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Recent Tasting Notes
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
With a touch of honey.
I think I enjoyed this one a little more when I was still on that massive rose/floral kick earlier in the year but it’s still pretty good. The mix of grassy and vegetal notes and floral undertones is balanced pretty well. I actually just wish that those floral notes were more weighted towards rose though; I don’t taste enough distinction here for me to really be completely happy with it/immersed enough.
This is a queued tasting note.
Drank this as a commute tea on one of the really nice days we had this week. Seriously; just gorgeous! Tons of the snow melted away, and it really did start to feel like Spring.
This is the first of the floral/scented oolongs I recently bought; I found myself deeply craving them as the weather started to warm up. Actually, it’s the only one of the scented oolongs I purchased that I hadn’t tried yet either so I was especially excited for it.
- Rose top notes; a little too intense/perfumey
- Just a slight touch bitter
It wasn’t love at first sight, but I see promise here and I’m willing to put in the effort to experiment with steep time/style and leaf amount in order to get this one just right.
Final sample from my Tea Ave order!
- Quite floral
- Even though they’re strong, it’s a little hard placing/identifying the floral notes
- Light to medium body
- Different from Oriental Beauty because I didn’t register roastiness from this one
- Sweet honeyed peach/stonefruit, especially in the finish
- A little buttery
I’d say this was the most complex of the three samples they sent and probably also my favourite of the three.
Received a small sample. When people describe an oolong as “milky” I now know what they mean, because this has a perfect flavor/feel of sweet cream. However, it’s not sweet, in the way that a jasmine tea leaves a floral impression of sweetness. Instead it’s mild and round, like peaches and cream, or oatmeal and honey.
Purchased for summer cold-brewing purposes. Didn’t sample before.
I had only one Magnolia Oolong prior to Tea Ave’s – from Tea District – and loved it. I immediately declared this floral oolong to be my favorite cold-brewing tea. I looked forward to trying Tea Ave’s. The base is a higher quality Alishan oolong, which is light and sweetly floral, blending very nicely with the magnolia flowers. (I’m not one to pick out specific flowers in floral oolongs, and that’s as detailed as I’ll get.) Neither overpowers the other.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed. I got exactly what I wanted: an incredibly delicious and refreshing Magnolia Oolong that detracts from the feeling of high humidity suffocating the self.
Cold-brewed every bit of what I had – just what I had bought this for. It is summer…
I had only one Osmanthus Oolong before – three years ago, belonging to the Tao of Tea – and I didn’t take to it because of my newb-ish tendencies to overleaf in a Western teapot. It came off as overpowering and sour, turning me off from Osmanthus Oolong. (I’m in no way bashing the Tao of Tea’s blend since the manner in which I prepared theirs was due to improperly brewing it.)
I decided to give it another shot this late-spring and try 25g of Tea Ave’s – without sampling beforehand. At that time, I thought that I should have checked the base tea before purchasing it, and before the package arrived. Jin Xuan. I don’t like Jin Xuan. I can’t stand how buttery it tastes. It makes my stomach feel ill. I had this variety from three different companies and ended up not changing my mind.
That was infusing Jin Xuan in hot water. Of course, I was willing to give Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong a shot. Live and let live. This time, I would only be cold-brewing it. At first, I first noticed what I dreaded: the heavy buttery quality. But it was more muted. I continued to drink my first glass without a problem.
The more I drank, the more the more I tasted Jin Xuan’s floral flavors, and the buttery flavor blended with the osmanthus flowers. The cold-brewed Jian Xuan produces a full-bodied, very flavorful, and thickly creamy liquor. I think I was able to withstand it even more because the osmanthus was just as strong. Not to say this Osmanthus Oolong is strong – though full with flavor, it feels refreshingly delicate.
Overall, this is tasty and very, very refreshing on ice. I enjoyed every sip. If a floral oolong has Jin Xuan as the base, I won’t hesitate to try now. Additionally: Osmanthus Oolong now rivals my love for Magnolia Oolong, which I consider to be my favorite, go-to cold-brewed summer tea.
I have tried another Osmanthus Oolong since. I concluded that Tea Ave’s is more high-end. Theirs is more expensive than others I’ve researched, but it shows in the quality of the Jin Xuan. However, it is still affordable. I look forward to buying more next year. If you want a more special floral oolong, you can go for this one.
Because I’ve come to enjoy scented teas so much I find myself seeking out unique and unfamiliar pairings, which is how I originally stumbled across this tea. What is interesting about it is that it doesn’t actually contain ginger, but is instead scented with Ginger Lily, a type of tropical flower. Even more interesting is that it gives the tea a faint spicy flavor that isn’t far off from real ginger. It pairs well with the more earthy high mountain oolong used as a base, but the overall flavor of the tea is very mild. This makes it a good choice for those of you who want to steer clear of the more floral oolongs and it’s an excellent choice to serve along with a meal when you don’t want the flavor of your tea to overpower the food.
You can read the full review on my blog:
Today was awesome! Ben and I went to the zoo and I had a blast taking pictures of all the creatures and spending far too much time in the bird enclosures. Seriously my favorite aspect of the KC Zoo (other than their conservation work) is the Australian and African bird enclosure, it is a giant bird cage where many birds just go about their business mostly ignoring people. Except the ibises in the Australia exhibit and the splendid starlings in Africa, conveniently they are two of my favorites. I just love the zoo and I am so glad I was able to go!
Since it is starting to feel like summer I wanted to cover a tea that is practically just summer incarnate, Tea Ave’s Rose Oolong. This tea is an Alishan Jin Xuan that has been scented with rose, and with a few rose petals tossed in, and let me say, I love roses in tea…the idea of blended roses with an already creamy sweet base sounds wonderful. The aroma smells exactly like I had hoped, it smells like Rose Milk (or Falooda, though not quite as starchy) Rose Milk was one of my favorite summer drinks for years. In fact it is one of my favorite aspects of both Indian and Persian desserts, the use of rose is wonderfully decadent. The aroma of rose is certainly strong and sweet, but it brings in milky sweet notes from the Jin Xuan, giving it a dessert quality and it smells delicious.
Steeping the tea was pretty awesome, the tea area was filled with blooming roses and it was heady, which I liked! Full on rose garden in bloom coming out of my gaiwan. After steeping the leaves had a blend of rose and milky sweet custard with a slight nutty undertone and hint of crushed vegetation. The liquid smelled like rose custard, super sweet and creamy with intense rose and even a pinch of sugar cane, it is pretty intense!
I was proud of myself, I shared some of this tea with Ben instead of quaffing it all myself, it took great self control. First thing you notice is the rose, it is at the foretaste and the mid, and of course the after, it is all rose all the time. The rest of the taste dances from creamy sweet custard to a bit of nuttiness to a slight crushed vegetation at the finish. It is fairly light at the first steep, but lightness cannot stop the rose.
Conveniently, the rose is still strong for the second steep, but it does not get stronger, it stays the same level of rose bush. The sweet creamy taste however, that does get stronger, really taking on a custard quality with undertone of sesame seeds. I almost want to munch on pistachios while drinking this tea to really bring out the Persian ice cream quality. The aftertaste is rose and it lingers for a while.
Onward to the next steep, this one has a slightly stronger rose in both taste and aroma, and a slightly diminished creamy sweetness. For this steep the notes of crushed vegetation and lily are stronger alongside the intense rose, there is no doubt this is a Jin Xuan, and it blends wonderfully with the rose, in fact other than the occasional blending with red teas, this might be the best rose combination I have found. I also tried it cold steeped, it was enjoyable, but I preferred it warm, which is odd considering how much the taste reminds me of ice cream!
Thanks to Tea Ave for providing a sample of this tea. The dry leaf has a fantastic sweet floral aroma that’s heightened after steeping. The first infusion is vegetal with bitterness masking the high mountain flavor. Some sweetness and mineral notes start to emerge with the second steep. The tea really begins to unveil its flavor with the 3rd and 4th steeps. Most of the bitterness has faded and the tea develops a thicker mouthfeel. Nice balance of nectary sweetness and vegetal. There is some honeysuckle although the floral aroma doesn’t really come through in flavor. Not a whole lot of complexity but enjoyable nonetheless. By the fifth steep the bitterness is gone as the tea transitions to a smooth, well rounded flavor with a hint of citrus. A seaweed flavor greeted me on the sixth steep signaling the tea had reached the end.
Overall impressions – an enjoyable everyday jade oolong with more of a vegetal character and wonderful aroma.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Nectar, Vegetal
I’m not one for green oolongs, and this Lishan is pretty green, however this oolong is pretty solid. It is super fresh (despite me having it in my stash for almost a year!) and the notes are strong, crisp and clean. I’m getting fresh grass and a strong zesty green mango flavor with a nice lingering aroma of fruity.
This tea was in a bag and I hacked up the bag to put the leaf in gaiwan. The leaf looks excellent, untouched and huge intact leaf.
If you love green floral fruity oolongs you are gonna love this tea! As more of an stronger oxidized tea drinker, the fragrance and strong notes win me over too.
If I could sum up this tea in one word, it would be bland. The flavor is neither bad nor good it’s just missing. Seriously, it tastes like you’re drinking hot water. I tried brewing it western style and gong fu to no avail. Western style does however gives a glimpse of what this tea wants to be. There is a faint gingerbread-y, cinnamon-y flavor that reminds me of speculoos cookies. I just wish this flavor were stronger. There isn’t much actual ginger flavor though, nor does the jin xuan come through. Pretty forgettable and my least favorite tea of the TeaAve samplers.
Flavors: Cookie, Ginger, Spices
I’m really excited to be trying this tea as Tea Ave mentions that this is the tea that inspired them to open up their own shop! That has to count for something, right? I know that this type of oolong is loved by many for its incredible flavor. I personally have liked other oolongs a bit more, but I’m always willing to try others.
The scent of this tea is sugary sweet and incredibly floral. It really does remind me of a buttercream icing with the essence of flowers. Lovely! Sipping… I wasn’t expecting such a thick mouthfeel, but it does feel rather heavy on the tongue. It isn’t buttery so much… but luxuriously weighty. I mainly taste flowers with a bit of a mineral background. The flavor brings to mind lacy petals and leaves – it’s delicate, but strong enough to take center stage. I do catch a bit of sweet butter and sugar towards the end of the sip, but it’s really all about the flowers. There is also something that reminds me of apricot or peach, but it’s very faint and doesn’t last long. It’s strange, because while this tea feels thick and bold, the aftertaste is light and ethereal, leaving just a memory of what was a strong flavor.
I think this is a very special tea and would be ideal for someone looking for a well-balanced oolong. It seems to have a bit of everything.. a bit like a tea that can’t make up its mind, but in a good way. Balanced, tender yet bold.
I had the last of this tea this morning before heading to work. Unfortunately, that meant only 1 steep, when I know that this tea could probably have stood up to multiple infusions.
The jasmine here is really well done, and it’s amazing just how tightly curled up the nuggets of tea here are – they expand so much.
Many thanks to Ubacat for sending me a sample of this!
The instructions on the packet said to put 8g of dried leaf in my gaiwan – which is quite a bit! I measured out how much was in the sample Uba sent me and it was 9.8g, so I didn’t see the point of using 8g and having less than 2g left over and just lingering.
So instead I just split my whole sample in half and did 1 gaiwan’s worth with 4.9g instead. Much more reasonable.
It turned out to be a smart call anyway, since the leaf expanded by a LOT. The first steep was mild, but the second and third steeps were intense: a rich, clear yellow with notes of jasmine, and other flowers. Oddly enough, I also got a sort of “sharp” note underneath that reminded me of mint.
However, I’m not a huge fan of the base. It had that “curly” flavour that I find occurs in lightly-roasted oolongs that I dislike. (“Curly” is the best way I can describe it – it’s a sensation on my tongue that reminds me of the sharpness of uncooked cabbage or kale.)
The later steeps were also mild, but I think that can be attributed to the water cooling down over time. I still have 1 good serving size of this left.
This is a much overdue note on this tea, which came as a sample when Tea Ave first opened. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get to this, but I think it is in part that I was in a pu erh phase for a while, and then green…and it has been green for a bit, probably because of the summer. I’ve also been trying to have less caffeine teas. But as summer has faded, and fall in fully here, along with the rainstorms, it seemed like a good time to break out a nice roasted oolong tea, and so, last night, it was the right time. I had gotten soaked and drenched and all other related words on my way to work in the morning. My shoes and socks were still wet when I got home, and a small bit of my pants by my ankles was still damp. I decided it was the night to have soup (winter squash and mascarpone with lima beans) and toasted bread (raisin, cranberry, and walnut) for dinner….this tea seemed up to the job in comfort, and seemed like a good match.
I admit that I’m not the hugest connoisseur when it comes to straight teas and deciphering subtle notes, but I want to say that this was nice and roasty, maybe with some bittersweet cocoa notes. It’s hard to say. It basically tasted like a nice roasted oolong, and I don’t really discriminate straight oolongs. I very rarely find one I don’t like. This was no exception. It was quite tasty, and it fit the bill for what I was looking for.
This was drunk without anything added. which I don’t usually do…I usually add a small amount of cane sugar to most teas. I also brewed this western style. As I had this later in the evening, and fell asleep at 8:30 or 9 and didn’t wake up til after 1, it was the only cup I had. Future use should allow multiple steeps, as I had intended this serving to be, til I fell asleep.
I am grateful that this is one of the samples that I was sent, because I do really like darker and roasted oolongs.