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Recent Tasting Notes
A nice oolong, well balanced, but a bit tannic. It would benefit from a splash of milk or a short steep/gongfu styled session. The rose is well balanced with the oolong base. It is a slightly roasted (roasted barley flavour) oolong, but not very oxidized. Some creaminess, but not as much as many of the high quality Jin Xuan teas I have had before. (It might be this particular harvest?) but it was a great cup, and I could see it resteeping very well if the steeps are shorter or with milk.
Flavors: Floral, Orchid, Roasted Barley, Rose
Hooray for tea buddy friends! A friend surprised me with a perfect spoonful after I gave her some samples from What-Cha. This is one I probably would not have never picked on my own as I normally don’t go for green teas in general. This is pretty good- it is not bitter at all…it is sweet, grassy, mineraly, I get maybe just a touch of a tart plum skin at the end of the sip. I am not getting a big plum flavor though.
So I bought a sample of this years ago, and then lost it in the back of a cupboard, and recently found it again. Thought it might be a bit old and stale, but nope! I opened the package and it had a bit of nice roasty/floral aroma. Measured some out into a steeping basket, poured on the hot water, was standing there setting the timer when the aroma rose up out of the mug and smacked me in the face. I actually said (out loud, we’ll say it was to my dog) “damn, that is some good fricken tea!”. As I sit here sipping it, the aroma is a complex mixture of flowers and like, carmelized fruit, honey-drenched pastries, just yummy. The flavour is light and sweet and with only a hint of that mineral note I associate with rock oolongs. Lovely. :)
Here is a review I have been sitting on for several weeks now. After I finished a sample pouch of this tea, I decided to hold off on posting a review here because I was not entirely sure where I was going to go with the numerical score. Part of that uncertainty was undoubtedly due to the fact that Korean teas are entirely new to me. As of today, this is still the only Korean tea I have tried, thus I have nothing to which I can compare it. For what it is worth, I found this to be a very pleasant, soothing green tea.
Now that I have admitted that this was my first Korean tea of any sort, allow me to also state that I knew absolutely nothing about traditional Korean tea preparation at the time I tried this tea. I still know nothing about this subject. In terms of preparation, I used the brewing method outlined on the pouch by Alistair and expanded on it. I started off with a quick rinse and then steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 158 F water for 30 seconds. This infusion was chased by 45 second, 1 minute 15 second, 2 minute, and 3 minute infusions. I used the same water temperature for each infusion.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of toasted corn, hay, and grass. After the rinse, I started to pick up on an emerging scent of seaweed. The first proper infusion brought out a slightly stronger seaweed aroma on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up on delicate notes of grass, hay, toasted corn, and seaweed. I noted hints of malt, cream, and spinach lurking in the background. The second infusion brought out stronger aromas of toasted corn and grass on the nose. In the mouth, the notes of hay, grass, and toasted corn were significantly stronger. The underlying hints of malt, cream, and spinach were still there, though they were now joined by touches of straw, oats, barley, and lettuce. There was also something of an almost honey-like sweetness that lingered in the mouth after the swallow. The liquor produced by the third infusion was very light on the nose. In the mouth, the flavors became substantially more muted and the mouthfeel of the tea liquor was much creamier. A hint of minerality started to emerge. On the fourth infusion, the nose was quite weak and mineral scents were starting to become apparent. Notes of seaweed, minerals, and grass were stronger in the mouth on this infusion. Occasional hints of toasted corn, oats, and barley could still be found. The fifth and final infusion displayed a very neutral nose and mostly offered vague impressions of grass, minerals, and seaweed in the mouth.
I would not call this a particularly deep or complex tea, but it was still very enjoyable. To be fair, I ordered this tea on a whim not knowing anything about it or Korean teas in general and then tried it without doing any serious research pertaining to Korean brewing methods, so I doubt I did right by it in terms of preparation. Hopefully I did not bungle it too much. All in all, I thought this was a very nice green tea, but as this tea served as my introduction to the world of Korean teas, you should definitely take my review with a mountain of salt and seek out the opinions of others who have more experience with teas like this one.
Flavors: Cream, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw, Sweet, Toasted
I haven’t tried that many teas, as im still taking my baby steps in the tea world, but this is the best so far.
Its a delicate white tea flavour, but with lots other strong flavours and a medium thick mouthfeel going on. Can’t really compare it to other teas.
A slight astringency, no bitterness at all.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Licorice, Malt, Sweet
This is an oddly flavoured sencha. The flavour reminds me of parsley and medicinal herbs. It gives it a very savoury taste. It is also a bit sour, acidic, vegetal (bok choy). I’m not very interested in senchas, and I don’t really enjoy savoury teas, so this wasn’t for me.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Herbs, Medicinal, Parsley, Sour, Vegetal
I got this free with my Black Friday order. I can’t believe I just had this hidden away. That happens to a lot of us tea addicts! I’m blown away by how tasty this was! I am on 5th rebrew. It just keeps producing tastiness. It’s not too dark and oxidized. I actually prefer this over the milk oolong. I followed eastkyteaguy’s gong fu brewing timing. It was perfection!
I am really loving What-cha’s Vietnamese tea offerings.
Work has been nuts this week. My job is rather physical and involves a lot of time spent outdoors, thus the unseasonably warm weather we have been experiencing has required me to spend more time working outside and less time indoors cleaning and doing paperwork. On the one hand, I love getting to move around and be out in the sun, but on the other hand, I no longer have the time or the freedom to sit down at my desk and pop off a tea review or two when no one else is around. Believe it or not, I am still at work, and this is the first opportunity I have had to just sit down, take a break, and do something for myself all day. With that in mind, I wanted to review something appealing and fairly easy, so I figured this tea would fit the bill. I finished a sample pouch of it last night and found it to be a very smooth, drinkable oolong, the type of tea that would be suitable for regular consumption.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I found very light, creamy, fruity aromas. After the rinse, I started to get hints of orchid, daylily, and sugarcane with a much vaguer hint of butter. I could not tell that the first proper infusion yielded anything all that different on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of cream, butter, orchid, and daylily backed by an unexpected broth/umami note. Subsequent infusions offered stronger floral notes, a slightly stronger umami presence, and emerging mineral, bamboo shoot, daylily shoot, lettuce, grass, spinach, green apple, pear, vanilla, seaweed, and honeydew notes. I also started to pick up sugarcane in the mouth on these infusions. The later infusions offered subtle notes of minerals, butter, cream, and sugarcane alongside fleeting traces of grass, orchard fruits, lettuce, and daylily shoots. I even thought I could pick up lingering bamboo shoot notes, but I may very well have been reaching.
If you are familiar at all with Jin Xuan oolongs, this tea will probably not offer any real surprises for you. It was a very smooth, subtle tea and the roast was incredibly light; in fact, I would even go so far as to say that it was barely perceptible. Due to the subtlety of the roast, I could see this tea going over well with many fans of high mountain oolongs since this tea came off far more like a jade oolong than anything to which a roast had been applied. The low price of this tea relative to its high quality also established it firmly as a potential daily drinking candidate. At this point, all I can say is that I enjoyed this tea, found it to be very good for what it was, and would have no qualms with ordering it again in the not too distant future.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal
I’m dipping into the backlog with this review. I finished a sample pouch of this tea late last week, but as I have not had consistent access to a computer, I have held off on posting a review of it until now. I tried another of What-Cha’s Harendong Jin Xuans last month and found it enjoyable. Since I have been a fan of the very few Indonesian oolongs I have tried and was curious to see how a dark roasted version of the previous tea held up, I dug out the sample of this tea and spent a good chunk of a day contemplating it. Of the two, this one was the clear winner in my eyes, but then again, I am willing to bet that I am more of a fan of the more heavily roasted Jin Xuans than many other people on Steepster.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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 honey, raisin, and plum coming from the dry tea leaves. There was something of a woody quality on the nose as well. The rinse brought out a stronger wood scent as well as new aromas of char, peach, and orchid. The first proper infusion then brought out a baked bread aroma. In the mouth, the liquor offered smooth notes of raisin, plum, and peach underscored by indistinct berry tones on the entry. These notes soon gave way to hints of orchid, char, wood, cream, and honey. Subsequent infusions brought out the orchid on the nose and I began to pick up somewhat stronger notes of char, wood, honey, and cream in the mouth. New impressions of vanilla, minerals, dried blueberry, and black raspberry emerged alongside hints of grass, cooked greens, toasted grain, brown toast, and coffee. The later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, cream, wood, and char balanced by fleeting hints of vanilla and coffee with occasional traces of honey and fruit sweetness after the swallow.
As dark roasted Jin Xuans go, this was very nice. It displayed admirable longevity over the course of a gongfu session as well as very respectable depth and complexity both on the nose and in the mouth. The body and texture of the tea liquor were both very satisfying, as the liquor displayed an appealing smoothness while still feeling substantial in the mouth. If you are at all interested in more heavily roasted oolongs, I am willing to bet that you will find a lot to love in this tea. Even if your preferences when it comes to oolongs run more toward the greener side of things, I will assert that this tea would still be worth a try for you.
Flavors: Blueberry, Brown Toast, Char, Coffee, Cream, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Plums, Raisins, Raspberry, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood
I hoped that I would like this a more, but it was kind of a medium tea for me.
The smell is nutty and a little green no matter what, whereas the tea itself was very straightforward. The viscosity was great and the buttery creamy notes were well balanced with the roast and florals, but there was not much more going on than creamy, floral, and a little bit roasted. I could be too spoiled by the Qing Xin varietal versions of a Dong Ding, but oddly enough, I actually preferred the Cui Yu Jade that Alistair sells for cheaper over this one…never mind roasting is an art that should be preserved. I liked it marginally better than the old style, but the old style was a more sophistaced tea overall.
I might add more notes to this one as there have been some cool florals from the wet leaf that come out every once in a while, but know it is a straightforward tea. I liked it western and grandpa more than Gong Fu so far.
Thank you Alistair!
I liked this one more than I thought I would. I’ve also westerned and grandpa’d teas more than I thought I would, so I could not give you guys a good impression of this tea gong fu even though I can say it was good.
The dry leaf smell was immensely thick, roasty, and almost glossy like syrup. When I heavily leafed it, the roast dominated the tea amidst a woody backdrop and some moments of nuttiness and cooked red pear. The florals grew out in the later steeps with high leafage as it gradually got a little sweeter. Gong fu, it was buttery. Western with less leafs, it was also very buttery with a little less roast. The fruity pears and florals popped in the second steeps and combined incredibly well with the savory notes pushing me from liking to enjoying it.
I could see myself drinking this one often. I almost prefer it to the Red Buffalo because of its honey sweet fruit notes and its florals, but the roast can be so thick and powerful with the other notes that it makes me think of turpentine…..as weird and crazy as that sounds. Think florals combined with sap and pine wood….nevermind this tea is more on the fruity end when you brew it right. Lesson here: brew less leafs for longer for fruity, more leafs shorter steeps for woody butter. Unless someone objects. I otherwise recommend to try this type of tea at least once, and those who know what they are looking for would be more enamored with this tea.
This is yet another review I have been intending to post for some time. I bought this tea last year because I wanted to try it alongside Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Jingmai Gushu Oolong Orbs, but until last week, I had yet to set aside time to try this tea. Going back and looking at the note for the other tea, I see that this one struck me as being very similar. I found it to be immensely enjoyable, a hair more enjoyable than the tea to which I planned on comparing it directly.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped one dragon ball (a little over 6 grams) in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
The dry tea ball emitted aromas of honey, smoke, hay, wood, and stone fruits prior to the rinse. A little of that sheng-like funkiness was there too. After the rinse, I found new scents of grass, menthol, tobacco, and malt. The first proper infusion brought out a subtle pine-like aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, grass, hay, wood, and cream underscored by hints of tart stone fruits, honey, and sheng-like funk. Subsequent infusions grew steadily more intense, aromatic, and flavorful, offering distinct impressions of sour plum, longan, sour apricot, tart cherry, oats, butter, camphor, pear, lychee, mushroom, cedar, peanut, minerals, caramel, lemon, white grape, eucalyptus, and tree bark. The notes of malt, tobacco, pine wood, smoke, and menthol managed to show up in the mouth too. On a couple infusions, I thought I could just barely catch a hint of petrichor on the nose. The later infusions were more satisfying than anticipated. I could still find impressions of malt, minerals, mushroom, and tree bark balanced by subtle notes of honey, stone fruits, camphor, menthol, and tobacco that were most apparent on the back of the throat.
These Yunnan oolongs are steadily growing on me. I loved the mix of aromas and flavors this tea displayed. Very challenging, yet simultaneously very satisfying, I could see this being a great tea for adventurous oolong and pu-erh drinkers alike.
Flavors: Apricot, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cream, Eucalyptus, Grass, Hay, Honey, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Mushrooms, Oats, Peanut, Pear, petrichor, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Stonefruits, Tobacco, White Grapes, Wood
Yes, to this tea. It’s like a malty Assam married a Black Dragon pearl tea, and this is their child. It is one I would enjoy everyday. Just tasty, good balance of everything involved. Someone else said it didn’t have depth, and I don’t agree. If you like Assams, but don’t want astringency, this is your dream tea!
This is the closest I’ve strayed back towards British tea-bag tea, since discovering what real tea actually tastes like. Dry tea gave me overwhelming scent of pipe tobacco and lots of nostalgia with that. Later malt – lots. Then even later some of the scent of a struck match, but not at all in a bad way, not sulphurous.
It’s hard to pinpoint what’s going on so I suspect I’ll edit in future.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Malt, Molasses, Tobacco