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Recent Tasting Notes
I don’t know why, but when a tea is said to have “raisin” flavor profile, I want that tea. And I am not exactly a fan of raisins, but when it’s in black tea, I adore it!
This tea reminds me of a black dragon pearl tea cousin. It’s robust, caramelized and sweet, and stewy. I gave my friend a sip, and they usually think tea is bitter enjoyed this. It has no astringency. So many flavors, and so delicious.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Raisins, Stewed Fruits
This Qi Lan is a much gentler animal than the one I had from Tao Tea Leaf a few hours ago. I steeped around 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The first steep is surprisingly light for a Wuyi oolong. Honey and florals show up first, followed by roast and light tobacco. The second steep has a few more of those char and tobacco notes, but is still very floral and sweet. I also get roasted veggies and maybe some fruit (Lichi? Honeydew? I can’t tell.).
As Amanda Wilson said in her tasting note about this tea, it has some qualities that make it similar to a Dan Cong. Its honey character softens the roast, especially as the session progresses. Although the tea starts to get drying by the sixth or seventh steep, the honey carries it through.
As someone who likes greener oolongs, I enjoyed this Qi Lan more than its roastier counterpart from Tao Tea Leaf. It’ll be fun to see whether storing my remaining 30 g for a couple more years will mellow it out even further.
Flavors: Char, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Mineral, Roasted, Vegetables
I am a brisk, strong, larged flavored black tea lover. I was won over by the reviews of no astringency. This tea is that, my friend. It has the biggest leaf cut of any Assam I have ever had. I think that might be why there’s no puckering.
I bought a sample, and have drank the whole sample within 2 hours (I am also studying for finals, I need my fuel). This tea is yum.
This isn’t your typical Assam at all. I almost thought it was more similar to some of the Ceylons I’ve had. Still strong in flavor, and 2 tsp is needed per cup. I would purchase this again. I really think Assam tea companies need to follow suit, and not cut up the leaf so much. This was a really pleasant cup.
while YS was more cocao-y…this is more chocolate like. it’s sweeter and less earthy…almost making it feel less like LB and more like a different sort of tea,. This one is closer in price to the imperial version from YS, which i typically prefer less than the classic version. I think i just have to ignore the steeping parameters of this one and lengthen the time brewed and it would be more LB like.
Free same in our group what-cha order. I tried this one today so i can divy up the rest of it for VariaTEA and Evolvingness. On the whole, not one i’d order for myself, though i generally like roastier oolongs. Had a cup of this while i tried to make wonton soup from scratch! haha. All in all, a decent cup but nothing to knock my socks off. IE. glad i tried it but that’s enough for me.
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Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt
Finished this one off this morning, comparing it with the black sheep from Teabento. This one is malty, slightly sweet and smooth. It’s similar to the dragon pearls from teavivre but different. I’d need to try them side by side to really get a sense of which i prefer. These also kinda of remind me of the flowering cones from Mandala. All in all, a good cup.
I have been on a quest to try all different types of teas from elsewhere. What-cha fills in the need. This is my first Georgian tea. It has NO BITTERNESS. I feel you need 2 FULL tsp per 8 oz. I like my brew strong, so this is what I did. It’s mellow for a black, more mellow than what I usually drink or am used to.
Beautiful leaves. Just good for a mellow kind of day.
Another late-night What-cha sample tea. Lately I’m loving nighttime grandpa teas. This tea is working beautifully brewed this way. It’s roasty and creamy, and hasn’t gotten bitter. It’s keeping me warm and reasonably content while I work on my interminable term papers. When I first tried it, it was a little too roasty for me, but it’s really grown on me. I’m finding the combo of roast and smooth to be very dessert-like and pleasant. This might be one I’ll buy again in a bigger size. Time will tell, because I want to see how much I like it compared to all of my other samples.
Update: it’s starting to remind me of a milk oolong, as I keep adding water and drinking it. Yum!
Rasseru, you have made my life just a little better by letting me get a sample of this excellent tea.
This Qilan is great-it has lot of fruit, a lot of green creamy florals, and a great balance with the textured minerals and hints of charcoal from the roast. This is definitely on the greener side of yanchas bearing, but the fruit notes and the minerals are the things that make it really stand out along with its clear and well composed notes.
I agree with you Rasseru, that the first five steeps are higher quality and the later are typical of a yancha, but I still would come back to this again for its sheer balance of notes. This is a great example of this cultivar, and I recommend buying it while it is still on sale because it is good, and I have rarely had a yancha that is so green and so balanced.
Allow me to start this review by stating that I have long admired the Amba Estate. Not only does Amba make a seemingly honest attempt to produce their teas ethically and sustainably, but the estate also produces a fairly unique, quirky range of black teas. That being said, I have yet to try an Amba tea that blows me away. To be clear, I always find their teas enjoyable and appreciate their little quirks, but I have yet to have that one Amba tea that just clicks for me. Unfortunately, this tea did not do that either.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any subsequent infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, toffee, and roasted nuts. After infusion, I found stronger aromas of malt, toffee, and roasted nuts accompanied by emerging scents of orange and sorghum. Robust notes of black walnut, hickory, roasted almond, and toasted cashew were evident on the entry. They were soon balanced by impressions of sorghum, honey, malt, cream, wood, leather, and orange. The finish offered lingering touches of malt, orange, and toffee with something of a nuttiness just before every other lingering flavor component faded away.
In terms of what this tea actually offered on the nose and in the mouth, I was pleased. Like many other Uva teas, however, I found this tea to be somewhat more tannic and astringent than I generally like, and as I played around with it, I could never quite seem to get it where I wanted and needed it to be. Overall, this was not a bad tea, it just did not quite do it for me.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Roasted nuts, Tannic, Toffee, Walnut, Wood
Another tea from the backlog that I am steadily making progress toward completely clearing, I finished a sample pouch of this oolong last week. This was the sort of tea that made me wonder what my specific gripe with so many flavored/scented oolongs has always been because, as scented oolongs go, this was great. It was the sort of tea with which I could not find anything to seriously fault.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted a vibrant, powerful jasmine aroma. After the rinse, the jasmine scent was still dominant, though I caught touches of cream, butter, daylily, and sugarcane as well. I could not find anything all that different on the nose with the first infusion. In the mouth, the liquor offered a light jasmine note backed by hints of cream and butter with a touch of vegetal character. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger impressions of jasmine, cream, and butter. The daylily and sugarcane appeared on the palate and new impressions of daylily shoots, lettuce, orchid, coriander, sweetgrass, spinach, seaweed, parsley, mineral, and vanilla joined the fray. I could also detect hints of honeydew, cantaloupe, and pear lurking around the fringes. The later infusions were smooth and mellow with a delicate jasmine character surprisingly remaining on several of them. Notes of daylily blossoms and shoots, sweetgrass, butter, parsley, coriander, sugarcane, and cream were still there too. Surprisingly, the mineral notes never really took charge, though there was a subtle minerality present throughout the last series of infusions.
One of the best scented oolongs I have tried to this point, this was an exceptional, interesting tea. It was a very pleasant drinking experience throughout and displayed admirable longevity, depth, and complexity. Definitely consider giving it a shot.
Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Parsley, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal
So, I woke up today thinking oolong.
I am just starting with the first steep and I have honeyed malt—a bit like honey black— against a floral backdrop. Interesting. Unusual. Nice.
Now, as much as I’d like to continue lounging around in my flannel pjs drinking tea on this massively foggy day, I am revving myself up to go participate in some movement. Part of my inspiration is that yesterday I left one of my travel mugs in my locker at the gym and I need it for my multiple steepings in the coming days. So I may as well go have a workout. You guys can be my witnesses as I get into motion. Getting up now….
Thank you, Crowkettle. A lovely entry into the selection you so generously shared with me.
The steeps will continue. Stay tuned.
Well, I drank this until the steeps gave up almost nothing. So, yay! Deliciousness!
And it’s a sip down! I’d happily order this one the next time What-Cha hears from me.
“Hot, flat lemondae.” Thank you Rasseru for letting me try this. For me, it was like sprite in tea form, but it stood out in its citrus -flower power combo. I like my oolongs citrusy and floral, and this served that purpose, and the florals stretched out in later steeps. It was doable gong fu, and western that bordered on grandpa style for late steeps of 6 minutes. I personally got orchids, honeysuckle, lemongrass, and hints of jasmine and violets in the florals, and tart and lush bergamot pervading in the body.
I will likely get another sample, or perhaps 50 more grams of this because I did enjoy it. The flat lemonade tendency may bug people, but I highly recommend this for a unique alternative to Earl Grey. Maybe I can whip up my own version of the Earl of Anxi with this? I honestly have to try it again to see what I would realistically rate it, but I do think that 85 is the minimum.
I meant to get this review up a couple days ago, but I have been swamped and kind of sick lately. As a result, I have had neither the time nor the motivation to post regularly. I know I mentioned it in my review of What-Cha’s Indonesia Toba Wangi ‘Needle’ Green Tea, but this was the other tea from the Toba Wangi green tea shootout I recently did. Unlike the other tea, this one was produced from Si Ji Chun, a cultivar of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis most popular in Taiwan where it is heavily associated with oolong production (four season oolongs, anyone?). I had seen this tea described as coming across almost like a Dancong, and I have to say that description is largely accurate. I greatly enjoyed this tea. As a matter of fact, this may have been the most unique green tea I have tried to this point in the year.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I normally do not rinse green teas, but since this tea had been in storage for some time and I had flash rinsed the other tea in the shootout, I flash rinsed this tea as well. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced interesting aromas of honey, pine, cedar, and roasted nuts. The rinse brought out malt, citrus, and flowers. The first infusion brought out a touch of straw on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate notes of honey, malt, grass, and straw balanced by hints of roasted nuts and fresh flowers. Subsequent infusions grew considerably more complex. Impressions of cream, butter, nectar, orange blossom, tangerine, oats, spinach, seaweed, tea flower, pomelo, gardenia, pine, cedar, lettuce, and minerals all appeared at one point or another. The later infusions offered a more pronounced mineral presence and mild notes of spinach, seaweed, pine, and cedar coupled with fleeting hints of cream, butter, and roasted nuts.
An incredibly complex and decidedly nontraditional green tea, this tea honestly had a lot in common with many greener oolongs. I do not think it would be a stretch to state that your enjoyment of it will likely depend upon your perceptions of such oolongs. Personally, I love Taiwanese four season oolongs, jade Tieguanyin, Wenshan baozhong, and some of the lighter Dancongs, so this tea was right up my alley. I would definitely recommend it highly to adventurous green tea drinkers and oolong fans alike.
Flavors: Butter, Cedar, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Blossom, Pine, Roasted nuts, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw