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Flavors: Mineral, Wet Earth, Wet Wood, Wood
Dark dark green leaves, like blackened steamed spinach. Smooth and earthy tea, like wet leaves, wet oak. Beautiful saffron color, leaves kind of a mushroom wood taste in your mouth. I liked it, but I don’t know that I liked it enough to buy it again.
Flavors: Mushrooms, Oak wood, Wet Wood
Really enjoyed this tea! Almond, vegetal aroma; grassy, woody, floral taste. Didn’t taste banana at all. Reminded me of flower stalks. Light-bodied, very delightful experience. Brewed 5 times gongfu style as per the Yezi Tea page suggestion.
Flavors: Almond, Flowers, Green Wood, Vegetal
Smooth, baked bread, a bit of cocoa (especially in the nose) and malt, a touch of peach and kind of a Sauvignon Blanc tone. The fragrance is especially pleasant; it gives the impression of being quite rich though it is actually medium/light-bodied as blacks go. The first steep has the best flavor/personality.
Brewing this in my gaiwan the initial scent after a quick rinse surprised me. It smelled so much like banana. I mean like Now & Later banana, but in a very subtle way. The first tasting had a little of the same banana but was more reminiscent of dried papaya. It has an acidic quality that brings a brightness to the cup, and reminds me almost of the smell of a hair salon. All of this comes together nicely for a mellow, bright, sweet fragrant light tea. It is perfect for the finishing touch on a long day, which is exactly how I am using it now.
Flavors: banana, Fruity, Honey, Tropical
I am happy, why you might ask? Because SNOW! Yes it is gently snowing out right now, and it plans on snowing on Thursday as well, and this pleases me. To celebrate this snow I had Ben help me with a tea picture taking session, though I only really lasted for one steep since I am small, Southern and freeze easily. Ah, I do love the frigid snow and fantasize about the rugged north, but I will have to enjoy it from my pile of blankets on the other side of a window.
It’s Yancha time! Today I am taking a look at Yezi Tea’s Shui Xian Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea, and the name of this tea confuses me. I am not sure if it is a blend of varietals (Shui Xian and Da Hong Pao) or a Shui Xian made to be a Da Hong Pao, I dunno, and frankly I am getting tired of trying to navigate the convoluted naming conventions of teas. Don’t worry, my passion for tea and knowledge is not at all diminished, I just sometimes like to pay attention to the tea and have its stories be secondary. The aroma of the leaves is sweet, nice notes of cocoa, raisins, and dried cherries with char, dried wood, and a distant note of smoke. It balances sweetness and char really well I think, one does not overwhelm the other.
Into ye’ol Yancha pot the leaves go for a hot and short steep, and the aroma of the wet leaves is very rich and sweet, notes of raisins and cocoa mix with autumn leaf pile and char, the char notes do not overwhelm, this tea errs more on the sweet side. The liquid is very pale of color for a Yancha, but the aroma is intense, strong notes of cocoa, raisins, and rich honey, with underlying notes of dried cherry, loam, and char. The char notes are very mild and the sweetness shines.
The first steep is pleasantly smooth and sweet, well it starts smooth in the mouth and a touch creamy with sweet notes of cocoa and dried fruit, it them moves to a slight dryness with tobacco and orchid notes. At the finish is straight up sweet chocolate that lingers for quite a while, though there was a definite lack of char this steep, and only a slight hint of mineral.
The aroma of the second steep has a bit ore char, and some smoke as well, with notes of cocoa, raisins, baked squash, and sweet cream. There is also a ghost of orchid, but it smells more like an orchid tossed on a bonfire rather than a bouquet. Wow, the second steep is super sweet and creamy, very smooth in the mouth and thick too! Notes of chocolate and char with autumn leaf pile at the first remind me of s’mores, in fact blending with the sweet burnt sugar notes and baked yeasty notes, it kinda is like liquid s’more. The finish has a sweet and gentle note of orchid and dry autumn leaves, with a cocoa shell note that lingers for quite a while.
Third steeping time, wow, the aroma did a turn around on me, no longer notes of chocolate and char, it is all sweet creamy honeysuckle and orchids. The taste is a delicate and sweet blend of honey, molasses, honeysuckles, cream, chocolate, and loam. The finish and aftertaste is really where this tea is at, it is exactly like burnt marshmallows, complete with a touch of campfire! This is a delicious tea, usually I like my Yancha with enough char that you might mistake it for actual steeped bonfire (I think because my first Yancha was Shui Hsien by Sea Dyke, super cheap but super good, so it is iconic in my mind) but changing things up with a lighter Yancha is fun, plus it broadens my spectrum of tastes which is always a plus. So whatever this tea is, be it a DHP or a Shui Xian, who cares, it tastes really good!
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Flavors: Blood orange, Malt, Toast, Yeast
This is one of the most enjoyable oolongs I have had in a while. In fact I enjoyed it so much it sparked about an hour of browsing various other medium roasted type oolongs that I am now considering buying. I had been on a streak of trying oolongs that I didn’t really care for but this one has effectively ended it. It has a peach/apricot like fragrance that was released as soon as I put into my heated gaiwan. The flavor was deep and complex and for lack of a better word, juicy. I was planning on writing this while I drank it but it stole all of my attention. I got about 7 great steeps out of this.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Peach
From a Yezi sample. Yezi’s color coding system suggests this is a higher oxidation oolong, but the leaves are quite green in appearance. This is a good tea. After the first 15 second steep, I got notes of peach, apricot and butter. On the second 40 second steep, I picked up on the slight vegetal and grassy flavors that others mentioned, though it really is very subtle. That’s good because I dislike highly vegetal tea. It smells slightly floral, and it’s not roasted. In terms of taste, it is more similar in flavor to a darker Oriental Beauty style oolong than a green tea, which is good. I guess that probably suggests they’re telling the truth about the oxidation level. I like it a lot, but I find Yezi generally to be a bit overpriced for everyday drinkers.
Lasted for 3 gongfu steeps, but I pushed it to 4 with disappointing results.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Grass, Peach, Sweet, Vegetal
The inhalation of the steam off this tea is transportive to me. Gives new meaning to “high tea” … Has me wondering if the nose can actually taste, because it seems that way with this … pure, natural sweetness of meadow and orchid. I intend to try it before meditation some time soon.
The first steep was far too long due to a distraction yet still produced a delicious cup. Sweet, soft floral, just perfect. This is one of very few teas that I would move into a weekly rotation. Going to keep an eye on Yezi to see if they announce a sale. Meanwhile, if anyone is up for a trade, pm me ;)
I have never had a pearled/loose leaf Jasmine tea until I drank this tonight. That infrequency will soon change. This was an exquisite introduction to this style of tea and now has me on the Jasmine pearl bandwagon.
The scent upon opening the bag was heavenly. I was a bit concerned with the smell being overpowering in the taste but this was not an issue. The jasmine flavor is very delicate and balanced while the scent remains strong on the nose. I brewed this gong fu and was able to get 8 very consistently wonderful steeps. The flavor is never perfume driven. What else to say about this? I believe I mentioned the word heavenly and that is what I keep coming back to. I keep sticking my nose in empty vessels that this tea has recently vacated, bringing the lid of my gaiwan to nostrils in hopes of capturing the scent to access whenever I would wish.
I really want to order a large bag of this tea. It is now on my list to do so.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet
Bi Luo Chun is quite a delicate tea and I’ve often seen it recommended to be brewed with a top-putting method, that is placing the tea leaves into the vessel after you’ve already filled it with water. Perhaps this was my mistake, as I didn’t do that, but instead I tried to pour the water as gently around the edges of my gaiwan as possible so as not to damage these delicate curly green leaves. My first couple infusions of this tea were a bit on the bitter side, but my third infusion was really harmonious with notes of dew and honeysuckle interspersed with fresh grassy green flavor. There’s a good lingering sweetness, and the feeling this tea leaves in the mouth is very stimulating, a definite hui gan is there. The sensation that lingers in my mouth after drinking this is amazing, a clean, minty kind of tingle and sweet flavor.
I don’t feel the bitterness in this tea is an indication of poor quality. Rather it is simply not a very forgiving tea, and takes some skill to brew. Subsequent infusions of this tea were very sweet, mild, and full of flavor. Despite the clean, stimulating feeling on the sides and roof of the mouth, there’s a bit of drying sensation on the tongue.
Flavor-wise, this is one of the best green teas I’ve had. Getting the texture and mouthfeel to be as gentle as the flavors seems a bit of a challenge for me. Maybe if I had more than a sample amount to experiment with I could try using a lower temperature, a top-putting method, or less leaf. For now, I’ll just say this is an interesting green tea that is well worth trying.
EDIT: I tried what little I had left of this sample in a really small gaiwan and used a top-putting method, and it definitely made a much smoother first few infusions. The tea takes some finesse to brew properly, but if you can get it right, it’s rewarding. :)
Flavors: Grass, Honeysuckle, Sweet
Out of the bag this tea smells intensely of dark chocolate and malt. After the initial infusion in a small gongfu pot, the leaves have a cocoa scent with notes of hay and floral.
This first infusion has a really full dark-chocolate like taste with a lingering bitterness just like the chocolate. There are notes of floral as well, but the dark chocolate and malt tastes are the dominant ones. There are some woody notes as well. In terms of sweetness this is one of the less sweet red teas I’ve tried. It is bold.
The second infusion liquor smells like camphor, chocolate, and flowers. The taste is still quite bold with all three elements taking up part of the flavor as well. There’s a bit of apricot too. Further infusions yielded increasingly mild and clean tasting brews. Overall this tea has a bit of a kick to it, which is probably great for those who like their black tea to have bite. On the other hand, I like my black teas to have that little bit of zing but with some creamy or sweet undertones to help anchor it and make a more rounded infusion. This tea lacked those subtler qualities for me, and I found that doing a lighter brew to tone it down seemed to significantly decrease the flavor rather than just making it seem lighter. It seemed hard to avoid the tannic contributions in this tea without missing the flavors altogether. The quality of the tea was good but it falls outside the preferences of my palate. I might recommend it for people who like dark chocolate.
Flavors: Apricot, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Malt, Wood
This was a sample with my Yezi order. The oolongs I have had from Yezi have all been so nice and complex. I made it through have a session last night with this tea. It was silky and buttery, yet very light and floral. I will have to add more after tonight, but it was a very enjoyable tea. I would recommend this tea too someone who likes floral light oolongs.
Thanks so much for the awesome tea package, Stephanie! More teas to try! That will never end. :D I had to dive into this sample. I could tell even from the fragrance that there wasn’t as much jasmine as I love and prefer. Those Teavivre jasmine teas are tough to top in that department. I used the entire sample – 1 3/4 teaspoons. It didn’t seem to be overleafed at all. But the flavor is lovely and sweet — candy! I guess enough jasmine to drown out the light green flavor. But then the second steep! Just perfect. Much more jasmine, hints of the amazing green tea flavor peeking through while not being bitter. It tasted like it would be a perfect green tea even without the jasmine. I should have went for a third steep but it was late.
Steep #1 // 1 3/4 teaspoons // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 22 min a.b. // 2-3 min steep