Mountain Stream Teas

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Recent Tasting Notes

derk sent me a beautiful little bouquet of chrysanthemum buds (Christmas-anthemums!) in a bag. Now some of them are in my cup. Wow. Just wow. They do not taste like lawn clippings. Lemony without being citrusy, buttery without being dairy, honey without being sticky. Sunshine in a cup, for sure.

gmathis

You would have laughed at me dragging out my measuring cup to make sure I was hitting 100 ml (whatever that is…we’re in the Midwest!) so that I would not mess up my first steep.

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72

Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #8

This is a lovely green. I thought it was a Korean green at first because it tastes a lot like sejak. I get some umami – almost like seaweed or miso soup but with more loamy minerals. It’s actually very well balanced for a green tea that I overleafed and oversteeped. The bitterness is balanced by the potent flavour without being overwhelming. It is not astringent or drying like tannic greens can be. It reminds me a little of a vegetable broth but without the salt. The flavours are subtle in general, but strong for a green tea. Lightly vegetal but I can’t pick out any specific vegetables except maybe faint kelp.

Sweetness: 2/10
Sourness: 0/10
Bitterness: 4/10 (in a good way)
Potency: 7/10

Flavors: Green, Loam, Mineral, Seaweed, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more 6 g 20 OZ / 600 ML

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89

Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #4

This tea is delicious! It’s a really nice oolong with a good balance between toasty and vegetal. It is slightly sweet and creamy, but not quite a milk oolong. There is an orchid floral flavour in the background. I love that this tea is not drying at all. It actually is quite thirst quenching. No bitterness or buckwheat/tasoted rice that some oolongs have. It leans towards a green oolong but has a tiny hint of tastiness in there as well. It reminds me of oats.

Flavors: Orchid, Toasty, Vegetal

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100

2023 harvest

Fresh and flavorful with a minty edge and a lightly sweet aftertaste. Liquid sunshine in a glass pot. All chrysanthemum I’ve had pale in comparison, except snow chrysanthemum buds which are in a class of their own. I can steep these flowers any time of day and they give me what I need in the moment — my personal adaptogen.

I really hope these will be a regular seasonal offering at Mountain Stream Teas. These tiny flowers are so complementary to my system that they sometimes make me not even want to drink caffeinated tea.

Feeling: calm, content, clear headed, cooling, respiratory system cleansing

Flavors: Bright, Chrysanthemum, Herbs, Mint, Nutty, Tangy

ashmanra

That sounds so amazing!

gmathis

It does! My past experience (no doubt with much lesser quality varieties) ended up tasting like the wrappings on a chrysanthe-mummy.

ashmanra

I don’t think I have ever had chrysanthemum but I have a sample of one in the kitchen waiting to be tested…pretty old now but maybe it will give a hint of the flavor!

Leafhopper

I’ve never had chrysanthemum either. It looks like this one is out of stock, or at least I can’t find it on the website.

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80

Well, this is a delightful little number. Maybe an oddly springlike choice for a fairly dreary late October day, but I’m enjoying it!

It’s very smooth and silky, and actually quite mild. There’s a hint of sweet pea and powdered sugar and very little grassiness or vegetal earthiness. So mellow!

Flavors: Garden Peas, Powdered Sugar, Silky, Smooth

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70

Very light and just a tiny bit creamy. I’m not really getting the “fruit leather and sweet black raisins” promised in the description, though. It’s more wet earth and maybe a smidge of breadiness?

This is my first GABA tea. So far I notice no special calming effects. :)

Flavors: Bread, Creamy, Wet Earth

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58

Free sample with my last order, thank you.

February 2023 harvest

Si Ji Chun cultivar tastes like the quintessential green oolong to me. This one’s fresh, smooth and intensely floral with a light soymilk taste/texture and an undercurrent of pureed green vegetables. Too expansively perfumey for my preference but it is a tea I would recommend for its strong and long taste. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed it most prepared gongfu style in a glass gaiwan but I still tired of it quickly.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Macadamia, Mango, Milky, Nutty, Perfume, Plumeria, Smooth, Soybean, Sugarcane, Tropical, Vegetables

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2023 sipdown no. 96

I sadly barely paid attention to this for a proper note, but it was really lovely. Lovely creaminess with subtle florals. I would get this one again for more to enjoy.

1st steep: 1 minute
2nd steep: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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2023 sipdown no. 84

The notes from MS include “honey, rose and dark oolong goodness”. I would say it’s mostly dark oolong with some honey. I didn’t get a lot of rose (but I’m not upset about that haha). The honey was lovely, but not as nice as some of their other offerings or other Taiwanese honey-like teas I’ve enjoyed. Overall a good cuppa, but not a permanent cupboard resident.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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The MS website says this tea doesn’t “taste” like milk, but instead “feels” like milk. Being vegan, I haven’t had cow’s milk in many, many years, but I can see how this has a milk “feel”. It’s perhaps slightly creamier than other green oolongs and there’s a sweetness at the end of the sip that makes me think of the leftover sugary milk at the end of a bowl of cereal I enjoyed as a child (in a very subtle way). Naturally, the vegetal flavour of a green oolong is there, but it’s fairly muted in this tea. An enjoyable cuppa, all round!

Also, we are going to see Bill Nye tonight and I just had to tell someone because we’re so excited!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
cube

yay, another vegan tea fan! enjoy Bill Nye!

beerandbeancurd

Vegan tea drinking Bill Nye fan checking in, hell yeah! WE ARE LEGION.

Courtney

Yas! :) ❤

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2023 sipdown no. 73

Well, this is tasty! Another sample in yet another recent order! The light roasty-ness is really lovely here with a prominent pastry sweetness. I can’t remember much else except that the first steep surprised me in the best way.

The second steep had that cardboard-esque flavour peeking through that I find in roasted oolongs.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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2023 sipdown no. 71

This was a sample MS added to one of my (too many XD) recent orders. The flavour is light-bodied with just enough creamy softness to make it noticeable. There are lovely hints of floral that I don’t really find overpowering, despite the tasting notes mentioning “rich florals”. There is also a definite floral-sweetness that is really lovely. The packet also mentions a “lingering aftertaste”, which I agree with and find delightful. I’ve actually quite enjoyed this tea overall and am a bit sad to see this sample go.

The cultivar notes Si Ji Chun and I can see that. I often have the Si Ji Chun oolong from CS in my cupboard and these teas could certainly be related.

Production Date: February 2023

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 13 OZ / 384 ML

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78

Whew, look at that beautiful picture. My piece of cake was admittedly a little darker and not quite so stunning.

Dried leaf straight up smells like apple. Drank the rinse; light fruit tree scent. Took a while to open up, even after I reached in and broke up the chunk.

Much more mellow overall than it’s un-aged compatriot. Apple butter, vanilla, light malt, lychee.

Wish I’d thrown the whole 10g into this 150ml instead of stopping at 7g, as it’s delicate to the point of ghosty. I long-steeped the remaining crumbs and then did just that. Maverick white tea loosey-goosey shenanigans up in here.

Alas… rather than progressing further into sweet, it turned a corner to malty tannin and I lost interest.

Flavors: Apple, Fruit Tree Flowers, Lychee, Malt, Tannin, Vanilla, Watery

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82

2023 harvest. Sitting down with a plan to session this and its aged counterpart afterward.

Minty floral and fruit on the dry leaf; I neglected to warm my pot, so no notes there.

I found baby powder and… the… is that… cat pee(?) from the drydown on the lid of my pot. Like a wet baby diaper, kinda, actually. Not offensive, just there. Wet leaf is super floral and herbaceous… gardenia/mint/fennel/vegetal. I’d drink that cocktail. Linalool, creaminess, cooling, herbs, hay, citrus rind (grapefruit?), malt, and tannins on and in the liquor. Not a flavor profile I’d crave, but fun as a tasting and exploration experience. And, I’d say — a nice example of a classic white tea. I don’t often think about teas in terms of what’s missing, but a touch of melon sweetness would really elevate this.

Flavors: Baby Powder, Creamy, Fennel, Floral, Gardenias, Grapefruit, Hay, Herbaceous, Herbs, Malt, Mint

ashmanra

Pee sometimes smells like Cheerios to me, so could it possibly be an oat-y scent?

beerandbeancurd

Possible… though I can’t say I’ve ever equated the two! :D

derk

haha I get it

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2023 sipdown no. 70

This tea has a very savoury scent once steeped, with hints of saltiness – almost like a Ritz cracker. There’s hints of stewed fruits with a maltiness cut through and a fascinating savoury-sweetness in this tea. It’s difficult to describe, but a lovely tea from MS.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82

8g in the 10g bag, meh. So much for two 5g sessions… threw it all in my porcelain.

Curious. Tasty. Aroma from the wet leaf is so distinctly high mountain Taiwan floral, and becomes herbaceous later on. Scent of honey and (I’d agree with MST’s note of) candied plums off the liquor. Taste is soft and fleeting, difficult to pin down but with notes of honey and fruit tree flowers. The color does brew up young sheng-golden, and has some bitterness.

I thought I’d be delighting more in this oolong/sheng crossover album, but I find myself feeling instead like it’s a bit non-committal. Perhaps just young. I don’t suppose I’d keep drinking it now, but maybe it’d be interesting to check on in a few years.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Herbaceous, Honey, Plum, Soft

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70

I’m sipping this tea while catching up on tasting notes and saw that Courtney also just reviewed the 2022 harvest… and after reading her comment, all I can taste is rose! XD The power of persuasion.

I drank it yesterday as well and found it very mild and soft, but not particularly sweet. I’m really struggling to pick up on any honey notes. Today I’m also getting something slightly acrid? Strange. Maybe I overleafed it today.

Flavors: Floral, Rose, Soft, Sweet Potatoes

Courtney

Oh noo haha! I much preferred the previous harvest I tried, but I can appreciate how cool it is that each harvest can be so different. :)

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90

Warmed leaf smells like Grand Marnier. So many alcohol references from me lately.

I wanted a nice full session of this, so I put the whole damn 10g in my pot that normally takes 7g. I figure half is pomelo peel, so… caution to the wind!

Aroma is orange liqueur almost exclusively… which has its own set of implications, of course: overripe and fermented fruit, vaporous and funky. Marmalade. Triaminic orange cough syrup, for a non-boozy reference… god, I loved that stuff as a kid. Liquid is quite transparent and progresses from straw- to caramel-colored.

Taste is the delicate, filmy version of all this — a “marnier and water,” if that were a thing. The real kick is in the smells here, but the scent is not separated and floating above the flavor (as so often happens with flavored teas) — they are well-integrated and become a singular experience. The black tea base doesn’t really announce itself, which lets the pomelo shine. There is some bitterness from the pith that shows up, but it’s not distracting and balances the almost-cloying sweetness. Provides some tongue tingling in later steeps. Eventually the bitter keeps on steeping, the nice things fade… and here we take our leave.

For the record, 10g was not too much material at all. Long steeps didn’t become astringent or too pungent. Seems like this would be great iced in summer.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bitter, Brandy, Citrus Fruits, Honey, Orange, Orange Zest, Stewed Fruits, Sweet

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92

Very much in the spirit of What-Cha’s Taiwan Wild Shan Cha Black. Dark berries and roast, from the dry leaf through the nose to the sip to the bottom of the cup. Wet leaf is like a rich, caramelized blackberry preserve. I even get some of the same wet dog here and there, lol. Some of these high mountain teas from Taiwan are just so special… black or oolong, light or dark roast, they give and give and give.

Flavors: Berries, Blackberry, Pastries, Roasted, Sweet, Wet Dog

Marshall Weber

Dang that sounds wonderful! Except maybe the wet dog haha.

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86

Drank this again this morning, bowled, and lost much of the intensity. A shame not to have the wet leaf to poke around in between steeps, as that was half the pleasure of my first session. Pleasant this way, but not captivating.

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86

Light umami and… mint(?) on the first short steep.

Good god, so many flavors at once. The top of the gaiwan was light mushrooms and bright cooked peas for a couple seconds, then dried to sugary fried things, like an elephant’s ear from the fair. Wet leaves are creamy vegetal like overcooked-asparagus soup — turned over a little, they give up gorgeous spring florality. Liquor is so pale it looks clear until it’s 1/2" deep, then it’s the palest yellow. Smells like a lighter and wispier version of the leaf aroma. Creamy mouthfeel and taste, surprisingly delicate vegetals versus the smells, but not at all unsatisfying. Cooled, the wet leaves are allll flowers now. Incredible.

Wet leaf has morphed to green bean and orchid. Taste remains delicate; I think it could probably frustrate some drinkers who enjoy and anticipate more of that fat, cooked vegetal green that’s on the nose, but I loved it.

Third steep is close to last. Fluff of flour. No astringency.

Now that I take a look, the website recommends grandpa at 195-205F. A couple more fuggedaboudit steeps did bring some astringency, so I’m not altogether convinced on the temp/time recommendation — but this was honestly a delight. I might do the final 5g of this in a bowl and just tuck in.

Flavors: Asparagus, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Green Beans, Mint, Mushrooms, Orchid, Powdered Sugar, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

The oolong base here is distinctly Jin Xuan, though a little under-equipped for the job of supporting pomelo flower fragrance. Quite “green” tasting; I don’t think the base necessarily needed to be more floral, but it could have done with less bitter-green and more creaminess. Disjointed. Might cold brew and try it iced.

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Floral, Grassy

LuckyMe

I found this one bitter as well. Their orange blossom milk oolong is much better if you’re looking for something floral and citrusy.

beerandbeancurd

I got some of that, too — good to hear!

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