemon, and some sort of root beery-ness
Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Grass, Lemon, Root Beer, Sweet, Wood
I’ve had this sample for a while, well not that long like a month or two but esgreen keeps sending me these white samples I’ve gotten like 3 or 4 different white peonys, and they’re really not my favourite but I’ve gotten around to review this one
This one has a bit of a noticeable sourness, accompanies by a subtle grassy earthiness, and a lot of floral and fruitiness
The second steep smells a lot like sweat.. Uh but I’m just going to try not to smell because it doesn’t taste much like that; it’s still sour and floral and a bit bitter
Okay well apparently the sweat is gone now, the third steep is very fruity and floral , with notes of hay and grass, it’s really not sour anymore too, that’s quite nice, it’s too floral for me but I know people who would be loving this, it tasted a lot like upton tea’s Ya Bao I drank a couple days ago but now it’s very distinctly a bai mu dan,
It’s really quite thick as well, there’s almost a wheat-like element, and I’m getting very faint cocoa notes which is nice, but it feels a bit like it’s causing me heartburn (even though I’m not experiencing heartburn at the moment, I don’t really low what I’m talking about, that’s just how I’m feeling) oh maybe it’s because of its kind of acidic taste..
Actually if that acidity wasn’t there I’d be loving this, these mid-late steep
As the session fades, the tea comes to a perfumey, floral, grassy, earthy, sweet, hay tasting thing, with astringency and light acidity, the later steeps are actually quite nice, which is a lot for someone who doesn’t like white peony as a whole. I’d honestly recommend throwing away the first 2 steeps, the sourness and the sweat were not very appealing
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Sour, Sweat, Sweet, Wheat
The leaves themselves of this one are so beautiful, they’re wonderful fuzzy white buds that look very high grade, aside from a very small portion of small fragments of leaves, every big one is whole and unbroken, which you don’t come to expect when you buy white tea for only $5.50/50g.
This one’s very umm meaty to begin with, but after a few steeps it opens up into a very sweet, vegetal, silky, astringent lovely cup, it’s very thick and comforting. It reminds me of lemonade somehow, it’s definitely a bit reminiscent of lemongrass, it’s definitely worth the price for me, I’m glad I picked some up, it’s a very nice everyday kind of white, as long as you dont mind those meaty notes
Flavors: Lemongrass, Meat, Nuts, Thick, Vegetal
Firstly, the leaves of this one are really beautiful. There’s lots of lighter green leaves mixed with darker green ones, and it’s really a stunning medley.
This is my first yellow tea, it’s definitely a more .. affordable yellow, some of the cheapest I’ve ever seen so I’m definitely not going to base my whole idea of yellow tea on this.
This is a 2016 spring tea, so it’s also probably the first time I’ve drank a fresh new spring tea during the spring it was harvested in.
Anyways, so, onto the tea.
the first steep (20s) reveals a thick, somewhat sweet, very nice, smooth mouthfeel, with the subtlest of astringencies. it’s very comforting, with some melon notes, as well as more citrusy flavour. lime/orange; a hint of vanilla even.
Second steep (25s) brings more of the vanilla, lime, vegetal notes, there’s a lot more astringency this time, with more of the subtle grassy notes. There’s a bit of a metallic tinge to it, which is a bit uncomfortable, but it’s not too bad.
Third steep (35s) is pretty much the same as 2, just a bit more metallic and astringent.
Fourth steep (38s) less sweet, a bit bitter, very astringent now. I may be brewing too long.
For some reason, I’m kind of out of it right now, I guess it’s 1am and I am tired, it’s hard to focus on the flavours.. That rarely happens to me, but um I think I did this reasonbly fairly.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Grass, Lime, Metallic, Orange, Vanilla, Vegetal
okay so I may not have much experience with jasmine teas, but I know what it tastes like, and this isn’t really it. Now that isn’t to say that it’s bad tasting per se, but I mean if it’s meant to be a Jasmine tea then it’s not really doing its job. But anyways, ignoring that, I’ll tell you what it does taste like.
This dragon pearl is very strange and sweet and tastes very strongly like bubble gum. Now, granted, I’m brewing Gongfu and I really don’t know if people do that with jasmine tea, but considering it’s a very traditional flavour, it seems to make sense that it would be. Plus, it works perfectly fine so I don’t see why not. But anyways, it has a bit of this… blandness that you can sense just behind the bubble gum, with a bit of a mellow green vegetal flavour, but not very strong or notable. However, it is cheap and I really had guessed that I’d get what I paid for with a jasmine tea, especially when it’s dragon pearls and still only like $3 or $4 for 50g USD. That’s an unreasonably low price, so I guess I’ll take the bubble gum.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Sugar, Sweet, Vegetal
I keep changing my mind about this one, I’ve had like 3 sessions of it this week, that never happens (granted I’m mostly trying to drink down some of my teas right now .. While waiting for more to arrive .. and this is one that’s not overly exciting but is still thoroughly enjoyable, I saw that I’d given it a 66, and well that doesn’t seem reasonable. And I remember, before that I had a 93 here so I’m gonna put it somewhere in between and hopefully I won’t need to change it again.. The flavours are all quite nice, very chocolatey and floral, but the body is really disappointingly thin and well pretty boring, but hey It’s better than it has any right to be at ~$3/oz.
I’ll get back to doing more proper reviews soon once I get some stuff to write about!
I already gave this one a very positive review, but now whenever I drink it, I don’t like it, my tastes have no doubt changed a bit, and this is just subjectivity, because it’s actually quite nice, but I really don’t like florals, and that’s all I seem to taste anymore, just with slight cocoa, and quite a bit of earth.
This one took me a few sessions to realize how great it really is; these beautiful fuzzy golden buds brew up this wonderful combination of sweet coffee/cocoa mixed with these light floral tones and dark rugged earth notes, it’s really quite a flavourful tea but it’s never overwhelming, and it’s not a difficult tea despite its obvious complexity. I’ve quite often forgotten about the tea brewing in my Gaiwan for a few minutes, (I do this way too often, it’s a problem) but when I do with this tea, it just becomes a bit darker and has more coffee-like notes, which isn’t even bad it just makes me a little sadder cause I’ll get a bit less flavour in the subsequent steeps. The first few steeps had a bit of fruity notes, though I’m not sure I could identify which fruit unless I started a new session. The darkness fades with each subsequent steep, revealing a lighter floral, even a little bit grassy (I’ve never called a black tea grassy before..) there’s no astringency or bitterness present.. Maybe the teeniest bit of astringency but you have to really want to notice it. A nice thing about this one is that the flavour lasts really well. it doesn’t really fade at all, you just need to know how long to steep it for; the 7th or 8th steep is just as flavourful as the 2nd or 3rd, unlike many teas which fade, at least in part, by then.
Oh, it’s also delicious western style; it doesn’t need milk or sweetener at all, cause it’s beautiful just the way it is :)
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Sweet
okay so this if my first experience with a Chinese steamed green, it’s really interesting; Esgreen included it as one of 5 samples with my order and I’m drinking it with my Gaiwan.
The sample had probably like 7-10 grams in it, and so thats enough for 2 brewing sessions and I thought when I did my first one that I had taken half but it was probably like 80/20 for the 2 sessions.
The first session, which had far more leaves was incredibly bitter and smoky and almost like charred meat, it was very thick and strong and it was really very off-putting but I hadn’t written a review and so I had to drink the rest to write about it.
The second session was much nicer, the tea was much more smooth, it had the smokiness, still quite prominently in fact, as well as the charred meat but there was also vegetality, and especially this time I noticed a citrus-floral flavour, and somewhat of a minty undertone. It’s actually really well-balanced, with a relatively strong astringency, as well as some pleasant bitterness, and it’s even a little bit sweet at times. Personally, the bitterness was a bit too much for me, even in the second session, but I’d really quite happily sip this one again
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Meat, Sweet, Vegetal
I’ll start this review by saying that I’ve never had a white peony that I actually enjoy so this may get some undeserved negativity at times, but I’ll try to keep it fair;
I’m brewing this sample gongfu in my ~90ml gaiwan (which I also got from Esgreen— they have some really nice teaware), the first steep was very strong and thick, almost overwhelmingly floral with a bit of a wet-earth, root kind of forest on a rainy day taste, it also makes me think of cacti but .. I’ve only eaten cactus a few times so I’m not really sure why I’m thinking of it. There’s definitely some cocoa notes at the back, and a bit of a zesty orange citrus flavour. At times this tea almost tastes artificial, but not overwhelmingly so, and I could certainly see many people enjoying this one,
I’m really liking Esgreen so far
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Cocoa, Flowers, Forest Floor, Orange, Orange Zest, Plants, Wet Earth
I finally got my new gaiwan after breaking the lid of the old one, and I’m really happy that I can get back to gongfu drinking, so this is my first review with the new one :D
Esgreen sent 5 samples with my order which is like.. a lot considering I didn’t even know they were going to send any, and this is one of those samples;
This moonlight white is only $3.50/50g which is a really good deal cause this is actually a fantastic tea; the leaves smell of a bai hao yin zhen without as much florality, but in my first steep, I was welcomed by a wonderful suprise:
It has pretty obvious notes of coffee and flowers (weird combination, right? it totally works though) and maybe even a bit of grass and a hint of earthiness, it’s really thick and sweet and it’s starting to develop into more of a melon kind of flavour, with no astringency. This is honestly probably the best white teas I’ve ever had and… seriously it’s only $3.50/50g like what the heck right, I’m really glad to have found this company and I’ll definitely be buying there again.
Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Flowers, Grass, Melon, Spices, Sweet
There are many conflicting claims about the aging possibilities of white tea. This offering proved that it is not only possible, but in some ways more desirable. Dried leaves are as shown in the photo and have a dried apricot and flowery aroma. The wet leaves have a sent of sweet kamkuat that is consistent through many steeps. It’s very easy to brew and never gets bitter or astringent. The tea soup is a beautiful apricot orange and very clear.
I don’t pick up any strong flavors, but rather smooth, mellow, deep, and a subtle sweetness that evolves from dried fruit to spicy honey. There’s no wow factor, but rather a soothing energy that stays in the gut. It seems to aid digestion. In many aspects, it’s a white tea that behaves like a dark tea, which I think makes it intriguing.
Where it lacks in aftertaste it compensates with great body that remains in the mouth as a warming and mouthwatering sensation rather than a flavor. This can be steeped 15+ times without loosing flavor or body. It’s very soothing on the stomach and doesn’t seem to be high in caffeine.
I was excited to sample some mao cha, but never found anything quite as affordable as this. I had no idea what to expect since the site is new and didn’t seem to specialize in any particular tea. Lots of big claims in this tea’s description that didn’t seem to match the price, but I thought I would give it a try regardless. Setting my expectations pretty low, I was met with a pleasant surprise.
The leaves were wonderfully intact and quite attractive. I placed around 7 grams in my oonggi (a Korean earthenware jar that works well for tea storage) to hangout for 24 hours. The next day the dried leaves were more than twice as fragrant as before. Their fragrance when brewed was almost intoxicating. Very prominent honey-ed peach and apricot fragrances. These flavors along with strong floral notes were prominent in 5 successive brews.
I felt the tea drunkenness setting in by the 4th brew, which I attribute to the cha qi, which doesn’t overwhelm the head, but instead spreads everywhere. Fruit, floral, and honey-ed flavors were accompanied with sharp bitter, almost spicy, notes that were more prominent on the 5th and 6th brews, which transformed into a nice huigan that lingers in the mouth.
I still don’t know if the ancient tree claims are true, but it has those qualities of very nice raw pu’er with great aging potential. The fresh flavors make it hard to believe they were processed in 2011, but for $2.65 for 50g, it’s certainly worth a try.
Addendum: Having had this tea multiple times in various settings, I can say the tea is powerful with consistent qi for 12+ steeps, medium bodied, typical in its Mengku/Lincang flavor profile (nutty, ripe apricot, bitter tobacco, smoke, and high floral notes) and still dirt cheap. I ended up purchasing a large 250 g bag to age.
It’s not like any Huang Shan Mao Feng I’ve tried before, but I’m going to support the claim that the tea came from “wild bushes”, since it tastes similar to the “wild” Fujian green tea I purchase from a trusted Hakka tea merchant on my trips to Beijing. The prominent aftertaste (huigan) and pure taste is also a good indicator of more natural cultivation techniques and mountain origins, albeit not organically certified.
It’s important to know that organic certifications are usually not affordable for small-share tea farmers in rural China who would prefer to avoid the extra costs of pesticides or fertilizers. What they often refer to as “wild” green tea is often from tea bushes that are “unkept or unmanaged” since they aren’t as high in demand in the Chinese or international market as popular teas such as Maojian or biluochun, which are usually farmed under conventional methods for higher yields and uniformity in appearance. The same is true in Japan.
Back to this tea :) The brewed leaves are a vivid green, something I don’t often encounter in Chinese teas. It’s quite fragrant and can yield more than 4 steeps. To me, the first rinse is too tasty to discard. It has a pure, simple, and yet elegant taste. Subsequent steeps reveal notes of crisp sweet peas, flowers, roasted brussels sprouts, and a faint sweet smokiness that grows on the drinker. The refreshing and subtly sweet aftertaste is what makes this tea a real bargain.
Just a quick tasting note for now, then I’ll do a better/real review when I drink it again.
Alright, so I’m a bit of a hipster. I have this thing where I have to be different. I drive a weird car, I live in the hipsteriest part of town, and I have a habit of buying bras in brands no one has heard of from random online companies in the UK. I’m fairly new to the tea scene, but I guess it’s going to spill over into my tea life. I decided to order from ESGreen because they had cheap sample sizes and have a great rewards program. So, naturally, I chose like six teas that no one on Steepster has reviewed yet.
I was reading up on Gentian a little before I bought some (because buying some random flower I’ve never heard of from a company no one’s ever bought from to ingest sounds like a good idea), and I saw most tea is made from its root. And its root is apparently really bitter. As in, they make bitters from Gentian root. So I was a little iffy going into this.
But I was pleasantly surprised. The tea was full yet light, the barest hint of vegetal-ness plus a sweet tone that became more pronounced as the tea cooled off. I drank several steepings of this tea, which rarely happens, I usually get bored after one cup.
So, fascinating tea. I recommend.
Flavors: Sweet, Vegetal
Got this in a sample box …it was a lighter yunnan black …very rounded and smooth taste ,had that distinct yunnan hay/oat background tho which was nice. Either the cone I had was dusty or something else because after drinking this I had a bad hay fever like allergy atttack.
Flavors: Hay, Honey
This tea makes me so happy, because I’ve finally found a yunnan gold tea with the same hints of sweetness, smoke, and leather that are in RiverTea’s Golden Yunnan! I’ve been so sad about the demise of RiverTea because it meant I couldn’t get any more of GY, and I’ve been trying lots of Yunnan teas since then to find something that compares.
So far – up until today’s tea! – I’ve been disappointed. I keep getting sweet-potato-ish Yunnans instead of the smoky, leathery goodness like this.
I am beyond the moon with happiness now that I’ve found a replacement! (By the way, KS, you should try this too!)
I also like the fact that this comes in the cone shapes. It’s perfect for a cup, and 2 cones would be perfect for a teapot. I’m seriously considering buying 100g of this – 50 cones in total.
Many, many many thanks to Dexter for sending me this in a swap. Hooray!
Flavors: Leather, Smoke, Sweet
This is a really strange tisane. The flowers are large and a beautiful red. They smell like smoked meat, particularly like a beef snack stick, the sort of long… thin snack sausages you can find in nearly every convenience store in the US… like a Slim Jim.
The infusion brews a sort of amber color. The flavor is surprisingly sweeter than I expected, a little bit fruity but more umami, kind of a tomato flavor, with a hint of smoke that follows in the aftertaste. It’s a little bit tangy like hibiscus, but not nearly as bold.
I can’t believe how much I actually enjoy this. It tastes a lot like tomato juice but with a smokey aftertaste. After the smokey aftertaste dies out, the taste left in my mouth reminds me of dried apple chips, especially tart green ones like Granny Smith.
I feel funny rating this tisane higher than the green smiley face on the scale. Haha. I feel kind of nuts for liking this.
Flavors: Meat, Smoked, Tangy, Umami