Sanne TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
The dry leaf is long and twisted, dark forest green, and somewhat feathery. It looks lovely. But more than that, it smells amazing — rich, buttery, and floral. The floral creaminess and grainy undertones intensify when the leaf gets warmed up in the gaiwan, and the whole thing reminds me of uncooked jasmine rice, or butter on toast.
The first steep was 40 seconds long, and the resulting brew was clear and light golden, with an intensely floral and buttery smell reminiscent of magnolias or gardenias. Wow! The aftertaste was sweet and grassy, and played along the sides of my tongue. The second steep was a bit darker.
It’s also stronger in flavour and more distinctly floral than the first steep; it reminded me of perfume. The third steep was similar to the second, but it had a more mineral, sweet aftertaste.
Overall, the tea stayed pretty consistent from steep to steep — I did about 8 steeps, and while the last few were more mineral, the colour didn’t change much.
I also have to note that the tea leaf was very high quality, because there were very few instances of broken leaf or tea dust clogging my strainer as I poured the liquid out into my cup. The wet leaf for the spent tea was a deep spinach green.
The dry leaf is dark, curly, and multicoloured, with yellow and white flashes throughout; it smelled of plums and honey. However, after I steeped it, the sweet smell deepened into something closer to tobacco.
The first steep was for 60 seconds, and resulted in a cup of light amber liquid with sweet, papery, and woody overtones. On my tongue, it was sweet and woody, and there was also a flavour slipping along the bottom that made me think of birch bark — dry, cool, wispy, papery. The mouthfeel was thick and it coated my tongue, providing a metallic aftertaste and a syrupy sweetness similar to Thompson raisins.
The second steep was much darker than the first, with a deeper amber colour like beer. The flavour also intensified, with notes of raisins, honey and birch bark coming to the fore. I noticed that the quality of the leaf was very high; I found very few broken leaves, leaf fragments, or dust in my strainer or cup.
The third steep was even darker and stronger-tasting than that, although the honey flavour receded. Instead of sweetness, I tasted metal. The fourth steep was fairly similar to the third steep. However, as I continued to steep (I did 7-8 in total), I noticed that the mouthfeel became thinner, dryer, and woodier.
Another sample (Thanks Sanne!)
Steeped leaves smell to me like bai hao/Dongfang meiren/OB (A favourite along with with various dan cong, so scores will be skewed in its favour, haha). Liquor smell similar, but with something darker running through it.
Obvious Cicada’s trademark has been left, that lovely thick ‘honey’ swish with ‘cinnamon’ aroma, wood & so subtle menthol something-or-other. But darker, more dark treacle than light honey? A slightly bitter/dry aftertaste, but oh so worth it for the initial complexity. subsequent steeps trail off. Next time I will try western style, as I sometimes prefer a big cup that changes. (I also like a big gulp with my eyes closed when the tea is complex like this)
A quick check on the website, and yes, wild tea, left to its own devices and harvested after Jacobiasca formosana has had their share. I had always thought ‘wild’ tea would somehow be inferior to other tea. Oh how wrong I was.
I must say there is a slight lip-chapping bitterness going on. But I did hit it with the recommended 100c, I think slightly off the boil and longer steep might do it for me.
this one gets a win.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cinnamon, Dark Wood, Honey, Menthol, Molasses, Spices
This is an interesting tea sent as a sample from Sanne. I dont usually go for anything too vegetal or green tasting. so here goes:
The aroma from the steeped leaves is a roast oolong smell but with a pungent veg coming through.
Initial steeps (50s,50s) are dark green cooked vegetables, but nicely done. nothing bad in there at all! and with a nice sweet aftertaste aromatic thing swirling round in my mouth. Its not bad, interesting as this wouldnt usually be the sort of tea I go for. The flavour thins out a bit as I went through the later steeps.
I like that Sanne have very clear brewing instructions on their packets. Makes for an enjoyable sample.
Again, not the sort of tea I usually go for but it was an enjoyable experience. Im guessing if you like vegetal teas, and darker green tasting ones appeal, this could be a nice one for you.
Flavors: Asparagus, Kale, Sweet, Vegetables
This review got out of hand, I had to split it into a thread as well….
I get a lovely aroma from the steeped leaves, a chestnut & perfume. Some sweetness & fruit but everything is melded together in the roast. I dont get the pungent fresh green perfume I really like about ‘modern’ TGY from the liquor, which is a surprise, but the steeped leaves are lush.
I was expecting a mix of both green & brown flavour from the cup, but it leans towards the brown. But, this is a very nicely roasted oolong if you like that style. It is smooth & soft but more spritely than the aged oolongs I have been drinking tonight, there is a bit more separation in the flavour & aroma, with some additional char bite (youth?) compared to the 1986 Lishan, which is no bad thing if you like that kind of tea.
So this ended up creating more questions about oxidised (edit* fermented?) but non-roasty Anxi tea, which was what I ended up wanting from this session… (I dont go for roasty teas)
Flavors: Bark, Char, Chestnut, Fruity
This Jin Xuan Tea is from the farm of Mr. Ye Bu Guang (see http://www.sannetea.com/about-our-partners/) and was harvested in Spring 2015 in Wuhe, Hualien, Taiwan. Mr. Ye Bu Guang does not use any pesticides or herbicides, but practices complete organic farming! Apparently the Taiwanese standard for organic farming is much more strict than the US one is, so that’s only good news.
On to the tea itself: it consist of dark green, very tightly packed, balls of tea, that emit a nice flavorful smell. Upon steeping the balls start to unfurl, but it takes several steepings before they are completely unrolled. At that point they reveal that the balls actually consists of twigs with more than one tealeave on it.
The steeped tea has a strong dark green roasted vegetable taste (all in a good way!), and has a thick, smooth consistency. The roasted vegetable taste became less prominent in latter steeps. It makes for a great tasty tea!
This is a review for the 2015 Oriental Beauty. The leaves were picked in August in Pinglin, New Taipei (Taiwan), by Mr. Chen Shi Yi (http://www.sannetea.com/about-our-partners/) and it’s 100% organic tea. In fact the green tea leaf hopper is encouraged to eat from the leaves, as the reaction of the tea plant leads to the release of some natural chemicals that lead to the taste of Oriental Beauty (see wikipedia for the more detailed story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongfang_Meiren).
The dried and curled leaves have a wide variety of colors, from black over all kinds of browns to white, and they smell wonderful. The tea itself tastes great: very smooth and fruity, with some honey-like sweetness. After a few steepings a much more floral, fresh green tea taste emerged. The tea never had any astringency in it. I really liked the flavor profile.
Honestly the best green tea I’ve ever tried! I’m in love. When steeped, the tea spread out into full leaves which is beautiful! The coloring is a light green. this tea isn’t bitter which is a plus for me! I look forward to purchasing more in the future!
So, it is November, the month that aspiring writers use to practice their novel skills with the awesome event that is NaNoWriMo. I have debated doing it a few times, tried it twice and did not do so well, see for all of my love of writing (having written hundreds of pages of research, not to mention almost 700 blog posts) I am absolutely awful at telling stories. I just can never get my brain to work that way, I end up turning the stories I am writing into overly detailed research rambles. Well, on twitter the other day, the infamous Lazy Literatus mentioned the brilliant idea of NaNoTeaMo, a tea blog for every day in November…and you know what, I am going to give that a try! Wish me luck, I am notoriously bad at blogging everyday, but it is something I really want to do, and if I succeed maybe I will buy myself a special tea or a new cup or something. (Not that I need any more teaware, such a hoarder.)
Remember the other day I did the back to back comparison of Oriental Beauty from Sanne Tea? Well that same farmer also made a Taiwanese Green Tea, Mr. Chen is all about organic farming, having earned the very strict Tse-Xin Organic Mark after switching to Organic farming. He decided to switch to this after seeing a fellow tea farmer passed out after breathing in too many pesticides, he took the man to a local hospital and essentially saved his life…I can certainly see how something like that would put the fear of pesticides in a person! Of course making the switch was hard, but once the balance of predator, beneficial insects, and plants was established the trees flourished. Fascinating stuff, I always enjoy learning about the farmers behind the tea I drink, just like I love learning the tea’s history. This tea has a bunch of fun info about it, like a lot, a whole blog in of itself, so if you have the time I recommend giving it a read, especially if you like learning about the history of a specific kind of tea.
Ok, now on to the actual tea itself! The leaves are pretty cool, big fluffy things that could pass for a Bao Zhong if it felt like infiltrating the Oolong clubs (I imagine tea has a very interesting life, clearly) the color ranges from deep pine forest green to bright new growth green, quite the verdant rainbow. The aroma is not very strong, faint notes of vegetal and tea leaf, life fresh off the bush green tea leaves. It has a freshness about it, very much so a green aroma, even though it is not very intense.
After the steeping of the leaves, the aroma is stronger, as does frequently happen (not sure I have ever run into a tea that has a weaker aroma after brewing, that would be weird) the notes are buttery and nutty, much like tahini and a touch like peanuts. Alongside these notes is a sharp vegetal note reminiscent of artichoke and a bit of bamboo leaves. The liquid is sweet and buttery, a little floral, and a bit like honey, it is mild and refreshing.
First steeping time, the mouthfeel is very smooth, bordering ever so slightly on buttery, but not quite there. The taste is also really smooth, not a single harsh note about this steep, starting out with gentle sweetness of chestnut and moving to the most delicate touch of distant flowers. It is ghostlike, you can tell there are flowers, but they are too far away to put a correct name to. The finish is sweet with a gentle spice to it like nutmeg and a lingering bamboo leaf aftertaste, giving that bit of green.
Second steep, the aroma is mild and refreshing, a gentle honey and distant floral note and a touch of butteriness. This steep starts out mild and gently sweet, notes of chestnut at the start and moving to buttery green, like gently sauteed spinach and bamboo shoots. It is a very mild tea, but because of its mildness it has a refreshing quality, reminding me of a palate cleansing drink after a strong food.
Third steep was very similar to the previous two, I found that this tea did not change much during the steeping, just maintained the gentle presence and refreshing nature. I will say one thing, this was a very clean tasting tea, it reminds me of that clean breeze on a spring day that brings in distant flowers and the promise of an evening rain.
This is the 2015 Summer Tea.
This tea is beautiful! I love Oriental Beauty simply because of its wild assortment of leaves. They look like the autumn leaves around my house, and I just adore that. I opened the package and took a sniff of this fall foliage. These leaves carry a dry hay scent with a very slight sweet grass tone. I placed what I had in my warmed gaiwan and let it sit for a bit. The scent deepened to more intense hay aroma with some brief honeysuckle in the background. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The initial sip is of the “wow” nature. The taste begins with nectar, hay, and a smooth grape that lingers. Then, it evolves into a crisp apricot tone. Last, it finishes with an intensely sweet honey aftertaste that fills the mouth. This honey tone is as identical to actual honey that I’ve ever tasted. The honey flavor even has the mild tang all too familiar with wild raw honey. The brew progresses to become alike liquid nectar, except minus the floral tone. This brew is sweet, syrupy, and a light bronze color. The brew lasts for about six steeps, and it grows mildly astringent while it leans more towards grass and hay tones. This was a very enjoyable brew, and it was a brief reminder why I love Oriental Beauty so much. I’m so happy to have been able to experience this!
Flavors: Apricot, Dry Grass, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass
Another sample from Sanne Tea – thanks so much! The leaves alone look like a unique green tea – it looks like a blend of many different types of green tea somehow. So many different shapes of leaf and colors. I used the suggested three grams of leaves for a mug, so about two teaspoons. The flavor makes for a fantastic green tea – so sweet, buttery, maybe hints of nuttiness. The second steep somehow maintains the sweet and buttery of the first cup but also completely different – more savory without being astringent… and I sipped it down much too fast! I could swear there were even marshmallow and coconut flavors added to the second steep! There are so many layers to this tea, I can’t begin to figure it out. I’m not sure I’ve tried many Taiwan green teas, but this is a good one. I can taste the quality and healthiness! Green tea can’t be any better than this.
I loved reading Mr. Chen’s story – the farmer of this tea – his commitment to only grow teas that he loves and his family taking shifts through the night prepare the teas properly. I’m sure many tea drinkers have thought about what it might be like to operate a tea farm but there must be so much work that goes into farming tea. Many Taiwanese tea farmers believe that their tea farms should have zero pesticide residue while USA rules still allow 5% pesticide residue. I can really taste in the flavor of the cup that Mr. Chen knows exactly what to do, especially reading this in the description on sannetea.com: “Mr. Chen only picks the well-grown tea leaves, which contain sufficient nutrition to generate exquisite flavors. After harvest, the fresh tea leaves were naturally withered under the sun and gentle breeze. Compared to blower withering, natural withering keeps the tea’s innate aroma. Next step, the stir is the key for making excellent green tea. Insufficient stirring would make tea smell moldy and fusty; over stirring would lose the freshness of green tea. Only an experienced tea master can adjust the amount of time and temperature during stirring, extracting the correct notes from the fresh leaves to impart a wonderful sweetness.” There is so much to learn about tea!
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // 27 minutes after boiling // 60 second steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
I received a sample of this tea from Lulu. Thank you!
It has taken me a while to get to this tea. This is a wonderful cup! First off the leaf is beautiful. Second the flavors were not quite what I was expecting, but they are amazing. I get a sweet floral, slightly mineral taste at the front of the sip and then at the back end I get this creamy smooth finish.
Had this one yesterday as a hot western steep. Today I am having it as a cold brew. I thought this made a delicious and refreshing cold brew. I used 3g in a 12oz bottle overnight in the fridge. It is very sweet. The first note I catch is somewhere between sweet corn and buttered popcorn. Next it has a mild roasted note but since this tea was produced with zero roasting, I guess I’ll call it a nutty flavor. It finishes with a sweet abundance of floral (orchid?) notes reminiscent of Taiwan oolong. The sweet floral drifted into the aftertaste. This was good as a hot mug but really shines as a cold brew.
Well this is interesting. I used care when preparing this one as Sanne indicated it could be temperamental. I used 3g in my press with water heated to 175F. The first cup @60s is very yellow and tastes of sweet corn. There is zero bitterness and no noticeable astringent drying. The aftertaste is sweet and grassy. As the cup cools the flavor becomes more mineral stream. The second cup @90s has a light green tint. The taste is bold nori. There is enough bite to be interesting without being bitter. The aftertaste is sweet and grassy. The bite mostly subsides as the cup cools. The flavor remains unchanged. I do notice a slight tingle in the cheeks. I like the tingle but imagine a slightly reduced steep time would remove it. I don’t have time today to continue with this one though it should go 3 more steeps. I do have a cold brew working in the fridge for tomorrow.
Thank you so much for the samples, Sanne Tea! I love the name. I know tea helps my sanity a great deal! Lulu of Sanne Tea was searching for authentic Taiwanese teas after moving to Michigan, so it is Lulu’s goal to offer 100% Taiwanese teas with zero-pesticides (sometimes Taiwan’s organic rules are matching or more strict than US organic rules and the farmers prefer to go the pesticide-free route for their own and their families health on the tea farms anyway — not to mention higher quality of flavor in the tea). Lulu also gets to know the farmers and tries to share info about them with us tea drinkers! The farmer of this tea is Peng Mu Sheng with almost 40 years experience of growing and making natural teas! His tea farm is one of the oldest in the Sun Moon Lake area. I think he knows what he is doing because this tea is amazing! I really appreciate that information on the farmers is included on Sanne Tea’s site (sannetea.com). It really sets Sanne Tea apart from most tea shops. It makes me appreciate a tea a little bit more. :DI had to try this one! A hint to Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam fans: If you miss PTA, think Taiwan #18 or “Ruby”. I’m pretty sure this is the closet thing to PTA and the best harvests. The description says that #18 is created by hybridizing Taiwanese wild mountain tea trees with Burma Assam tea trees, so there you have it: Taiwanese Assam. The leaves look the same in both teas: long dusty black twisty tree branches. The longest leaves there can be. The description also says it tastes like Assam or Ceylon but I disagree. I think this tea has a unique flavor all its own. The Sanne Tea version and PTA both taste like caramelized candy strawberries to me! It’s a type of tea that I NEED to have in the cupboard at all times. Such a light, smooth, sweet, honey-like tea! The second and third steeps were very similar – maybe a little deeper in flavor. The parameters suggested using 5 grams for six ounces (almost all of the 6 gram sample which seems to be about 4 teaspoons) but I definitely didn’t follow the suggestions. I think my resulting delicious cups were as delicious as possible though!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons measured as well as possible for a full mug // 7 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2-3 min
Flavors: Caramel, Strawberry
Another sample from Lulu. Thanks Lulu!
I messed up a bit with the first brewing and had enough to make another brew, thank goodness. This is another tea from the farmer Mr. Chen Shi Yi, that does all organic teas.
One of the things I love about green teas is the buttery, nutty flavours but I’m always up for something different once in awhile. I found this one smelled buttery when brewed but I didn’t get much of that buttery nutty flavour in the taste. There was a good sweetness that lingered on the tongue. On Sanne Tea’s website it is mentioned that it was tricky to brew to get the right sweetness and no astringent flavour released from the leaves. I ended up with a bit of astringency even though I used the right temperature.
In spite of the fact that it brews up a good golden yellow it tastes quite light. Overall a good cup
Had this one today – a free sample from Sanne Tea that Lulu sent. There was also a free handmade tiny soap that was a nice surprise. Thanks Lulu.
This tea was perfect for an autumn day. The tea leaves when infused look like autumn leaves and it almost has that autumn leaves taste to it. It brews up light with a light mouth feel. There’s a honey sweetness & stone fruit taste that stays with each infusion (I did 3) Very enjoyable!
I loved hearing about the farmer too. This is what Lulu told me:
“Our Green Tea and Oriental Beauty are from Mr. Chen Shi Yi. He is an Organic farmer. Organic agriculture is still developing in Taiwan. He is currently one of only 22 organic tea farmers in the Pinglin area, New Taipei City. To become a qualified farmer, he has to put incredible efforts into making sure that his teas have zero pesticide residue.
The Taiwanese organic certification is typically not recognized by many Westerns, but the Taiwanese organic standard is, in fact, amended from similar regulations in the USA and Europe. Some standards may even be stricter than the US’s, like the fact that 5% pesticide residue is allowable in the USDA certification, but zero residue is allowable in the Taiwanese organic standard. Some farmers are eager to push the government to broaden the zero residue standards to include an allowable amount of pesticide residue, but, right now, most Taiwanese still believe that any organic product should have zero residue.
I would love to share more about Mr. Chen Shi Yi and his family. 10 years ago, he found his neighbor, another tea farmer, had fainted on his tea farm from breathing in too much pesticide. This accident made him rethink the danger of pesticide. He intended to gather his neighbors and get everyone to practice the new cultivation methods together. Unfortunately, his neighbors declined. They worried that the profits would not be enough to support their families. He had once told me “I am lucky that my only son has a secure job, so I only need to take care of my wife and myself. My wife and I agreed that we should put our health first, and make only the teas we love for the rest of our lives”.
Mr. Chen has a soft heart and strong will, as do his teas. His teas are very elegant, smooth, and capable of many brews. When brewing, his teas have a clean smell that lingers long after drinking, which is achieved from a time-consuming process method. He believes that a soft fire makes sweet malt. When making his teas, he takes extra effort to make sure that every process is fully completed before going on to the next. There are no regular working hours. He, Mrs. Chen and his daughter-in-law have to take turns working through the night to make sure everything is done at the correct times and nothing is processed too long or too quickly. "
It’s a wonderful thing when someone puts that much love into their tea.