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Recent Tasting Notes
Free sample. Yippee. ^^
I used 3g in 110 ml with a 10-second rinse with just under boiling water. I started with four 30-sec infusions. Even by the 5th infusion, the leaves had not quite completely unfurled. As I continued on, increasing steeping time, the ginseng little by little dissolved and the tea leaves fully opened releasing oolong goodness.
It has a delicate light roasted aroma. I’m still not sure what type of oolong it is, it is high-quality though. I really liked the taste, am glad I saved half the sample for another go later this week. Other ginseng teas I’ve tried can be slightly bitter. This one is not. It has a nice earthy natural sweetness, no bitterness detected at all. Not sure if it’s American ginseng or Asian ginseng. Probably Asian ginseng since it gave me energy vs a sleepiness/calming sensation. It had multiple flavorful steeps. Towards the end, I got a powdery feeling on the roof of my mouth, slightly drying.
3g, 208℉, 110 ml, 13 steeps: rinse 10s, 30s, 30s, 30s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 80s, 100s, 120s, 140s, 160s, 3m
I’ve been drinking the rest of my Mandela Tea Milk Oolong and also I have this 1 oz sample of this organic Jin Xuan. Their site says "subsequent additive-free processing makes for a delightfully aromatic and creamy cup (hence the moniker “milk”). This is an unscented/unflavored tea." so I suppose their regular Milk Oolong does have some additives hence the coconut, toffee, pineapple notes in that one. I prefer the regular over this one, and it doesn’t have that fake additive taste that some milk oolongs have.
With the organic one, I just don’t get any of those notes, however, it has an extremely pleasant creamy taste with much more vegetal notes in comparison. It still has that creamy & buttery mouthfeel, a floral, milky and vegetal aroma, and equivalent taste. It’s deep although very mild throughout the steeps as it changes adding some mild fruity notes. Long and pleasant aftertaste. As I said, I do prefer their regular Milk Oolong over this one but it is a good “pure” delicious Jin Xuan. I’m thinking maybe it would go well with some Yokan or mochi. hehe
Yixing gaiwan, 5g, 195℉, 7 steeps for now (still lots of flavor and will continue so that’s good it has lots of infusions): rinse, 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 75s, 85s.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Sweet, Vegetal
Chilly out and got a new package of tea samples. That always makes my day.
This Golden water turtle just smells so wonderful. A very rich, toasty, roasted nuts & dark chocolate aroma. I’m very happy with the taste as well. For an oolong tea, it reminds me of some great black tea I’ve tried in the past because it’s so biscuity, malty yet very smooth and even. Some caramel, some fruit notes in later infusions. I taste a little spice in it but I don’t taste any root vegetables as in the description but some fruit instead. It’s rich, medium bodied and savory, has a crisp clean long-lasting finish. It is complex and it never got bitter. It is exactly what I needed after a difficult and busy day.
Yixing gaiwan, 195˚F, 5g, 110ml, 15/15/20/30/40/50/60/70/80
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Roasted nuts, Spices
Extremely smooth, milky, slightly floral. coconut, perhaps creamy pineapple, toffee-like notes. It’s complex, deep notes but all mild. Yummy milky aromatics, good for multiple steeps (gongfu cha 10+ infusions) and each steep is delicious. This is a keeper.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Fruity, Milk, Toffee
Gone gaiwan. 5g, 100mL, 212F. Short rinse followed by 7 steeps at 15s/25/30/45/1m/1m30/5?m
This is a nice, mellow shou, fragrant and comforting. The base tea is rather savory and not very sweet. It lacks off-putting aromas and tastes. Works well with the sticky rice herb which is not overpowering, though it is looking old. The first four steeps were the richest and the last 3 were not too watery. Despite me not considering this a sweet tea, there was a strong lingering sweetness in the back of the mouth. It was good for drinking at night which is what I purchased it for. Not too much focus was required, it was relatively short-lived and seemed low in caffeine. Prit-tay good.
Following up my Thai eggplant and ground pork takeout with a strong, clean shou to cut the grease.
I’ve brewed this consistently throughout the 1-oz bag. Easy to break off a 5-gram chunk and go western in a ball jar. Couple of 10-second rinses, though after tasting the second rinse, I think only one could be had. Already dark and clear. Fill ’er up with 8oz of boiling water. 30/60/90/120/180/asyouplease.
The brewed liquor smells like the ancient, leaky trailer my friend used to live in on the edge of damp riparian habitat. His mother, the prior occupant, was an indoor chainsmoker. Sounds gross, right? Tastes amazing.
If that offends you, I can say it also reminds me of slogging through a forested swamp in northeastern Ohio on a cloudy and cold November day. It’s about 36F and nearing sundown. Clay and muck and leaf decay stick to my wader’s boots and weigh me down. Somebody within a mile has a fire burning. The smoky particulates stick to my own misty exhalations which I breathe back in, open-mouthed. I’m a sweaty stick of human-landjaeger in these chest waders, forever trudging forward. Sounds gross, right? Tastes amazing!
Ash, earthy fungal loam, humus, smoke, leather, old books, followed by a tingling tongue, decaying dark wood, gray clay (very specific mineral taste for me), tobacco, lighter wood and finally a sweetness like vanilla. Mouthfeel stays light and clean. Cha qi is near instant and unbeatable. Perk up, calm down, both gaze and lights soften. I’m immobilized yet focused within this rusty orange hue. If I were still much of a writer, this would be my choice of beverage for late nights of visualizing and penning.
I’m pretty sure you could manage less leaf, more steeps, lower temperature and still end up with a decent cup.
Sad to see this ounce go. I will order several cakes of this to have as my go-to evening shou.
Tea from yesterday. Cooler weather means i’m more inclined to drink more tea. Mostly i just wanted something warm in the morning on my way to work. Was nice to get back to a straight tea, as i really haven’t been in the mood for them recently.All in all, quite enjoy this offering from mandala. just the right sort of mellow, smooth, not so bold kinda of cup.
7 grams @ 160F for 1:00
lid aroma: vague sweetness with something slightly roasty
wet leaves smell of apricot, very fragrant
liquor is fairly insipid.
@165F for 2:00
lid aroma: hint of cocoa
wet leaves: slight stone fruit and stewed vegetables
liquor remains relatively flavor-free…
aftertaste: celery, apricot
@170F for 3:00
lid aroma: more cocoa
wet leaves: strong apricots and stewed vegetables
liquor: not much more than astringency
The wet leaves throughout smelled truly lovely, and it’s a pity none of that translated to flavor in the liquor. Had to crank it hard to get anything out of it, and still it was much more about aromas than flavor. Which reminds me, the brewing method suggested on the label is absurd and will produce only hot water.
All in all, seems like it would be fine for someone who loves a delicate tea, but I wouldn’t buy this again.
Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Spinach
2017 tea, brewed in May 2018.
1st infusion at 1:00
STRONG honey scent immediately on taking the lid off the gaiwan, that vanished quickly.
Pleasant taste, mouthfeel. Very mellow. A bit of astringency in the background. A touch of sweetness. I like it.
Faint ghost of white grape juice and dryness as an aftertaste.
Very slight tobacco aroma on the lid. Liquor itself smells faintly of honey.
A bit more astringency, a bit less sweetness. Juicy. Something almost like cigarette ash? But not unpleasant.
Not much difference at all from 1:30. Just a little more astringency and less of everything else. Seems like that’s all I’m going to get out of this one.
Flavors: Honey, White Grapes
did a session with this one after lunch and i’m kinda “meh” with this one. western was ok, but not as wonderful as some of garrett’s other shou and brewed up gonfu today it was just kinda boring. Nothing changed much over the few steepings i had but it wasn’t a bad tea…just…boring? No fishiness here for me, just an average mellow shou with a bit of earthiness to it. Sending the rest of this off to Terri to see if she prefers it :)
trying to drink a little bit of my puerh today as well. Some days it feels like i’m getting dangerously close to having only puerh in my cupboard haha. This one was a western brew – it’s a nice cup imo…slightly sweet but overall a good solid ripe puerh. I’ll have to see how this fares at a later date gonfu style :)
Ovetime, I’ve become skeptical when tea companies list oolongs as buttery; when I see “buttery” I expect a flavour and texture explosion evoking all the oily, salty-sweet richness of life. Butiki’s ambiguously named “Organic Sparrow Tongue” Oolong always delivered. Some batches of Shan Li Xi deliver (with jam like a delicious, fully loaded scone). This Tie Guan Yin delivers too and its glorious.
I’m internally squeeing right now. I want to yell and to curse all the other Tie Guan Yin oolongs I’ve had, which will now and forever be deemed insufficient. It’s like, after years of being indifferent to Chardonnays, stumbling upon a “butter bomb” Californian Chardonnay and realizing life could be beautiful (I’m sorry Chardonnay purists, I know this preference is wine sacrilege of the highest order). This is a Lilac butter bomb and it’s even better.
Anyways, I’m so grateful for this free sample. I would’ve never ordered this on my own because I thought I was done with Tie Guan Yin varieties. You did right, Mandala!
Now I’m off to play with the rest and see how it holds up to multiple steeps and sessions.
Steep Count: 3 + Rinse. Subsequent steeps taste of lilac cream.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Gardenias, Salt, Sweet, Vegetal
Broke out a sample this morning. This GABA was a good choice as I was in need of calm.
The liqueur is a light sunny yellow and it has strong floral & grassy notes. The finish is sweet. Happy Monday teaples.
Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Floral, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
Thank you to CrowKettle for the share!
This smells and tastes just like my favourite milk oolong (China milky oolong from Special Teas Inc). The super creamy milk fragrance, some apricot stone fruit notes, undertones of mango and pineapple. It is very rich and decadent-exactly what I want in a milk oolong.
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Mango, Milk, Smooth, Stonefruits