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Recent Tasting Notes
(Gaiwan, 5 second first infusion, +5/10 sec ff, 12 steeps total)
Dry leaves are sweet – prune, cocoa, vanilla, and something bright (not quite citrus, maybe dried cherry?). Wet leaves add touch of wet foliage & woodsiness, and stronger dried fruit.
Steeps 1-2 are light amber color, taste is smooth & sweet with hints of chocolate and caramel, prune & vanilla. Steep 3 adds a tiny bit of aromatic woodsy flavor, bitterness, and dry finish. Steep 4 turns more complex – starts sweeter, with prune sweetening to caramelized date, but then the increasing dryness turns the smooth chocolate into cocoa powder. Pleasant lingering aftertaste of dried fruit. Steeps 5-8 pretty much keep these flavors, but the increasing dry tannins overshadow and sweetness recedes. Steeps 9-10 have touch of peaty/grassy flavor, and overall seem less fruity, less sweet, & feel thinner. But steep 11 surprises! Sweetness increases, and I have my first experience being tea drunk! Steep 12 is pushed out a little to 2 minutes, but flavors are all fading again.
Steeps 1-4 were my favorites, with yummy flavors & building complexity.
Next day tried western style – 2.5g in 120ml boiling water for 2 minutes. Lasted a few infusions. Pleasant with some of the flavors present in gongfu, but much less intense and not as interesting.
Here is yet another of the reviews I have been sitting on since May. I finished what I had of this tea sometime during the first half of the month. I was on a huge Wuyi black tea kick at the time and ended up drinking this and four black teas from Old Ways Tea over the course of like 4 or 5 days. Of the bunch, this was actually my least favorite, though all were quite appealing. To be honest, I kind of expected to like this one the least because I have yet to warm up to the idea of Dancong cultivars being used for black tea production. Since this tea was produced from a Dancong cultivar grown in Wuyishan, I sort of knew that there was at least a possibility that this tea would not do as much for me. In the end, I liked it somewhat more than expected, though I was right about it not quite being my thing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of lychee, apricot, honey, rose, and baked bread coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I picked up a stronger rose aroma and emerging scents of wood and hibiscus. The first infusion then saw the nose turn a little woodier and hints of cherry emerge. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, lychee, apricot, and honey that quickly gave way to rose and wood notes backed by hints of vanilla and malt. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smoother, fruitier, and more floral before gradually turning woody once again. Stronger notes of vanilla and malt appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging cherry and hibiscus notes. Candied orange, mineral, strawberry, cream, and peach notes emerged as well, and I also picked up hints of caramel in places. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, baked bread, and honey impressions that were balanced by subtle notes of rose, vanilla, lychee, and candied orange.
I know I am the outlier with regard to my rating of this tea, but I was more than a bit taken aback by this tea’s intense fruity sweetness. It seems that the black teas produced from Dancong cultivars always either strike me as being incredibly sweet or oddly herbal, and to be completely honest, they are always a bit much for me either way. Personally, I found this tea to be a bit too sweet in a number of places. It is obvious, however, that I am the only reviewer to this point that has had that particular complaint. While I enjoyed this tea’s complexity and did not find it to be bad by any means, it is doubtful that I would go out of my way to reacquire it. In the end, I can understand why other people might have liked this tea, but it was not really for me.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Hibiscus, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Rose, Strawberry, Vanilla, Wood
I got this tea as a sample and just to try it I steeped it western with the 5 g sample pack in 8 oz of water, which is not my normal method. I was only going to do one steeping and I was not sure how long to go, but I went with 2’30". The tea has the aroma of a light raw pu-erh and a similar color. It is earthy with a background flavor of plums.
Flavors: Earth, Plums
I did terrible unspeakable things to this tea in order to drink it. Maybe I’ll revisit roasted oolong later in life… For now, the roasted flavour is too much for me, even with a thorough rinse and dumping the first handful of steeps. I’m sorry XD
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Nutty, Roasted Barley
I’ve been busy, so this tea has sat largely neglected in my cupboard. I decided it’s finally time to start drinking down my stash or I’ll end up having to throw tea out because it’s so old. Blasphemy at the mere thought!
I went a little heavy on the leaf and steep time since this is two years old, which is probably around the end of its shelf life. Sadly, the leaves only had one good infusion in them. But I was not disappointed! The second I tasted this naturally sweet tea, I sighed with contentment. “Oh my god, yeah.” This is my kind of green tea.
The tea liquor is very pale, nearly clear. The taste is mainly fruity and floral with a vegetal finish. I get notes of apricot followed by honeysuckle and finally asparagus. It almost tastes like a cross between silver needle and tie guan yin. It’s more vegetal than white tea but lighter than oolong. This is my perfect green tea! I’m so glad I made time to enjoy it.
Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Floral, Fruity, Honeysuckle, Vegetal
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Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Gardenias, Wood
I got this as a bonus pack in from an order months ago. It has a very, very strong vegetable flavor. I got wide tastes of root veggies like carrots and beets the whole time. A slight roasted flavor in the early steeps. If this sounds like your kinda thing def buy it. I steeped it for hours on end and it never got weak and the taste stayed consistent.
Flavors: Carrot, Roasted, Vegetables
I think I’m going to open this review/note with a quick life lesson for everyone. Think twice before taking a job with a family business. I have now been working for my family exclusively for over eight months, and I have learned that it is nigh impossible to maintain boundaries when you work for family. Take today for instance. I’m supposed to get the weekends off, but got called in to work prior to 8:30 a.m. I already knew I was going to have to work today regardless of how my schedule is supposed to run, but I was not expecting to be called in first thing in the morning. When you work for family, you are always on-call, you are always the first person to be called in, you can never truly have any peace or privacy, and you can never do enough. Should any of you ever consider leaving whatever job you’re working to work for family, think twice before you do it. You’re welcome.
Now with the above out of the way, let’s talk tea. I picked this tea up back around the start of 2017 and left it sitting unopened in my tea cabinet until I plowed my way through it a couple weeks ago. White tea is something I never rush to get around to simply because it tends to age well. To be honest, as long as you get to it within 24-36 months of harvest, you’re getting to it when it is still more or less at its best. Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a Han Lu white tea, so I had no clue what to expect. Ultimately, I found this tea to fall somewhere between a sweeter, more floral Bai Mu Dan and a cleaner, less astringent Shou Mei if that makes any sense at all. It was not bad, but it faded sooner than I would have liked, and quite frankly, it did not strike me as being unique enough to repurchase.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 6 seconds. The recommended water temperature seemed high to me, but I opted to roll with it because I know some people do, in fact, favor higher water temperatures for certain white teas. The initial infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material produced aromas of honey, malt, straw, carrot, and citrus. The rinse brought out new aromas of hay and radish. The first infusion then brought out hints of dandelion and pine on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered fairly well-developed notes of hay, straw, carrot, malt, honey, pomelo, and pine. Subsequent infusions saw the nose become creamier and maltier with a little more vegetal and floral character in places. New impressions of minerals, cream, butter, parsnip, and autumn leaf pile joined belatedly emerging notes of dandelion and radish. Hints of wintergreen oil and smoke could also be detected in places. The final infusions offered lingering impressions of minerals, hay, straw, cream, and malt backed by hints of pomelo, carrot, and dandelion.
At its best, this was an approachable white tea with a pleasant combination of aromas and flavors, but as mentioned earlier, its peak was brief. Due to all of the broken leaf material, this tea was also very difficult to cleanly brew gongfu, a common problem with teas like Bai Mudan and Shou Mei in my experience. I eventually ended up trying to brew this tea Western as well, hoping that it would offer a more consistent drinking experience, but alas, the Western brew was not nearly as flavorful as the gongfu brew at its best. For me, this tea ended up falling into a gray area. Not only did it fade a little too quickly, but it also had a little too much in common with several other types of more readily available and more affordable white teas for me to consider seeking it out again. I would not caution others to avoid this tea, but I would also offer the opinion that one already familiar with some of the more common Chinese white teas would not be missing out on much if they chose to skip it.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Carrot, Citrus, Cream, Dandelion, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Smoke, Straw, Vegetal
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Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Guava, Malt, Wood
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Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Honey
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Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Oak wood
20 second rinse. I am following Verdant’s recommendation of a lower water temperature (190 F) and a longer steep time (starting at 1 minute, adding 30 seconds each time).
The first steep is pretty boring, though I did not have a long enough rinse to break apart the tuocha. It tastes primarily of hay, slightly sweet.
Second steeping: The tea has turned dramatically darker, now more of a reddish amber color than the first steeping. It is a little more bitter than the first steeping. It has a much thicker mouthfeel now. It tastes like hay still, but also a little of sweet char, like you get on grilled fruits.
Third steeping: No interesting new developments, but I’m kind of digging these long but frequent steepings. It inspires me to wash my dishes while I wait.
Fourth steeping: This has lost its thick mouthfeel but tastes pretty much the same.
Fifth steeping: The tea is starting to fade. It is more mineral tasting and much thinner. The color has also lightened up.
Overall, it’s fine.
I really enjoy thia tea. It’s a bit of a one trick pony, hardly any complexity. The taste is coccoa, pure and simple. This tea tastes like hot chocolate and it’s awesome. Really fun to share with non tea drinkers. Steeps out at 3 or 4 steeps. It’s really only good for a steep or two imo but it is lots of fun. I do enjoy it.
Sampled Spring 2017. The tea was pretty green, it was not especially fragrant. My issue with this tea was a very thin body that steeped out exceptionally quickly. There was very little depth in flavor. It did posses that souring tounge feel I’ve had with
Other tgy but really, it was a one trick pony. And that trick lasted about a steep or two. The tea was flavorless in four or five steeps.
Wow! This tea is wow and it matches our wow weather.
Here on April 15th, despite the crocuses and tulips having previously begun to peek out of the earth, we are in the second day of an ice storm complete with weather warning. Thousands of people are without electricity. The streets are silent. People are already cancelling things for tomorrow.
This Jin Guanyin is a Master Zhang creation.
Such sweetness and full rich cream. Rather like honeyed butter custard milk oolong times a gazillion. Honeysuckle, and possibly orchid, melding into more gently vegetal notes with subsequent steeps.
Earlier this week, I was drinking Jin Guanyin Wuyi Oolong created by a different tea master which was absolutely another thing altogether: processing and so on. Tea is a fascinating thing. The discoveries continue.
Thank you, CrowKettle, for this sample.
Today, when I went for my acupuncture treatment, I discovered that tea, both green and black, are drying and contribute to a yin deficiency, which appears to be a problem for me and my constitution.
So the suggestion was to stop tea drinking.
Oh hell no, there won’t be that. I will do all the things before I go that route. Stop the insanity—I need to hold on to at least some bad habits.
This tea is magnificent. To me, it tastes like spring. That’s it and that’s all.