910 Tasting Notes
This originally struck me as my second favorite of Teaful’s Chapter 4 box for it’s dinstinctly sweet honey flavor before I figured out how I like the Shan Lin Xi Black. It pretty much tastes like a black version of most Jin Xuans you might have had with a Gui Fei’s honeybun floral character. For those of you who have read some of my previous notes, this tea is very dang similar to the Vietnam Red Buffalo with a black tea’s malt and a slight herb quality in the very later steeps. Those new to Taiwaneese would see this as a standard tasting black tea with a sweet edge, and may get a fruity impression. Snobs would appreciate it as an enduring one that flexes a little bit of lemon and violet in the notes as Teaful Describes.
The tea does not differ too much Western or Gong fu so far because it’s honeyed flavor remains the same. Western 3 minutes is thickens it a little more at once, but Gong fu spreads out the flavor in viscous coats. Again, Honeybuns is how I would prefer to describe it albeit with a malty black tea background. I got the violets more in steeps 2, 3, and 5 gong fu while I get the herby sage in the very last three steeps out of seven after four minutes. I do not know if it is doable grandpa with less leaves yet, and although I do not think it will hold up well, the tea has very little bitterness and astringency making it more versatile than your usual black.
I do want to see more opinions on this one, and as much as I like it, there are a few other teas that are comparable to this one at occasionally cheaper prices. The $5.99 per 25 grams is a little steep, but closer to average for what I have seen for this type of tea. I probably won’t order it again but I definitely cannot say “No” if I am offered it again, and I think that everyone exploring Taiwaneese tea should try this kind of black at least once in their lifetime.
I slowly grew to love this one. A black Shan Lin Xi or ANY black version of an oolong was a knee-jerk YES for me, so the tea made Chapter 4 all the more appealing. I was underwhelmed, however, the first time western.
It was a good black, and for those who live by Taiwaneese Teas, the taste and aroma is like a cross between a #18 Ruby Assam and a Shan Lin XI’s crisp florals. I got three solid cups western using 3 minute steep time, but they all generally tasted like the drying plum malt you get in any other Assam, save for a minty aftertaste.
Gong Fu was were this tea really shined, sweetening the fruity and herbal mint notes even more. The second steep was the sweetest after 40 seconds, though the 15 minute rinse and 30 min. first steep were excellent. Purple and red plum is the best descriptor for the fruit, but blackberry and grape are not far off. The minty aftertaste was mega pronounced in steep three, transforming into more subdued tulsi and blackberry leaf in the later steeps. Steeps 7 and 8 were faint but flavorful like a hipster homemade jam, and timed out at 5 and 7 minutes in the end.
I know it’s not really original to use the company’s notes, but Teaful’s are very spot on. It is more fruity than cocoay compared to other blacks, but I could argue a case for some cocoa notes amidst the soft malt of the black tea. Plum, even sugar, and mint supersede it overall.
While it is a solid tea Western, I recommend this tea to soft black tea lovers and I especially recommend those getting into Gong Fu styling of tea to try it out with this one. It does decently with sugar, though I prefer the tea simple and straight. I do not know if I would recommend cream because it is a softer tea. I see it being flexible, but if you want it with sugar and cream, go for it strong and for yourself.
The terroir is also something that makes the tea all the more welcoming, and the price is a little high for this one, but it is worth it for the rarity and quality. I’m tempted to pick up more of this one, or at least something with the kind of profile this tea offers.
Flavors: Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Herbs, Jam, Malt, Mint, Plums, Sugar, Sweet
I know it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, but here are the new tea developments in the past few weeks. I got the Chapter 4 Box Set with the Teaful mug and have thoroughly enjoyed every sample. This tea is hands down my favorite out of all the samples, and if it were sold in higher quantities, I would definitely consider getting more.
Unfortunately, I plowed through the 20 grams I had of it, so I won’t detail every accent of the tastes and mouthfeels, but I will give broad strokes of how the tea went with the more pronounced details I remember. I can specify that I went with 5 grams in the Teaful Infuser Mug western both starting off with 3 minutes and 4.5, then prolonging each steep later on. Ex.: 3.5 minutes, 4.5 min, 6 min, 7.5, and 8. 4-5 steeps was the average western. Gong Fu made me lose count how many steeps I got because there were so many. I started off with a 15 sec rinse, 5 grams in 6 oz, and it was intensely sweet and creamy, almost like a sweet pudding. Consecutive steeps were 35 seconds, 45 seconds , 40 seconds, 60 seconds, and then longer and longer steeps later on.
Specific aspects stood out strongly, however, whereas the other notes were things you would expect out of a Li Shan Oolong. The brown sugar notes that Teaful describes are immensely pronounced no matter how brewed, making this one of the sweetest Li Shans I’ve had to date. Cream, Spinach, Magnolia, Rice Malt, Oak, Brown Sugar all precisely apply Western or Gong Fu. The western brews were much earthier with that spinach green quality, but the earthy notes were fresh and blended with the softening florals and dainty sweetness. Gong Fu was considerably sweeter and more floral to the point of sugaryness, but the spinachy aspects and rice malt show up early mid session and continue in the late session. The very last brew Gong Fu tasted like a fully developed Tsui Yu Jade Oolong with the Li Shan florals highlighting the background.
This tea is close to being one of my favorites, and as powerful as the earthy and brown sugar notes sound, the tea was more sophisticated yet viscous. In short, the perfect combo between suave and full bodied. I highly recommend this tea and Teaful’s company in general. I can see more experienced drinkers really enjoying this, and it is a very easy drinker for those just getting into straight teas because it is so naturally sweet. I should add that the more vegetal aspects are soft and not as harsh as they could be making me like this one even more.The pricing is actually solid at about $5.99 and cheaper that their Ali Shan, but that price is for 20 grams. That makes it 29.95 without shipping for 100 grams, which isn’t bad, but considering that higher grammage is recommended for the tea, it does make this tea a little pricier although you are paying for good quality.
I would almost rate this a 97 or a 98 because of its pronounced sweetness, its great balance of contrasting notes, its brewing versatility, and its very complete profile. I would not be surprised if it is doable Grandpa Style. The quantity is the only thing that really deters me from rating the tea higher than a 96, but that is because of me comparing it to the other Li Shan’s I have in terms of price. It also blows the other samples out of the water in my biased opinion, so I highly recommend a try of this oolong.
I swear I finished half of my bag of this. I got this tea impatiently because I needed some Li Shan in my life again.
This one is on the lighter, crisper side of Lishans, but the profile is generally sweet, fresh, floral, and fruity. I tend to do this one Gong Fu, going heavier on the leaf for 4-7 grams for 6 oz and Tumbler Grandpa styling it with 3 grams. I prefer lighter temperatures for it personally, but it can handle near boiling temperatures with a heftier amount of leaves. I have yet to succeed brewing this western, but I’ll figure out a method yet.
The lightness of the green oolong is akin to washing fresh spinach or morning dew on green blades of grass in the mountains. I could simply use the word fresh again, but I like to paint little pretentious pictures anyway. I generally prefer a rinse for this leaves because the first cup can be generally water chestnutt-y or grassy, but the rinse is drinkable. The second cups always blooms with delicate flowers and powdery sugar notes from the smell. It vaguely resembles the middle range of the air in the Kualoa mountain’s tropical forests. I know, it really resembles the air in Taiwan, but just think tropical mountains covered in rain and luscious greenery.
Shorter steeps of 15 or even 30 seconds early on were grassy/mistier, and later longer steeps were more citrusy and nectar like. The profiles shift and become sweeter in later longer infusions of four minutes gong fu in steeps five or six (my average is 8 cups gong fuwith this bugger). Tasting it, the profile is pleasantly grassy, and very floral notes that are a little bit more like pinneapple for me personally. Passionfruit is much more precise. The fruity notes resemble clementine moreso in later steeps as it becomes sweeter, softer, yet fuller bodied. Plumeria and hibiscus come to mind for me over and over, moreso sweet hibiscus with a plumeria’s creaminess. Lilac is a given, but the florals are accented most by the fruity notes. Mom noticed jasmine, though I might scrap the florals to these few words: Jasmine or orange blossom, osmanthus mid to later steeps, and the usual honeysuckle. Every once in a while, a snickerdoodle notes pops up with the sugar cane, but the honey notes are vaguer for me as they are a collection of the fruity, floral, and sweeter notes overall.
As many cups and as much ceremony Gong Fu brought me, I preferred the taste in my Tumbler a little more because the creamy florals and sugary fruit notes were better highlighted in it. This is why I need to figure out a way to make this western because it probably can handle it, and I can maybe save more leaves.
I’m sorry that I am now just getting to the recommendation, but I recommend this tea as a solid Li Shan with fresher rain water qualities you might pick up with other, more expensive oolongs. The price for this is still hefty, even with a discount ($40 for 150 g and a tin), it is still worth it as a good tea. If only this were sold in smaller quantities…though I am glad that I have this much.
As much as I slightly prefer What-Cha’s Li Shan (WHY DIDN’T I SAVE UP MORE FOR IT!!!!), this was an excellent soft tea worthy of its price. I also love Berylleb as a Tea Vendor and I am so happy to have the tin this came in. For now, I am a happy Daylon.
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Passion Fruits, Spinach, Sweet
A way far back backlog because…I finished the sample in four days. I never had the chance to gong fu it. I brewed it 3 minutes almost every time in my French press with one exception of a near grandpa style steeping. Let’s see if I can do this tea justice from memory.
Alistair described this tea as setting itself apart from Darjeelings as a lot of Nepal teas have very similar profiles. The tendency to compare the two regions makes sense because they both come from the Himalayas, and I find myself putting them in the same category in my head. Now, I am glad to say that I’ve slowly started to prefer the Nepalese blacks, and I definitely prefer their oolongs over the few that I have had from India. Even though the market is expanding their and vendors like Alistair hopes to expose more people to Nepalese teas, I still like the teas for themselves.
What sets this one apart is it’s slight grapiness combined with the rich medium milk to dark chocolate taste that keeps on popping up. It’s very grapey and with a fair amount of malt, but I would not describe it as muscatel. The first initial sips are somewhat dry, but the following notes are rich and almost lavish ending in a slight roast drying it off. The roast was vaguely nutty, but definitely woody for me, and the grapey sweetness was almost comparable to a Chinese or Taiwaneese Honey Black tea, but the most prominent tastes of this tea were malt, chocolate, grape, light roast, and well tea. The general profile was consistent with pretty much all steeps western, though the sweet note was a little more pronounced in the second to last brews of the four or five I would get each time. The chocolate profile was more prominent in steeps 2, and 3, though two occasions of the four I had this tea had strong chocolate notes in steep 1. I unfortunately brewed ad hoc and by color, smell, and an internal clock that I can’t remember the parameters for, but generall, I added 30 seconds to a minute for stronger brews with less water and more leaves, or I incremented the minutes to 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 with less leaves and more water.
Although the grape notes and chocolate notes were layered on top of each other making this tea stand out from other elusive cocoa and chocolate note teas, the profile for the general person trying this would be a rich black tea. While tea snobs will love the chance to try the terroir for its unique contrasts of dryness and very wet sweet notes, intermediate drinkers, wine drinkers, or anyone who can handle dryer paletted things would appreciate this tea more. Average tea drinkers would appreciate it again as a rich black tea that is not as strong as an Assam, and it is good enough to stand up to cream and sugar. However; I’d go light on the additions to preserve more of the natural qualities of the tea, or use frothy cream or just a few dabs of it along with a moderate amount of sugar to handle the chocolaty notes.
I do not know how much anyone reading can gather from this, but I do recommend this to most people. It is very hardline medium to slightly soft on the grand scale of black teas and for those who like their teas like that with dash of complexity thrown in, this is your tea. And if it weren’t for the Wild Shan Cha, the financial situation of student teaching, and what I already have, I would have purchased fifty grams of this and recommend others to do the same. Was this review helpful?
Free sample in a sexy, sexy little black folder.
I am going to ramble about my tea journey with this one. I love Mao Fengs and fruity greens, but I rarely purchase them. I started off on steepster being a Sencha lover and someone thinking he’d love dark ripe Pu-Erh’s and oolongs. Now, I stay mostly in the comfort zone of greener oolongs, whites, and blacks….constantly complaining that some green oolongs aren’t sweet or fruity enough, never mind there are green teas that do just that.
I generally stay away from greens because they are often too vegetal for me, never mind they price slightly cheaper than oolongs. As for this tea, it makes me think of rain in bamboo filled mountains. The profile is light, creamy, vegetal like sweet peas, bamboo, a little floral, and fruity like honeydew and eating whole strawberries…including the stem. I know, I am odd. The tea is straightforward, but it very clean, elegant, and sweet tasting for a green tea sachet. I got four brews out of it total, starting with 2 1/2 minutes, 3, 4, then grandpa styling the last two. I still prefer oolongs to greens even though I think this is a better tea than the Alishan. WTF is wrong with me?
I originally expected this tea to be darker than it was, but after looking at the leaves closely and the other reviews on here, I decided I needed to try this one once. Western or Gong Fu, it was a good experience. This is closer to a greener Dan Cong, but the distinct violet taste displayed a unique character that I don’t see in many other teas.
I feel unoriginal in copying them, but the notes displayed pretty much describe it: Floral, creamy, clean, buttery, sweet like violet and accented by a nutty roast. The roast is more prominent Western and showed up later steeps Gong Fu, and the combination with the creamy florals made me think of steel cut oatmeal. The profile is fuller in Western starting at 3 minutes giving you at least three more solid rounds, while Gong Fu gives time to differentiate the tasting spectrum. The liqour is also lighter, giving more of a Gao Shan or Bao Zhong yellow hue as the leaves turn into a healthy light green kissed by purple. The overall tea is soft no matter what, and was approachable for my brother who does not care much for straight oolongs. He reused the French Press for seconds.
I cannot say that I’d make it a staple like I might with the Toba Wangi Baozhong, but it is a unique tea that I am very glad to have on hand. I would not say no to it if I were offered it again, and it is good enough for me to chose over some Dan Congs. The violet and creamy notes are very unusual in this very oolongy oolong, and they endure most cups when brewed. It is better offered to an intermediate drinker of oolong or those looking to expand their terroir, although the soft profile makes it very easy to drink.
I’d rate it between 80-90. The quality is great for the price, and the tea is unique enough to stand out on its own. As for those who have tried it, I’d love to see your thoughts on it.
Thank you Steven Smith for the sample!
If I was smart, I would have tin refilled this instead of the oolong, BUT I am always in the mood for oolong and would not drink this 2nd flush every day. I would drink it every other day.
“Complex flavors of butter, nuts, flowers and fruits with balanced astringency and a sweet toasty finish” is fairly spot on, but it is a fairly muscatel second flush-just the way I like it. I admit that I oversteeped the first brew because I held the tea pot while talking to my mom, but it still produced a rich, vibrant orange cup of sweet muscatel goodness. The grassy bitterness and astringency were a bit much bordering on hay,straw, or even basil, but it the tea was still super tasty. I got more almond in the early mid sip, and more honey in the mid to aftertaste as it went down with the hay-dry bitterness.
The second 5 minute rebrew was much more balanced and definitely comparable to a Bai Hao with it’s honey aftertones. The almond-lemon taste was much more pronounced, and the florals were fairly buttery. Overall, this was a very smooth and sweet cup. The third seven minute rebrew was the lightest, but again, had the lemon zest honey thing going on with some dry characters still there.
I am tempted to pick up more of this one. It ranks as my No. 1 sachet black tea as of now, Aug. 6, 2017. As for those looking for a quality bagged Darjeeling or a slightly floral black tea, I highly recommend it. This tea is also fairly easy to recommend to experienced drinkers and newbies alike. The price is my only detractor personally, though the loose leaf pricing is not bad. $11-14 for 15 sachets is not ideal, but you are paying for quality.
Cardamon, Chocolate, Caramel, Cocoa, Lavender, Cardboard (Red Rooibos), Vanilla, Cream, Fig, Floral, Honey, Sweet pretty much describe it. I actually rather enjoy it for a herbal tea, especially a night time blend. It shines with rock sugar, or cream and sugar, and it is okay but drinkable straight. It is good enough for me to drink straight in a brew time in 3 minutes.
The cardamom is stronger that I expected, and as my brother said, it is kind of like turkish delight with a hint of lavender. Better yet, it’s like drinking Turkish cardamom coffee with Turkish delight in a watered down, slightly cardboardy form. Luckily, the lavender is not too strong because it could be too soapy. The cardamom could almost do that, but the cocoa nibs and shells prevent that from happening. Still pleasant. In terms of rating, it is between 75-80, and I lean towards 80 because I enjoy it. I would not highly recommend this one, but it is an easy going one if you want a desert herbal with rock sugar or cream and sugar. Honey is an otherwise overpowering sweetener for this particular blend.