Zhao ZhouEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
A gracious sample that I enjoyed. Thank you so much Zhao Zhou!
The previous reviewer already nailed this one, especially with the Goji berry notes and Sheng like qualities. I only got four cups, and it was fairly flexible, but a little bitter like a sheng. I mostly got Autumn Leaves, forest floor, resin, and a little bit of fruitiness. I got the grape the company talks about in their description, and a little bit of birch and maple in the overall taste. It was personally kinda woodsy and brothy for me.
I liked this one more in the later steeps, but this was definitely a “Chill, bro” kind of tea. I liked it, and I still cannot say thank you enough for the company for putting this fine tea in the package all the way from Budapest. I’m totally going to this shop when I travel to Europe in the far, but hopefully not too far future.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fig, Forest Floor, Grapes, Maple, Resin, Wood
I expected a nuclear green floral and soapy Chou Chi before I bought it. Their description was upfront about the tea’s headiness: “Green dancong is one of our most fragrant teas. Due to the special drying process that involves both heating and cooling, the leaves can keep their original fragrance: orchid, lily, and lilac. This overwhelming flower bouquet, is accompanied by the scent of fresh green grass. The aftertaste is mild and buttery with some refreshing, vivid buzz.”
Again, their description and steeping methods were reliable as ever; but it was not overwhelming and soapy at all. It was subtle and refined like every tea, and immensely creamy. It was green, but again, creamy florals of orchid, lilac and lily dominated the tea without ever being astringent or bitter in the least. The lilac, and MAYBE vanilla notes reminded me more of a high grade Baozhong than a TieGuanYin like the other green dancongs I’ve had, which was so very welcomed.
It had some durability at seven steeps, so it was medium in strength. This is a good tea if you like things on the lighter end of oolongs, and definitely better than other green dancongs I’ve had.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Orchids
I thought that the Hongxin would be more roasted, but I was wrong; this one’s baking was much more distinct despite being lighter and greener. It was nutty and had a very similar macademia note that the Hongxin had, but this one was more abrupt in its change. Going with their recommendations, the tea did indeed start was sweet and floral, having some violet in its sweetness, that then became a little bit more bready. Then, it transitions into a sourdough texture with immense florals akin to orchid and something fainter then magnolia amidst a baked and ever nutty background. The transition was louder in the aroma as well. The tea did not settle down until it’s 10th and 11th steep.
The overall notes are things you’d expect from a Tie Guan Yin, but the combo was not. I actually liked it, and it woke me up more than the Hongxin did. I would want to see what some one else thinks of this one. I think it’s more suited for intermediate drinkers, but there are some tea snobs that could take out more from this than I can. Cheers for surprises.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Flowers, Green, Nuts, Pleasantly Sour, Toast
I have not had a Tie Guan Yin that’s impressed for a while. The medium roasted Tie Guan Yin’s used to be my favorite, starting with Rishi’s version of the tea. It was like drinking liquid graham crackers. Since then, Tie Guan Yins have been two dimensional; they are either vegetal, nuclearly floral, or plain toasty. When I read the description for this one and the Yesheng, however, I got a sense of renewed hope.
Surprisingly, this tea was one of my top five of the sampler. Immensely nutty like almond, cashew, and hazelnut, this one was a little bit more complex than I anticipated. The first few steeps were indeed “coffee-like” with the same kind of toffee finish you get in some coffees with creamer or savory like the graham cracker note I imagine, but immensely nutty while slightly floral. The middle brews shifted to something that reminded me of macademia, while the overall tea maintained its baked character. Later steeps were indeed vegetal and floral like a greener tieguanyin, but still ever so slightly baked.
I got ten cups out of this one, and I was impressed with it. I’d be interested to see people with a more straightforward vocabulary break it down to what this tea is, and I’d also be interested in what someone who is more tacit or even flareful might describe it. This was an interesting tea overall.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Coffee, Floral, Graham Cracker, Hazelnut, Nuts, Smooth
This one was much more traditional Milan Xiang, but it was still impressive. Unlike the other dancongs from the sampler, this one was dominated by honey, lychee, orchids, and a few other florals that I have yet to name. The texture and aroma were also of course creamy and nectar like. There was some mango, but not as much as the wudong. This one was a little darker than the wudong, but barely so. I did not taste too much toast or baking. I got some hints that resembled cooked peaches or grapefruit, but nothing close to char. Yes, it was a little bit nutty too, but in the hints and aroma during the middle brews. Although my description is relatively simple, the tea had some flux of notes going through and a long lasting durability since I got about ten brews out of it Gong Fu style with the 3-3-5-7 second increment rule.
Again, I hope that I’m doing the tea justice. If you’ve had Milan, you know what to expect. It’s an easy drinker that I’d recommend newer drinkers trying once in their life, and I think more intermediate drinkers would appreciate the lychee notes. I liked the wudong a little more, but I’d personally drink this one more often because it is a little bit less finicky. It gives you a balanced cuppa, even sippa’ either way. I might get this one again because I feel like I’m missing something….We’ll have to wait until the next tea addict writes about this, I guess.
Flavors: Almond, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Nuts, Orchid, Peach, Wood
I feel unoriginal in using the company’s description, but they nailed it: “An especially fragrant tea with notes of acacia , orange and almonds. It has a characteristic taste of citrus fruits with a hint of hazelnut and a slight, refreshing sourness. The aftertaste is quite long, round and creamy, the chaqi is deep and energising.” I was also surprised by how many yellow green leaves there were in the mix. I’ve had wudongs and Da Wu Yi’s with the weird green-yellow-orange-leaves, but they did not accent the pile the ways these did. And unlike other Wudongs, the fruit notes were more prominent for me. Following their exact guidelines for how to brew it, Guava was the biggest note I tasted, then orange and mango in the middle brews, and vague lychee toward the end. The acacia was always there, and the tea was definitely nutty, but it was very fresh rather than roasted. It was more on the creamy and fruity ends of oolongs overall, and although it might seem on the more green end of oolong, it was not vegetal in the least.
It’s a given that I loved this tea, and I personally did not have one favorite over the other in this sampler. The notes reminded me of summer, but you could drink this tea fine any season. I recommend this one if you are looking for an especially fruity and bright dancong.
Flavors: Almond, Citrus, Creamy, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Green Wood, Guava, Hazelnut, Mango, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Tropical, Wood
If you know what a high quality Shui Xian tastes like, then you know what to expect when you buy this one:toasty goodiness with subtle notes that you almost call floral, but you don’t care because it is one of the few types of teas that naturally resembles coffee with a lot of creamer. That’s my opinion, and I’m proudly biased to that description.
Anyway, I drank this exactly as instructed, and was pleased that this tea had some Cha Qi like they described. I felt productive after drinking it, but I had no jitters going into the final eighth cup of this. As for the flavor, it was primarily nutty like almond and roasted nuts, followed by a caramelized body in the aftertaste that was not too far off from coffee. The florals reminded me a little bit like narcissus, and as the steeps got rebrewed, the tea got some fruity hints. This tea was not actually fruity, but it got sweeter in the later hints. The tea was also moderately woodsy and vegetal (barely so), but more roasted and floral overall. Nuts, butter, caramel, toast, wood, orchid, rye, and some “sourness” and smoke that the company describes are the descriptors I’m going to stick with. I’m recommending this tea, and really, any tea from this company either way.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Coffee, Nuts, Orchid, Roasted, Rye, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Toast
The next few teas are going to be a bunch of backlogs from this sampler, and the Song Zhong sampler I had from Harney and Sons.
Every tea has been great from Zhao Zhou. This one was one of my favorites. It had the usual notes of a slightly toastier Dan Cong and the usual fruity peach notes and floral orchid ones, but it was a little bit deeper overall. The roast blended effortlessly with the stone fruit ones in a mineral textured complexity. I followed the instructions as they listed, and it occasionally had a cassia spiciness from the roast. I occasionally got something similar to plum or grapefruit, but every once in a while, I got something a little bit more tropical like passionfruit. I wish I wrote the notes at the time to accurately describe the fruits, because whereas the other dancongs were more akin to lychee and mango, this one was a little bit more robust and “red” in fruits. It was as viscous and creamy as the others, but more complex with its toasty accents. I’m half tempted to get more of this one in particular, although all the Dancongs Zhao Zhou offers are great in their own right.
I hope this note does this tea service. Overall, this tea had a great balance between its fiery toast notes and its fruity and floral ones. It also had a decent amount of longevity for nine good brews gong fu as the company recommended.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Orchids, Passion Fruit, Roasted, Sweet, Toast
Soo good. I followed their 3-5-7 approach with 150 ml, and it worked beautifully. Dried plums, roast, vanilla, and smoke in the dryeaf, and fresh plums, rock sugar, roasty hints, and vanilla hints in the aftertaste. The liqours color was amber, but with a purple tint. The tea was immensely sweet, and it gave me a bit of a buzz. The same notes permeated the later ones, bringing out more florals like orchid and fiery charcoal in the aftertaste. The fourth began with plums and rock sugar again, then a zingy blackberry note, and then the tea hit the roof of my mouth: smoke and fire. It was not ashy, but it was so sweet and smooth. The Cha Qi made my arms and legs purr. Later steeps brought a little bit of grapefruit, but plum, blackberry, and currant later on permeated it overall. I wish there was more of this one because it had so much complexity. I highly recommend it for roasted tea drinkers looking for some nuance in short flash steeps…or people with taste buds, because it’s good.
Flavors: Black Currant, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Fireplace, Floral, Orchid, Plum, Roasted, Smoke, Vanilla, Wet Rocks, Wood
Thank you so much for adding this sample from my request!
This Dan Cong is good. I followed the Gong Fu style they suggested fairly strictly, and started off with a 3 second rinse, and followed through with a 3-5-5-7-8-9-12-12 pattern.
The dryleaf reminded me of incense. It was woody like dragons blood or sandelwood, but it was unpronounced like bamboo. The tea still had that ripe peach aroma that Mi Lan’s usually have.
Drinking it was interesting. First steep had notes of hibiscus and passionfruit, and it was a little bit woodsy. The flavor was still ripe, almost like a good quality sheng.
The following one had the same notes, but more texture. It was creamy and sweet like guava, and the wood note, maybe almond, was a little bit more pronounced mid sip. Mild astringency came through.
Third (fourth if you include the rinse which I TOTALLY drank) yielded guava, hibiscus, pollen, almond, and then a weird pineapple note in the finish. I usually don’t get that, but it was sweet and sour.
The next one had more dimension. Peach became the flavor this time with a woodsy peach seed in the background, and a little bit more nutty. The texture was more creamy, and ended with a mineral hint in mouth feel. The bitterness came through a little bit, and again was pleasant.
The next one went back to hibiscus, peach, guava, mineral, and slight bitterness.
The second to last one was surprisingly sweet-grapefruit, mineral, honey, and some things that almost reminded me of candy, or the salty rim of margarita.
The final brew was floral, a little bit bitter, creamy, and fruity.
Again, the company’s description was accurate, though it was not as nutty as I would personally describe it since the fruit notes were a little bit more dominant in flavor. Nutty notes were a little bit more in the aftertaste, aroma, and texture. I was very pleased with this tea overall, but I would say it’s the kind of tea you need to devote a session to. It does require some effort in how you brew it because it can get a little bit sour, but it’s very pleasing. I recommend a try of this one if you know anything about Dan Congs. It’s a little expensive for me personally, but I am glad I got to try it.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Guava, Hibiscus, Mineral, Nuts, Smooth, Sour, Wood
I am backlogging backwards, and divided this one up in 2.5 grams increments. Gong fu would totally work well for this one, but I am not sure if I would get too much of a difference. I brewed this in a strainer in my mug for three minutes, four, and five each time.
Cocoa was definitely in the aroma with the usual autumn leaf pile warmth, but chestnut and bread were dominant in smell and taste dryleaf and after brewing it. Again, the company’s description represents it well: “Its Bouquet-like character combined with the freshness of a green tea makes a lovely tea-experience. The usual taste of bread and chestnut is now supplemented with a smild citrus flavour.” And man, was it buttery and bready in flavor, and thick in texture. Malt were one of my notes since I brewed it so long. It was very similar to a Darjeeling black, but since I’ve had a few of these oolongs before, it tastes like any Nepal oolong-i.e. excellent.
I don’t have much more to say than that, and I wish I could have gotten a little bit more to experiment with it Gong Fu. I was still very pleased and I definitely recommend this tea. It is a little bit more of a snobs tea (looking at you Darjeeling and Nepal Lovers), but I do think it is approachable for a new drinker.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Chestnut, Citrus, Cocoa, Floral, Malt
I was looking for samplers online to splurge on, and Zhao Zhou had one of the best assortment of oolongs I’ve yet seen. The selection had four different Dan Congs, a Mei Zhan, a Himalayan varietal, and more. This was the only Taiwan based tea they had in it, but still, all of the teas were a few of my favorites, especially this one.
The packaging of the sampler was gorgeous. The inside was decorated with leaves and branches, and the packaging came with a surrealist anthropomorphic dear. The offerings were excellent.
This was not the first one I tried nor is it the last one that I am back logging, but I gotta say that I am impressed with this oolong. The companies description of depth and a vanilla hint is apt. This tea was by no means vegetal, but was predominantly buttery and creamy with a few floral fluxes.
I doad wish I adhered to the companies instructions to the letter for Gong Fu brewing, I am pleased with the results in western style. Instead of doing 3-3-5-7 secs, I did that method in minutes while using 5 grams, 12 oz of hot water (190 F), and nearly 2 minutes and forty five seconds at first. I was able to get five solid cups, and I am trying to rebrew the sixth this morning.
I did rinse the tea before drinking it western. The rinse gave me vaguely floral impressions, so that was when I committed to the way I brewed it. The first cup was subtle, but in no means lacking in flavor or aroma. Hyacinth, butter, lilac, and vanilla permeated from my mug, and sipping it, the liquor soaked my tongue like cream and ended in my sinuses with a desert-like vanilla quality. It was a touch nutty, but I could not put my finger on it yet. The aftertaste was sweet nevertheless.
Steep two at three minutes, macademia immediately came to mind with the same vanilla notes the previous one had. Shan Lin XI’s usually aren’t this milky for me, but I am not complaining about this change of pace. These sips ended with a honeysuckle note, and a honey hint without being overly sweet. It was still as subtle as it had been.
Steep three had much of the same macademia and honeysuckle notes, but the lilac become the predominant flavor that was ended with an almost pineapple like finish. The fruitiness was faint, but it was there. I personally would not call this tea fruity, though, because it was more like a milky confectionery. More fruity notes appeared when the tea was cooled down, however. When my cup chilled to a winter temperature near fifty degrees, I sipped it and got a honeydew like flavor. Florals were still there, and it was sweeter.
Steep four brought out more lilac, mineral, butter, and vanilla hints. It was becoming a little bit more green. Steep five yielded more green notes and a little bit astringency. Some apple notes hinted their way through. Steep six is in progress this morning. I’m probably going to soak it for ten minutes if I haven’t exhausted these stemy bad boys too much.
Now that steep six is finished, it is greener. Taste and texture are creamy as ever, but thinner. Flavor is also vaguely milky, but a little bit floral like osmanthus. There is a little bit of a eucalyptus of spruce feeling in the end that is very faint. It could just be my tongue’s reaction to the mineral and floral notes.
Thus far, this Shan Lin Xi impressed me for its macademia notes and its lack of extreme vegetal notes. The vanilla note was also one of the best aspects of it overall. I could drink this with little issue, and it was complex despite being brewed western style. The overall price was not too bad for it either. It would have been priced at 49 Euros for 150 grams, which is pricey, but reasonable. This particular batch is out of stock since it was 2017 in season, but they do have the 2018 for the same price. The description of that one is a little different, but it still sounds excellent. I highly recommend this company for tea snobs.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Green, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
This fellow is special indeed in so many ways. First of all its leaves are quite huge and to make it clear this fellow wasn’t pressed it was a loose leave aged Sheng. Normally I am not really into wet stored stuff because it tend to scent and taste like basement mold. There is definitely a certain major aspect of this part within this very aged buddy too but in a different way. Scent-wise there is a main bouquet of beetroot stored in a more or less wet old basement but there is also a layer of from fresh fallen rain soaked up old wood. It transformed itself more into a TCM herbal structure than one of a Pu-erh – don’t get me wrong I am sure many would say this type of scent and taste as very typical aged considering its date because at that time nearly everything was stored more or less wet. But I am focusing always on the origin of its nature. What I mean is if you store a Pu-erh perfectly over many decades it definitely tend to transform more into something herbal dark-ish within its composition but it also should keep many aspects of its original form and formula. BUT even if this isn’t the case here it’s for sure a fantastic and unique example and experience because you also need to respect and discover the old way Pu was treated and processed to totally understand Pu-erh from its roots to its way of manufacturing over time and today.
Taste-wise this nearly dark red liquor express itself in a more or less similar way as its bouquet did. Its texture is very silky creamy with a certain herbal spiciness to it. The actual nuances as mentioned are a majorly slightly sweet beetroot with a certain basement feel to it and a woodsy wet composition while soaked up with fresh fallen rain. The actual sensation isn’t in fact a complex tasting profile or a long aftertaste it’s more what it does to you! The effect of this fellow is weird and so so typical when it comes to aged fellows with a certain funk to it! Those buddies never visits you without a certain type of hangover. I read within a scientific article once how much a Pu in fact contains. This was quite fascinating! Especially when it comes to Shou and really old wet aged stuff which is quite in a similar field when it comes to a huge amount of microorganism, bacteria, fungus and enzymes. They tested a bunch of old cakes within a lab and found out that there are around 40 different types of fungi within a cake and even more astonishing some of that stuff was to believed to be not existing anymore since thousands over thousands of years. This buddy first and foremost makes you tea drunk with the first sip especially if you are sensitive to it. It has an instant major impact on your whole functioning system of your head. I got a bit of headache but also a certain burning tingling feel along every corner and path of my whole sinuses system. You can feel it within you whole head back to your neck like an electrifying feeling but after a while the relaxation blends in and the whole drunken condition turns into a warming chill mode. This was definitely a special experience!
This is definitely freaking medicine! It taste and scents so completely different than everything I ever experienced before. Scent wise within its dry stage there is a small hint of a Sheng Puerh flair. Within its steaming wet phase your are going to notice a known White Tea scent but also something very herbal citrus like-ish. Taste wise you can feel this herbal medicine spiciness taking over every possible sensing, tasting or scenting functions of your body. Every cell even the smallest ones are effected and under control. This spiciness is cooling your mouth and throat region instantly without hesitating any second. There is no time to rethink or think at all – Everything is now and now is everything! This tea really gets you were you wouldn’t believe it could reach. It equips you with wings but keeps you on the ground at the same moment.
Getting deeper and deeper with this elegant precious tea you will discover more and more of it. In fact after a couple of cups I finally found the best description I could possible hand you over TCM meets Jassid bitten Tea! In this case the itemized formula sounds like this chrysanthemum flowers, Goji berries, dried Chinese red dates, Licorice root, Ginseng, Longan plus a fine cane sugar taste connected with this floral but more exotic fruity taste of an Oriental Beauty jassid bitten tea. Within this fruitiness there is an excellent fusion of passion fruit, a fine layer of sweet orange followed by a hint of lychee plus a fine citrus-hint. This is definitely a warming tea. Highly recommendable!
Instead of yixing pot this time I used a simple celadon-glazed gaiwan so that the tea has more space and can express its fragrance better, and also because this puer is rather on the younger side, in which case I seldom use pots.
Short infusions first about 3-4 sec, later 5-10. Temperature rises from 85 to 90.
3-4 sec: there’s a remarkable — rather unique when talking about puers — fiery scent that almost hits me right after infusing the leaves. It also appears in the taste, and remains through the first 4-5infusions. Besides this fiery aroma, the tea is quite smooth, and deep. Despite the two, hardly compatible features, the tea is well-balanced, and has a beautiful calmed ambiance.
Let’s see what lies beyond the taste. In the first infusion I was mainly occupied by this fascinating ember flavour, but when I moved on to the second one I noticed a major heating effect. Looking out the window to the cool, rain-soaked city I knew it’s the very best tea for the moment. This strong warmness protects from catching cool and gives a cosy feeling. A deep elated chaqi appears as well, and flows through slowly in the whole body.
Later — from around the 4th infusion (5-8 sec) — the tea gets smoother.
As the fiery notes fade, the tea’s main structure appears. Deep, milder ‘puerish’ taste with a lightsome woody (still bit smoky) scent.
All in all it’s a great, unique puer that I definitely do recommend!
Flavors: Fireplace, Smoke, Smoked, Whiskey
Used a small yixing teapot reserved for dark oolongs. Short infusions first about 3-4 sec, later 5-10.
3-4 sec: Starts with mild, creamy sweetness and flowery smells — pretty lightsome tea.
Later on (around 3-4 infusions, 5-8 sec) it gets stronger, fiery chaqi appears. However, its delicacy remains. Rich both in fragrance and flavour. Still round and creamy; almost like silk it fills the whole mouth. Extreme complexity, real rock-tea.
A truly one of a kind tea, I definitely recommend:
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cacao, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Flowers, Wet Wood
Jingmai by zhao Zhou tea review.
Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha
Dry leaf: fruity, musty.
Wet leaf: fruity, musty, spices.
Light steep: I taste/smell; slight honey. light —→ grass, metallic (unknown), sweet.
Medium steep, I taste/smell; slight spices. Light —> honey, grass, sweet, metallic (unknown).
Heavy steep: I taste/smell; light —> spices, honey. Strong -→ grass, metallic (silver? Iron?), sweet.
All in all an awesome tea. Great taste, aroma and cha qi. A tad bit plain so I rate a 98.
Many hanks to zhao Zhou teas for this lovely sample.
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Honey, Metallic, Musty, Spices, Sweet