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Recent Tasting Notes
Since I read on TDB that Zhu Lu is one of the most sought-after Alishan oolongs, I’ve wanted to try it, and Fong Mong is among the few online vendors that carry it. I was therefore really happy to get a free sample. I steeped 6 g in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
These small, tightly rolled nuggets have a vaguely floral aroma. The first steep is a surprise! It tastes like a floral apple pie, with baked apple, spice, light florals, cream, honey, veggies, and a drying aftertaste. The next two steeps have a thicker body and continue with the apple theme—maybe apple custard. There are more vegetal and floral notes, especially as the tea cools.
By the fourth steep, the fruit starts to subside and the tea becomes a creamy, floral oolong with spinach and apple hints. The steeps remain vaguely sweet and floral until the end of the session, though the vegetal and spinach notes gradually predominate.
This is well rounded and complex for an Alishan oolong and the apple and spices were a pleasant surprise. I now understand why teas from this area are so highly recommended.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy, Custard, Drying, Floral, Honey, Red Apple, Spices, Spinach, Vegetal
From the product description, it appears that Fong Mong has developed this tea varietal independently of the TRES, and I’m kind of impressed. Thanks to the company for providing a sample. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the teapot, the large, loosely rolled green nuggets smell faintly floral. (From the consistency of the spent leaf sets, I can believe that this is a hand-picked tea.) The first steep has the beany, vegetal notes of green tea along with the milky, floral qualities associated with Jin Xuan. It also tastes kind of starchy, maybe because of the beans. This is a wonderfully soft tea with no astringency. Notes of kale, cream, and maybe gardenia show up in the next couple steeps. By steep six, the tea starts becoming more vegetal, though it’s still very pleasant.
Although I gravitate toward fruitier, less vegetal oolongs, this is a unique and easy-going varietal that would appeal to green tea drinkers. I love trying “experimental” teas from Taiwan and am glad I got to sample this one.
Flavors: Beany, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Kale, Milk, Vegetal
I haven’t had many green Dong Dings, as the roasted ones are so much easier to find. Thanks, Fong Mong, for the sample. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the pot, the tea smells like char, roast, and honey. The first steep is surprisingly smooth and buttery, with hints of honey, nuts, grain, and roast. The aftertaste is a bit drying. Steeps two and three continue in this vein, with hints of caramel and chestnut. By steep five, a vegetal quality emerges and the roast becomes sharper.
When I saw this was a green Dong Ding, I didn’t expect any roast at all; I was certainly in for a surprise. Though the roast wasn’t heavy, it definitely imparted a charcoal, nutty flavour. According to my very limited Chinese, “Tian Xiang” translates to “heavenly aroma,” and as promised, the smell was a highlight. I’m not sure I’d buy this again, but it was a tasty Dong Ding that’s perfect for the increasingly cold weather.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Char, Chestnut, Drying, Grain, Honey, Nutty, Roasted, Vegetal
To my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve had a tea from the Tsui Yu cultivar. Thanks to Fong Mong for furthering my education! I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the teapot, the dry, smaller-than-usual green balls smell like sweet caramel and flowers. The first steep is unusually sweet. I might actually have to use the cotton candy flavour descriptor, which is something I never thought would come in handy. Notes include honeydew, apple, caramel, cream, flowers, grass, and herbs. The second steep, which I drank cold, had more herbaceous and coriander flavours, though it was still caramel and sweet.
The next couple steeps are pretty similar. By steep five, however, the fruitiness and caramel start to dwindle, to be replaced by a slightly sweet, herbaceous, and vegetal brew with a floral aftertaste.
The first three or four steeps of this tea are unique and tasty, especially for those with a sweet tooth. However, this tea fades quickly and might be better suited for Western or grandpa brewing.
Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Coriander, Cotton Candy, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Sweet, Vegetal
Shan Lin Xi is my favourite tea region, so thanks to Fong Mong for providing this sample. According to the attached brewing instructions, this tea is from Zhushan, which I didn’t know was part of the Shan Lin Xi region. This tea seems to be high quality, with uniform, loosely rolled green nuggets; it even has an oxidizer packet to ensure freshness. I steeped about 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The smell of the dry leaves in the teapot is of honey, flowers, and the balsam note associated with SLX. The first steep has notes of flowers, honey, apple, grass, and cream. In a previous review, Ken pointed out a nutmeg component, and while my palate isn’t that refined, there’s definitely a bit of spice. There’s no astringency and the body is slick. The second steep is even more intense and has the piney balsam taste I could detect in the aroma. This combo lasts into the sixth steep, after which the tea loses its fruity and balsam components and becomes mostly honey and florals, with vegetal notes slowly sneaking in at the end of the session.
This tea is fantastic, especially for its price. I got lots of honey, balsam, fruit, and florals, and very few of the off notes that plague high-mountain oolongs, such as seaweed, spinach, veggies, and excessive astringency, and then only near the end of the session. I’ve had much more expensive oolongs that I’ve liked considerably less than this one, and I’ll probably order an entire package when I can justify buying more tea.
Flavors: Apple, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honey, Nutmeg, Pine, Smooth, Spices, Vegetal
For a fan of Taiwanese oolongs, I haven’t gotten around to trying many Taiwanese blacks. Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the pot, the long, wiry leaves smell like grapes, sassafras, and malt. The first steep is a coppery combination of tannins, sweet grape, sassafras, cinnamon, wood, and malt, with a long, drying finish and a bit of a menthol tingle. Unlike other Ruby 18s I’ve tried, this one doesn’t taste like liquorice (which is a good thing in my books). In the second steep, the grape gets even sweeter, almost like grape jelly, and lingers into the aftertaste.
Steeping this tea at 180F reduces the astringency and makes the grape and sassafras pop even more. By the fifth steep, malt, minerals, and some vegetal notes start becoming more prominent, though the lovely grape/sassafras combination is still very much there. It only starts to dwindle in the final couple steeps, which shows great longevity for a black tea.
This is an approachable, sweet, and long-lasting Ruby 18 with lots of flavour (and caffeine). It doesn’t have the overwhelming astringency that I’ve found in other Taiwanese blacks, especially if brewed at lower temperatures. It’s also a good value for the price.
ETA: I don’t know why there isn’t a flavour option for sassafras. Should I put it under something else?
Flavors: Cinnamon, Drying, Grapes, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Sweet, Tannic, Vegetal, Wood
I wrote most of this review last night, but got sidetracked by the U.S. election, for which this tea turned out to be a perfect accompaniment.
I thought a roasted Tie Guan Yin would be perfect on this rainy fall day. Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the teapot, the dry leaves smell like smoke, roast, wood, caramel, and walnuts. The first steep is sweeter than I expected, with warm notes of roasted grain, caramel, wood, and a bit of char. The sip starts off sweet and then becomes roasty, returning to sweet in the aftertaste. The second steep has additional notes of honey, banana bread, and nuts. These flavours continue well into the session, with minerals and some astringency appearing around steep six. The last few steeps are all about the smoke and roast, but with enough toasted grain sweetness to make them enjoyable.
This is a very complex, satisfying Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin that I wouldn’t mind having on hand this winter.
Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Caramel, Char, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Walnut, Wood
Thanks to Fong Mong Tea for providing this sample. I steeped about 7 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
In the pot, these small green pellets have a lovely spring flower aroma. The first steep is fairly light, with notes of flowers, butter, grass, and a bit of vanilla. In the second steep, the florals, maybe orange blossom and gardenia, become stronger, and I also taste vanilla, light citrus, stonefruit, and coriander. There’s also a slight tongue-coating astringency. In the next few steeps, the liquor gets more vegetal and many of the other flavours fade into the background, but a nice creamy floral aftertaste persists.
In the first part of the session, I thought this was one of the best Four Seasons oolongs I’d tried. But because this tea seems to pack its flavour into the first few steeps, it might do better Western or cold brewed, where the number of infusions matters less. Either way, this tea is fairly inexpensive and its initial complexity might compensate for the lack of longevity.
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Citrus, Coriander, Creamy, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Orange Blossom, Stonefruits, Vanilla, Vegetal
My first impression of the dry leaf was that it smelled similar to a Wuyi oolong. Once infused though, the differences shone through. Still similar, but with a layer of honey sweetness to go with the woody roasted goodness. Yum! Started with 2g of leaf per 45ml of water, increasing as the leaves opened up.
I loved this tea, the clean roast aroma and flavour is a real winner in my book. Characteristics fruity but also somewhat similar to a black tea with malty and caramel flavours as well as a little vanilla sweetness. For the price this makes a good buy, especially if you enjoy the GABA effects. I found it quite relaxing and soothing, maybe too much so for a first thing in the morning cuppa but great in the evening.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Roasted, Vanilla
I tried a sample of this and found it very unique for a black tea. Don’t expect this to taste like typical black tea. It’s more like a mix between black and oolong. It’s very complex. The malty, caramel, brown sugar taste of black tea is there, but there’s also vegetal, fruity and floral notes like an oolong. I also tasted some mint and a bit of a medicinal note. I’d recommend trying it for sure, but remember it isn’t a typical black tea and tastes very unique.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Fruity, Malt, Medicinal, Mint, Vegetal
At first this tea is extremely creamy and buttery with vegetal, legume and floral notes with a touch of sweetness. With further infusions it also tastes of fresh air, slightly of salt water, and of minerals. Astringency is non-existent at first, becomes a little more astringent with further steeping.
Flavors: Vegetables, Vegetal
The first infusion has a green-gold-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The later infusions took a more gold yellow color without any green. Again, the aroma is beautiful, with scents of Chinese cinnamon, honey, gardenia flowers, and apple. The body is medium, with a fresh, lively texture. There is no bitterness, and a very light astringency to the first infusion, which further dissipates in later infusions. The taste has pronounced notes of Chinese cinnamon, gardenia, apples, and honey, with maybe a light touch of sweet cream. The aftertaste carries the gardenia and apple notes, with a lingering, powerful, and noteworthy floral bouquet being left on the breath. Very impressive!
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Gardenias, Honey
The taste…wonderful! You can never go wrong with a decent Sun Moon Lake Black tea. It’s rich and a delight for tea-thirsty mouths.
It’s sweet with a slight astringency but nothing that bothers you. Very well balanced!
If you like cinnamon flavored black teas, this tea has it naturally. And a quite intense one. I loved it!
It offers fruity tones as well. It’s hard to pinpoint but I get a mostly citrusy taste.
The mouthfeel is slightly thick and velvety.
The aftertaste is quite persistent, particularly the cinnamon taste, and refreshing. It left a nice trail of spicy and fruity flavor both in my throat and mouth.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Mint, Sweet
Dry leaves are composed of tightly rolled rather dark green leaves. They have a nutty, roasted smell. The liquor has a color of the orangish yellow liquor with great clarity. The taste has nutty and fruity tones. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and velvety. It’s got honey-like sweetness with almost no astringency. The aftertaste was quite persistent and left a nice refreshing feeling in the mouth.
Flavors: Honey, Nutty, Roasted
It cupped out light green liquor with great clarity. The taste is quite floral and light which is quite expected of any nice quality High Mountain Oolongs. It’s quite sweet and has a mellow mouthfeel. The aftertaste was long enough to leave a nice refreshing floral touch in the mouth.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
The liquid has a pale, light yellow-green color. The aroma has scents of brown sugar, peaches, and lighter scents of honey, Ceylon cinnamon, and sweet cream. The body is medium, with a refreshing, clean texture. There is no astringency or bitterness. The taste has notes of brown sugar, peaches, floral honey, and lighter notes of Ceylon cinnamon and sweet cream. The aftertaste carries the sweet floral notes, and leaves an impressive lasting floral essence on the breath.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Peach
The liquid has a bright, light yellow color. The aroma has scents of stewed apples and pears, orchids, brown sugar, and touches of Ceylon cinnamon and floral honey. The body is light-medium, with a honey-like texture. There is no trace of bitterness, and just a touch of astringency. The taste has notes of stewed apples and pears, floral honey, orchids, and lighter notes of brown sugar and Ceylon cinnamon. The aftertaste is incredible, carrying the fruit and honey notes, then evolving into an excellent orchid essence left on the breath.
Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Honey, Orchids, Pear
This is another great Fong Mong Tea. You guys this company has produced some amazing teas. From the first sniff after opening the package to the last drop descending your throat everything shouts exceptional tea. The moment I opened the package and smelled the slightly sweet marine and mineral notes I knew it was a lightly oxidized oolong. And then of course you look at the tightly rolled, dark green leaves and you know, yup that is definitely an oolong. When the water is poured over the leaves it gives off a vegetal smell. Which is slightly amusing because if you pick up the cup to smell it 5 seconds later …. you don’t smell it. Quite interesting. It has a smooth mouth feel with mineral, vegetal, and a few hints of grassy notes.
A noted correction, this is top grade.
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up today for tasting we have pekoe gold oriental beauty. First thing I noticed is the leaves are alot of different colors. Almost looking like a white tea with all the color in the leaf. I also got a slight smell of honey before even heating the pot. Heating the pot with about 200 degree water and putting the leaves in, I got a strong scent of honey arising from the leaves.
For my first steep, I went with about 30 seconds and got a really nice honey, sweet, white wine, white grape and maybe honeysuckle flavor. The liquor is clear, light and pale moderately thick. The leaves are so dark after steeping, its quite impressive actually. The flavors and aroma’s in this tea are quite effemoral and hard to pin down, though the feeling of grapes, wine and honey is quite apparent, there might be some other spice and fruit notes I cant quite pick out.
The second steep I went about a minute, and I got a much darker color liquor , a medium honey color now and the flavor and aroma are quite a bit stronger. Grapes, wine and honey are still the predominant flavors at this point, but maybe flowers, or peaches. There is definitely something else there but Im not sure what it is. The taste of wine sans alcohol is so much more pronounced now, that really is an unusual flavor. There might be a bit of malt flavor too. Its really interesting what happens when the bugs bite the tea..
Third steeping, I went for about 2 minutes, seeing if I can push this tea a little. The color got slightly darker, but the aroma is about the same. Still wine flavor, but maybe a bit darker now, very interesting. This tea has been wonderful, Ill steep it out a few more times. Sunday I will be tasting the bug bitten oolong and comparing.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes tea with honey aroma!
Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine
Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine
The wet leaf has the most interesting smell. So much so that I am having trouble being able to put a descriptor to it. Perhaps its hints of eucalyptus in mahogany sawdust in a mixture of compost and wet leaves. It’s such a complex aroma! Somewhat medicinal as well but not in a bad way. A silky mouth feel and dark, clear amber in color. Quite an earthy tea. The aroma carries over into the after taste but the first time the liquid hits your tongue a full force of earthy flavors assault you. I’m not really sure I would say it’s minty like their website describes but it does have that slight mouth clean sensation that mint gives you.