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Recent Tasting Notes
I have a problem, THE problem, that most people on here have. I buy tea. I see more tea. I want more tea. I buy more than I can drink in a reasonable period of time. Then I get overwhelmed with tea and vow not to buy any more tea until my tea is under control.
Dong Ding oolong was the first tea that captivated me so completely that I finished 50 grams in less than two weeks. What is it about this tea that makes it so special?
First of all, hubby swears his only tea reviews would be, “this is hot and has tea-like qualities”, but could not stop saying, “This is good. This is so thirst quenching. This has to be really expensive. Is it expensive? This is so good.”
And it is. We resteeped it several times, and is reasonably priced to begin with, so there you go. Each steep was sweet, nondrying, and flavorful thanks to the light roasting. This is an excellent tea, and needs to be on the permanent shelf list.
Going through all of these backlogged reviews, I have encountered several teas I do not recall drinking all that clearly. This was one of them. I took very thorough session notes, but unfortunately, I never dated them. If I had to guess, I would say that I probably finished what I had of this tea around 1-2 weeks ago. I do recall liking this tea and found it to be a very approachable baked Tieguanyin that was very forgiving during the brewing process.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of banana, char, dark wood, and spice coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, roasted peanut, and raisin. The first infusion brought out a stronger roasted peanut aroma and some slight vegetal character. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of golden raisin, caramelized banana, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, char, and roasted peanut backed by hints of dark wood and vague vegetal character. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smoother, and oddly enough, a little more vegetal. New impressions of ginseng, cocoa, cream, prune, damp grass, watercress, banana leaf, cattail shoots, orchid, brown sugar, sour plum, lemon zest, baked bread, and roasted grain emerged in the mouth. The final infusions were dominated by mineral, char, butter, and cream notes that were balanced by subtler vegetal impressions and hints of dark wood and roasted peanut.
I wasn’t too sure about this tea at first, but it steadily grew on me. Ultimately, I found this to be an approachable tea with satisfying depth and complexity. It was a little thinner in the mouth than anticipated, but that is a relatively minor quibble and probably no big deal for many people. If you have any interest in baked Tieguanyin, this would be a good one with which to start or a tasty, reliable daily drinker.
Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Wood, Dried Fruit, Grain, Grass, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Vanilla, Vegetal
Before this sample from teavivre I hadn’t had the chance to try duck shot oolong but after being amused by the name so many times I had it added on to an order at teavivre. Normally I prefer greener teas as a whole, less oxidized, etc but the warm honey and light hay notes I get from this oolong are excellent. It holds up to repetive steeps in my gaiwan and continues to deliver sweet warmness even later on. As I get into later steeps it become deeper and a little more pungent. I would whole heartedly recommend this tea.
Flavors: Butter, Hay, Honey, Sweet, warm grass
I bought this tea last spring and was very unimpressed with it. It was relatively flavorless, just slightly sweet, slightly astringent red water. It’s improved quite a lot over the last year, it now tastes like a fairly standard Yunnan black, but still fairly unremarkable. Tastes of malt and yam with maybe a touch of maple or cocoa.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Maple, Sweet Potatoes
Okay I swear I’d reviewed this tea before… I’m pretty sure I even remember mentioning how I don’t usually like green teas all that much but could drink this one all day… What’s going on with Steepster eating my notes??
I snagged this from the EU TTB round 2 after trying it on a whim and finding to my surprise that I actually really enjoyed it. It’s not as vegetal or astringent as many of the green teas I’ve tried in the past, and has more of a buttery, smooth and mild flavour. I would actually pick this one up!
As a side note, I apologise for how brief and vague my recent tasting notes have been/are going to be. A lot of these are backlog from the past few days when I haven’t felt like coming on here, as well as old teas (I’m focusing on trying to sip down all of the teas I’ve had the longest and as a result many of them have lost some of their former glory). I’ve also been getting over a cold, and still don’t have all of my taste fully back yet, so all of this combined means my tasting notes are not exactly thrilling right now. I can’t bring myself to not drink any tea until I’m feeling better, so I thought I may as well drink some that have already lost flavour while my taste is not 100% anyway. Plus, I really want to break my no-buy and pick up the sampler of Bluebird Tea Co.’s spring selection, so I think if I manage to get myself to 125 sipdowns I will allow myself to buy that as a treat. Motivation, right?
Sample pouch of this I had over two days. I was originally interested in this as a possible replacement for Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls, but wasn’t willing to order it because of the large ounce order size (2oz).
Good but not great, a bit malty and fruity. More of a daily drinker – work tea for me. I still might get some for that reason if I end up ordering from Teavivre at some point.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt
I love this one, entirely unexpectedly. It’s not really like any oolong I’ve tried before, tasting mostly like brown sugar with the tiniest hint of wet wood and a background hint of charcoal. It has a pleasing caramel smoothness, and is nowhere near as mineral as I was expecting given that it’s a rock oolong. It reminds me most of some of the more upmarket roasted oolongs I’ve tried from LP’s group buys, although the flavour profile is unique even by those standards.
The sweetness develops as this one cools, so it tastes almost like brown sugar spooned straight from a fresh bag. It overtakes the woody smokiness completely, but there’s also the beginnings of a menthol-like coolness in the aftertaste – not super powerful, but there nonetheless.
I’m impressed with this one – unique and delicious!
Leaf: Dry, it smells bright, with malty undercurrents. Wet, the leaf smells sweet, almost fruity. About half of the long, thin leaves are a pale gold.
Water: Bubbles are formed on the bottom of the kettle and began being released.
Amount: I used approximately 1 tablespoon of tea for 8 oz of water.
1 minute: The tea is a deep, dark brown. It tastes very malty.
3 minutes: The tea is now a rich amber color. It still tastes malty, but there’s a slight flavor with it that is almost slightly fungal.
Leaf: Short little folds of tea.
Water: I wasn’t paying attention, and the water got closer to a boil than I intended.
Amount: I used approximately 4g of tea in 8 oz of water.
1 minute: The tea is a beautiful, bright red-orange color. It has a very thick mouthfeel.
3 minutes: The tea is a darker brown than before. It still has the thick mouthfeel. It is slightly bitter, I may have oversteeped it. It is ever so slightly acidic.
Leaf: Whispy little twists.
Water: Below boiling, bubbles were formed on the bottom of the kettle and had just started being released.
Amount: I used approximately 3g of tea in 8 oz of water.
1 min: This tea is a dark red-orange color. It smells earthy and tastes slightly tangy.
3 minutes: The tea is now a rich red brown. However, it doesn’t taste like much, but that is likely because I ate a piece of candied ginger just before drinking the tea.
Leaf: Huge tightly rolled balls, approximately the size of a small marble.
Water: I let the water get really hot, just under a full boil.
Amount: I used 4 balls for 8 oz of water.
5 minutes: The balls have completely unfurled. The tea is a medium shade of amber. This tea is hot! Sipping on it, there is nothing that special about it. It tastes very similar to the black tea that they have at a lot of the Chinese restaurants on my college campus. However, I let it cool for a few minutes, so I could actually drink a full mouthfull, and the flavor is much more complex. It is very malty, with just a hint of a sweet, caramel-like flavor. It’s very rich and thick.
10 minutes: The tea is a lighter, caramel color. It has exuded most of its nuance in the previous steeping, unfortunately.
Leaf: These are beautiful twists of gold.
Water: Below boiling, small bubbles were formed on the bottom of the kettle, and on about half of the surface area, the bubbles were releasing.
Amount: Whoops, I overpoured and ended up using the whole 7g sample for 8 oz of water.
3 minutes: The tea is a deep reddish brown. It has a bright flavor, though it’s slightly acidic. After sipping the first half of the cup, I forgot about it, and it cooled to room temperature, and wow. It is really thick and creamy and malty. Fantastic.
5 minutes: Again, the tea is a dark, reddish brown. However, it must have not had a very significant taste, because I didn’t have any notes on it. Maybe I was still too blown away by the cold tea.