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Recent Tasting Notes
Drank this one on the way home from work, mostly because it was quick to prepare on the way out for the night because of the sachet format but also because I want to finish this one off sooner rather than later. I can’t really recall what I thought of this one when I first tasted it but I kind of got the feeling of ‘reverse’ deja vu this time when I was sipping on it; you know, like the sensation that nothing I was tasting in this cup lined up at all with my first impression. Mostly notes of toasted/grilled nuts, roastiness, a bit of a creamy quality, and then a VERY dill heavy finish…
Another Sipsby subscription box pick.
This one wasn’t bad, but it’s wasn’t great either. For starters it’s a sachet, and I really dislike oolong teas in sachet form – I want to give the leaf as much room to expand as humanly possible and this is just so restrictive.
Taste wise, it was smooth and relatively medium bodied with some nice natural sweetness and a good, consistent floral note throughout – kind of orchid like. The undertone was a bit fruity, sort of like an apricot/nectarine type of thing. Or peach skins. Finish was JUST A LITTLE BIT woody, but not in a way that even remotely makes me think ‘Ah, yes – pine!" so I’m really not sure where the name of this one comes from at all?
I think this will be easy to finish off, but overall it’s pretty average to me.
I steeped this tea longer (3 min), instead of 2, as suggested. It appeared to be clear but upon closer inspection it was a beautiful, light, pale yellow. The fragrance was wonderful, slight and beautiful. I love this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Grapes, Green
See my full review on Sororitea Sisters:
Flavors: Grapes, Green, Mineral, Sour
See my full review coming soon to Sororitea Sisters
Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Melon, Mineral
Sipdown! I tried this less than a week ago, and I am again today…only I really upped the grammage and did short steeps.
I’m so glad I did. This tea has some really sugary florals. The aroma reminded me of snicker doodles oddly enough. The taste also had a little bit of a cookie quality hidden the flower stems I got. Sugarcane is the word I’m thinking of. The florals themselves are also very bright, and come close to mostly to hyacinth, then maybe lilac, orange blossom, and something else but I am not sure. It’s a little bit fruity, but barely. That’s why I would pick orange blossom to describe it. Hyacinth dominated overall. The majority of the Golden Tea Leaf Oolongs have the same hyacinth note, though some others shift in quality towards lilac and others towards honeysuckle, jasmine, and gardenia. The Ali Mountain had the lilac folded into its thick and flat milky body for example.
In short, this was a light sweet and floral stemmy tea. I brewed 6 oz using 4-5 g (I really did not pay attention-the bottom of the steeper was covered two layers over) beginning with 30 sec, 20, 15, 25, 30, 45, 50, and so on to longer minutes in the later steeps. I brewed by scent and it worked out for me.
Happy New Year all my tea peoples! I hope yours is off to a good start, filled with excellent tea of course! Mostly mine has been…really hit or miss actually, events in my life are great, but I decided it was a grand idea to catch the flu. I rang in the new year by grumbling at the neighbors for setting off fireworks, because apparently, I am a grumpy old lady now. One thing that is awesome that will make my life so much easier is I have a new computer! Ben got me a swanky new laptop as a wedding present, made a big show on how it was going to be mostly his and I could use it while he was at work, but still had to use the barely functioning one when he was home…well he was a giant tease, set the thing up entirely for me and presented it to me. This, of course, made me immensely happy…not only do I have a working (like really working and not just functioning) computer, this means we no longer have to share it, so my blog schedule won’t be so determined by his work schedule. Yay!
I agonized long and hard over how to bring the blog back from my little vacation, and decided a tea that has recently brought me some nice flu relief deserved a spotlight, so here is my look at Golden Tea Leaf’s Ginseng Oolong. It is a blend of American Ginseng and a floral High Mountain Oolong, not the usual green nuggets of gross you see offered as Ginseng Oolong, this is blending chopped up root bits with tea. Conveniently stuffed into a very large sachet (meaning the leaves can expand) as you can see from the picture you really need the pouch or will get a mouth full of ginseng bits but since the pouch is large and full of quality leaves, I don’t mind it. The aroma is quite fun, if you are into notes of earthy roots, licorice, sage, and an underlying floral, nutty, sweetness…which I am. I could see this being a very polarizing tea, just like with licorice root, you either love it or hate it, and if my long-standing love of licorice root is a clue, I am a sucker for earthy sweet roots.
I decided that yes, I am going to gongfu a bag, because why not? The aroma after the first steep is really fascinating, blending buttery floral notes of the familiar Oolong with peppery, nutty, earthy, licorice notes of the ginseng. Not something you expect every day, but very pleasant. The liquid is nutty and sweet, blending notes of spring flowers and a bit of green crisp lettuce with underlying licorice and burdock notes. I like that is has such earthy herbaceous notes without smelling at all like, well, dirt.
The taste of the first steep is really fun, but before I get to taste let me mention that mouthfeel! Like licorice it is thick, almost to the point of being slippery, this is probably due to the saponins present in the ginseng, let me say that when you have a horrid sore throat that mouthfeel is immensely soothing. The taste of the ginseng starts subtle then blooms into an intense herbaceous experience, similar to…you guessed it…licorice root, pepper, burdock root, and a bit of sage. The taste is very sweet, towards the end distant notes of lilac and honeysuckle pop up and dance with the rooty goodness of the ginseng. The aftertaste is very sweet and licorice-like, lingering for a long time.
This steep allows the Oolong to really shine, since the leaves have opened more it can compete with the strong ginseng. It starts, middles, and finishes with lilac, honeysuckles, lilies, and a lettuce and sage green note. Of course there is the ginseng, giving a sweet rooty note of licorice and earthy burdock with just a hint of pepper. The mouthfeel is still super thick and slippery and really does a grand job of coating the mouth.
If it is not obvious, I kinda fell in love with this blend. I love the way the ginseng tastes with the Oolong, and knowing that it is quality material and not the honestly quite gross green nuggets I have had previously makes it infinitely better. Ginseng is used for its supposed health benefits, and while it was very soothing on my sore throat, it didn’t really lessen my flu any, but since I rarely drink teas (even herbal ones) for things other than taste this does not bother me. I did really enjoy the taste, and it lasting many steeps (I got five really solid steeps) made it a good companion for my sick self. If you don’t want to toss a pouch in a gaiwan it does taste really good brewed in a mug, the ginseng is very strong that first steep though so if you are wanting a lighter ginseng then go the gongfu route. I have one more pouch of this tea left and I will probably drink it before bed tonight, then I will need to get more because, sickness or no, this tea is right in my level of taste likes! Again, Happy New Year everyone!!
Most of other notes already covered the basics. I have had black teas processed closely to how this one was and they have not been as good. The other dark Jin Xuans I’ve had are usually to “ripe”, thick, or sweet nevermind I enjoy naturally sweet teas with some texture. I love that this has very little astringency and bitterness. In terms of notes, I got the honey mostly followed by the honeysuckle, caramel, and orange. It was actually very similar to What-Cha’s Vietnam Red Buffalo, but the mouth feel was a touch heavier and more malty making it more obvious that this was a black tea.
Out of all the black samples from Golden Tea Leaf, I would drink this one the most often. Like Amanda said, this tea was also very forgiving making it a better option for leaving the leaves in the brewing apparatus, namely a tumbler. You might be able to Gong Fu it, but Western is easier. A part of me actually liked this more than the Gold Red Tea (though I liked the complexity more of the Gold Red), and I definitely preferred it to the Sun Moon Lake since I like lighter black teas. I do drink Yunnan Gold Buds often, after all.
Not a bad black tea to try if you are trying to expand your hong cha horizon, and definitely good for those who like forgiving and softer black teas.
Good Assam like tea. The camphor is really strong for this tea, and I definitely get a tingly sensation on my tongue. Gongfu, 15, 12, 15 so far. It is actually a little too brisk for me personally, but it is definitely complex on the notes.
First steep gave me the usual for a Taiwanese Sun Moon Lake: cinnamon, thick malt, smooth, and a little bit drying. Second steep was surprisingly sweet and floral. It oddly made me think of an over steeped jasmine tea never mind the smell had the tomato thing that I associate with this tea. It was also spicy at the same time. I think this is what Amanda meant about the cardamom and saffron in her description. I also get the mint note, and I think that’s what I am having a hard time with. A little too dry. Steep three was more malt, spice, and smooth dryness.I did enjoy the complexity of this one, but I might have to brew this a little lighter next time. For anyone trying this: it is basically a strong and more complex Assam type of tea. I’d highly recommend it if that’s what you are looking for.
Excellent jasmine tea. Very close to a jasmine green tea pearl. The body was clear and clean, and was brew-able in short ten second incremented steeps. The jasmine is strong, incredibly sweet, and naturally creamy in texture. I easily got eight cups, with another potentially looming on the horizon.
This was not super complex, but it was also not super vegetal. The florals were strong, but they were also airy and light. I think this jasmine oolong could be a favorite. I would give it to an experienced jasmine tea drinker and a newbie alike. I’m going to have to see it western, but I am fairly happy with this turn out.
I quite enjoyed this one.
In basic speach: this was a smooth black tea little bitterness and no astringency Gong Fu. It also had a lingering sweet aftertaste that is not super common with blacks. Would recommend it to a connoisseur like the website says, but a newbie genuinely curious about the world of black teas would enjoy the excellent body.
In over-obsessive tea snob speach: this was a great tea Gong Fu with bready toast notes ending with a sugary aftertaste. There was smooth malt too and comes close to the other black teas with the caramel and chocolate notes, though this tea in particular does not necessarily have them. Instead, the kinds of images in my mind from drinking is broiled toast coated with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. It is like other Taiwaneese blacks, namely a Sun Moon Lake Assam, but it lacks the brisker and more tomato-y notes that I associate with that variety. It does have the weird cinnamon thing going on, though it’s not as strong as I’ve had in other teas.
So overall, I HIGHLY recommend at least a try of this tea. It’s texture, balance, and sweet aftertaste are excellent and worth experiencing-hence the connoisseur recommendation. As Oolongowl commonly says about certain teas, this is a mouth-feel lovers tea. Someone absolutely newer to the imaginative world of teas might not be super impressed with the texture and just might assume it’s a slightly sweeter than usual black tea. I personally brewed it using around 3-4 grams (closer to 3), first steep 20 sec, 35 sec, 45 sec, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes at 180 F.
Gotta to love self fulfilling prophecy. I was not as enamored the second time, but the tea had the sweet creamy flower notes that made me say “HOLY SWEET CREAM BATMAN!” I brewed the liquor a little too strong. More broth and a little bit of astringent veggie, but still flowery, creamy and sweet. I still recommend it and enjoy it.
HOLY SWEET CREAM BATMAN!
Yes, I gong fu’d this tea with moderately longer steeps and am backlogging, but this tea was my favorite of the jade oolongs I’ve had so far from this company. It took a tinsy bit to open up, but after it did, the bouquet of flowers and sweet cream opened up exponentially.There was a little bit of a mango note, but sweet cream was how I would describe the tea overall and it is very close to being my favorite. The profile was almost the same in each of the seven cups I brewed it with slightly altering heady florals and a growing yet barely noticeable grassiness in the background. It was not super complex, but I did not mind that too much. I would just be a little bit concerned about the teas delicacy. Now I hope that I can replicate the session with my leftovers. I’m going to be sad when this goes.
Tumbler test! And…it did quite well.
Here’s what I did: 13 oz in my 16 oz tea tumbler and used some hot water. The tumbler was getting a little bit too hot, so after a little over 4 minutes, I poured 7 oz into a cup and kept the rest in the bottle. I was surprised to find that the florals were actually emphasized in both the bottle and what was poured out of the bottle. The milky texture was still there, but the florals were accented-albeit lighlty. Still no astringency or bitterness.
Another round-and I have no idea how long I soaked this batch, and the results were also pretty nice. It was a little more vegetal, but still milky. After a few more minutes, the florals returned and the brew was lighter and mildly sweet. It absorbed a little bit of the previously flavored oolong in that bit, but no means bad.
So this confirms I could probably drink this going from class to class. I actually liked how this tea brewed more in the tumbler than in a tea pot. I should have figured given how light this tea is and my experience with some similar teas. I do confess that I might be bad and add a little bit of vanilla beans to a small batch so that I can maybe accent the florals and milky mouth feel. Here’s to experimenting!
Crap. Apparently, I like the natural oolongs equally to the flavored ones. I have yet to find a unflavored oolong that does really well in my tumbler. I have enough to test this one out however.
The vegetal notes are really brought out in my tumbler which is why use the flavored oolongs in them. Granted, you don’t use a tumbler for a tea that requires shorter steeping.
Back to this tea, I’m double fisting it with the On Wisconsin. I used boiling water this time and the milk notes are really strong right now. As in regular milk-not unsweetened whipping cream. Oddly enough, the creaminess are about the same for both the flavored oolong and this one. I put myself in a position with oolongs in general right now. It is not a bad one in which I’m scrambling to find cash (though I’m not in the best financial situation), but one in which I desire too much and want to spend less money on tea. I’m about to graduate from MSU and need to be smarter with my finances.
Man was I lucky to get 50 grams of this….of course I’m going to finish it in a week. I really can’t thank the company enough for offering this oolong. After the long quest for the perfect floral and creamy jade oolong..this ALMOST hit the marks I wanted.
I was surprised that this tea needed to be brewed western to open up. The texture was very milky and thick while the flavor was light and aromatic. Many of the reviews describe this tea as particularly sweet and creamy, but it did not have the sweet honey note that I associate with this variety. That was the mark I was hoping to hit, but it could have been a result of brewing. I also wonder when this tea was harvested, though it has a few qualities that remind me of a winter oolong.
I’ve used 5 grams and I’ve used three grams for 6 ounces of water-both steeping in 30 seconds for the heavier leafed sessions and three minutes for the lighter sessions. The texture was mostly the same for both with the heavier gong fu attempt being crowded by the milky sensation. The western brew was more balanced, but I was left wanting more from the flavor. The florals, however, hit the lilac-plumeria combo I love with a cream like body, albeit one like unsweetened thick whipping cream. This quality keeps me coming back to this tea because of how I deeply associate those florals with my childhood in Hawaii. Best of all, there was absolutely NO bitterness or astringency.
While I was pickier and more hopeful with this tea, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and was thoroughly impressed with how close to milk the texture and taste. The changing and ever comforting florals also impressed me. I think that it will keep me in good company for the short time I have it.
Golden Tea Leaf was kind enough to offer me a sample at my request. Thank you so much!
They did warn me that this needed some Cha Dao, and I brewed this as suggested. It was not as sweet as I expected and was heavier in texture than in flavor. Like most of the oolong that I had from the company, the texture is incredibly thick and silky. It was also creamily green like freshly rinsed spinach. The vivid florals described on the page were present, but subtle. Pine and hyacinth were more dominant for me than jasmine, though I caught hints of it with the very small splash of citrus. The florals were more dominant later on, and I got about six cups for each session.
I can see why Pascal said that this tea was not for everyone and more for a connoisseur. The flavors were very subtle and took some careful discrimination to pick out. I also had to really get my nose close for the wonderfully floral smell. I preferred the other selections picked for me because the flavors of this tea were too subtle for me while the texture was a little bit too thick. I am glad to have enjoyed this Lishan anyway.
I’m a little bit confused. I had a loose leaf package labeled “Pine Oolong” and wondered if it was indeed the loose leaf version of this tea. It matches the notes described, but the loose leaf does not have the same light roast taste that I get with the sachet. It actually has stronger florals and a bit of a honey note in the smell and taste.
I am LOVING the crap out of it, but a part of me wonders if this is the Pouchong. The florals remind me more of one, and the website had this description: " Brews to a melon yellow with a floral fragrance, a hint of citrus and green apple. Very easy to drink." This is closer to what I am getting and almost want some more. I dig me some apple notes in a really light oolong. I’ll let this develop, but man, whatever this tea actually is-which I think might be the pouchong-it is pretty close to what I wanted.
This company was very nice to me. Thanks to Amanda’s many posts about this companies teas and my insatiable desire to try every single frickin’ green oolong POSSIBLE, I got their sampler.
This was a very pleasant light oolong. This was almost the same as a silk bagged oolong I previously tried, but still quite nice. The honey and florals come together really nicely with a mildly roasted background. Is this tea even roasted or am I just tasting the medium fermentation? Either way I enjoy it. The specific profile makes me think of literal pine nuts-which is the best way that I can personally describe this tea.
The essential vocab.: light, medium, floral, honey, and pine nut. I would not reach for this tea, but it is one that I would definitely enjoy every now and then.