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Recent Tasting Notes
After playing with brewing times and steeping methods I typically use more leaf than usual with this tea, as it can steep a bit lighter than other keemuns I’ve tried.
I’ve been looking for fruitier keemun teas and this definitely ticks that box nicely. The flavors of smooth grape and dried fruit dominate, with intriguing hints of smoke and perhaps mineral floating overtop. If pushed with hotter water, notes of wet wood and a slight, pleasantly drying astringency emerge and give the tea a little more punch.
I tend to add an extra pinch of fresh tea to the second steeping just to keep the flavor going. The result is still lighter, with light juicy grape and dried red/purple fruits with an interesting swirl of light mineral and floral flavors lingering after the sip.
While lighter in flavor than I’d like, this tea is still smooth, sweet and hydrating, perfect for the morning or afternoon.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Mineral, Smooth
This is seriously delicious tea! The creaminess is buoyed by a light floral undertone that’s more evident in the aroma than the sip. There’s something in the lingering flavor which reminds of a toasted marshmallow – difficult to put my finger on, but it’s quite unique, and even more evident as the cup cooled.
The leaves themselves unfurled into large, whole, deep green leaves during steeping. I’m glad I got plenty of this particular harvest – I think I’m going to enjoy having it around.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Marshmallow, Milk
Looking for something a little more significant on the caffeine scale this morning, so I filled the newly-gifted gaiwan with some Black Dragon Pearls and practiced a little.
The tea gives up a beautiful copper liquor with a distinct malty note. Flavor doesn’t seem to linger long, but is very enjoyable, nonetheless. As a bonus, I think I got the hang of the gaiwan now.
Came across this tea on the Teasenz blog described as a sun dried Dian Hong that is supposed to get better with age. Since Dian Hong is my daily drinker of course I had to try it. As I understand it, this was never officially sold through their store but was available in a limited quantity if you contacted them. There is a 2015 brick version (which I also have a sample of) though this is the 2017 loose leaf version of the same.
Used 7g in a 150ml gaiwan and steeped for 10 seconds the first 6 times at 85 degrees. The soup is a nice dark red after just 10 seconds, similar to what you would get from a shou puerh. Tastes like a Dian Hong but different. The maltiness is subdued as are the floral/peppery aspects. I would say that all the flavors are mellower and the tea is smoother than a normal dian hong. Slightly reminiscent of a shou in its smoothness. It’s definitely good overall but I almost feel as if all the characteristics that I enjoy in a dian hong are not quite there. Will have to try the 2015 version to see if the extra 2 years have made any difference.
I did get 6 very good and strong steeps out of this at 10 seconds each and maybe 10 or 11 steeps in total whilst staying quite flavorful. Examining the leaf after the fact, there are some whole leaves but a lot of broken leaves as well as stems. Not many buds at all. So definitely not made from the best raw material which may also explain the subdued taste.
This tea has the most fascinating look I have ever seen! The leaves are flat, large and long, with different shades of green. It was fun watching the leaves unfold in the glass as they were waving like a bunch of seaweed. Will definitely recommend it.
Liquor color: light greenish yellow
Taste: mild, vegetal with a floral note
Aroma: sea breeze
Flavors: Ocean Air, Orchid, Soybean
I had it this morning and it was delightful! I used a gaiwan which was perfect for the long and thin leaves. The taste was fresh, delicate and quite smooth. The flavor didn’t change much even over 5 steeps. I also enjoyed the aroma a lot, super refreshing!
Flavors: Bamboo, Freshly Cut Grass
Tried this in my unending exploration for the perfect jasmine pearl. I was excited about this company but the tea arrived looking burnt. I wondered if they had pawned off the bad batch on me but I had purchased 2 bags and both turned out to be over processed. I have seen this with McNultys before as well but this was worse. It was a power punch with flavor but no subtlies, not fresh, overprocessed. I wont’ order from them again
Sorry, but this tea is not for me. I didn’t know what to expect (I just grabbed this cause it was a green) and was shocked to taste strong smoke. I do not care for smoky teas unfortunately. I gave the rest to the husband but it wasn’t for him either. At least it was just a sample though!
I can’t remember the last time I drank a Tie Guan Yin, which is something of a surprise as it’s become one of my favourite oolong varieties. I was more than pleased when I came across this one, not least because it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself. This particular Tie Guan Yin is from the Anxi Nature Reserve in Fujian Province, a major Chinese tea growing region (although one I seem to associate more with black tea than with oolong, strangely enough!)
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/26/anxi-tie-guan-yin-from-teasenz/
Okay twice now I’ve deleted my review of this part way through. This is why I started handwriting back when.
Okay so the dry leaves are whiter than any green tea i’ve ever seen before. I started an instagram for tea so you can see them for yourselves:
the dry leaf aroma is reminiscent of a lovely, subtle jasmine, some sweet grassiness, slight earth, and a wet-rock sort of a smell. It smells much better already than other jasmine teas I’ve had.
in the warmed gaiwan, I get a very similar aroma, just significantly sweeter
In the early steeps, there’s a creaminess, with strong jasmine notes, with a lot of dandelion tastes, and a good amount of sweetness, In the third steep, astringency and bitterness start to creep in, and it makes me feel as though the tea’s very.. genuine. I think the bitterness really helps to give the impression that you’re biting into a flower petal, the dryness in the mouth only adds to this effect. If I were someone who drank flavoured teas with any sort of regularity, and I was also someone who really liked florals, then this would be just what I’d been looking for in a tea. Of the few jasmine teas I have had, this is vastly superior. I got a peach-like note entering mid-late into the session. The jasmine flavour on this one was really well-done, no doubt numerous successive flower batches. The flavour never fades.
If you’re a jasmine tea person I think you’ll appreciate this
the dry leaves of this TGY looks and smells very nice, a lovely floral buttery aroma, the leaves are nicely balled and vibrant in colour.
The package says 100C for temperature, which I’m a bit uncomfortable with (is this typical for tie guan yins? I honestly don’t know, I’d never think to do them this high though). Well whatever, I’ll try and brew it there.
I think I’m a really atypical example, I have a lot of experience with green oolongs, mostly from taiwan, but very little experience with tie guan yin, this is my second or third ever, and it’s been a looong time since the last one, this should be interesting.
I get a nice buttery creamy grassy, spinachy aroma from after the rinse, the aroma’s very powerful, I can smell it from like a foot away,
The taste is very smooth, with a cooling sensation, there’s a very grassy taste to it, but it’s sweet like peas, like very freshly cooked peas, it’s incredibly aromatic, lovely fruity orange notes, sweet like candy my goodness this is delicious, I get candied lemon-lime notes, a nice thick body, some grape notes, there’s something so satisfying right when I swallow, it’s so thick and creamy in texture, it just coats the mouth, and the sweetness is just perfect, it’s like drinking cream right from the .. cream thing. It tastes like it should be really unhealthy. It’s just such a dessert-like tea.
I get further notes of green beans and cabbage entering in steep 3, there’s this teeny bit of that acidity that really bothered me in verdant’s mao xie, there’s also a tiny bit of astringency that enters here, but it’s so pure, there’s absolutely no bitterness with it that makes it really pleasant.
It loses a bit of complexity, and just becomes this fruity vegetal sweet soup, which actually happened on steep 4, increasingly on steep 5, also by this point the leaves had unrolled entirely, which seems a bit fast, but this could be the 100c brewing temp or maybe the leaves are just loosely balled, either way, this brewing style for this tea gave me a really concentrated sweetness and fruitiness in the first few steeps and then it sort of faded, creaminess and thickness are still there though.
There’s sort of a spiciness that comes forth, raddish notes,
I got maybe 6 or 7 steeps in until the sweetness faded and it wasn’t really enjoyable for me after that, I think this would be appropriate for quick dessert sessions, also this one might do really well western because it lacks some of that longevity, but damn that was tasty for those 3 steeps. It had me thinking it might’ve been the best green oolong I’d ever had, and if it lasted a bit more it would’ve been replacing the dayulin in my hall of fame.
its been a really long time since I’ve had a keemun. Like a year, I think I’m always put off by them because the leaves always look broken in pictures and that makes me uncomfortable tbh, and I guess my regular vendors don’t tend to stock keemun black but here we are.
The dry leaf aroma is so hard to describe it’s like some kind of weird woodsiness with earth but there’s this like fruitiness or i don’t know, raddish sort of smell? but it also kind of smells like an earthy grapefruit or orange or something, and it’s slightly reminiscent of a shu like with a mushroomy smell. The dry leaf aroma doesn’t really appeal to me, but that doesn’t mean all that much I suppose,
Anyways, pretty typical keemun-looking leaves, decent amount of breakage, and just very small twisty leaves and some stems actually
Okay I let it stew for like a minute in the warmed gaiwan and I get an aroma of like charred meat, like charcoal and barbecued beef or pork.
Tastes of stems, earth, some mushroom, a sweet smokey taste, a sugary sweetness, chocolate, there’s sort of a beer-like taste right when I sip, I get a very distinctly bok choy aftertaste.. I ate some bok choy a few hours ago, but I just had a tea session before this and that one didn’t taste like bok choy so I think it’s actually from the tea. Anyway, it has a nice thick, satisfying texture.. oo it reminded me momentarily of those um those minty chocolatey.. these things:
What are those called?
I don’t even know why it reminded me of that it frankly doesn’t taste like those at all but its ok. You know what it is, it’s the same kind of sweetness, and the same feeling in my throat as those candies. okay anyways I definitely didn’t like keemun last time I had it and I understand why, the flavour profile isn’t really something i’d ever go for, but I’m actually enjoying this much more than I thought I would from the dry leaf aroma. Some of the chocolate and earth goes out around steep 5 and there’s a nice floral note that enters in its place, with still a strong smokey flavour, which I’m finding to be a bit of a strange combination.
The really nice thing is there’s absolutely no bitterness or astringency, it’s totally smooth all the way to the end of the session. Well, maybe a teeny bit of astringency.
I’m gonna be frank, I don’t reeally like this, it isn’t by any means a bad tea, I think it’s objectively of better quality than the other two teas I’ve tried from teasenz thus far, but I’m really not big on the sweet smokey taste. It’s just not something I’d ever choose to drink. If you’re into like lapsang souchong, then for sure pick some of this up.
Brewed at 95C, filled gaiwan like a quarter of the way because the leaves are so tiny
The dry leaf smell like fresh bread, a light fruitiness reminiscent of cherry and apricot, and some wood and cocoa.
after settling in the warmed gaiwan, I get an aroma of sour cherries and/or sour peaches, hay, dark cooking chocolate and wine
First steeps have an aroma of barley, cocoa, wood, something that’s vaguely fishy, raspberry, there’s something leathery too.
There are notes of mango, hay, honey, the same kind of florals that you might find in a bai mu dan, but it has an enormous body, a really lovely mouthfeel, with very pleasant bitterness, a decent amount of astringency, and a slight metallic feeling (no metallic taste), with thickness. A wine-like aroma entering on the third steep, this really tastes a lot like white tea, it’s strange.
They astringency gets strong quickly, and becomes a bit overpowering around the middle of the session; I had to decrease my steeping time quite a bit to make it tolerable and at that point the rest of the mouthfeel is a bit emptier, I can’t find a nice balance anymore
It softens up a bit in the mid-late area, but the flavours get a bit bland around there, sweet honey, hay, and a bit of cocoa and a lingering taste,
It’s a tasty tea, nothing spectacular but it’s enjoyable
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Earth, Flowers, Hay, Honey, Mango, Peach, Raspberry, Red Wine, Roasted Barley, Strawberry, Wood
Thanks to Teasenz sending me these samples!
I’ve been sick the last couple weeks, unable to smell or taste properly and that was horrible, that was the first time since I got really really into tea that I couldn’t appreciate tea and it was very unsettling, but finally I got my sense of smell back today, I have a whole bunch of new teas I couldn’t even sniff for weeks!!
The dry leaf here has a very earthy and woody aroma, the leaves look quite nice, maybe a tiny bit of breakage, but quite beautiful.
I filled the gaiwan maybe halfway, maybe a bit more. After sitting in the heated gaiwan, I got thick fruity notes of mango, pineapple, strawberry and hints of peppermint.
After the rinse, it has a nice earthy, woody, pine tree aroma with hints of mint and .. Can you smell bitterness? I’m temped to say that it smells bitter, sort of like plant stems as well. It’s a nice dancongy aroma
In the first steep, I can’t help but feel that there’s something .. missing. the mouthfeel is very flat, I mean it’s thick and creamy and smooth, but it’s like the mouthfeel is very separate from the taste, it feels almost one-dimensional in a way, it’s not dancing on my palate like Verdant’s did. Well, anyways, the flavours are actually very nice, lovely mango and earth/wood.
The second steep is a bit more alive, it’s creamier, with a pleasant bitterness that I’m quite enjoying. More mango with honey and flowers. The flavours linger for several minutes along with an increasing dryness in the tongue and roof of the mouth.
Some smokiness develops in the aroma with time, and the body unfortunately wound up thinning with each successive steep after number 2.
Dancongs for me are so calming and warming, very comforting, and this totally has all of that, and I’m actually really enjoying this, but around steep 6 or 7 the thinness that had developed became unpleasant and the body wound up putting me off more than I expected it to.
I think this is a really solid dancong for the price point ($0.13/g). I’ll get another session out of the sample which I’ll drink happily :) I am curious what cultivar this is, it doesn’t say anywhere.
I’d say it’s a nice entry level/daily drinker dancong
Flavors: Earth, Honey, Mango, Pine, Wood
Bought these as a replacement for Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls.
It didn’t quite work for me at home, but it’s perfect for work. Usually, work teas are those I’m hoping to use up quickly.
Easy to measure, consistent chocolate and malt taste, and works well with inconsistent brewing.
This one I will reorder because it’s a solid black and very convenient.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Wow, compared to the tasting notes by others (and apparently myself) I’m not even tasting the same tea right now. Oh well! I don’t find it that good today. Tannic, but not that malty, with an odd flavor. It’s quite minerally. 197F Pseudo-westren style. Maybe I didn’t use enough tea or long enough steeps or it didn’t like the longer steeps. I don’t know.
I have enough for one more steep. Unless it blows me out of the water, I’m not purchasing more than this sample.
Flavors: Malt, Tannic
Hubby is at last home from the “great Eastern snow storm.”We got a half inch here at home but three inches in areas immediately around us. Ha ha! But since ice on the roads is a factor with no one here having snow tires or chains, he had to work 75 hours this week, with 58 of those hours being consencutive and only broken by a three hour sleep and two twenty minute naps. Where he works, there were some truly treacherous icy roads to be dealt with. He gets tea and homemade chocolate peanut butter chip cookies for being our hero!We had a really different experience with this tea compared to last time. I know food pairings can make a huge difference, but right off the bat when making the tea I picked up a lot more chocolate scent than before. Then, in case it was just me, I asked my daughter to sniff the leaves and see if she smelled chocolate. She did, to the point that she was really surprised when I told her there is no added chocolate scent or flavor, it was just the natural flavor of this tea. There was a lot of mineral scent in the wet leaves, and nutty, mineral, and chocolate flavor to the liquor. I am sad to see this one go, but it was indeed a sipdown.
I really adore the whole gamut of Big Red Robe teas, from the sweet ones to the smokey and robust ones.
These twisted black leaves with only a few golden brown ones mixed in attest that this will be one of the roasty ones.
I tried this yesterday with Chocolate Silk Pound Cake, strawberries, and freshly whipped cream. It was fantastic with food, with a nutty flavor like dry walnut skin contrasted with a light underlying sweetness. I didn’t pick up on smoke as much as nuttiness.
Today I had a cup by itself, and was surprised to find that it tastes much smokier on its own, bordering on a mild Lapsang. (This is a Lapsang loving household!) The smoke was really front and center, whereas yesterday walnut predominated.
Both days I noticed a light drying effect which was nice with cake as its clears the palate. I really want to try it iced as well. I think it would be great!
Reviewed for Sororitea Sisters here! http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/08/31/da-hong-pao-teasenz