Taiwan Tea CraftsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Edit: This deserves a re-review!
Baked flavor is much more pleasant when drunk in the afternoon. It still has that medicinal vibe, but it is carrying more depth and flavor than when my previous session. Hard to put into words, but is becoming increasingly enjoyable.
Also, the fruit flavors on this are outstanding. This tea has the strongest and most flavorful hui gan I have ever had in a tea.
Definitely allow time for the tea to breathe and settle down from its baking. Open the package to clear the vacuum seal, then close and allow it to breathe a little. I would also recommend drinking this in the late morning or afternoon. The flavor is much more approachable that way.
The fruit flavors on this thing are incredible. I am really starting to enjoy the give-and-take from the slightly bitter, medicinal bake and the fruitbasket that is the hui gan.
[PLEASE SEE SECOND REVIEW BELOW. KEEPING THIS REVIEW UP TO SAVE INITIAL THOUGHTS AND FLAVOR NOTES]
Dry leaf (NUT, HERBAL): roasted peanut and peanut shell, dill, bitter green
Smell (SMOKE, MEDICINAL, VEGETAL): antiseptic, burnt toast, baked rolls, bitter greens; notes of buttered green beans; hint of apricot
Taste (MEDICINAL, BAKED, VEGETAL, FRUIT): burnt toast, baked rolls, cinnamon-raisin bread; pleasant bitter greens, buttery, green beans, cilantro. Aftertaste is thick and fruity – stonefruit (apricot) and tropical fruit (pineapple and mango)
Not quite sure where to place this one. The leaves are certainly “deeply baked.” By the end of the session, you have black – BLACK – leaves. The real question, I think, is does this baking improve the standard tieguanyin experience?
I’m going with no. The baked flavor is weird. It is noticeably antiseptic-like and medicinal, with some burnt-toast thrown in. I don’t mind char or smokiness when it works, but this just didn’t. It wasn’t awful or unpalatable, but just weird and sort of flat. The bake/roast/char flavors did not carry other flavors and develop complexity.
That said, there were some nice TGY flavors happening. The aftertaste, in particular, was thick and fruity. A very nice treat. So, overall, certainly not a bad tea. It was an interesting experience, but not one I’m going back to.
As a final note, I’m not ready to write off roasted/baked TGY just yet. Thinking of trying another vendor to see if different processing makes a difference. But, frankly, I’m missing the rich experience of a green TGY. A lot of the complexity, I feel, was killed or overridden by the bake.
So…we decided to have this in case it was on that we needed to “get out of the way.” Got it from Haveteawilltravel’s stash. We rip open the 5g sample and it smells like…yard work. I say it smells like yard clippings, SO says it smells like yard clippings and sweaty man. I cannot entirely disagree. Keep in mind, neither of us has had ginseng before. The cat flees the room. There’s no turning back now.
The leaves are dark and rolled. I decide to treat this like any other oolong. Wash. 20 second steep. Slightly reddish, darker amber color. We sip. It basically tastes like it smells. It just leaves a weird, unidentifiable taste behind. Whether this is the taste of ginseng or aged oolong, I have no idea.
I refill the gaiwan with water. The SO asks why. This is our only sample. Gotta follow through!
The flavor is stronger in the next steep, and there is some bitterness. The following steeps just taste the same. This tea has been an experience, but it’s not one we feel a need to repeat.
I bought a sample of this tea along with a little clay pot from Taiwan Tea Crafts. I’ve determined that this pot will be for darker oolongs, including wuyi and yancha. Still in the hunt for a clay pot that pours quickly enough for young sheng. The dry leaf of this tea has an aroma of a dry autumn leaf pile – a note I often pick up from roasted teas. After a rinse, the leaf smelled roasty with a bit of a hint of coconut.
Rather awesomely, the first three steeps tasted quite a bit like toasted coconut. Maybe I was tasting the orchid note that Shui Xian is supposed to have, but I was just getting toasted coconut. I also picked up on a bit of a mineral taste and maybe some honey sweetness as well.
For the rest of the session, the coconut drops out, replaced by a floral note which makes me think that I may have just been tasting and interpreting an intense floral flavor as coconut – but that’s still what I got from it for sure. Flavors get a little bit lighter but remain balanced and sweet. The occasional nutty roasty note reminds me that this is a very well roasted tea – done with a lot of skill I’d say.
The first really good shui xian I’ve had and it’s from Taiwan! When I make another order from Taiwan Tea Crafts, I definitely might pick some of this up, as it’s a very fair price. I got in a bit of trouble for encouraging people to pick this up in teachat by claiming that it tastes like toasted coconut ;)
Flavors: Coconut, Floral, Honey, Nutty, Sweet, Toasted
For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.
Really excellent, complex baozhong. Not overwhelmingly floral like some tend to be, but still far more flavorful than average. Delicious!
Flavors: Almond, Bitter Melon, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Eucalyptus, Floral, Gardenias, Honey, Mineral, Pear, Pecan, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal, Zucchini
I’m surprised Shibi tea has managed to fly under the radar for so long. IMO, this is one of the most underrated Taiwanese oolongs out there. It encompasses the flavor characteristics of some of the best high mountain teas.
The scent of the wet tea leaves is floral with subtle notes of coconut and tropical fruit. The first couple of infusions are quite light and merely tease your tongue with hints of flavor. Around the 3rd/4th steeps is where the tea really begins to show its stuff. A creamy body rich with flowery nectar, stonefruits, apple, and a hint of coconut in the finish.
I tried this alongside the spring harvest, and enjoyed the fuller, more luscious flavor of the winter crop. In fact, I’m finding myself preferring the winter harvest for Taiwanese tea in general for the clean and smooth taste.
Flavors: Apple, Flowers, Nectar, Tropical
I finished off this tea 3 weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about how good it was. This is an elegant oolong, light but full of subtlety and depth. The dry leaf smells flowery and bright. Strong notes of hyacinth waft out from the wet leaves in the teapot. The tea itself is a delicious medley of lychee like fruitiness, flowers, and mineral sweetness leaving behind a long lasting aftertaste. There’s are undertones of tart citrus and lingering balsamic notes. The taste is fresh, clean, and delicate. I enjoyed how the flavor changes with every sip of this tea. Definitely a tea you need to sit down and pay attention to in order to fully appreciate it.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Lychee
I finally tried this out western. I let it steep for a minute and the brew was balanced and refreshing. Had a little bit of a lemon thing going on with a slightly buttery body. I do not think it will change to much. If it does, the note will probably only have a few sentences. Light overall, but so good on this Easter morning. To think that my Birthday was yesterday on the year of my graduation, and that I was born on the day before Easter in 1995. There’s a symmetry to life right now that I’m going to enjoy.
Thank you Andrew! I’ve been meaning to try this.
The other two reviews are pretty close, though this is not quite sweet as I thought it could be. It’s a little bit drying, and it’s fairly vegetal along the creamy plantain body gong fu. Think banana leaves vegetal with a typical Jin Xuan texture. I am getting the first flush Darjeeling taste big time in its grassiness, which is pretty impressive though that taste is hit or miss for me. The smell is fruitier than the taste, though not by much. First steep was 10 sec, and I’ve been in the tens all morning. I liked it more in the first few steeps. Next time, I should do it western to see what I get. I also should not be sick. Maybe then I might get more dessert and fruit qualities.
I’ve had this tea sitting for two months unopened. So finally got around to trying it out today.
This tea is AMAZING!!!
When I opened the bag the fragrance of the tea was sooo good. Kind of a bit like a black tea, a bit like a green, fruity and fresh. I couldn’t stop sniffing it.
I brewed this at 80C for 2 min. I usually brew my whites at 90. Some use 70C. I figured I would change things up and go inbetween.
First infusion was intoxicating. Sweet and creamy (like in the Jin Xuan oolongs), with a fruity flavour (a bit like grape) and slightly malty. The sweetness was not overly strong but it had caramel notes. There was a little fruity tang to it too. I also got nutty notes like in green tea.
2nd infusion was more caramel and fruit. Less creamy/nutty.
There were elements of this tea that was like black, then white, and then green. What a unique tea! Glad I bought this one!
Flavors: Caramel, Creamy, Fruity, Malt, Nutty, Sweet
I’ve had this tea a few times and haven’t left a review yet. I love the way Taiwan Tea Crafts seal up their tea leaving no air. The teas are always very fresh as was this one. It was very sweet and nutty with a bit of green bean in the first infusion. No astringency at all. Second infusion was less sweet and hardly much green bean flavour but still good. Overall a great green tea.
Flavors: Green Beans, Nutty, Sweet
I am really happy with all the teas I’ve ordered from Taiwan Tea Crafts. Unfortunately , I haven’t gotten around to leaving reviews on all them.
Having this one today and I finished the cup before I could get the review in. It’s that good. This tea is not artificially scented. Only scented with natural flowers. So the jasmine comes through but blends so good with the buttery, sweet, milky flavour of the Jin Xuan oolong
So good I am going for another infusion.
I’ve never a met a Bao Zhong I didn’t like – until I tried this one. Picked it up because it was inexpensive and like with most things, got what I paid for.
It’s not a bad tea per se, but it just doesn’t measure up to the other more exquisite versions of this tea that I’ve had. It’s got a generic bao zhong flavor profile – honey and orchid fragrance, buttery body, and light sweetness. However, it’s missing the fresh flowery notes of lilac, hyacinth, and gardenia. Overall I find the taste to be insipid and lacking the sophistication and subtleties of BTT and TTC’s higher grade bao zhongs.
For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.
Very tropical and floral green tea, with definite notes of mangosteen and lychee, as well as a viscous honey sweetness. Very slight astringency, but even with overdrawing the tea does not get bitter. $27 USD / 100g.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Gardenias, Honey, Lychee, Thick, Tropical
Cheap old tea! This 1982 tastes like a liubao and not Sun Moon Lakey anymore. It is musty old water logged books, ash, charcoal, wet stones and more must. Ride this tea a long time and it cleans up to sweet, mineral and camphor.
I really didn’t like the thin body on this one and I was really unimpressed my tea was very twiggy and had a rock in it. But hey, it’s $5 and 1982, what did you expect?
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/1982-sun-moon-lake/
Dry leaf – FRUIT, NUT: variety of dried fruit (mango, strawberry, cranberry), Mexican hot chocolate, peanut shell, roasted peanut
Smell – SWEET: scented candle wax, dried strawberries, yams, carob
Taste – FRUIT, ROASTED SWEET: yam, carob, roasted marshmallow, caramalized sugars off of a baked sweet potato, waxy cranberry/green apple tartness in background, hints of papaya.
Well, this is different. Complex and various flavors run throughout this one. From the notes above, you can see how I struggled trying to pinpoint the flavors. Here’s why – this thing tasted like the smell of someone baking a sweet potato casserole in a room with a holiday scented candle. Figure that out. Perfect for sipping while you prepare an ACTUAL sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving or something.
Fruity, caramel-y, savory, aromatic. Really a treat if you need to reinvigorate your taste buds with something different.
Dry leaf: DRIED FRUIT, GRAPE VINE, SWEET: prune, raisin, dried fig, grape skin, musty green, grape vine, blackstrap molasses, green stem, sweet and sour, bitter honey
Smell: FRUIT, SWEET: green apple, light caramel, bread pudding, musty grape
Taste: FRUIT, SWEET, GRAPE VINE: candied green apple, sweet potato, malt, sweet and sour, green twig, green grape, grape vine/leaf
This was a fun one! To be honest, a lot of the experience reminded me of a black tea, but there were little surprising pops of flavor where the oolonginess asserted itself. Especially interesting was a multifaceted “grape” experience that ranged from grape sweetness to green “leafiness” to dry vine/stem flavors. Weird and hard to pinpoint, but that made it a pleasure to return to each day.
This is the “select grade”, the lowest grade that TTC offers. There’s premium, superior, supreme, private reserve… I have no idea what this means in terms of little leaf-munching critters or the resulting flavors. In any case, this is a tasty, affordable treat.
Dry leaf: NUT – peanut shell, some bittersweet green wood
Smell: NUT – peanut shell, pistachio, slight hint of vanilla extract
Taste: NUT, FRUIT – In the mouth – dry nut (peanut shell, acorn), roasted peanut, tea tannin, green twig, slight hint of orange. Aftertaste has strong ripe peach flavors, with some orange, orange blossom, dewy grass, and bittersweet melon/melon rind.
A tale of two teas! This is an interesting session. Everything up to the aftertaste is all about its dry nuttiness. It’s dead-on peanut shell – smell, taste… But then, the aftertaste develops into a thick, rich ripe peach with a few extra supporting notes to keep you interested.
To be honest, nutty smell/taste isn’t all that interesting and is a bit monotone in the mouth. But the aftertaste is quite a different show. You have to take your time with it – little sips with plenty of time in between to let the tea open up in your throat and mouth. The hui gan is so engaging that I feel like it more than makes up for its monotone arrival.
Dry leaf: HONEY, FLORAL: honey, fragrant floral (lily of the valley), lactose “milkiness”, bittersweet floral (potpourri)
Smell: HONEY, VEGETAL: malty honey (like boiled honey or sweet malt used in beer brewing), green stem
Taste: FLORAL, HONEY, FRUIT: bittersweet green, fragrant floral (lily of the valley), honey. Aftertaste has lemon/citrus notes, hints of light red fruit, green apple. One infusion had a light almond/marzipan note.
Flavors are pleasant; there is nothing “bad” about the tea. However, my experience is that it’s just very light. Frankly, it reminded me of later infusions of some higher-quality Taiwanese oolongs. No big flavors in the mouth or aftertaste, no staying power in terms of infusions and re-brews. Personally, I think spending a little extra money on a higher-quality oolong is worth the upgrade in experience.
I remember having bi luo chun for the first time. I had a very fresh quality tea and I just loved it. After that any bi luo chun I bought just didn’t seem to meet those same expectations. Was it because it just becomes common to the taste buds? Or maybe I was buying lower quality bi luo chun? I can’t say but it’s not like any of those bi luo chuns were bad. They were all good. Just not amazing. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve had a bi luo chun I can rave about. Well I can now.
This tea came vacuum sealed and when I opened it the fresh fragrance of the tea was heavenly! I just knew this was going to be a great cup. Brewed up it’s sweet, chestnutty, grean bean with an aroma I can’t quite pin down. It reminds me a bit of osmanthus.
Was this tea just amazing because it was vacuum sealed? I think that might play a part in it too but it was amazing! I’m so glad I got my Taiwan Tea Crafts order just on the last day before the Canadian postal workers were locked out. Can you imagine this amazing tea sitting in some hot warehouse for weeks on end in the summer???? I still didn’t get my small order from Grand Tea and they have amazing tea too. Hope that one survives the strike in good shape.
Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Osmanthus, Sweet
Dry leaf – VEGETAL, SWEET: vegetal, buttery, bittersweet green, bitter honey, sweet bread, honeysuckle; in pre-heated vessel: strong bittersweet vegetal
Smell – VEGETAL, SWEET: musty pungent green wood, raw honey
Taste – VEGETAL, SWEET, FRUIT: spinach, asparagus, buttery, lemon zest, honey, lactose sweetness, hint of carob. Aftertaste of tropical fruit, mandarin orange, spearmint
This was a pleasant experience. Many strong, interesting flavors, but none of them dominated the other. Everything was balanced and worked well together. High-quality experience at an affordable price.
This is a pretty easy-going tea that has naturally likable flavors. Would be a great intro to whole-leaf tea for your Earl Grey friends. Show them the power of the dark side. Or the light side, as the case may be.
Plus, dropping in a few balls of tea and seconds later having a forest exploding out of your gaiwan is enough to have anyone forsake the bagged stuff.
Compared to the Jin Xuan White Tea from the Fragrant Jade series, this tea’s leaves weren’t nearly as aromatic. They have an overall grassy, beany, vegetal smell that you might expect from green tea. The flavor of the first infusion is light, vegetal, nutty, and a bit sweeet. It’s very clean tasting and the infusion is a really pale yellow. I am brewing this gongfu style in a porcelain gaiwan.
Second infusion, more rich umami vegetables. There’s a really subtle hint of clove or camphor that reveals that this is from an oolong cultivar and not the usual green tea cultivars, but aside from that note, and it is a delicate one, this really reminds me a lot of many Chinese green teas I’ve had.
The third infusion got more sweet and nutty and mild. And the fourth did so as well. I enjoyed these two infusions the most.
This is a clean tasting and good green tea. After the first or second infusion, it didn’t have as much of the green bean taste that is rather common in Chinese green tea that I’m not a huge fan of. Clean tasting and light are the two words I’d use to sum up this teas biggest strengths.
Flavors: Green Beans, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal