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Recent Tasting Notes
Good afternoon Steepster. It’s been unusually hot for San Francisco so I haven’t been drinking much tea or other warm beverages. Finally last night things started cooling off a bit.
I got this as a small sample with my last Tea Ave order. Brewing it Western style this afternoon in my new ‘For Life’ green infuser mug. When it comes to jasmine I am a fan of more subtlety so I’m enjoying this today. The base is an Alishan Jin Xuan and it has a sweet, buttercream sort of flavor. The jasmine is present but subtle, and the overall effect is quite relaxing. Of the 3 floral oolongs I’ve tried from Tea Ave, I think the Magnolia is my favorite but this is also quite good, and something I would consider ordering again. Tea Ave has a lot of nice options. :)
The texture of this tea was a real pleasure, Jin Xuan Oolong has a buttery mouthfeel, which was silky smooth, much like a rose petal. It was the perfect base for a rose oolong, but I found that the flavor was mild for a scented oolong— it had only the briefest hint of rose. I was hoping the rose was going to be more of a dominant flavor. By the third and fourth steepings of this tea there was hardly any sign of it, just a faint floral note in the background.
You can read the full review on my blog:
This is from yesterday morning. Wrote it in word to copy and paste to here as our internet was out. We finally called to ask what was going on, and ten minutes after the call ended we have internet.
Finally getting around to some samples. Sadly the cute tasting cups that TeaAve sent with the samples are still packed away somewhere. I’ve also decided that I really need to invest in a Gaiwan! I put the whole sample in my DavidsTea Steeper with 700ml of boiling water for 2 minutes. I love watching the leaves unfurl! The brewed tea smells somewhat floral, must be the Jasmine? I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of trying a jasmine tea yet. This is alright until I swallow, then a strange feeling attacks the back of my throat. I’m thinking that it’s just a strange feeling and taste of the unfamiliar floral tea? After a little over half my cup (the 700ml fits perfect in one mug that my mother insists is for soup!) the attack lessens. This tea feels very “light” in the mouth, if that’s possible. Overall, once the attack on the back of my throat ceased, this became a pleasant cup.
Pretty happy that I was able to locate a small sample of this: This tea sadly is marked as a disapointment for me. The jasmine oolong combination sounded interesting, but at the same time a bit nasty. I drank 3 steeps at work and today I am on steep 2. I just don’t find this to taste good at all. It is very similair to a small dosage of salted jasmine that has been warmed up; if there is such a thing.
This is quite a lovely and interesting oolong from Tea Ave. I got this a few weeks ago and am just getting around to trying it now. Due to being at work, I had to steep it Western style but hope to try the gong fu method soon.
The tea has an Alishan Jin Xuan (milk) oolong base. I definitely get the strong milk oolong element. It reminds me of fresh butter and has a creamy taste; almost decadent. The magnolia flower is light and fresh here and compliments the base tea well. Overall the bouquet of this tea is sweet but I am picking up on a very slight bitterness in the finish. I like this one a lot. It seems like the perfect thing to serve at an afternoon tea party.
Oolong for breakfast today as I go through Amazon and look at future apartment items and what not… let’s just say I can browse up to 1000 items every 30 minutes and find it enjoyable.
Today I found out that ‘rape blossoms’ are a real thing
Which means I could make a ‘Rape Blossom’ tea, but wouldn’t that sound sketchy ;p
Anyways, this is a rather smooth liquid with some nice sweetness to it. I’m not sure if I should have detected some ginger taste as I did not, but the leaf is beautiful and the liquid taste rather good so I have no complaints wit this tea except it probably isn’t a morning cup. I should have drank this outside later in the day, this is my error.
- Smooth and more sweet than expected
- I’ve had this before but to be fair it’s been a long time
- Light, very natural jasmine
- Other supporting floral notes that are harder to pin point
- Has a bit of a weird but pleasant note?
- Kind of like cool air? I guess it’s the “fog” from the tea…
- Better than I recall it tasting last time I tried it
I received this one as a free sample in my last Tea Ave. order; and while I have not tried this tea previously I did get a chance to try ‘Jasmine Oolong’ prior to Tea Ave’s launch; initially I wasn’t 100% sure what the difference between the two blends was, but what I’m gathering from reading the descriptions for both is that Jasmine Oolong is meant to be a little more earthy with perhaps some stronger base tea notes while Cape Jasmine is naturally sweeter. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
I steeped this one up hot, and drank half of the mug that way and then half after it had cooled down. Initially with the hot cup I thought that the jasmine was coming off fairly dominant, masking most of the creamier milk oolong-like notes of the base tea. The aroma was incredibly strong and lovely, with a plump sweetness to it – but monotone and without much nuance. I far prefer the taste of the cold half of the mug which tasted similarly but had an underlying fruitier sweetness to it, was less aromatic and ‘in your face’ overall, and which also floral notes like peony as well.
As far as the comparison between Tea Ave’s Jasmine blend and this one goes – I had to go back and reread my previous review to refresh myself but I do think there are differences; the former definitely had stronger flavours from the base and was more vegetal overall, the latter (this tea) was sweeter and fruitier and the natural flavours from the base that were present were more the floral/fruity aspects of an oolong rather than the vegetal ones. Think peach! Overall, both were good jasmine oolongs, though it’d be redundant to have both on hand because despite differences they are quite similar. I think I just SLIGHTLY might prefer this one more because of the extra sweetness though.
Cape Jasmine Oolong
Origin: Alishan Mountain Region, Nantou, Taiwan
Cultivar: Jin Xuan
Dry Leaves: The leaves were the most striking of the three samples, mostly green, but with a fair bit of yellow and blues running through it. Otherwise it has a strong Gardenia aroma as well as some minor floral ones more towards orchid than anything else, but it was a little murky.
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Gardenia and Floral
Flavor: Gardenia, Jasmine and Milk
Tasting Notes: This was my favorite of the three samples I received. Initially I wasn’t getting much besides jasmine, but after a few seconds I began to distinguish the gardenia notes. I wonder if this is scented with gardenia blossoms. The gardenia is very powerful and intoxicating. I didn’t notice the milk taste till I tried this for the second time, although if I read the entirety of the sample I would have known this has a Jin Xuan base. I don’t think this had a very strong Jin Xuan, it’s not that creamy and the milk notes are the weakest, but if this was scented with gardenias it would not be surprising if it overpowered some of the base tea’s characteristics. It was a little buttery, not too much though. I tend to find Taiwanese teas grown below 1000m or those grown above 2000m (especially winter harvests) tend to be rather buttery, but everything inbetween in my experience has thinner mouthfeels.
[Originally on: http://rah-tea.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/tea-ave-preview.html)
Another good oolong from Liquid Proust! My review may be a little bit skewed because it’s an older sample, but this tea has one of the better mouth feels that I’ve gotten so far. Like others I’ve had, it’s kind got a texture like butter. As for the flavor, it’s fairly consistent with each steep, being grassy, creamy, and barely floral. Otherwise, it’s blander compared to the others that I’ve had. Does not detract from the mouth feel, though.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Grass, Vegetal
This is a very pleasant oolong from Tea Ave. Roasted TGY’s don’t tend to be a big favorite of mine, but I am enjoying this. The nutty and roasted barley notes hit me first, and then it has a sweet/fruity aftertaste where I’m getting pineapple. I’m not finding the subtle bitterness mentioned on the package… maybe if I had steeped it longer I’d be getting that. I’m not sure of my exact steeping temp. as I’m drinking this at work but it’s definitely below the boil.
An interesting, complex tea but not one I feel compelled to add to my collection at this point.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this one. I found it a little disappointing because I was hoping for more rose and what’s there is extremely subtle and light. Almost to the point of being non-existent for me! Other than that it is nice, sweet and a bit creamy but just not finding it as intoxicating as the Wenshan Baochung I had yesterday. Might have been better if I had gong fu’d it, but I am never at home to do that it seems.
Trying this tea from my recent TeaAve haul. I don’t really have the capacity (or time) to gong fu things at work so I made this Western style in my glass tea tumbler this morning.
First of all, this tea smells absolutely amazing. It is worth it for the smell alone, I think. It’s definitely honeysuckle and very intense! If you don’t like floral smelling teas, this may not be the one for you. The taste is really nice, buttery with macadamia nut, a hint of fresh greens and flowers. And maybe a bit of coconut? le sigh
I will have to gong fu this soon because I’m most likely missing out on some really subtle flavor variations by steeping it once Western style. Still I’m pretty impressed with this so far. Glad I bought some!
I also like how TeaAve has such informative packaging, For instance this tea has a roasting level of: 01, An oxidation level of: 1.2, a mountain altitude of 400-800m, an Origin of PingLing District in New TaiPei City and a Cultivar of Quixin. Plus you get steeping insructions — that’s a lot of cool information about your tea. ;)
The dry leaf aroma is a dark, misty jasmine. It reminds me of fog and high mountaintops. The brewed tea aroma is a good mixture of oolong and floral jasmine. The first infusion is much more flavorful than previous reviews would have led me to expect. I wouldn’t describe this as light on jasmine flavor. Perhaps it’s the oolong base that confuses the taste buds. I believe green and white bases are more prevalent for jasmine scenting. But it’s a beautiful addition to this oolong!
I followed the gaiwan brewing instructions but opted to use my Teavana Perfectea Maker instead of my new Verdant Tea gaiwan. I’ve found that if I’m brewing a tea that calls for boiling water, I just can’t handle the heat with my fingertips on the delicate porcelain. The Teavana Perfectea Maker also allows for easy resteeping and controlled pouring into the Tea Ave cups.
I must say, I was blown away by Tea Ave’s generosity in their initial marketing campaign. I received two identical teaware gifts and sample teas, along with reusable totes and coupons to redeem on a future order. I gave one of these sets to my doula as a thank you for helping me through my tough birth experience. I kept the other for myself.
At first, I thought the aroma cup (the tall skinny one) was going to be a bit useless. But I figured there’s no harm in trying it, so I attempted to keep an open mind. And you know what? It actually does enhance the aroma of teas! The shorter, wider opening of the more traditional tea cup allows the tea to cool faster for quicker drinking but also allows the aroma to escape. I found it much easier to appreciate the aroma using the aroma cup, and it had the added bonus of keeping my refill hot. :) Once I finished one cup, I could immediately pour another from the aroma cup while a second infusion was steeping in the Teavana Perfectea Maker.
BACK TO THE TEA!
I detected a hint of pepperiness at the end of the first infusion. Latter infusions didn’t have that note though. I thoroughly enjoyed infusions 1-3. I allowed the fourth to cool a little too much while writing this note and a bitterness appeared that wasn’t in the earlier infusions. This tea is best enjoyed piping hot. I rinsed the leaves before the fifth infusion and that seems to have eradicated the bitter note. So it’s quite possible that letting the wet leaves sit exposed to air is what caused the bitterness. The tea itself is lovely. Funny, I just read the description of this tea on the package and it talks about fog too. That element really does come across in the aroma!
Overall, I found this tea to be a lovely balance of floral jasmine and buttery, creamy oolong. I don’t think I’ve had a jasmine-scented oolong before and I really quite like it. Oolong is one of my favorite teas. It’s pretty interesting and fun to me that there’s a new company completely devoted just to oolong teas. If I didn’t already have so much tea, I’d definitely consider placing an order. Hopefully I can drink through my stash enough to use that coupon before it expires. If not, I promise I’ll pass it along to one of my fellow Steepsterites. It definitely should not go to waste! I still have two more samples to try, but I think I can confidently say that I am a Tea Ave convert.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Jasmine
This was another free sample in my last order. I would never have picked this out for myself as I am not big on floral teas. It’s really delicious though. Silky, like the texture of rose petals, as well as the fragrance, is in the tea. I think the rose also adds a sweetness to it. It’s definitely floral, but the other characteristics make it enjoyable for me. It’s also really pretty. ;)
I got this tea because Tealizzy recommended and Teaave has free ship on everything till 7/31.
I thought its a great opportunity to try this tea since Im on roasted oolongs quest.
The package arrived 3 days later by DHL truck.
Everything was packed with a great care.
About the tea. i used my smallest gaiwan of 50ml which i find great for sampling.
did a quick rinse. 200F 15/20/30/40 sec etc
This tea is a fruit bomb. Peach, pineapple, nectarine,maybe something else . it is so juicy. the roast done well so no ashy aftertaste.
And i was resteeping it the whole evening, lost count how many steeps.
So happy i got this tea. also 5 tins . they are not only gorgeous turquoise color but also very tight fitting lids . They so remind me Tiffany&Co ;)
Flavors: Fruity, Peach, Pineapple
- Teabag/steeped Western style
- Sweet with light roast
- Honey notes
- Fruity body and finish
- Apple-y? Like, soft red apples
- Somewhat floral
Thanks for the sample Tea Ave! All three samples made great accompaniments for my Series of Unfortunate Events binge on the 13th when it came out.
Since Tea Ave. is running a free shipping promo right now I took advantage of that to place an order for the one blend I really wanted more of after initially sampling/reviewing some of their blends. This was an added sample from that order which has already arrived after only four days passing! I think that may actually be a new record for the fastest time I’ve received a tea order!
While Tea Ave. does let you specify what you’d like to sample I left that field of the order form blank and so they chose for me. Two of three samples were new to me, and one a repeat – though as I’ve been pretty impressed with all of their teas I’ve tried I’m far from disappointed about that. This sample came in sachet form, though not all three did. It’s the first time I’ve tried one of their blends in a sachet; I always have mixed feelings about teabags/sachets because I LOVE the convenience but think that most sachets don’t generally offer enough room for leaf expansion – which is definitely a bigger issue with oolong. Though in this case the sachet is very large, and that turned out to not be an issue at all.
I did two infusions of this tea, both turned out to taste very similar so I wont do a flavour summary for each like I tend to do when I steep the same tea several times. I thought the liquor was very light and gentle with an incredibly smooth and silky mouthfeel that made for really easy, calm sipping. The dominant note – though in this case dominant just means “most present” because nothing about this blend was harsh, was honey and it was the right level of sweet but natural and not cloying. Supporting notes were fresh picked Spring flowers, hay, and a soft, roasty note that reminded me of just barely toasted bread. I’d describe the overall combination as ‘ambrosia’.
I do think this was a little watery, and had it not tasted quite as diluted I’d be all over this blend – but it was incredibly pleasant for what it is as well, and a really nice balance between a greener, more vegetal oolong and a heavily roasted, mineral tasting more oxidized one.
I’m happy to have tried it!
The first sip of tea sent me straight to heaven. It had a creamy mouthfeel and fruity flavor that reminded me of peaches covered with fresh cream. It was absolutely delicious and definitely the type of tea I find myself craving during the hot summer months.
You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
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(Tea Provided for Review)
Origin: Lishan Mountain Region, Taichung City, Taiwan
Cultivar: Qinxin Oolong
Dry Leaves: The leaves were the most underwhelming of the three; this had a light floral scent. The leaves had a lot of yellow and green and not a lot of blues.
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Floral and Fruity
Flavor: Floral and Sugarcane
Tasting Notes: This has a nice thin-ish mouthfeel, not as thick as teas grown at higher elevations, but not what I normally expect for teas grown at 1700m. Regardless it was nice. It is a little vanilla for my taste. I could taste honeysuckle, hyacinth and lilies, other than that I could taste sugarcane. It was very mellow. I imagine it would brew a lot better for longer times.
Depending on the price I might buy this again. I tend to prefer more complex oolongs.
Whew! It seems like forever since I posted a review. Time to get back in the saddle and the Oriental Beauty from Tea Ave seems like a good place to start. Tea Ave specializes in Taiwanese oolongs and this may be the best of their offerings. The leaf aroma is of fresh grass and the flavor over several steeps follows a perfect arc (I started at :30 and added :15 for each subsequent steep). The first smells rich and slightly sweet; the flavor is a bit watery but has a long finish and hits those glands at the back of the tongue. The second steep smells and tastes notably more honey-like, but with a slightly shorter finish. The third steep has a rich and soft mouth feel with more honey flavor up front and less in back. The flavor arc heads down after that, getting progressively drier on the tongue and less sweet. Tea Ave’s hype says that you can get up to ten steeps, but I found it pretty tapped out after six. Still, six steeps of lovely, sweet, lightly roasted oolong is nothing to sneeze at. I got this as a sample and I’ll definitely be ordering more.
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Honey
Tie Kwan Yin Oolong
Origin: Muzha District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Cultivar: Tie Kwan Yin
Dry Leaves: I love how much info Tea Ave has on their teas on each individual sample package. Although it might be a little overwhelming to someone new to tea, I was rather interested in what they decided to list. The origin and elevation is pretty standard for Taiwanese oolong. The roasting level, oxidation level and cultivar are pretty rare and I love that they included it; and then three separate brewing recommendations (tea bag, tea pot and cold brewing), although the tea bag recommendation wasn’t really necessary. Unfortunately I lost all my photos of this particular tea, but the leaves were closer to a green oolong then a darker one.
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Roasted and Fruity
Flavor: Roast, Fruity and Burnt Wood
This was my least favorite of the three (not surprising). I am not really fond of roasted oolongs; I have trouble distinguishing darker oolongs apart. Most roasted TKY taste nearly the same to me. So I wasn’t surprised to taste mostly the roast and some fruity notes, but I was startled to be able to taste burnt wood. The burnt wood flavor was the best part of this tea for me; it distinguished it enough from others that made it stand out for me. As to would I buy this tea, maybe. I generally prefer aged tea over new roasted teas, but if the price is right I may buy this once Tea Ave launches their site.
[Originally published: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2015/02/tea-ave-preview.html]