878 Tasting Notes
After just letting it sit for a while….a honey note popped out, and a very crisp one at that. Finally. I also shared this with someone who has only had one oolong before…and his eyes lit up. There was a reason why I picked up so much of this one. It’s slowly becoming a keeper-which should not surprise anyone.
Sipdown. I gotta say most of the oolongs in this sampler were a little closer to black than oolong for me personally. Most of them were the way I prefer my blacks and half of them the way I prefer darker oolongs, but still, darker than I expected the sampler being.
Ending this one off, it was one of my favorites along with the Wild Orchid, the unroasted Yushan, and the other Japanese Oolong. I know that this tea was hit or miss for a lot of people, but I personally liked it because of how nutty and chocolaty it was in terms of its roast. It satisfied my coffee cravings for a few hours and paired surprisingly well with aged Gouda and buttery crackers producing some rosy and roasty results. I also found myself not wanting to grab a chocolate bar for a while.
I am glad that I can count this as a dark tea, and another I’ve finished off. Apparently, putting one two teas in your cabinet and drinking them both in a day is an effective way to sip down.
I tried all the new teas I got in the same day, and I am fairly happy with them. This was a must try sample I had to splurge on. It’s been a little bit since I’ve had a good light Bai Mu Dan, and the Elvish silver and green quality of the leaves sold me.
Glad I got a sample, and a generous one at that. The leaves were just as they looked in the picture, and they were fairly long with some being pretty big and fuzzy. Fuzzy silver is always a good sign.
I’ve tried it Gong Fu and Western, and I prefer western. Gong fu brought out the typical qualities of the variety with a soft mouth feel-the leaves were still fuzzy when I accidentally chewed a few. Notes were bound to a light flux of herbs, cucumber, peony, and a soft sweetness gong fu. Western at 2-3 minutes had the more pronounced lemon after taste that Alistair described, and the one I was looking for all the while being soft and almost creamy. I got four more cups that I could say the same with more of a light flux, and the liquid getting sweeter despite getting lighter and daintier with one more minute each time. I should also note that the last steep was Grandpa Style for 7 minutes, and it was not astringent whatsoever.
This tea is quality. It has all the right notes that you would expect from a white tea, but the basics of what makes a Bai Mu Dan good shine. It is also INCREDIBLY forgivable for the steeping, and I found it barely getting bitter when I accidentally stagnated the leaves. I can see this for regular grandpa as well, and the natural sweetness shines more in longer steeps, or at the 2-3 min recommendation.
I’m not sure if I’d buy it again and again because I’m desperate for some Li Shan, but I’d recommend it for light tea lovers and white tea lovers. I’m also rating it a 90 because it meets most of my targets for a tea: naturally sweet, complex enough to pay attention to, light enough to Grandpa Style it, flexible enough to drink every season (though Winter and Summer would be my picks: lemony florals= good for the sun or for a setting covered in snow), and set a price that competes with other companies for the same high quality. It might be harder to sell to some one newly experienced tea because it tastes like cucumber detox flower water, but the groovy detoxers might be the people to sell it to other than drinkers who know what they are looking for.
I have two cups left, and I need to finally decide if I want to sell a large amount of the tea I have…if it I can even sell it. Just upon first sip, yes, I would prefer to have this on my hand over large quantities. If only it was back in stock. I’ve been otherwise tempted to get some from Berylleb.
Now. Where can I get respectable resealable bags for a massive sale?
I mega loaded my Gaiwan with 5-6 grams of this and flash steeped starting with 15 sec and going forward. Heady, but smoothened out with more sugar cane notes that gradually rose later in the steeps, with the first steep being milky. I’ll do it western again, but I’ll probably finish of the last of it with the mega leafage. As much as I’ve complained about not having a Li Shan or a fruity Ali Shan as of late, I’ve found that the Four Seasons power gong fu have compared to some Ali Shans I’ve had in the past.
I got this as a one time thing I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. If would probably visit this tea house because of its glowing reviews online, but J-Tea’s website is lacking the care. I got my order labeled Dylon instead of my actual name which was clearly spelled out on the computer order. It came by quickly than the last one without tracking…never mind the email of the package says I can track it when I could not. So if you buy J-Tea International, expect good tea, high prices, and customer service that I do not applaud.
So the tea. The tea is arguably overpriced in some ways. However, LP was impressed enough to want his own 4 oz serving, and I am glad that I only paid for the two, with one oz of this and the other the darker Drunken Dragon. Oolong can also be expensive. Bourbon Barrels are expensive, and scenting tea takes time. Gaining profit in tea is also difficult.
The tradeoff? A combo that surprisingly works naturally. Sweet Bourbon whiskey in aroma and taste amidst a refreshing green oolong. The tea was also fairly easy to play with working Western at 2-3 minutes or Gong Fu starting with 15 sec with A LOT of leaves. I’m not sure if citric is the right way to describe the aftertaste as I get that more from the Bourbon than the oolong, but the oolong was floral and on the sweeter side. It reminded me more of a Four Seasons in terms of its florals and smooth texture, but don’t rely on my judgement for that. It is a scented tea after all.
This was a one time thing for an almost great tea. I may do business with J-Tea again if something amazing comes up, but that may be a long time away. I’d rate the taste a 90, but I’m not sure if its worth the same price again.
Thick, crisp, and incredibly green. Florals were there, but the greenery and grass notes were stronger with slightly fruitier ones in texture. In terms of specific notes, it reminded me of a granny smith apple in its sour crispness, or a greener mango. The florals were a little bit more vague for me. Those who are better with the language of flowers could do a better job. It kinda reminded me of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc white wine.
I prefer this one Gong Fu to Western to diffuse the mega green taste a little, though I need to try Western with less leaves. Western brings out a milkier texture whereas gong fu brought out the delicate florals. I started out with rinse and a 30 second beginning, 45 sec, and 50 improvising the rest of the steeps based on aroma. I looked for higher florals in the smell to brew up the cups.
As mush as I liked the tea for its crispness and the typical pineapple skin taste that I love from these oolongs, I found myself preferring What-Cha’s Li Shan, the Indonesia Bao Zhong, and the Jade Oolong. -Gasp-I know, I prefer a cheaper tea over a fickin’ Shan Lin Xi. This does have many of the notes that I enjoy of this varietal, but the thick grassy taste with the slightly sour (if that note is remotely accurate) is a little overwhelming for me. Shan Lin Xi’s used to be one of my all time favorites, but lately, I have not been enjoying them as much because many of them have just tasted like a slighlty more nuanced green tea. I don’t know if its because of the weather for the recent harvests or if its just my changing preferences, but I really have gravitated a little bit away from them.
With that nick-pickiness said, the crisp apple taste is awesome. I see this more as a summer tea despite the insanity of drinking it in 90 degree weather, or something in the winters as a reminder of coming spring. It’s oddly refreshing in its own right, and I would devote this tea to specific days when you want something green. Lovers of this varietal would be fairly happy with this along with green tea lovers, and I recommend this one to you. Know that it is GREEN.
I swear I added this one. Anyway.
This was my first Mei Shan. It is a good oolong tea and it delivers on some of the company’s promises, but not all of them. Spirit Tea pitches notes of butterscotch, orchid, and cream on their website, and lemon zest, clarified butter and plum on the bag. The thick floral and buttery border on spaghetti butter. The fruity lemon zest is there by default as the jade oolongs green aftertaste while plum is something I partially recognize. The tea has a plum’s tartness, but not so much in terms of sweetness. Orchid was the only floral I could have picked out on my own while the rest of it was plain sour, creamy, and buttery. Butterscotch-not really there.
Though this works gong fu, the texture was not as well developed as it was western. Gong fu produced more light florals and sour butteriness, whereas Western was creamier and slightly fruitier against my expectation for opposite. Even with care gong fu, less leaves was a better way to go to get more nuance as the leaves opened at a steady rate in the first three minutes.
I liked this tea, but I was not infatuated. It was stronger than What-Cha’s Mei Shan, but What-Cha’s Mei Shan was lighter balancing out the teas creamier and grassier tendencies more. I’m surprised I did not like this one more since it was a Qing Xin, but it could be just because of the season. Several Shan Lin Xi’s and Ali Shan’s of the same varietal have had an overwhelmingly buttery sour taste in general while lacking some the florals and fruity notes I like-and over and over again there have been mentions about 2015 and 2016 not being a good year for a lot of high mountain varieties. People who actually work with these teas, correct me if I am wrong.
I recommend a try of it or for someone looking for subtle nuances, but I do not recommend it to a newbie because of its grassy butter spaghetti taste or for the price of $19 for 1.5 ounces. I personally recommend Spirit Tea’s blacks and whites over the oolongs so far anyway. That might change in another season, or with another one of their oolongs.I think the tea deserves an 80 or above for quality, but I could have bought another tea of the same terroir for cheaper. I’m not confident how fair that assessment is because I do like this company and did brew about thirteen sessions so far, but I could have bought a Li Shan or four ounces of a Coconut Flavored Baozhong for the same price. I’ll hold off on the rating though I’m leaning towards a 70.