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Recent Tasting Notes
Drank this one earlier in the week and posted a pic on Instagram, and man did it get a lot of feedback. Like, I KNOW that this is a weird tea. However, I’ve also 100% had much weirder teas before as well. A lot of people seemed very confused and concerned in general by the concept of the tea though, and in turn I found that very entertaining…
The cup itself tasted good though – very full bodied, robust and earthy with a roasted oolong quality, nutty notes, hints of sweet smoke, and a bean-y quality for sure. I’ve always maintained that this is actually quite a good cup that’s really well suited in place of an equally bold/robust breakfast black tea – it’s just not the kind of thing that I personally can have as an everyday thing; it’d get to be overwhelming for me.
I was just in the mood for something really different this morning, so I opted for this one.
I did add a little honey to it because as much as I just wanted something different I wasn’t quite ready to kick off the morning with something so earthy/savory without getting a little sweetness out of the cup. It was actually very good with the honey; it exaggerated some of the notes that are often present in the cup but not main focuses like nut, cocoa, and espresso notes! The rest of the flavour wasn’t so much “bean-y” as it was earthy – really earthy, actually with soft smoke undertones and a roasty toasty quality.
Love this one! It’s so unique, and pleasant and smooth.
Because I fucking could.
So, this was REALLY earthy tasting, with a strong bean like quality and gentler smokiness to it. Also, very roasty as well. It was kind of super weird, and one of my coworkers described it as tasting “sort of like bitter coffee grounds” and they were kind of correct in that. Like, I didn’t see it before but as soon as the comparison had been made I couldn’t shake it. At the same time, because of the high milk content and that sweeter earthy and vegetal kind of quality I was also strongly reminded of Taro Bubble tea. And, I’ve yet to have red bean bubble tea but I feel like it would probably taste somewhat like this too.
It was just so weird, but in a pretty good way.
Finally trying this very weird oolong.
It’s actually really good, which is a relief because I have quite a lot of it now. I think that overall the flavour could probably just be summed up as “earthy” but there some slight complexities/nuances to it as well.
It’s weird ‘cause as earthy as this tastes, it does so in a way very unique from other earthy teas I’ve consumed – it’s not like pu’erh, or the earthy notes sometimes found in darker oxidized or aged oolongs or black teas. It’s a, and I know this is an obvious statement, ‘beany’ sort of earthiness. It’s also weird because it’s got a little bit of a bitter top note but the finish is sweet and somewhat cocoa like. I don’t know if I’ve ever really experienced a tea with a bitter start but such a smooth, roasty and sweet finish like this. It’s very pleasant though! A great way to finish off a sip, and encourage taking another.
Apart from that, there’s some overall roasty notes, hints of smoky notes (sweet smoky), and almost this coffee like flavour as well. That’s in addition, of course, to the already mentioned earthiness, cocoa, sweetness, and beany qualities.
I really like it! Bonus points for it being really affordable too.
I was excited about this tea – I love tangerine, and I could really see it working well on a black tea base. In practice, I ended up liking the steeped tea a lot less. I drank this one iced, and I just found that overall the tangerine was a little too tangy, and a little too generic citrus to really nail that flavour for me. I feel like if I had to blindly guess what the citrus flavour was I would have settled more in the “Meyer lemon” range of citrus fruits. The black base was also really full bodied and somewhat “choppy”/unrefined feeling. For how strong of a presence it was, I really didn’t like it.
All in all, that just made for a tea that was drinkable but not great. I think all in all, this is just going to wind up being a forgettable experience. There’s just nothing noteworthy here.
I think I probably should have added just a pinch of some kind of sweetener to this one to draw out more of fruit flavours of this tea, however I did end up finishing off the cup straight. It was way more base than ‘punch’ though; quite full bodied and strong, and even the tiniest bit astringent too. I got a little bit of very generic fruit flavour but it was STRONGLY covered by the malt and floral notes of the base.
I definitely would have loved a bit more fruit flavour out of this one because that’s what I was craving in the first place – but as an iced black tea, it wasn’t bad tasting. Save for the astringent edge, it was actually a very solid black tea profile. Only downside is that I wanted fruit punch!
Maybe it’s the tea version of stockholm syndrome; but the more I drink this one the more I actually like it. It didn’t originally taste very fruit punch like to me, but now? Yeah, totally picking up some sweet fruity notes. In particular the mango.
I think a rating increase is in order.
There we go; up 18 points from the 50 rating it was at. Still not mind blowing, but totally moving from bad to… average?
Hmm, I think this one is growing on me.
The more I drink it, the more I think I’m actually picking up on the fruit notes! I’d say, arguably, this is more mango than anything else? With hints of red fruits. Still not the most vibrant “punch” flavour though. I think maybe the mango explains the pine note that I’ve experienced a lot with each infusion though (including this one). Underripe mango tastes a lot like pine to me, so that could be the solution to that weird, out of place flavour.
The overall flavour of this tea is definitely improved by cold brewing it. It gets a bit of extra sweetness, and is much fruitier overall although still in a really muddled way. Oddly enough, I thought the undertones were rather pine-like? Both in the sense of pine wood but also like the sort of pine taste that comes from juniper berries or under ripe mango.
Fruit Punch black tea just sounds like such a good idea, but when I brewed this one up this afternoon I was sadly disappointed by an overall lack of flavour. What’s especially disappointing is that the dry leaf smells REALLY lovely/strongly of fruit punch. It just doesn’t carry over into the taste…
Not that it tasted bad; but just very strongly of somewhat plain/average black tea. Strong but relatively flat malt notes, and just a general “stillness” to the flavour if that makes sense. There were subtle peachy undertones I suppose but nothing that screamed “Fruit Punch”. Also somewhat oddly floral?
Again – I didn’t HATE this but it wasn’t what I was hoping for/expecting. Thankfully due to the really low cost of this I do have plenty left to play with so hopefully I can coax out more flavour in future infusions.
My first tea from Oolong Inc!
I have to stay, I’m starting my Oolong Inc. exploration on a pretty positive note; I was really impressed with overall cost of the tea and shipping, and then on top of that it arrived really efficiently as well. The packaging seems pretty solid, and they even included this tea as a free sample in addition to what I had ordered. All positive starting signs.
The tea leaf itself seems pretty broken up looking and has a lot of fanning looking bits. I made this into an iced tea though, and I have to say I don’t really feel like I’m getting any bitterness/overwhelming astringency which would have been my principle concerns from such broken up looking leaf. In fact, this is pretty smooth with quite defined lychee tasting notes. It does taste a touch artificial, but I don’t mind it. Very juicy, and floral and as an iced tea I think it works REALLY well. I feel like it almost has a honeyed quality to it as well, which is nice.
If the rest of my teas from Oolong Inc. stay in roughly this quality range or better I think I’ll be really happy with this order overall.
I’m working my way through these odd and unusual teas. This one was verrrrrryy difficult to photograph. This is probably one of the least photogenic teas I’ve ever had, but i still was curios as what beans and oolong tasted like. The leaf is made up of small bundles of dark oolong balls along with lots of black beans. The aroma is some roast and black beans (duh). I warmed up my gaiwan and placed the snack inside. The scent opens into lots of roast along with prominent edamame notes. I washed the leaves once and prepped for brewing. The taste of the drink was full of starch and sweetness. This reminds me of Americanized mole sauce on an enchilada. Its an odd sweet tone with bean and pungent smoke . I was not a fan of this tea.
Flavors: Beany, Roasted, Smoke, Soybean
Black bean oolong, wth?
This oolong is for all the people who love that roasty smoky taste, but the black bean improved it by removing that bitter element of smoke. What you get is a sweet, roasty oolong smoke and a bombproof tea that you can grandpa or gongfu. I gongfu’d mine and it was bright, roasty, and sweet with a unique savory brothy taste. You’ll love this one especially if you like houjicha, roast barley teas and high roast oolong. I can see this tea being awesome iced!
Full review on OolongOwl http://oolongowl.com/black-bean-oolong-oolong-inc-tea-review/
Unique would be the correct term; however that sometimes equates to a bad connotation such as this time.
I tend to only write positive reviews, but I will adjust this one to provide some help from my experience. Floral notes work best for that vegetable like tea taste and the lighter teas. There’s a reason why jasmine works well with green tea but not so well with black tea; just a balancing act of flavors.
When it comes to this blend, there’s a strong upfront roast profile to the tea with a smokey finish while having the osmanthus flavor throughout. While I can say the flavoring is balanced and does what it should, the base of this really throws off the experience. When it comes to floral, a dry mouth feel coming from the smokiness makes it hard to enjoy while a stronger dancong could be acceptable for such a thing.
What would I change? Well, I think a base tea that already agrees with the taste being mixed in would be best. It would be cool to see a dayuling and osmanthus or a dancong osmanthus as both have a nice thickness that ends in a wet way rather than dry.
There’s just something odd about drinking this that made me want to stop, but I went through four steeps to ensure the smokiness stays as well as the roast. The osmanthus lasted as well so that’s good, there’s a good technique being used just needs a more agreeable base.
I was expecting this tea to be a little more “greener”, but this one seems pretty roasted. I gave the leaves a nice long whiff and was taken over by a sweet perfume aroma with a citrus orange tang. The leaves were very fruity and incredibly fragrant. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed them inside. With a shake, I lift the lid and take a deep inhale. I could note some roasted oats, baked bread, and orange juice. This tea smells like breakfast, haha. I could also take in some warm honey in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste began perfectly! The first flavor was an intense sugarcane candy that coats the tongue; then, a nice floral sweetness that eases you down. The base of the tea is nice and roasted with some berry tones, and finally a smooth honey aftertaste. A mild tannin and bitter lingers in the very back. However, this tea completely plummets in the second steeping. This is a one steep tea. The second pour yielded a very sour and bitter tea that is unpleasant. I ended up dumping the remaining tea. So, lesson learned and if I ever have this again I know to call it one and done.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berry, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Oats, Orange, Perfume, Roasted, Sugarcane
So, probably no gongfoolery this week, it has been a bit of a rough one and I am not clear headed enough to give it my full attention, but there is still the weekend so mayyybe. That is one of the really big differences between my usual tea reviews and the gongfoolery series, from a writing perspective. With tea reviews I have it all written down (in sloppy barely decipherable by anyone but me shorthand) and the blog is just that polished up with photographs and research when needed. With gongfoolery though, that is being written as I do it, usually the blog takes hours and a lot of focus, which is something I have just had none of this week. Good news though, the tea I needed for my next batch of testing finally arrived, yay!
Today I am looking at the last of the samples I got from Oolong Inc, Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea, now it is probably well known by now that I love osmanthus flowers in all its forms, and having it blended with bright green Oolong was one of my favorite ways of drinking this flower. However this tea is different as it uses roasted Oolong instead of the floral green, which is pretty fascinating. Sniffing the leaves, and you know, it smells like osmanthus jelly on toast, like uncannily like it! Toasted grains and sweet nectar blend decently, though there is a bit of a smoky note making me think of burnt toast.
Into the gaiwan for steeping, and the smoky aroma ramps up after steeping. The osmanthus is still there, but it is not as strong, neither is the aroma of toast. There is sweetness that is an odd but not unpleasant combination with the smoke. The liquid however is not quite so smoky, it is gentle smoke with creamy osmanthus and roasted grains, the jelly on toast aroma is back.
Well that is neat! It is a bit dry in the mouth, with a strong roasted grain and smoke start. This is mellowed by the gentle blossoming of floral osmanthus notes that add an intense sweet nectar quality. Blending the nectar and roast at the finish makes the tea taste like grilled plums, which is a fascinating way to finish the tea. I sadly noticed this tea did not have a ton of longevity, and the taste did not really change at all throughout the several steeps I got. I liked the taste though I wish there was more of it and it lasted longer.
A free sample from Oolong Inc!
A good medium-dark roast oolong with a faint osmanthus scent. Roasty notes of wood and burnt sugar balanced with tangy and floral flavors. Osmanthus has an odd flavor to me, it reminds me a lot fresh jalapeno, without the spice
A pretty nice oolong, and at a price point that’s more than reasonable
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Osmanthus, Resin, Roasted, Tangy, Wood
I was provided this sample by Oolong Inc. in exchange for a review. That being said, I would never be anything but honest.
The dry leaf smells nutty and warm. Brewing it has a predominantly roasted oolong scent, with a bit of a salty edge. The flavor is smooth with honey tones, and a really lovely roasted nut aftertaste. This is really quite excellent. It preserves both the qualities of gently roasted oolong while providing a nice darker nut roasted flavor. It reminds me of fresh-pressed soy milk flavor with some chestnut flavor thrown in. I could see myself craving this tea when it is cold outside (or 50 in the office, like it is at the moment!). It is so strange having these lightly honey-floral and nutty notes in one tea- it is clearly not a black tea nor is it identifiable as an oolong. The aftertaste reminds me a little of the taste in the air of a real coffee shop (not Starbucks) – not sweet, but not bitter either. Kinda like the smell of coffee breath. I know that doesn’t sound very tasty, but I assure you it is! And very comforting as well. The tea has a rather thin body but a good amount of sweetness to it.
I’m continually astounded at the price point of this tea for the quality. It is definitely something I will purchase in the future.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Roasted nuts, Soybean, Wet Wood
Well, the dance with new medication begins. This is an allergy medication geared towards helping my asthma since I am unable to take any steroids, it certainly seems I can breathe a lot easier, not nearly as much work to take a deep breath. The side effects are mostly serious drowsiness which I hope eases up, if not well, clearly I will need to just drink more tea. Now I wait for the cardiologist to set up an appointment and the bloodwork to come back. And then I get to see a new Rheumatologist to see if they can do something for my Fibromyalgia or find out of it is something else. Finger’s crossed something can be done this time that doesn’t cause really horrid side effects!!
With this grogginess in mind, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about! Oolong Inc’s Taiwan Tangerine Black Tea, but instead of my usually gongfu brewing, I decided to cold steep this one using the new cold steeper I got at TJ Maxx for like $4. I am not sure if that was its original purpose, but it works perfectly for it. Now just to be clear, I did gongfu this tea and got several steeps out of it, but I knew from the moment I sniffed the leaves I wanted it cold steeped. The aroma of the leaves is very strong tangerine, pretty much all I can smell is tangerine, like someone took the peels and squeezed all the oil out and sprinkled it on black tea. There is a bit of a malty undertone and a honey sweetness, but the real star of the show is the powerhouse of tangerine.
So I let the leaves steep overnight and was greeted with a lovely amber colored brew the next morning. The aroma is still very tangerine heavy, but it now smells like someone cut a tangerine and juiced it rather than using oil from the peel. Alongside the tangerine is malt and honey with a woodsy undertone. The mouthfeel was smooth and just a little bit tingly, combine that with it being cold it was immensely refreshing and enlivening, but citrus is great for waking me up. It is pleasantly sweet and malty, with honey notes and of course tangerine notes, luckily they are not overpowering, nice and subtle and just the right amount of sweet. If you want the stronger tangerine notes they are definitely more present in the hot version.
Mmmm…. fruity. The tea has a scent of peaches, with some mangoes, and perhaps berries. It is a nice aroma. There really isn’t a dominate fruit flavour. Actually, it does taste like fruit punch. But more mild. Good with the scones.
Thanks for the sample, Oolong Inc.
Flavors: Berries, Berry, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Mango, Peach