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2022 Sipdown 55/365!
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge February 2022: Taiwanese tea
Odd. My previous tasting note for this tea suggests that I’d already finished it; I didn’t realize that I had more than one packet, unless it came from VariaTEA or Sil at some point.
It’s an okay tea – creamy, smooth, lightly floral but just overtones, not like drinking a bouquet. However, not my favourite profile as I prefer more creaminess, less floral. Nothing wrong with it though.
Thanks so much for a sample of this, Meowster! It’s hot, time for a jasmine tea. It’s too bad Tea Ave seems to be gone already. They had an awesome free tea/ tea set event when they first started, even sending two sets, to give one to someone else. I wish Tea Ave had been successful! Their teas were awesome from the couple I tried. This one is flavored naturally, as the description says, which sadly means I’m not tasting much jasmine. But the oolong itself has a thick mouthfeel, smooth, sweet, mostly like cream. Really the thickest and creamiest oolong all around, for all three steeps. Wow. Maybe because I used a teaspoon and a half? Fragrant and floral, though not particularly jasmine. Am amazing oolong leaf on its own, but I was really craving jasmine today. So points off for no jasmine, but points added for being one of the thickest oolongs I’ve ever tried. Sipdown next time.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
I didn’t actually drink this tea tonight, but I am posting here because a few weeks ago the Tea Avenue website went down. It looked like it was there but it was an empty template and there was no product for sale. I can see running out of tea waiting for the new harvest, but teaware also?
I sent an email. No reply. I tried to contact through Facebook. No reply. I called their phone number. Fast busy signal. Checked instagram, no recent posts. We pretty much declared them kaput. Gone. Thought they ghosted us.
Well, I decided to check on them again tonight and their website is up again. On my phone it wouldn’t give me US prices, but on my tablet it did. I am really bummed because I just ordered Wenshan Baochong yesterday from another tea shop because I couldn’t get it from Tea Ave.
But I wanted to dispel the rumours that Tea Avenue was dead! Apparently, TEA AVENUE IS STILL IN BUSINESS! Maybe I will go ahead and order more Wenshan and use it as a comparison between two vendors. Sigh. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
By the way, I have had this tea in the past. It was light, floral, and lovely. I don’t know why I don’t have reviews already posted on it. Maybe Steepster ate them.
ETA: I think I will call again tomorrow and make sure it is really them and someone hasn’t hijacked their website. Can that happen?
ETA: Message from them this morning says they are not taking new orders at this time. Will post again with actual message for anyone who wanted to place an order with them. We may still be able to do so at some time?
I suppose last night was the last time I will ever have this particular tea, because it appears that Tea Avenue has closed. It was paired with Humboldt Fog goat cheese, which is delicious, but this is one time that the cheese really was not a good pairing for the tea, as this tea is delicate and floral and I was eating the strongest parts of the cheese since those are my husband’s least favroite parts.
A long time ago I got a Yixing pot and seasoned it with Harney and Son’s Wenshan Baozhong. Once I ran out of that tea, I just didn’t use the pot. It may even have been a couple of years.
I decided to test the pot as I had read, leaving some water in overnight to see if the taste of the water had changed. This is really for testing an unseasoned pot, but I didn’t think I had used this pot enough for there to be a real difference. Wow! Was the taste ever changed! At first I thought the water tasted soapy. I rinsed the pot and tried again. Still a flavor. Not unpleasant. Floral.
So I went ahead and made this tea sample in it, and it tasted so much like the ghost tea!
The tea was very floral with no astringency. We had quite a few steeps from it, and my husband said he was getting lots of flavor even after I felt it was all steeped out. That may have been the rind and mold stripe overpowering the tea for me.
We finished the session with a tiny bit of Godiva salted caramel chocolate bar.
Now…since I obviously don’t keep this tea on hand all the time, do you guys think it would be okay to use it for green oolongs in general? It obviously kept its seasoning, so I am thinking it may not work and I need to either keep buying WB or re-season the pot for another tea.
It is a middling quality pot with good heat retention, good porousness to season, decent pour, and it held a vacuum last night with hot water, which it did not do with cold. My best pot holds a vaccum even with cold water.
Gongfu cha brewing style in a gaiwan:
This tea has a beautiful floral scent like Easter lilies, and the taste also carries a similar floral note. There’s also a nice buttery quality to this flavor. You can taste fresh herbal and evergreen notes that remind me of the mountains.
Not feeling the need to explore and review as deeply as usual tonight, but I think this is a good tea for its type, at the same time not knocking my socks off. I’m enjoying the sample they sent me, but would definitely shop around if I was looking to buy some Baozhong.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Herbs, Pine
Brewed this tea western, gongfu, and this time grandpa style.
Ehhh wasn’t particularly impressed or unimpressed. I’m starting to realize I really just prefer greener oolongs and this lightly roasted dong ding is solid but not that special imo.
Might repurchase if there’s a nice sale and I’m low on my oolong stock.
I wasn’t sure what people meant when they described teas – specifically oolong – as “milky”. I get it now. The feel of this oolong is similar to that of sweet cream.
A mild and very pleasant tea, this sample was a gift from a steepster friend. I detect lightly grassy and floral notes – more vegetal than fruity.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Vegetal
As I mentioned in my last note for this tea, I had a very odd amount of it left. Not enough to brew Gong Fu, for sure – but still a strange amount for a Western mug. I did make it Western-style though, just in the largest mug that I have…
This was delicious; I really don’t know why I was so unimpressed with it the first few times I tried it because this tea and the time prior were so good! Sweet, toasty and nutty with honey and floral elements. Nothing to complain about here at all!
I usually like to pick up floral oolongs from Tea Ave in the Spring (namely Rose/Ginger Lily) and I haven’t yet done that so maybe I’ll have to place a Tea Ave order sooner rather than later, and add in more Dong Ding as well…
I thought that this was going to be a sipdown, but turns out that I had slightly more tea leaf left than I thought so it’s not – I chose not to overleaf my shibo because I thought it would ruin the balance of the session, and I think that was the right call. Now I have a weird/awkward amount of tea leaf left though.
I used 7.5 grams for this session, and while I did not time my infusions (because in general I just seem to not do that anymore; I trust my gut and intuition) I did actually count the infusion number this time! I ended up having a healthy nine infusions of this delicious, delicious oolong…
As I described in my instagram post, I found that this Dong Ding tasted quite nice with a very sweet creamed honey note in the top of the sip with orchid and soft, subtle and supple red apple notes more moving into the body of the sip – especially in the first few infusions before the leaves had fully opened up. There’s still a nice roasted quality to the tea, but it’s definitely a lighter roast – nutty with a hint of brown rice, maybe? Those toasty, warming roasted notes are definitely some of my all time favourites in oolong (and most tea in general) so they were very well received by myself during this session. Because of those orchid/apple notes, I definitely didn’t lose that “Springtime” feeling though, and the whole tea was very well balanced. I seem to have enjoyed it more than my last experience with this tea, based on my memory.
I was also eating Granadilla during this session, which is one of my favourite tropical fruits because it’s sweet but surprisingly very mellow and a lot less acidic than most other tropical fruits tend to be. Like the mature older sister of Passion Fruit, if you will. I was a little worried how this might pair with the tea, but it turned out to be quite nice. The granadilla didn’t take away or add anything super significant to my experience, but I thought it complimented and drew attention to the creamed honey notes and floral elements in a nice way.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApXoWvfEYVU
Drank this one at work.
I wish I’d taken better notes; but lately I’ve just been so… tired? At work, but also just in general. When I get in moods like that it’s hard for me to focus enough to put together the kind of jot notes that I want to be able to put together for these straight teas.
Anyway, I steeped this one up Western style with some honey – it was REALLY good! Very smooth, and while yes it did taste marginally fruity I thought the bulk of the flavour profile was more this light, delicate roast and then a ton of sweeter, nutty notes that were really pleasant/tasty. Pretty light to medium bodied overall.
This is a very tasty oolong. It is slightly roasted but very light. It does not overpower the taste of the tea. I am not sure what to call the sweet notes of this tea but it was good.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 seconds.
Bought this recently when Tea Ave was having a sale. I generally like floral, green oolongs. This one was quite nice. It was somewhat vegetal and had notes of sweet grass to it. It was very good. I gave it eight steeps and I think it would have gone a couple more. But I figured it wasn’t puerh that can usually be pushed to twelve or fourteen steeps. I bought several more teas from Tea Ave and I hope they are all this good.
I steeped this eight times in a 110ml teapot with 7.1g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Vegetal
“This tea tastes like going to an imperial palace and walking through a rose garden. The rose and the bright oolong have a spring evening feel. You’re walking through the well-tended garden, your feet on the warm yet cooling stones, discussing diplomacy in really awesome brocade silk dresses.”
Full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/12/26/rose-oolong-from-tea-ave/
Drinking up this sample tonight mostly western style (200mL teapot, 1.5-2min steeps). Overall, the flavor on this one is lighter than I realized. Opening up the sample bag, I was met with a delicate, sweet floral smell that I can’t exactly describe. This is a flavored tea (as far as I recall!) though the brew came out quite light in both color and flavor. It’s smooth and has a sweetness to it, as well as a gentle floral note. I can’t quite pick up on any flavoring (magnolia?) but overall it’s quite tasty, if not a little light.
Second brew I left in for longer, and definitely got more flavor out of it. It’s a very bright yellow color, and reminds me of a jasmine tea in its flavor profile. Maybe a little bit on the sweeter side, with almost a rose-petal sort of note showing up. Overall, a well rounded mouth feel and generally enjoyable, though I find it to be somewhat underwhelming. Maybe decent for a casual drink, but not that interesting all things considered.
Brewing up the sample tea bag that I was sent! I’m just western-style brewing this in a smallish teapot. After about a 1 minute brew, it comes up pale yellow. It has a calm, mellow flavor profile, with an immediate punch of light, roasty flavor and hints of maybe corn and bready grain. I’m not yet picking up too much in the way of fruits, but I might notice some more as I brew.
The second steep comes out deeper in color and flavor. There’s a little more of the roasted note coming out here now, but still nowhere near as much as a heavily roasted oolong (good by me!). It has a very rich and round flavor profile, with a sweetness and a mouth coating viscosity. Very enjoyable and looking forward to trying some of my other Tea Ave purchases!
This one reminded me of plain popcorn, predominant in both the scent and flavor, but there’s a lot more to this tea. Early steeps had a faint aroma that reminiscent of dried cherries; subtle flavors of orchid and cinnamon with a lingering aftertaste of homemade bread. Following this through 6 steeps, the latter half became sweet and mild. A deliciously toasty tea–perfect for those who don’t want an aggressively floral oolong.
Flavors: Bread, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Orchid, Popcorn
A gorgeous light, fragrant, somewhat sweet tea whose flavor is a dance of orchid and soft vegetal notes, both always present regardless of which one’s leading. Compared to similar teas I’ve had, I’m surprised by how long the aftertaste of this one lingers on the palate and how the floral notes last clear into six steeps (first steep at 30 seconds and adding 10 seconds to each subsequent steep).
Flavors: Orchid, Sweet
Received this as a sample in a recent order and was not expecting to fall in love. Made this in my gaiwan and got three delicious steeps out of it; easily could’ve gotten a few more had it not been dinner time (not exactly the beverage of choice for pairing with deep dish pizza!). Can’t say I noticed any difference between each cup, but that isn’t to say it’s a bad thing because it most definitely isn’t, not with its consistent notes of lemongrass and honey.
Definitely one I would keep in mind to order later as I need more to spend some quality time with. Could totally see this one being elevated to staple status.
Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Lemongrass
Tea Ave sent a sample of this with my last order. Thanks! The sample consisted of full leaf tea in a pyramid teabag. I steeped it twice in the teabag, then opened up the bag and steeped up the loose leaves two more times in a finum filter.
I woke up craving a solid oolong and this hit the spot. The dry leaf smells honeyed and roasted. The flavor, fairly consistent over multiple steeps, is sweet and gently roasted with a dominant honey flavor. I’m not picking up on the fruity notes that other people report but I’m ok with that.
I looked forward to tasting this tea after listening to a podcast where Robert Coons talked about Wenshan Baochong. A lovely tea with honey or maybe honeysuckle under currents. Grassy taste and smell (in a good way) I associate with a more astringent green tea lasted through several steeps and mixed nicely with the honey and butter. Though I anticipated the dry mouth of a green tea this never came. I could drink this tea as a daily sipper.
I followed the instructions on TeaAve’s package that said to fill giawan 1/2 full so I estimated on the grams added. Filled with 90 C water and steeped for 30 seconds. Each steep afterward I added 10 seconds out to 5 steeps.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle
This has been my favorite oolong from Tea Ave so far. It’s a perfect balance of rich and buttery, with bright mineral green and floral notes. It’s just so appealing to smell and taste, super smooth and drinkable. Not too savory, not too sweet. I would definitely order this again.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Green, Nutty
I was talking to Oolong-Nug and a few others a couple days ago about hoarding tendencies, and how I’ve held onto a lot of green oolongs because I’m scared to let go of that last session of tea and it inspired me in the moment to finish off a tea that I’ve just been holding onto a single session’s worth of – this one!
So I brewed this one up Gong Fu and enjoyed it during the hangout with some tea friends and their pets! It was actually really nice, and it was a follow up to a heavier tea I’d brewed out just like a half hour earlier so the fact it was sweeter and lighter overall definitely felt a little more overt/noticeable and I think I had a greater appreciation because I was getting that almost immediate kind of contrast.
Obviously this is really rose heavy in general – but that works for me; I absolutely love rose flavoured/scented teas, especially around Spring/the change of seasons. I went on a pretty intense floral tea binge last year in the spring time, which is I think when I initially ordered this one anyway!? Apart from the rose, it’s also pretty green. My first few infusions had a bit of sharpness in regard to that grassy element but it mellowed out overall and the later infusions were more of a mix of soft grass elements and light fruit undertones such as fresh peach.
I didn’t track the number of infusions but I’d guess it was probably close to ten. Middle and end of the session were the highlights for the more mellowed out grassy oolong notes. I’d order this again if that floral sort of obsession hits again this Spring – I’ll just have to more diligent in working against those hoarding tendencies.
Morning cup of tea.
I’m working through a lot of long online training videos for DAVIDsTEA right now because I was recently promoted to keyholder, so I have to go through a training top up. It’s been long, boring and exacting, so having a good solid cup of tea on hand has been a vital resource.
It’s delicate and refreshing with a really clean flavour and overall profile. While obviously rosey, it also has some other fresh flower/Springtime floral notes at the top of the sip transitioning into the mid sip. The undertones are smooth, sweet and grassy with hints of something peachy finding its way in there, as well as a bit of sugar snap pea sweetness. It finishes with a light honey sweetness.
So, so, so good. Better than last time, for sure.