Tea From Vietnam

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drank Ta Oolong by Tea From Vietnam
28 tasting notes

A very nice creamy, floral green oolong. After western style and gongfu sessions, I preferred western’s somewhat zoomed-out effect, with a greater range of texture and flavor coming together in each cup.

Thank you Zennenn for the opportunity to enjoy Ta!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Zennenn

Glad you are enjoying it!

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Guys, I might take up daily blogging again, I am missing my daily writing about tea. Now no promises because like I said when I decided to go to three days a week, blogging is time consuming…but I do have a lot of time, so we shall see. In other news, namely Ark news because it is the other thing that I am obsessed with, my base in the Gulch of Lamentation is complete, it is egg thief proof, secure from giant snakes, and currently very teal. Ok, I am still painting it so it is not totally finished, but building is done, yay! My next bit of Ark shenanigans is deciding if I should upgrade to a Fabricated Sniper Riffle (because I am always a sniper if the option is there) or if it is kinda irrelevant on a PVE server and I should just hunt dinosaurs with my Long Neck Riffle with a scope attachment. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Last day of the GABA Oolong week with Tea From Vietnam, whose website is currently down and has been for a while, much to my sadness. I hope they come back because I fell in love with some of their teas and will be sad if I can’t get more. This GABA is pretty different from the others in aroma, it starts with a strong note of sweet potatoes, like freshly baked sweet potato pie but without any spices. Sweet notes of molasses and honey blend with a tiny bit of walnuts and a finish of ripe plums, it is incredibly rich and sweet, I felt like I was sinking into a sticky dessert while sniffing the dry leaves.

Into the gaiwan the leaves went for their steeping, and the aroma that wafts off the wet leaves is intense. Notes of plums and sweet potatoes mix with molasses and raw honey with an earthy spicy undertone and just a hint of wood. Unlike the other two I looked at this woody notes in this GABA are incredibly light, focusing more on plums and earthy notes. The liquid is soooo sweet, strong notes of honey and brown sugar with molasses and sweet potatoes, my goodness this smells like baked sweet potatoes but with a side of juicy baked plums and a touch of mangosteen. Holy moly the sweetness in this tea is something else!

The first steep starts out immensely sweet and smooth, it just flows in my mouth like warm honey but without the thickness or stickiness (it is so much harder to chug warm honey, trust me on this.) It starts with molasses and plums and pretty quickly moves to brown sugar and mangosteen. There is a touch of the familiar woody sourness I associate with GABA Oolong, but it is really quickly replaced with sweet potato sweetness and earthiness at the finish. It lingers for a while in the aftertaste.

The second steep’s aroma is similar to the first but with a much stronger plum presence, it is like plum candy or jam with that extra level of sweetness. The taste is not much changed from the first, the thing that really stands out is the increase in plum and mangosteen with an addition of peaches, it is immensely sweet. No sourness or woodiness in this steep, just heavy and heady fruity sweetness and a finish of sweet potatoes that lingers for what seems an eternity. As of the second steep I was so zenned out, just kinda melted into my chair.

For the third steep the aroma takes a bit of a toasty note along with plums and sweet potatoes, making the pie similarities even stronger. The one downside some might say to this tea is there is not a ton of variation between steeps, but I personally was very ok with this considering it was immensely tasty. This might be one of the sweetest teas I have slurped, but it is just short of cloying so I never got sick of it, I kept steeping this tea for many more steeps and even when the leaves had hit their limit the resulting watered down tea was very sweet.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/tea-from-vietnam-gaba-oolong-tea-tea.html

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Out of the three green teas from Tea From Vietnam, I liked this one the most. It’s is thick floral green with smokey and citrus notes. Later on, bitter and floral notes. Odd as these days I’ve been more of an oolong and pu’er drinker and I find this green appeals to the sheng drinker in me.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/fish-hook-dragoncloud-and-mountain-mist-green-tea-tea-from-vietnam/

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drank Dragoncloud by Tea From Vietnam
1254 tasting notes

This green was interesting. It’s delicate and complex with a really nice thick texture. It has a really nice balance of marine, sweet, floral, herb, and crisp vegetal. It is certainly a cloud with the thick texture. Did not like the marine notes myself but otherwise an sophisticated green tea.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/fish-hook-dragoncloud-and-mountain-mist-green-tea-tea-from-vietnam/

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drank Fish Hook by Tea From Vietnam
1254 tasting notes

Right now Tea From Vietnam has three greens, and out of the three this one I did not like at all. It’s really heavy marine notes, and gets even more marine on the second steeping. Has some sweet kelp, seaweed and a light bitterness. If you love marine teas you’ll like this. Hate marine? Run.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/fish-hook-dragoncloud-and-mountain-mist-green-tea-tea-from-vietnam/

Rasseru

I’m wondering if this is a good contender for chazuke – green tea over rice. Ive had it before and it was really nice.

Rasseru

This, some wakame, sesame seeds, edamame, nori, bonito flakes on some lovely sticky rice?

Oolong Owl

Likely. This is the most marine green I had so cooking wise it would do pretty well.

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drank Ta Oolong by Tea From Vietnam
1098 tasting notes

Thanks to Zennenn, I am able to try one of the teas from this company finally :)

Tea Truth from Andrew:
Drinking tea has cycles about it just like the seasons in the year. During the winter one drinks a strong cup of shou or a yancha to keep warm, while in the spring a cup of sencha or dragonwell makes the grass seem vibrant even though taste does no such thing. While these seasons are not needed to enjoy the tea that they compliment so well, it is nice to pair tea with the seasons.

This winter I have been drinking a lot of yancha and drinking a cup of this reminded me of how happy I was when Beautiful Taiwan Tea finally sent out the packages from their Kickstarter. This tea took me back in time a bit and reminded me that there is only a few more months until I am back to drinking my favorite tea from the newer harvest; green oolongs :)

This was a pleasant tea with a tad of cream mixed with the buttery texture. The tea is tightly rolled so it needs time to unravel, gongfu was a bit of a trick with this one. With six steeps out of this, it was rather enjoyable.

Rasseru

Me as well.

March – Yin Zhen
April – Feng Huang
May – Tie Guan Yin

Its a good thing, I’m going to finish off all my Yinzhen which is running out & not buy any more. I’m hoping its a good season & no drought

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85
drank Ta Oolong by Tea From Vietnam
251 tasting notes

Picked up this tea during the Black Friday sale. This is a nice jade oolong that’s similar to many Taiwanese high mountain teas. It’s sweet, a little tart, and lightly floral. After experimenting with steeping parameters, I found the best results came from a high leaf to water ratio, short infusions, and lower temperature about 185-195. It’s prone to bitterness if oversteeped or too hot water is used.

I got eight good infusions following the gongfu instructions on Tea from Vietnam’s site, and it still had a lot left to give. The tea is somewhat light bodied and while it does have a floral background, it wasn’t as flowery as I had hoped. There are subtle notes of lily floating in the aroma and finish, but it’s not a flower bomb like say a TGY or shui xian. I noticed the picking date on the package was January 2015. Perhaps some of that floral goodness had faded by the time I got my hands on it 11 months later?

Overall, a pretty darn good if not stellar tea that’s worth trying if oolong is your thing.

Flavors: Creamy, Flowers, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 120 OZ / 3548 ML
Zennenn

It’s more comforting than flashy, isn’t it?

LuckyMe

Definitely, it’s my go-to after meal tea these days

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80

Tea reviewing noob here… not new to the drinking but new to trying to analyze it more in depth than just yum and bleh. So bear with me as this is my first review here! O.O
Picked this up during the Black Friday Sale that Tea from Vietnam had (Thank you Steepster for that wonderful thread that kept track of all the sales!)
I’m using a 8 oz ceramic cup with infuser because I’m just not a Gaiwan kinda gal.

This is a beautiful tropical tea. First steep just hits me in the face with a heady floral plumeria aroma. It’s like a good Tieguanyin, but with a different flower, sooo beautiful. The aroma carries through to the brew and I’m sipping on plumerias. The mouth feel is great and very smooth. The 2 and 3 steeps brings out some creaminess and then a fruity papaya aspect. On the 3rd I’m also noticing a astringency creeping in.. my mouth is experiencing a puckering/drying sensation at the sides of my tongue… it’s a weird feeling…. hehe! Probably because I’m over steeping a lil, but it’s still quite yummy and looking at the leaves I can probably get a few more steeps outta this because the leaves haven’t completely unfurled yet.

This oolong falls on the green young fresh side, even though the leaves look a little roasted, it’s not carrying thru to the cup. Don’t judge this tea by the bag sniff… the gorgeous floral aroma cannot be picked up from the dry tea… you have to water it! :D Overall a great cuppa and I’m likely to re-order this and share it with my tea drinking friends. :)

Flavors: Creamy, Flowers, Tropical

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

LEAF HOPPERS GO!

Man, I’m kicking myself for not trying this oolong before Tea From Vietnam’s thanksgiving/blackfriday/whatever sale, it was 30% off! This gui fei is very nice – lots of sweetness and floral, with some woodsy, honey, and clover notes over a thick texture.

All other gui fei’s I’ve had were greener and Tea From Vietnam’s gui fei tastes more oxidized which appeals to me greatly. Give this one a shot if you love floral and oriental beauty oolongs.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/gui-fei-oolong-from-tea-from-vietnam-tea-review/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Rasseru

sounds nice!

TeaFromVietnam

Thanks for taking your time reviewing the tea Char! Great to hear that you love it.

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89

I was so excited when I got my box of teas from them! This is the first random one I pulled out from the batch that I got. The initial smell of it was divine! Drinking the tea, the feeling I got reflected the scent. It’s deliciously slightly caramel-ly and had delicate flora to the taste. A really good tea to relax with!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I decided to commune with the spirits in the wee hours, so I broke out my newly arrived Ta Oolong from Tea From Vietnam and started a session right at midnight.

The instructions on teafromvietnam.com only listed Western brewing and I was in the mood for a long gong fu session so I winged it by putting 5 grams of these little pearls in my 100ml gaiwan and steeped it 12 times at 10/10/10/15/20/25/30/45/60/120 seconds, finishing with 3 and 5 minute steeps as the leaves gave out. By mid-session the leaves expanded to fill the gaiwan. Many of them were intact and quite large.

The dry leaf reminded me of fresh cut grass. Once warmed, aromas of buttered popcorn, florals and sweetness emerged. About ten minutes after the 5 second rinse these turned to strong tart and sweet fruits with moderate florals.

Time to get busy! The first steep was a very pale greenish-yellow and smelled of sweet cream butter and florals.

BTW I’m not familiar with flower aromas so my notes are vague in that area. If you want a really good breakdown of which flower types are present in this tea you should read Amanda Wilson’s post on it here: http://steepster.com/SoggyEnderman/posts/316753. She can tell you not only what type of flower but also what month she smelled it and the type of soil it grew in. I’m exaggerating (slightly) of course, but she does have a great nose and a way with words.

So, back to the first steep. The body is very light but the flavors are distinct, with a buttery and lively mouthfeel. There’s a slight citrus tang with sugar sweetness, stonefruits and floral notes in the retro-nasal exhale. It feels like this tea is still opening up.

Subsequent steeps increase in body although it remains light, the liquid becomes a light yellow, the mouthfeel turns creamy and the flavors intensify to a moderate level. The main notes I find in the cup are tart citrus, sugar sweetness, stonefruits and spice, with the occasional appearance of buttered bread and fruity notes. There’s a moderate amount of florals in the retro-nasal exhale across all steeps. The first ten steeps were the best. The last two long steeps had a mild astringency and the flavors began to fade.

I felt the energy in this tea mainly in my heart and head, and it left me with a calm and clear mind. I usually drink roasted or aged oolongs, not having found a jade that really “wows” me. This one, however, turned my head. In spite of the light body the flavors, aromas and energy struck me in a most enjoyable way. I bought 50 grams so there’s plenty left to revisit this, and I will.

Pix: http://instagram.com/p/9Rx4KHli0j

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
boychik

Amanda is awesome at picking all the flavors. I know one more person who goes into such detailed notes and each steep is described . It’s yyz.

TeaExplorer

Of course. And I’m probably forgetting several other reviewers as well.

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I’ve only tried one Vietnamese black & it was quite pleasant. I shared it with my cousin who is a Vietnam vet, who said the Vietnamese allies were never without tea, and they drank it Grandpa style from big plastic (not so clean looking) jugs. Proof, I think, that one’s need for tea is unstoppable. I will definitely visit this vendor’s site.

TeaExplorer

That was my first tea of any kind from Vietnam. I stumbled across it in the post by Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson that I referenced in my review.

I ordered that and the Gui Fei (not tasted yet), 50 grams each, $11.90 apiece + shipping. Arrived via air mail in about 3 weeks.

Their web site has been broken for days. The main page loads, but all links yield a 404 error. I emailed them about it two days ago, but no response so far. Hopefully they are just on vacation or something.

pixel

Yes. Could not find the site you referenced online via search on my phone. Let me know if you find it again, please.

TeaExplorer

Will do :)

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Thanks! Steep well;-)

TeaExplorer

The TeaFromVietnam web site is still broken (been down for a week now). No response to my email. Will keep checking periodically.

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Thanks for checking. I’m trying to broaden my black tea knowledge and experience beyond China and India. I wish I had been on Steeper when I had that Vietnamese tea, so I would have tasting notes to jog my memory.

TeaExplorer

The teafromvietnam.com web site came back on line a short while ago.

pixel

Thanks. I’m about to check out!

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82

Great great tea. Fruity, smooth, and mellow. Has a little sweetness to it and great for night time relaxation.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Fruity, Smoke

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You know what, I can’t wait til Monday. Apparently my new camera will be delivered then…oh, did I not mention I got a new camera? Well, I was able to make some money and I used that to buy a refurbished Fujifilm S8600, it is not my first choice (really wanted one of those fancy multi-lenses pro $700+ cameras) but with mine dying, the time for saving up for the one I wanted has passed. The new one will be a significant upgrade over my Fujifilm S1800, specifically it has a slimmer profile (unless I unleash the MASSIVE zoom) meaning my tiny hands can grip the thing better for some epic pouring tea photos. The search for the illusive perfect mid-air droplet shot continues.

Today we are looking at another tea from Tea from Vietnam, specifically Ta Oolong, an oolong that is very uniquely Vietnamese! This is a native oolong, having been grown there for thousands of years, most likely originating as wild grown tea trees of the same stock found growing wild in Yunnan, the place where tea originated. Tea trees are so rude when it comes to borders, they tend to ignore it and wander off to other places. In the 90s a bunch of Taiwanese teas were brought into Vietnam, slowly pushing the Ta Oolong to only be grown in a few small gardens, this one came from a garden in Lam Ha. The aroma of the pretty green leaves is very floral with a hint of sweet cream. Notes of orchid, honeysuckle, osmanthus, spicebush, and a touch of hyacinth and lilies, I feel like I walked into a summer garden or flower filled conservatory. I might have spent more time inhaling the floral explosion than is necessary.

This is a tea that calls for my Xi Shi Yixing Teapot, yeah it is named after that Xi Shi, inspired by her probably very perfect bosom, what with being one of China’s great beauties. The leaves, now steeped and unfurled a bit, are a wonderfully flowery explosion, notes of orchids, lilies, honeysuckle and hyacinth are the main flowers, with a gentle crushed vegetation finish. The liquid is honey sweet and creamy, and very, very heady. It is like a garden in full bloom in my cup, just want to sniff and sniff…and yes I dipped my nose in the tea again, it was inevitable.

First steeping, oh it is a creamy thing, the oolong’s mouthfeel is definitely a thick one, coating the mouth with its texture, and I am totally ok with that. The taste starts out green and a bit buttery but that is very quickly shoved out of the way by a small storm of flowers. If you are imagining a cloud of petals that also rain flower nectar you are on the right track. Notes of lilies (giving a touch of spice) honeysuckles, orchids and osmanthus bloom in my mouth, with a lingering honey aftertaste.

On we go to steep two, the aroma is creamy and sweet, I managed to not dip my nose while sniffing the flowery sweetness. This time the lily note is very present in the aroma, giving it a gentle spiciness. The mouthfeel is still buttery and thick, and very well rounded. The taste skips over the green note and goes straight into the flowery explosion, so many notes of flowers, lilacs, osmanthus, lilies, and honeysuckles, finishing out with a creamy sweetness.

The third steep brings in more of the lily spicy notes, strong floral and honey with a wonderful spicy note that lingers through and through. The mouthfeel still has that buttery texture that I have come to expect, though it is a touch lighter this time. The taste starts out with a touch of green, similar to the first steep, like crushed fresh vegetation. This moves to sweet honeysuckles and nicely strong lilies whose floral spiciness lingers for quite some time. Many steeps were had.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tea-from-vietnam-ta-oolong-tea-review.html

Equusfell

Oh lordy. This tea sounds like my kind of tea! I must experience this ‘small storm of florals’!

TeaExplorer

I’d never heard of Ta Oolong until now. Read your blog entry on it – very intriguing. Just placed an order for the Ta and their Gui Fei. Thanks!

Equusfell

Do you mind posting a link to their website? I couldn’t find them because the name is so generic!

TeaNecromancer

Sure! Here is their website :D http://teafromvietnam.com/

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I took the most epic power nap yesterday, a 17 hour power nap! I think it was the blissfully cool air and cats that would not stop snuggling me that really caused this nap of epicness, it was as refreshing as a mountain spring on a hot day. I broke out one of my sweaters today, a great fuzzy thing with a huge cowl (or a food trough as I call it since you know, crumbs) and a strange slit going up the back that means I always need an undershirt, because why is there a back vent? It is thick and fluffy meaning not a sweater for a hot day…and if it is cool enough you need this sweater you will not appreciate the draft. Mysterious clothing design is mysterious.

Today I am looking at Tea From Vietnam’s Ta Xua Mountain Mist, a Maocha from high in the Ta Xua Mountains of Northwest Vietnam. A region, it is pointed out in the description, that borders Yunnan, that grand producer of some of my favorite teas. Honestly if I had no idea where this tea was from, I would wonder if it was a Yunnan green tea, because it has that distinct terroir notes that I recognize from teas in that region, part of the fun part of nature not really paying attention to country borders and just following geology (and weather patterns of course.) The notes I pick up from the dry leaves are woody and smoky with distinct notes of peaches and a touch of spinach. It has the aroma of a distant mountain forest fire, clean mineral heavy spring water, and ripe peaches, one of those teas where the name matches the description indeed!

I decided to brew thing grandpa style, a way I am much enamored of using for green teas from Yunnan, so why not try it with its close neighbor? There is just something very appealing about taking old mountain grown trees and tossing their fluffy leaves into a bowl and adding water, watching as they slowly plump up and unfurl, and blowing them around the bowl as I sip around them. Doubly so while doing so on a sunny morning while lying in bed reading, seriously it is a fantastic thing. Tasting this tea starts off gentle, distant smoke and clean mineral spring water with a distant note of peach. The longer it steeps the more the sweet peach and smoke notes come out, along with a touch of citrus and vegetal notes of steamed spinach and asparagus. After many refills of my bowl (great staying power) it finally faded to gentle mineral notes and a touch of lingering sweetness.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tea-from-vietnam-ta-xua-mountain-mist.html

Flavors: Asparagus, Citrus, Mineral, Peach, Smoke, Spinach

Christina / BooksandTea

Man, that nap sounds awesome. This weekend was the first one that was cold enough for an extra layer, and it made me so happy to stay warm inside while it was cooler and crisper outside.

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It is Friday night and I am sitting in my chair confused. Not really confused, but stuck trying to decide what to do with my night. My new meds seem to be helping, so in typical me fashion I want to do all the things I have neglected lately…but on the other hand I still feel not quite right, and moving around too much is very tiring. I am hoping once my body gets used to the new meds the side effects will ease off, if I remember correctly from taking these as a teenager (much higher dosage for a different problem) some of them do, and when the dosage is low most of them went away. But man, does it ever feel good to have that weird electrical edge taken off, it was getting really old. I think that maybe I will paint, or game, or I might take a nap. I am, as ever, a total party animal.

Today we are looking at another Tea From Vietnam, specifically their Fish Hook Tea, a Green Tea whose shape is said to look like a fish hook. You know, I can totally see that, the leaves are quite curled and dainty looking. They are grown in Thai Nguyen, what is considered the best location to grow green tea in Vietnam, and these specifically come from a small garden in Tan Cuong located in the southern part of Thai Nguyen. The aroma of the dark green leaves is nutty and vegetal, notes of slightly sweet sesame seeds and rice, with an accompaniment of greenbeans, asparagus, and savory sauteed bok choy. It smells like food, like a sauce-less stir fry of tasty greens and rice.

Into my teapot the leaves go for their nice short bath, I mean really short (for a green) the steeping guide recommends 5 seconds and even though usually I take brewing instructions with a grain of salt, when they are that short I tend to at the very least pay attention for the first time. The aroma reminds me exactly of one of my favorite Japanese dishes, of all things, Ohitashi. Basically it is boiled spinach with sesame seeds and some seasoning, now I do not get the bonito notes (thankfully, that would be a little too weird) though I do get the savory soy notes and definitely a ton of steamed spinach and sesame seeds. The liquid is nice and strong, notes of spinach, edamame, rice, and sesame, tea smells like food, and I am so ok with that.

The first steep is smooth and surprisingly cooling, not like a Sheng Puerh, but it has a gentle cooling quality. This is a savory tea starting out with a strong spinach and edamame note, moving on to turnip greens and asparagus, and finishing with gentle rice. This tea has a definite vegetal oomph to it, with just the gentlest sweet note at the end with the rice.

Second steep brings on the spinach, along with edamame and sesame seeds, though even stronger, it is super intense and very green. You know, for all my love of strongly vegetal teas, I really dislike drinking straight vegetable juice and smoothies, and I dislike kale in any smoothie, no relevant to anything, just thought I would share. This steep looked at the previous steep and was like ‘what, that was the best you can do? Crank that past 11!’ and took the notes of the previous steep and amped it to the max. It is super vegetal and surprisingly not bitter, you would think with these levels of intense veggies there would be bitterness, but nope, just gentle cooling and sweetness at the finish.

The third steep decided to scale back with the vegetal notes, bringing in stronger notes of rice and sesame seeds to compliment the spinach and edamame. The taste, well, I think it felt embarrassed by its vegetal over-exuberance, which is totally not necessary, so it sent int this note of sweetness and balanced itself out. With the strong notes of spinach and turnip greens, there is gentle nutty sweetness and a touch of freshly broken hay and grass. It adds a bit of nuance to the green explosion of the previous steeps. I kept going for a few steeps after this one, it was never quite as bombastic as the second steep, but it maintained a steady vegetal presence up through the end.

For Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tea-from-vietnam-fish-hook-tea-tea.html

Flavors: Green, Nutty, Rice, Soybean, Spinach, Vegetal

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I find myself torn on how to begin today’s tea rambling. Do I go with neutral things like how much I enjoy my new painting table, or do I go bad news with how I have not really gotten the chance to use it because of these stupid seizures. Do I say happy news on how whatever was causing that really awful itchy rash has gone away (thanks, allergies) or do I say that my throat hurts constantly (thanks allergies) It is a problem living with chronic illness/pain, how much do you hide behind an internet or social persona, or how much do you let it all hang out. And why, for that matter. Are you looking for understanding or compassion, complaining because there is really nothing else you can do sometimes and you just need to vent, are you fixated with your health problems because it controls your life, are you bringing awareness to health problems? Are you hiding it for fear of trash talk, hiding it because if you don’t talk about it maybe it really isn’t that bad, avoiding it because you are tired of being a chronic complainer, hiding how bad it is because you are tired of being sickly and just want to be perceived as normal even if it is by a small group? The internal politics of what to reveal and why is staggering in its complexity. What I will say is that I am thankful for my readers, whether you are here simply as tea lover or here as friends sharing a digital cup with me, thank you all. It sounds silly, but tea and my blog is one of the greatest joys in my life, so being able to share it and keep at it means the world to me.

Ok, ok, I am done being sappy and introspective, I want to write about tea, specifically one of my favorite teas, Gui Fei Oolong. Also known as Concubine Oolong, this tea is what happens when leafhoppers become great friends with the tea leaves, by friends I mean they go om nom nom, and the leaves go into defense mode and release an enzyme and start to oxidize, this makes the tea incredibly sweet, just like its non-rolled cousin Oriental Beauty and Honey Black Tea. This happy accident originated in Taiwan, though this specific Gui Fei comes from Tea From Vietnam, a new company focusing on introducing the Western world to the rather diverse world of Vietnamese tea. It is a passion of mine, exploring different lesser known to us barbaric westerners tea growing regions, I consider it research for the book I am perpetually working on! Anyway, this tea, as I was saying earlier Gui Fei is my favorite Oolong, hands down, when I opened the pouch and poured out the tea I was going to steep into my abalone for photographing, I was practically giddy. Photo taken, that means sniffing time, and I let out a very loud yay! It has been over a year since I had any Gui Fei, correction, any GOOD Gui Fei, and the aroma of these silvery leaves is so good. Notes of intense spicebush, orange blossom, sugar cane, honey, almonds, and a tiny bit of roasted sesame at the finish. Really, this tea smells heavenly, I want to invent scratch and sniff for computers so you all can sniff this too, now maybe it wouldn’t smell as good to everyone else, it has been well known that these smells are some of my favorites, each note seems to resonate with some nostalgic happy time, so the emotions are wrapped up with sensory delight.

I decided that such a beautiful tea, it is named after Yang Guifei, one of China’s legendary beauties after all, deserved my audacious princess of a gaiwan. The two seemed to be made for each other, the leaves matching the gaiwan beautifully. The now somewhat steeped leaves take on a very fruity tone, lots of citrus notes of apples, pomelo, intensely floral with notes of orchid, grapefruit blossom, crepe myrtle, and a finish of sugary sweet almonds and cane sugar. It is heady and sweet. The liquid is nutty and sweet, with notes of almond and chestnut, pomelo and apples, plums and a touch of cooked cherries.

First steep…guys, I need a moment. The texture is smooth and thick, impressively so for the first steep. The taste starts out fruity and intensely sweet, it is very much like honey drizzled apples, pomelo and plums. This moves on to citrus blossom, a blend of orange and grapefruit, with a touch of orchid. The finish is spicebush, almonds, and gentle roasted sesame. The taste of citrus blossoms seem to linger for a while.

Second steeping time, I fear I might be getting tea drunk already, one of the problems of the golden gaiwan, it is a whopping 150ml, big compared to my 90-100ml ones! Also the headiness of this tea might be adding to the tea drunkenness, much like sitting next to a pile of blooming Angel Trumpets (a rather toxic flower, the Angel Trumpet, or Moonflower, is part of the Datura family, beautiful flowers but don’t eat!) In fact the floral notes remind me of the sharp, heady, and slightly citrus notes of the Angel Trumpet flower, mix with honey, orange blossom, and a touch of almonds. Oh so much thick sweetness, it is a creamy flowery explosion of happiness in my mouth. Tea Bliss achieved. Notes of orange blossom, sweet cream, almonds, spicebush, pomelo, and a wonderful finish of orchids and toasted sesame.

The third steeping, the leaves have really unfurled and you can see little nibble holes, which I find endearing. The aroma really highlights the citrus notes this time, strong grapefruit and orange blossom with gentle pomelo and a tiny hint of lemon. The taste is nutty almond, sweet honey (oh so sweet) and wonderful spicebush. I sat with this tea all night, it kept me company for eight steeps, ending with gentle minerals and distant citrus flowers and a finish of honey. It was a grand companion for a night of gaming. I will treasure the rest of my sample and then promptly buy more, here on my blog, I solemnly swear, I am never running out of Gui Fei again!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/tea-from-vietnam-gui-fei-oolong-tea.html

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Citrus Fruits, Cream, Orange Blossom, Sugarcane, Toast

Nichole/CuppaGeek

Yes! Scratch and Sniff Computers!

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