Taiwan Tea CraftsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
As much as I love green oolongs, every once in a while I need to switch things up a bit with a baked tea. Most dark oolongs are too roasty for me but light baked teas such as this one fit the bill perfectly: green with a warming personality
The first whiff of the dry leaf reminded me of cream and butterscotch. Wet leaf had a toasted nuts scent to it. It was too roasty gongfued so I steeped it western style and grandpa with good results. First steep was light bodied but very sweet with notes of honey and baked bread. Second steeping brought out toasted barley, nuts, and caramel. Starting with the third steep, the tea begins exhibiting a greener character. The baked flavor diminishes and eventually disappears by the 5th steep leaving a mellow fruity flavor behind.
Overall, this was a satisfying tea without the heavy char you typically see in dark oolongs. I enjoyed its sweet, caramelized nuts flavor but wished it had some more depth and the florals of BTTC’s light baked Alishan. Also the gradual transition from dark to green doesn’t happen as smoothly as the BTTC tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butterscotch, Caramel
Another excellent bao zhong from TTC. This one is a treat for the nose. Lots of pleasant floral aromas that evoke lilac and daffodils. The taste is light and fresh with a lingering floral sweetness. There’s a grassy, seaweed note that hangs around for the first couple of steeps and then fades. Good mouthfeel and soft mineral hints appear in later steeps. This one doesn’t have the depth of body and thickness of competition grade baozhong, but is still very satisfying and delicious.
I steeped this 5 times starting at 195 F increasing the temperature a few degrees with each infusion. Steep times were 1m, 20s, 50s, 2m, and 3m.
Since I generally like oolongs from the Shan Lin Xi region, I eagerly picked this up when I ordered from Taiwan Tea Crafts almost a year ago. It says something about my tea stash that I’m only getting to it now. I steeped about 6 grams of leaf in a 120 ml vessel for 25, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 90 seconds, plus one more long infusion.
The dry leaf smells floral, sweet, and full of coconut and tropical fruits. These flavours show up nicely in the first steep, though they’re kind of muted, probably because the leaves haven’t opened up fully. They still aren’t fully open in the second steep, which is unusual even for tightly rolled oolongs.
I pushed the third steep a few seconds longer to open up the leaves, and it had the desired effect. The coconut, florals, and sweetness are much more pronounced. The body is light and smooth. By the fourth steep, I agree with a previous reviewer that this is like coconut cream pie. Yum!
The fifth 50-second steep is getting vegetal, but it’s still very enjoyable, and I get a hint of vanilla along with the coconut. The tea peters out by the seventh steep.
When this tea is good, it’s excellent, but between the first two weaker steeps and the last couple vegetal ones, its peak is relatively short. I’ll have to lengthen the steep times to see if I can get more out of it.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Sweet, Tropical
This is the stuff of dreams right here. Just an amazing taste and smell experience. The perfumey leaves emit heady aromas of lilac, gardenia, orchid, and jasmine. It gives a taste sensation that I can only describe as flowers dancing on the tongue. The refined floral flavor here is velvety smooth and complex accompanied by sweet warm grassy tones that evoke rainforests and springtime.
Grandpa style is the way to go with this tea. It’s not my usual steeping method, but it lets you fully experience the ethereal aroma and makes an otherwise pricey tea economical.
Flavors: Flowers, Gardenias, Jasmine, Orchids
My Evernote is getting full of tasting notes so it’s time to start entering them here.
This was a solid high mountain oolong. It has a floral, nectar-like flavor and a sugarcane sweetness as it cools. The body is light but becomes thicker and honeyed when western steeped. Though it lasts though many infusions, it doesn’t quite have the depth of flavor I’m looking for.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Nectar, Vegetal
I’ve been drinking eta today but not really taking notes or wanting to review anything. I picked this one out since it seemed like it might be an interesting experiment to try.The leaves are tightly rolled but expand in to long leaves. The taste is smooth…no “oolongy” notes here, just slightly sweet though light in the brew. I’m going to play around with the steeping times and water to see if i can get a bolder flavour out of this one i think.
Still not sure how i really feel about the latest batches of teas from TTC. Maybe it was just this past year but they’re not nearly as juicy and honeyed as they have been in previoud years. That being said, this particular one if a new project so i don’t have anything to compare against it. The body in this one is fairly light, but there is flavour here. Not quite honey, but sweet notes nonetheless.
Haven’t really been able to browse Steepster for a while due to storm recovery, so it’s nice to be back! Didn’t get to tea much during that time, either, but I do have a few things from the past few days that I have taken notes on.
I opened this up this one up this weekend to test out a new pot. Opening it up, the aroma was a little tropical fruity, a little sweaty, a little nutty and a little creamy. rhinkle commented that it smelled like an island.
I found the taste to follow the aroma more or less. That nice, baked creamy nuttiness with that distinct, sweaty tropical fruit note on the nose.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Nutty, Sweat, Tropical
This was a free sample that came with my last TTC order. It’s one of their budget oolongs and not a tea that I would ordinarily buy. However, this humble si ji chun surpassed my admittedly low expectations.
Upon opening the pouch, intense aromas of hyacinth and orchid filled my nostrils. Following a rinse, the aroma changed to sweet cream and coconut. The first steeping was very fruity with pineapple and notes of tropical fruit. The second steep brought orange blossom and coconut. The next two infusions were milky , with wildflower nectar and honeycomb. After the first 4 steeps, the tea fizzled out and didn’t really have much left to give. A little disappointing considering I can count on at least 7-8 steeps from my gao shans, but then again this one costs far less.
Overall, this is a good daily drinker for those who like a fresh, floral focused tea. The only knock on it is it doesn’t go the distance of other teas, but at such a low price point you really can’t complain.
Flavors: Floral, Tropical
I so rarely feel in the mood for oolong. I really wasn’t in the mood, but couldn’t decide what I wanted, so I made this one anyway.
Nice and oolong-y, with that freshness but with a slight muskiness typical of oolong. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, that of course, I love yet another tea from TTC. I’m glad I ordered this one since I generally steer more towards dark oolongs. This was a nice treat this evening.
Sipdown for one bag of this, but I have another brand new bag, not yet opened haha! This one is absolutely delicious and I’ve been enjoying it each morning. This morning I switched over to my Canadian Maple tea, but tomorrow I may just break open my other bag of this.
A hint of natural sweetness with a great depth of flavour here. This is one of my all-time favourites from TTC. :)
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