Taiwan Tea CraftsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the most coconut-y tea I’ve ever tasted. It’s like eating a delicious coconut cream pie or coconut macaroon. Intermingled with the coconut are notes of tropical fruit – pineapple, passionfruit, and lychee – and a burst of sweet flowers. The body is rich and the mouthfeel buttery. I got 8 excellent steeps out of it.
Shibi tea might just be my favorite tea from TTC. It’s consistently good and although the coconut was a little more intense in this harvest than usual, it had the juicy fruit and floral tones that really set it apart from other teas.
Flavors: Coconut, Flowers, Nectar, Tropical
Jasmine! Very sweet and floral jasmine smell. You can pick up on the tea itself in the wet leaf, though it’s a little bit masked. The first steep is a bright yellow, with the sweet jasmine note playing in the forefront. The tea is fairly viscous in mouthfeel, with a little bit of vegetal hint from the tea itself in the background. Later steeps mostly develop similarly, but I found I was able to get quite a few steeps from this tea without losing the jasmine flavor. Definitely quite enjoyable as a flavored tea!
This is a really nice aged oolong. I only picked up a sample of it, and if it weren’t sold out (noooo) I probably would snag a bit more. I’ll have to try their 2008 and see if it compares. The dry leaves had a complex aroma, with fruity raisin/plum notes and a bit of a caramel, roasty sweetness. After a rinse, the roasty aroma came through, strong but pleasant. It smelled a little more dark and earthy, but there was still that dark fruity note, even sweeter this time.
The first few steeps possess a kind of musty sweetness, with a little bit of vanilla in the finish. The roast is noticeable, but I enjoy it – it doesn’t come across as charred or smoky to me. These first few steeps taste like how I would imagine some old books which long ago narrowly escaped a housefire might smell.
The sweetness dropped off to some degree, and the tea took on a more wuyi-ish characteristic, with some roasty sweetness accompanied by mineral notes. It provides a bit of a mouth-cooling feel most steeps and has a decently thick and creamy texture.
Towards the end, the roast starts to die down a little bit. The tea tastes bready and creamy sweet, though this doesn’t last long before the tea dies. It doesn’t have great longevity, but respectable enough for a roasted oolong. This tea was a real treat at a pretty darn affordable price. I’m going to have to hop on some of their 2008 to see if it compares and maybe pick up a larger amount if it does.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Sweet, Vanilla
Dry leaf reminded me of raisins which were presumably covered in dust. As the leaf gets the water, there is an added note of “spiced raisins,” but that seems to be the only thing I had written about the aroma of the leaf.
I noted that the tea was very stale, drying, bitter, and had a very subtle note of raisin. This tea might’ve been quite nice in 2001, but it has definitely lost all of the potential of those once quality, tasty flavors. I had to stop a few times during the session to drink a glass of water due to the high astringency throughout the session.
I also noted that “Old tea doesn’t mean good tea—unless it’s puerh; which has potential” :P
I’ve decided to give this tea a rating of 100, something I haven’t done before. This is one of if not the best teas I have ever had.
I decided to brew it gong fu style. The first steeps had a strong aroma and taste of citrus and pineapple, but later steeps gave way to a subtle “wheat bread” sort of grain flavor. Every cup was delicious, and I drank till the leaves died.
Flavors: Citrus, Grain, Pineapple
Drinking this one up in my clay pot. I’m almost completely finished with my 25g sample of this tea by now, though I’ve already tried it a couple times. This tea was the first one I tried and probably one of my favorite. It’s very mellow and buttery in flavor and smell with a generally smooth texture. It has some light floral notes, but I find it’s less sharp than some similarly “greened” oolongs. Despite that, I’d definitely draw its character most closely to other green oolongs with a creamy buttery note. It has the ever-so-slight hint of fruitness to it, which I mostly noticed when cold brewing this tea! During regular brewing, I didn’t notice this note so much, though that may be my own shortcoming.
The dry leaves smell wonderfully fruity, a strawberry sort of smell that I’ve only really noticed coming from GABA oolongs thus far. After a rinse, the fruit smell is still there, but also a very dark, somewhat unsavory one that smells like burnt something.
First sips reveal something very unique. There are a lot of things happening at once, but the first thing to notice is the quick onset of a minty feeling—a quick sort of rush of coolness. The flavor is sweet and mellow in this first steep, resounding of strawberry and fruit and not showing any particular black tea flavors yet.
The second steep brings out another new flavor. A little bit of a low maltiness is sneaking in, and along with it is a tartness that shows up all over my mouth making it hard to pinpoint. I’m finding this to be really interesting even though I’m only two steeps in.
Third steep darkens out more with more of the black tea flavor working its way in, though it’s not quite the same as the chocolately, burnt malt flavor I’m used to seeing. It does have a character similar to that, but it’s faster, and I think the tartness offsets it in a way that makes this tea feel very different from other black teas I’ve tried.
As the brew proceeds on, it starts to vary less, but definitely a favorite of the teas that I’ve tried thus far.
Drinking this tea in my probably-fake yixing pot today. I’ve tried this tea once before, and generally, I’m not too well exposed to roasted oolongs and don’t quite have a taste for them yet, but I’ll try to do my best.
Generally, this tea brews out very smooth. No bitterness and a very mild astringency to be found here. The mouth feel is very round and mellow, with no particular high notes to speak of (though I believe this is one of the allures of this kind of tea!).
I’m not very good at picking out those middle notes yet. There’s definitely a little bit of sharpness in the way the roasted flavor comes out, but other than that it’s quite smooth overall. I’m not really picking up “honey sweetness”, though maybe I have a misunderstanding of what that feels like.
I’ve enjoyed this tea quite as bit as I’ve sampled it. Interesting, I’ve found it has different flavors different times I’ve tried it. This is more likely to do with my mood or setting than anything else, but my best experiences have brought out sweet, fruity strawberry notes. Overall, the flavor profile of this tea is similar to that of a black tea, with its relatively high oxidation levels, but does not have the same malty “blackness” of a black tea. I’ve also found hints of a roasted flavor here, but I was brewing in a vessel I’d just brewed a roasted tea in.
Overall, quite a tasty tea! I don’t know if I can say anything toward the health benefits of it being a GABA tea, but it is quite tasty.
This is my second time drinking this tea, though the first time was with a friend and I didn’t really have the chance to think carefully about this one.
First steep comes in quite light but showcases some of the high notes. There’s a strong fruity grape note here, with a hint of tartness to it. I would consider this note to be the highlight of this tea.
The smell of the wet leaves smells like a black tea—dark and malty—and a little bit of that makes its way into the flavor. I would definitely draw some parallels between this and a black tea, however this carries a heavier proportion of fruity flavor to dark, malty, and black flavor. If you brew it for longer, you pull more of those black tea notes out, however it always remains quite fruity.
Overall, an enjoyable tea for those who would enjoy fruity black teas!
Flavors: Grapes, Malt
If I had to sum up my impression of this tea in one word, it would be underwhelming. This has in fact been my experience with most Da Yu Lings. The taste usually doesn’t live up to the high price tag. This tea had a nice relaxing qi to it but isn’t very memorable flavor wise.
The dark green nuggets in a warmed gaiwan bring out a pleasant fragrance of hyacinth, daffodils, and coconut. The first couple of steeps have an almost green apple sourness bordering on astringency. This is complemented by notes of citrus, lemongrass, and balsamic vinegar. Higher temperatures bring out more tartness so to minimize this, keep steeping temperature between 185-190 F. Good viscous mouthfeel and a tingle of balsam in the aftertaste. As the leaves open up, the tea becomes smoother with more florals, a mineral sweetness, and a occasional hint of tropical nectar. The flavor drops off rather early around the 5th steep shifting to a light vegetative taste.
Overall, there was nothing about the flavor that particularly stood out to me. I wasn’t thrilled about the sourness and the other flavors didn’t really hold my interest. Taiwan Tea Crafts gao shans are usually excellent but this tea is a rare miss for them.
Flavors: Floral, Green Apple, Mineral, Sour
Simply scrumptious! Never had roasted/baked Bao Zhong before. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear this was a Dan Cong. Large twisted dark brown black leaves with flecks of green. Wet leaf smell of baked chocolate chip cookies and floral bouquet. The flavor has almond, butter, florals, and a sweetness that is dry in nature. Steeped 10/15/20/30/40/60/90 then flavors drop off. Been looking to settle down with my tea buying, you know choose a red, oolong, pu erh and stick with it and wasn’t really prepared to like this so much. Indeed I will now have to have more of this beauty.
Brewing this up in my gaiwan as an evening tea to enjoy while doing some work. It’s quite green and the leaves are curled up with some stems visible as well. It’s quite “green” in smell, with heavy floral notes akin to a tieguanyin. It’s a little creamier and softer than the tieguanyin I’ve had, but definitely a little bit stronger in flavor than TTC’s Jin Xuan.
Received as a generous sample from the proprietor, this Qing Xin cultivar was picked 10-11 months ago and stored in a sealed vacuum pack until today (I did give it some time to air out).
Brewed in my porcelain Jingdezhen gaiwan. Boiled, slightly cooled Los Angeles tap water throughout. No rinse.
7 steeps at 1min, 1min, 1min, 1.5min, 2min, 3min, and 5min:
Pale, nearly colorless liquor; sweet, floral (gardenia, lilac?), honey-like aroma; alfalfa, guava, and subtle hints of clover and cream on the palate. Smooth, surprisingly thick mouth-feel. Impressive longevity…the flavors, especially the natural sweetness are not quick to diminish.
Buttery, clean, sweet, spring-time-in-a-cup – very good.
This is a tricky little one. I have no experience with aged oolongs. Zippo. This tea right here is it. So, I have no other points of reference. Take everything that follows with a grain of salt!
I struggled with this tea. I first tried it four months ago and didn’t like it. Literally tasted like a charcoal briquette and some lighter fluid. It has been “airing out” and I decided to give it one more chance. I can say that it certainly has improved. Would it continue to improve with more airing out? Yes and no.
Yes – the roast is prominent. Very medicinal, phenolic. This aspect has definitely died down to something palatable after letting it breathe for four months. Probably would continue with more airing out.
No – the flavors simply aren’t there. The point of aging is to add complexity and layers of flavor. The interesting flavors that are here (prune, baking spice, orange-citrus) are light and not particularly long-lasting. It’s as if this tea has simply been aged too long, and the leaf has lost its potency.
There you have it. An interesting experience, but roasting an oolong to hell and back and letting it sit for twenty years is a lot of trouble for a return that isn’t very great.
Dry leaf: charcoal, lighter fluid, medicinal/phenolic, some prune and dry dark fruit sweetness – like some dry, dusty, left-in-the-cupboard old prunes. In preheated vessel – medicinal, lighter fluid, some prunes.
Smell: charcoal briquette, ash, vague dark fruit flavors and dry baking spices
Taste: arrival of charcoal briquette. Development has dry medicinal notes and hints of dry baking spices. Finish has slight creaminess and light hint of prune. Aftertaste slowly builds to orange-citrus, but is very light. Some hints of milk chocolate as aftertaste fades.
For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.
Similar flavor profile to Taiwan Tea Crafts’ “superior” grade of the tea, but less astringent and even sweeter and more floral. The fragrance of this tea was definitely my favorite part – deliciously complex, juicy honey notes and very spicy but light florals. The flavor was surprisingly less complex than the fragrance, though the mouthfeel was enjoyable (medium-light viscosity, relatively smooth). Clear notes of rose, peppercorn, honey, and grape hyacinth, as well as lavender in the finish. Delicious, though quite similar to the “superior” grade, and for the price difference I would have to recommend that one over this mildly better counterpart.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Lavender, Mineral, Nectar, Peppercorn, Perfume, Rose, Spicy, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes