TheTea

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

Very elegant and comfortable tea with no rough edges to it. However, it is also lacking a bit of “spacial sauce” to be truly spectacular imo.

Leaves have a floral aroma mixed with notes of cookies and caramel, which transforms into a more herbaceous, earthy and fruity one during the session. It reminds me of root vegetables such as celery and of pear.

The taste is woody and mineral with a significant floral sweetness. There are notes of wet rocks, slightly unripe pears, bread, as we as a fenugreek-like bitterness. The mouthfeel is cooling and numbing, while the aftertaste mostly floral and also a little drying.

Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Caramel, Celery, Cookie, Drying, Earthy, Floral, Fruity, Herbaceous, Mineral, Pear, Roots, Sweet, Wet Rocks, Woody

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’ve tried this twice, and I hesitated on whether to get more than 30 grams because it’s up my alley, or staving off because shipping prices and my need to go through my oolongs…which I inevitably will. Quickly. No doubt. Don’t speak.

I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t need no reasons, don’t tell me ‘cause oolong. Anyway, my memories, well this tea is inviting, though price is altogether mighty frightening. As I sip, the tea is pretty close to TheTea’s description:
" Fruity and milky, made from Jin Xuan bush with zero astringency typical for many high mountain oolongs.

Here you will find: grassy freshness, almonds, strawberries, yogurt, cream and notes of white flowers (lilly of the valley, lilly). And something fresh and vivid you can literally name: mountain breeze."

It’s got the trademark milky smoothness of a jin xuan, and it’s very fresh like a Maofeng or Baicha, maybe even a Cuifeng, but of course, smooth as only an oolong can be. The florals weren’t surprising, but the fruitiness was. Aroma has a stronger sweetness than the actual tea, but the tea has a weird creamy strawberry yogurt aftertaste that’s refreshing. I get it both gong fu and western, though I still think I need to crack the tea.

The lily of the valley, cream, and grass are the most prominent, yet the strawberry brushes the aftertaste. Aroma is more pronounced gong fu, but flavor has been more rounded western in longer steeps. Despite all of that, the tea has been pretty forgiving of my mistakes.

I’ve done this too many times, but I’m going to come back to it even though I’ve shoved enough purple prose into the review. I’m sold on it being a tea I like and something for people looking for a cleaner quality Jin Xuan or greener style tea. It’s more grassy than spinachy having more freshness than most of the straight Jin Xuans I’ve had, and I like it actually has more forward fruitiness instead of “hints” of fruit. I was exaggerating a little on price because it’s not the most expensive tea they have by any means, but it’s a step up from the usual price of a Jin Xuan deserving of more discriminating buyers.

Flavors: Almond, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Grassy, Lily, Rainforest, Strawberry, Yogurt

derk

You’re silly. I know just what you’re saying.

Leafhopper

Now I regret not getting this in my last big order from TheTea. I think I was scared off by the Jin Xuan and don’t even remember reading the description.

Daylon R Thomas

Picky about those too?

Daylon R Thomas

I know you’re good, I know you’re good, I know you’re reaal gooood Oh!

Leafhopper

LOL. That song has been running through my head ever since I read your note! :P Memories indeed!

I’ve had a few Jin Xuans that had lots of florals but no fruit, so yeah, I tend to overlook them. Seems like that might be a mistake.

Daylon R Thomas

New Doubt used to play like crazy on the radio growing up in Hawaii, and my mom listened to them a lot. I wouldn’t say so. I’ve had a lot of them that are mostly green, creamy and floral. I’ve only had a few that were actually fruity that weren’t flavored blends. This one is just uniquely clean. It doesn’t quite stand against Shan Lin Xi, but it stands out on its own outside of regular Jin Xuans. A part of me is glad I only got 30 grams in terms of spending, though I wouldn’t mind getting it again.

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A month ago, I finally decided to put in an order for three teas from The Tea. Given I ordered days just before conflict escalated in Poland’s neighbors, I am grateful I got some and pray for things to change, and hopefully, I can figure something out for my students to help support those in conflict.

Leafhopper highly recommended this one, and I got two oolongs in smaller samples with 50 grams of this bad boy. At first, it was very similar to What-Cha’s Wild Tongmu tea, but the third and fourth steep had a rounded and pronounced pineapple and lychee flavors that made me forget that I was drinking a black tea. For moment, I sipped it falsely thinking it was a Shanlinxi. It’s still maltier and sweeter than one textured by a longan, with a bit of a rise in astringency that hits my palette with some acidity. There were hardly any vegetal qualities except maybe wood. Like Togo said, it’s smooth with a cooling and warming effect at the same time. I did not realise that was already written when I posted the note! Either way, it’s an incredible Example of a Wuyi/Lapsang Black that tastes like cooked fresh pineapple, and I’m thrilled to write more about it.

Flavors: Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Lychee, Malt, Pineapple, Vanilla, Wood

Leafhopper

Glad you were finally able to try this tea! I actually got my package from TheTea as well and was going to send you a sample. Now, there’s more for me! :P

I’ve only tried a handful of lapsangs, so I’d love to know of any that you think rival this one. My favourites are still this wild lapsang from TheTea and the Old Bush Lapsang from Wuyi Origin, though they’re very different.

Daylon R Thomas

I think maybe What-Cha’s, but it’s really close in profile to this one.

Daylon R Thomas

I did send some of that one for reference, but I put it into a different bag and wrote on it.

Leafhopper

Yes, I’ve been eyeing that What-Cha lapsang you sent for a while now. :) It’s about $5 cheaper than the one from TheTea and there’s free shipping, so I’ll be glad if they’re similar.

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70

After more than 20 years, the tea has a weak aroma and taste with an interesting sweet aftertaste. However, the cha qi is just superb – soothing and meditative, spreading warmth all over my body.

While the aroma is weak, it is also utterly unique and indescribable. The taste is a bit woody and sour – at times it reminds me of butter cookies or cut grass. The aftertaste is crisp, sweet and savoury with notes of plant stems and meat.

The tea liquor has a medium thickness and a creamy mouthfeel inducing a lot of salivation and a cooling sensation in the throat.

Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Cut Grass, Meat, Plant Stems, Savory, Sour, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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75

From the dry leaves it looks more like a black tea.
Dry leaves have a sweet tobacco aroma. After a rinse it gets interestingly herbal with dry flowers and wine cork.

1
Thick body and a noticeably sweetness with flavours of camphor, vanilla, baked pears, tobacco and honey. The aroma has a peculiar earthy note that I can’t pinpoint (maybe from the storage).

2
Very sweet and round with no sharp edges, mouth coating honey aftertaste. Strong aroma from the empty cup.

3
Cleaner liquor, with a light bitterness and a spice-tingling finish. Qi makes me feel heavy and slow. Huigan is long and clean with honey sweetness.

4 and 5
Less sweet, a bit sharper with more spice pungency. Caramel. More acidic cacao aroma from the leaves. Something’s going on inside my forehead.

5
more chicory/dark herbal flavour and aftertaste. Feeling sleepy but with some energy and heat in my chest. Citric aroma from the leaves.

6
Medicinal herbs with sharp bitterness/astringency. Weaker aroma.

Final thoughts: Nice experience. The most enjoyable part doesn’t seem to last many steeps, maybe because of the very small leaves. Strong Qi. I’m thinking maybe the flavour profile on this one is not so exciting for me (has actually something in common with a black tea).
The wrapper art of this producer is amazing.

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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97

‘Tis the season to raid the tea museum for rare, expensive, or just very good teas I wouldn’t normally let myself drink. This competition grade Bai Hao has been in storage since the end of 2019. I steeped around 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

Dry, the aroma is of autumn leaf pile, muscatel, lemon, and berries. The first steep is deceptively light and delicate, with notes of honey, autumn leaves, and muscatel. Further scrutiny reveals raspberry, other berries, sap, and floral notes. The second steep is even sweeter, with lots of blackberry, raspberry, muscatel, lemon, sugarcane, honey, and floral flavours. Hints of orange and peach appear in the third steep. I let the fourth steep cool when I went to get my booster shot, and came back to a cup with extra lemon, berry, muscatel, and rose notes. There’s that autumn-leaf-like flavour one gets in Bai Hao, but no bitterness or astringency. The fruit starts to fade in steep six, letting the florals and honey have centre stage. I also get hints of spice. The last few steeps have some tannins and malt, but enough honey and muscatel to make them tasty.

This is a lovely example of a tea type I like, and as such, it gets a high rating from me. It’s too sweet, decadent, and pricy to be in regular rotation, but it’s a wonderful occasional treat. I bought a 10 g sample, but would consider getting a larger quantity since I think the price (US$36 for 50 g) reflects the quality.

Being able to taste teas like this one is the reason I invest so much money, time, and care in this hobby. It’s both accessible and complex, and makes me want to hone my ability to detect and describe flavours so I can deepen my appreciation of top-quality leaves.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Berries, Blackberry, Floral, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Muscatel, Orange, Peach, Raspberry, Rose, Sap, Spices, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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90

[Spring 2019 harvest]

This one has a classic MLX aroma at first – sweet, perfumy with a hint of cake scent. Once wet, the leaves smell like drinking hot apple and smoking shisha next to a clean fireplace in a wooden cabin.

The liquor has a slick, colloidal and not too thick texture with mild bubbliness. It is numbing and I find it actually very easy to drink, especially before some mild astringency arrives around steep #4.

The taste is also super smooth. It is more savoury and mineral than the average MLX and reminds me of hot apple cider at times. There are also flavours of apricots, ghee, wet rocks, molasses and caramelized carrots. In the warming aftertaste, I also get a hint of wild honey.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Cake, Caramel, Carrot, Cinnamon, Fireplace, Fruity, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Perfume, Spices, Sweet, Tobacco, Wet Rocks, Winter Honey, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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78

My first aged oolong. 5g in a 90ml Hongni.
Dry leaves: interesting nuts/acidic/chocolate/peanuts skins.
Wet leaves: roasted peanuts, something nutty and chocolate/fruity/floral deep and difficult to pinpoint. Yeast, “sparkling fermentation”.

1.
Light and fruity/floral, with an old furniture feeling similar to some aged Heicha brick. Juicy and thin mouthfeel, extremely smooth, faint aftertaste. Warming.

2.
a more solid character, but still very light and smooth even with a 30sec steeping time with less water. Feels really elegant with a mulled wine spiciness. Cloves. However I need more protein, so I’ll make a 75 sec steep for the 3rd one. The leaves look delicate and I feel like they may overcook. But I need a stronger brew.

3.
Now we’re talking. Richer and satisfying liquor, with a spicy cinnamon/clove/mulled wine quality and a base of orchid/old furniture. Very light and elegant tannins, zero bitterness. Qi is mellowing. The leaves preserve a stimulating fruity sourness.

4. – two minutes.
Similar to 3, but less body and a sense that is already dying a bit. At this point is very similar to an heicha brick I tried from Yunnan Sourcing. I’m going to do a 6 minutes infusion. Maybe I should have used the whole 10g sample in my 90ml teapot, because even if the tea is delicious I’m craving more intensity.

5.
With the 6 minutes brew the tea is kicking back, now with a slight beginning of bitterness and a mildly drying astringency. The spices are the main characters now, lingering nicely on the roof of the mouth. I feel slighly sedated, the Qi is probably the strongest I had from an Oolong.

6. – 12 min.
Much thinner with a faint sweetness and spiciness.

7. 30 min.
Light with more floral aftertaste.

Final thoughts:
This tea was at the same time surprising and familiar. I enjoyed it but I don’t think it offers enough (for me) to justify the price. I also want to improve my brewing skills.

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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100

Very interesting tea. I could relate it to maybe Taiwanese oolongs but it is really mellow, caramelly and refreshing at the same time. Amazing find from crafty supplier whose descriptions are void off cliches.

https://aftermath.social/invite/BsyqETJD

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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77

I got this one as a free sample, I am not sure if it was ever on offer on the website. Unfortunately, this tea takes a while to get going and once it does, it really doesn’t last very long. It has an interesting umami character peeking through the underlying earthiness. Its aroma has notes of nuts, miso, and a hint of peat. The taste is earthy, nutty, and spicy with notes of yeast, tobacco. There is a significant throat warming sensation and the tea’s energy then spreads throughout the body to complement the expanding sweet and cooling aftertaste that includes notes of star anise and licorice.

Flavors: Earth, Licorice Root, Nutty, Peat, Spices, Star Anise, Sweet, Tobacco, Umami, Yeast

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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88

This is one of few greener teas that TheTea sells, so I was a bit wary of the fact that green oolongs are not their specialty. However, any worries proved unjustified, this is a lovely aromatic, sweet, and floral tea with really good longevity. The qi seems mostly caffeine driven and a little rushy for my liking. It is a good tea to get energized though, which is not the case with most oolongs for me.

Dry leaves smell milky and flowery with additional notes of cookies and sauerkraut. The wet leaf aroma is really pungent and hard to specify. It reminds me of rainforest, cut grass and stewed greens for example. In the empty cup, I can also smell passion fruits, jasmine and shea butter.

The tea is easy to drink with its lighter body and fleeting mouthfeel. However, there is a good astringency too and a strong floral sourness that make it quite engaging. The taste is predominately a mix of sweet and sour flavours. There are notes of spinach, milk, spices, lemongrass, and fermented vegetables.

Flavors: Cookie, Cut Grass, Flowers, Grass, Green, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Milk, Passion Fruit, Rainforest, Sour, Spices, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vegetables, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Martin Bednář

Additional notes are interesting: cookies and sauerkraut in one sentence.

Daylon R Thomas

The few green ones they get seem to be specialty anyway. If you got this much of a fruit presence from a light roast, chances are there other ones are good. I’ve been eyeying the Rueili Winter Alishan Jin Xuan, but it’s always sold out.

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91
drank Fengqing Yesheng Hong Cha by TheTea
793 tasting notes

[Spring 2021 harvest]

This tea is sweeter and has fewer bourbon notes than one of my favourite black teas – the Yunnan Sourcing’s Feng Qing Yesheng Hong Cha. I have a sense this one has slightly higher oxidation level, but otherwise they are actually quite similar. The YS offering is cheaper, but when taxes and shipping to EU are accounted for, the difference is not as drastic.

The aftertaste is amazing here – it is very throat-biting and engaging. The flavours of resin, citrus zest, passion fruit and others linger and evolve for a while. There is also that bitterness characteristic for this varietal.

The mouthfeel is pleasant, but a little boring – there isn’t anything bad about it, it’s just not the selling point. 

Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Caramel, Citrus Zest, Dried Fruit, Grapes, Molasses, Musty, Passion Fruit, Pleasantly Sour, Resin, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Martin Bednář

Sounds delightful.

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78

[Spring 2020 harvest]

This is a fairly unique yancha, even though I find it a bit hard to phrase in what way. On the nose I get notes of banana bread, citrus fruits and strawberry on top of the more standard woody and cherry aromas.

Similar associations come from taste too. It is quite sour like citrus zest, a bit earthy, biting, and with a decent woody bitterness. The strawberry note is recurring. Minerality is strong, and I can also taste some flavours reminiscent of forest. Sometimes it feels like chewing on plant roots, which gives a funny contrast to all the fruitiness.

Flavors: banana, Cherry, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Earth, Forest Floor, Fruity, Mineral, Sour, Strawberry, Wet Rocks, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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83

This is a comforting and balanced tea with hints of greatness. It lasts for a good 12 infusions at 5g in a 100ml gaiwan. Despite being almost 3 years old now, it feels very fresh and zesty.

The aroma is sweet, nutty and comforting with a distinctive cooling floral character, a bit like lilacs. The taste is somehow fresh with being vegetal at all. It has a mild floral sweetness and peatiness. There are also notes of grapevine, citrus, plant roots and limestone. I also like the silky texture and heady qi. The aftertaste is warming and protracted with notes of butter, spices, saffron and nectar.

Flavors: Bittersweet, Butter, Citrusy, Floral, Grapes, Lilac, Limestone, Nectar, Nutty, Peat, Plants, Roots, Saffron, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

My secong gong fu session after moving to Innsbruck is with this lovely black tea. It’s has a comforting, woody profile with underlying tartness. The aftertaste is long-lasting, cooling and expanding with a molasses sweetness and floral notes. The mouthfeel is soft, almost feathery, as well as active and somewhat thick.

In terms of aromas, there are notes of cookies, plum and apricot jams, and wood before the session and of flowers, moss, and cake throughout.

Flavors: Apricot, Cake, Cookie, Floral, Forest Floor, Jam, Molasses, Moss, Plum, Soft, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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92

I have tried to sample a number of aged oolongs recently to expand my horizons. Usually, I find that they don’t offer a sufficient quality/price ratio as compared to most other tea categories. This is the first one that I reordered after trying, which may tell you a bit about my feelings towards it :)

The dry leaf aroma is spicy and nutty with hints of grass and fenugreek seeds, as well as stonefruit pits. When smelling wet leaves, I can imagine biting into an apricot at a grassy meadow after summer rain.

The taste is warming, smooth, and floral. First infusion reminds me of shellfish, summer honey, roasted lemons and popcorn. The second one has even stronger lemon peel flavour. Later I could also taste nettle. The mouthfeel is syrupy and quite thick.

One of the highlights is the pungent and protracted aftertaste with complex florals and nectar flavour. There is also a very interesting mouthfeel after swallowing. It is tempting to describe it as numbing and on the drier side, but in fact it is neither. I feel almost as if my mouth was completely overwhelmed by the sweet florals and therefore sending contradictory signals to the brain.

To top the experince, I have to say that the cha qi is top notch too. It is very grounding and quite chest focused.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Grass, Grass Seed, Honey, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Nectar, Petrichor, Popcorn, Shellfish, Smooth, Soil, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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74

This is a subtle and comforting tea that lasts for a while. Its most remarkable is the refreshing and peaceful cha qi. If I were to summarize the full experience of the tea in one word, I would liken it to sunshine.

Taste is a mix of nut oils, flowers, spices and roasted apples, none of which is particularly strong. The aftertaste, on the other hand, is herbaceous and sweet with a custard note.

Flavors: Apple, Custard, Floral, Flowers, Herbaceous, Nuts, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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83

This is a relatively sweet liu bao with a thick, creamy, and coating texture. The liquor is clear and of a beautiful burgundy colour.

Dry leaf aroma has notes of wood, cherries and milk. After rinse I get a wild mixture of mushrooms, baked bread, caves and wet rocks, roasted walnuts, sumac, and a hint of leather.

The taste is mineral, nutty and earthy with a sweet bite to it. There are flavours of coriander seeds, molasses, butter on top of the earthy bittersweet ones.

Flavors: Bread, Cherry, Coriander Seed, Creamy, Earth, Leather, Milk, Mineral, Molasses, Mushrooms, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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95

I’ve been very impressed with the two pu-erh teas I’ve tried from TheTea and by now I bought both as cakes. This one is a very pleasant tea with substantial bitterness and mild astringency left. It could totally be aged further, but it’s also great to drink now. I love how complex and pungent it is, while also having undergone some fermentation. At times, especially when smelling the gaiwan, it reminds me of YQH teas, but this one is better than any of those, even the ones that cost two or three times as much.

I’ve had two sessions with this tea by now and I think I liked it more slightly underleafed (1g/20ml rather than 1g/13ml), given how strong of a tea it is. In some sense with my normal ratio, I wasn’t able to pour the water out fast enough to keep the brews sufficiently short. The less aggressive brewing yielded more complexity, while the aftertaste was just as long and interesting. Also, the mouthfeel was super soft and less powdery.

Dry leaf aroma reminds me of cloves in a library. The smell of the leaves during the session is quite strong and pleasant for an aged tea like this. There are notes of clean fireplace, rainforest, milk, star anise, brioche, chenpi, and cannabis.

The taste is immediately bitter and crisp, but also sweet and woody. There is a floral bite as well as hints of quinine, camphor, walnut shells. The finish gives me cloves and milk associations. The aftertaste is pungent and long-lasting, with a nutty, sweet, and floral character. It induces quite a lot of salivation too.

The cha qi can be felt fast, but it is by no means overwhelming. I found it to be quite warming and focused in the head and spine.

Infusions 3 and 4 are spicy and sour with more pronounced woody notes along with new flavours of butter, cumin, and dried apples. There is a commendable huigan within the very aromatic aftertaste with various notes of forest.

From the remaining steeps, I would highlight flavours of root vegetables (beetroot and celery) emerging in the second half of the session. In any case, the tea remains interesting for a while and is a joy to spend time with.

Flavors: Anise, Apple, Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Bread, Butter, Camphor, Cannabis, Celery, Citrus Zest, Clove, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fireplace, Milk, Nutty, Paper, Rainforest, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

I was considering buying a cake of this without sampling. Thank you for the personal confirmation that this is enjoyable tea.

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83

Very pleasant tea with sweet aromas of baked fruits, nectar, flowers and wood. The taste is sweet and floral, but also refreshing. There is a woody bitterness and a light metallic character. Later infusions are mineral, almost marine, with a cooling finish. The mouthfeel is buttery and the aftertaste has a very long-lasting sweetness. All in all, a great tea to enjoy casually.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Marine, Metallic, Mineral, Nectar, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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88

[Spring 2020 harvest]

I love the relaxing energy and refined aromatics of this tea. At first it smells as a mix of coffee, peat, fireplace, and guava. Then, during the session, we get pretty unique aroma that blends notes of milk, parsley root, paper, bread, and sweet cherries.

Initially, the taste is nutty and tart with fruity undertones and an aromatic incense in the finish. It is well-balanced and the yanyun is very smooth. I also found the mouthfeel to be very satisfying. The liquor is plump, foamy and light (in terms of its weight not body).

Later steeps have a touch of woody bitterness, mossy flavour, and a nicely cooling, mineral finish. It transforms into a buttery aftertaste with dominant notes of wood and cherries.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVGMJPQNZ34

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Fireplace, Guava, Milk, Mineral, Moss, Nutty, Paper, Parsley, Peat, Perfume, Tart, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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93

I haven’t had many Liu An teas thus far. This one is the oldest and it may be the most interesting among them too. Besides being almost 20 years old, its aged character is influenced by the somewhat hot & humid Taiwanese environment it has been stored in. I would say the storage on this one is just right. It is really a well-balanced tea.

Dry leaves smell of dry earth, ant mounds, nuts, hazelnuts and, most prominently, poppy seeds. After the rinse, I can detect aromas of autumn leaf pile, fireplace/ash, limestone, and mushrooms.

First infusion is sweet and smooth with a woody bitterness and a lot of nutty notes. Second one is very mineral and has a very pronounced beetroot flavour. Later I also noted a flavour of fried/browned butter. The aftertaste is mostly marine and savoury. However, there is also a rock sugar (or sugar beet) sweetness. Additionally, I get a lasting menthol-like cooling sensation after drinking.

The tea is medium bodied with a creamy texture and somewhat numbing mouthfeel. I find it quite mouth-watering at first then drying after swallowing.

If you like beetroots and nutty, mineral profiles, this is one for you. Unfortunately, it is not available on TheTea.pl anymore.

Flavors: Ash, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Burnt Food, Butter, Dry Grass, Earth, Fireplace, Limestone, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nuts, Nutty, Root Beer, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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92

Here is yet another example of a fascinating Taiwanese black tea. Apart from substantial complexity, its main selling point is the very thick and creamy texture.

The tea is very aromatic with notes of muscovado sugar, cookies, forest floor, and spruce noticeable right away. In the preheated gaiwan, these are complemented by caramel, soy sauce and beef broth; while the wet leaves smell of eucalyptus, milk, egg shells, and moss.

While the tea is flavourful, it is not necessarily my favourite taste profile. It is super smooth, mineral and quite woody. There is a burned meat bitterness and not that much sweetness. Specific flavours include coffee, brown sugar, candle, egg yolk, cranberries, and porter ale.

The tea has a dry finish with no astringency and an interesting residual mouthfeel. The aftertaste is a bit more sweet and flowery, with a hint of cardamom to it.

Flavors: Beeswax, Broth, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cardamom, Coffee, Cookie, Cranberry, Egg, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Forest Floor, Milk, Mineral, Moss, Soy Sauce, Woody

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

Last one of the aged dong ding series. Here, I like the aroma more than the taste. It is a comforting tea with an interesting finish and aftertaste. Its mouthfeel is mineral and a little numbing, but not that remarkable in the end.

The smell of dry leaves in a preheated gaiwan is just so deep and dark. I love it! Main notes are those of prunes, soil and gingerbread. Wet leaves have an even more beatiful aroma overall. There are hints of white grapes, roots, brownies, decaying wood, cranberries, and cannabis.

The taste is very woody with flavours of hazelnuts, roasted garlic as well as some of the spicier ripened cheeses. It can actually get reasonably bitter and the finish is a little sour too. It transitions into a biting and warming aftertaste with a fireplace character and a lasting spiciness in the throat.

Flavors: Cannabis, Cookie, Cranberry, Dark Bittersweet, Decayed Wood, Earth, Fireplace, Hazelnut, Mineral, Prune, Umami, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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