1071 Tasting Notes
I received this as a 10-gram freebie with my order, thank you. I don’t know much about this tea beyond what was stated in an email. Made of autumn 2012 leaves, ‘pressed and sent source direct in the early days of the company’ and stored in Taiwan since. As of this review, it’s not listed on the website.
5g, 100mL, 205-212F, 10s rinse, 5/10/15/20/25/30/45/1m/1m15/1m30/2m
Dry leaf has a fragrant pu’er smell and looks and smells like it’s getting some age. Mostly dark brown leaves with some still light gold and beige needles, velvety and catches the light. A 10s rinse produced aromas or plum, smoke, tobacco, dark wood, resin, very warm scent.
The first steep zapped my tongue with something like sour plum. The sensation was similar to placing a 9V on the tongue. The taste was already thick with stonefruit, prune, butter?, cream, mineral with some sourness in the back, a tingling tongue and persistent aftertaste.
Second steep was similar but thicker with mushroom broth, some faint notes of thyme and fennel. I noticed my gums felt tingly, too, and my teeth felt like they were buzzing. The aroma of the leaves here transformed into bold apricot, tobacco and some smoke.
Third steep was quite herbal, with stonefruit, tobacco, leather, blackberry and faint non-cooling spearmint. Creaminess faded. Strong astringency noted. I noticed the aroma of the liquor here. The cha qi began kicking in mostly in my head, with a pressure felt in my eyebrows, sinuses and ears. It was very warming. These sensations subsided soon enough and I was left with a relaxed concentration that was suitable for nighttime studying.
Fourth and fifth steeps became lighter in flavor and texture with some bitterness showing up. Still very astringent, though. It felt like my whole mouth was being sucked inward to a concentrated point of astringency on my tongue. The astringency loosened in the sixth steep and I noticed some salivation. The flavor became more medicinal with a bittersweet aftertaste of a dark floral like violet.
Seventh steep became a little more bitter and sourness began developing on the sides of my tongue. Eighth and ninth steeps became almost unbearably sour, causing some indigestion. Despite this, I kept brewing and was rewarded with a lightly sour meatiness much like salami in the tenth steep, and a faint smoke. I had to stop at the eleventh steep because of of the indigestion but that one produced the lightly bitter dark violet from earlier with the sourness persisting and the return of astringency and minerals. I would’ve liked to keep pushing but I just couldn’t handle the sourness any longer. The spent leaves definitely look like they’re getting some age; they’re light brown with a tinge of green. Some needles present and it’s kind of stemmy.
Overall, I really like the flavors and strong aroma. I can move past the astringency but the indigestion-inducing sourness in the later steeps killed it for me. I’d be excited to see how a whole cake transforms after another year or two in storage. I think I’ll tuck the other 5 grams away and try again in a year. I’m thinking the cakes need a change in their Taiwan storage to get rid of that gut-rotting sourness.
Refraining from a rating since as of this review it’s not listed on BTTC’s website.
eastkyteaguy and Daylon R Thomas nailed the tasting notes of this tea.
Nov 2017 harvest.
This tea is fabulous. Incredible aroma, taste and aftertaste but too intense for me to be a daily drinker. It’s super floral without being entirely heady, green, fruity, citrusy, sweet, creamy and buttery. Long-lasting. Does well with a range of leaf amount and temperatures, today being 5g/150mL and 190F. I’ve used a gaiwan every time and will venture into western someday. I’m looking forward to drinking this baozhong on a cold and clear winter day. Even though it doesn’t snow here, I’d recommend it as a stunning accompaniment to an early spring snowmelt. Sitting outside, feeling the long-forgotten warmth of the sun, birds chirping. Oh yeah.
Edit: get all you can out of these leaves by doing a cold brew with the spent material. Oh yeah.
Back into my 5g sample box. Brewed this 2 different ways today, grandpa for me and
twice western for the partner in crime while I stole some sips for tasting notes. This tea doesn’t hold up to grandpa style as well as western. Grandpa numbed my tastebuds for some reason. Western had a clearer aroma and taste and greater longevity. The second round of western was more experimental in which I purposefully let it overbrew and used 190F in a few steeps since I was making a baozhong oolong for myself. Neither long steep times nor high temp killed the tea.
Noted below is the first round I brewed western style since that’s what I preferred.
1 tsp, 8oz, 175F, 1/1.5/2min
Dry leaf is yellowish-brown-green and smells like cashew, white sesame and whipped cream… I think. (Will I ever be able to train my nose and palate to green teas?) First and second steeps smelled really good and savory. They had the pungency of a nut butter, like tahini mixed with some cashew. The taste was similar with the addition of a light sweetness, marigold and edamame (Verdant noted both, I’m not sure I would’ve picked up on those otherwise) and an aftertaste of sweet cream. The liquor was kind of thick and creamy. Easy to drink quickly. Third steep thinned in aroma and mouthfeel and tasted like freshly fallen autumn leaves and marigold.
I’d say this autumn harvest is worth a try. FWIW, the partner in crime is willing to sell somebody else’s belongings to acquire more.
Finishing off the 25g sample. Not much to add besides my arms are heavy and I’m super relaxed, bordering on couchlocked. There’s a persistent light camphor up by my sinuses that started around steep 7. It’s aight. Oh, this tea needs boiling water, nothing less. Not sure how it would age but the body feels are nice in its youth. Upped the number. Might purchase another sample.
Received as a 50g mystery tea.
Gone western. 2 tsp, 205F, 3/5/8min then 10min simmer.
Dry leaf is fragrant, smelling of cacao, caraway seed, roast, wood. Wet leaf after first steep smelled like raspberry, red cherry, roast, caraway seed and green pickle.
A stable and consistent, smooth tea brewed western. Liquor smelled of red fruit, malt, cocoa and orange? and produced a very clear light amber cup, turning to dark amber then light again. The taste had notes of nuts (closest I could get was roasted pecan, maybe brazil nut?), roast, wood, red fruit, cocoa and light mineral with a light sweetness and lingering pleasant aftertaste. The mouthfeel moved from glassy and milky (skim) to thinner and a tad drying, then thicker and slick in the third steep.
Simmering the leaves produced a brilliant and dark orange-red cup smelling of lactose, brown sugar, honey and roasted grains and/or nuts. Hard to say but I couldn’t stop sniffing it. It tasted and felt a lot like boiled milk with the addition of honey and roasted nuts, a hint of cacao and sweet citrus making an appearance in the back of the mouth. No hint of bitterness or astringency. Very comforting. Taste hung around for a long time and my tongue was left tingling. Really interesting! I’m glad I decided to experiment with simmering the leaves of a roasted jin xuan.
I’m pretty impressed with this tea! Check it out. I saw it’s on sale, too. I wish I wasn’t so stocked up at the moment with other teas (plus 2 big pu’er orders coming) or I’d buy more for the winter.
Tea #2 from teaswap with Mastress Alita.
I’ve never brewed sencha, so I have no idea what I’m doing. Lupicia says 2.5-3 grams, boiling water, 1.5-2 minutes. Boiling water seemed like an unfair treatment to green tea, so I’m a Woman Going My Own Way. Whole 6 gram sample in uncovered 150mL glass gaiwan, 170F, 1min.
Dry leaf smells floral, cherry, with an earthy basic (as opposed to acidic) pungency and finally some grass. Lots of activity going on in the gaiwan. Saponins, bunch of leaves sitting on the bottom and a layer floating on top with lots of movement of leaf up and down in between. Never seen such a stratified brew. Almost neon green-yellow in color and cloudy with a chance of butt. Smells like some weird medicinal red/orange/green butt. Oh, it smells like chewable vitamins and butt. HA! Tastes repulsive going across my tongue. Weird lightly salty thickslick with soapy floral cherry green butt. Persistent aftertaste. The smell wafting from the empty glass a foot away makes my stomach retch. What tea got on my hands from pouring through a strainer made my fingers smell like butt. Smell my finger!
This is literally the first tea ever that has left me incapable of doing a second steep.
I’m glad I got to try something so offensive! Gotta set the low bar somewhere.
Thanks Mastress Alita :)
Lol. Some random purchase from the corner store. Who knows how old it is. I knew it wasn’t going to taste like much but damn, it barely tastes like leaf. I’d rather drink stinky-feet valerian over this. Going to leave it on the communal share table in the lobby. Somebody will pick it up.
Tossed my craptastic thermos that I got for free. Cheap material, didn’t hold heat, had a push button pouring mechanism that is impossible to clean so probably had mold in it anyway, especially since some loose leaf got stuck in it over time.
Today: 1 tsp in a teaball steeped in 20oz unknown temp water, 5 minutes.
I think the kind of red fruit taste comes out more with 2tsp to 8oz. With today’s steeping method, it smelled like hot cocoa. Taste was still very chocolatey and sweet with some woodiness, faint bitterness and malt and a slick mouthfeel. It’s very tasty but I’m not looking for black tea that’s predominantly chocolate, so my rating reflects that. If you’re a chocolate or caffeinated dessert tea lover, you’ll probably really like this one.
Brewed the last 5g this morning western style at slightly lower temp and untimed steeps. It became a little more medicinal in taste with a less drying mouthfeel, more silky. I figured western would not allow some of the nuances to develop, which was the case, but I didn’t expect the cheap perfume to completely overtake the liquor for all three steeps, just the first. It was a very mediocre cup.
I did some searching around last night and it looks like this is probably a 2014 harvest from Goe Tea farm, so not exactly fresh. Grown at low elevation. I’d like to try a fresher version, so I’ll be on the lookout for teas from this farm.
I chose this as the first tea to try from a tea swap with Mastress Alita (thanks!) based on her disdain for the perfume aroma (which is totally understandable).
Man, this tea has so much going for it but it really needs just a slight touch of creaminess to add to the experience and temper the forward florals. It’s very 3-dimensional. Like I can pick out distinct stacks of flavor and sensation in my mouth. I bet a lot of snobs might think this tea is unrefined and clunky. I concluded if I could find more of this tea, I’d like to use it as an instructional experience for people who are wanting to move past the beginners Taiwanese oolong and are comfortable with adventuring.
The dry leaves are super tiny nuggets that smell kind of like cheap white floral perfume, woody and floral sweet cinnamon, green wood, wet wood and woody peach. The majority of the nuggets opened quickly and fully after the second steep, revealing some of the most beautiful leaves I’ve ever seen. Most of them are pretty small with shades of copper, olive green, bronze, and brown. Looked damn fine in my purple clay gaiwan. This oolong is not picked as 2-4 leaf and a bud. It’s all pretty robust and small leaf with only 1 or 2 buds attached to the few stems present. Looks machine harvested.
The first steep started out thick leading into a pleasantly drying but not thin mouthfeel in the following steeps. I don’t know how else to describe it. At first, the aroma of the wet leaves really put me off because it smelled so strongly of cheap floral perfume. The liquor was thankfully not as strong in smell but stood in its own right throughout the whole session. By the time I got to the third steep, the perfume scent of the wet leaves separated into very distinct tastes in my mouth. The woody, floral cinnamon and woody peach of the dry leaf lined my whole mouth. Some mineral produced a tingling side-tongue and my saliva glands felt active but not producing. A light, bitter medicinal elderberry and black cherry went down my tongue. Florals stacked on top of my tongue and hit the roof of my mouth. It started with a base of bittersweet violet blanketing my tongue. Going up there was a penetrating orchid and at the top it was some kind of earthy base-y white floral with a very high note. Above that was a cooling sensation that opened my sinuses and allowed the white floral to float higher.
The cooling sensation eventually sat at the back of the tongue, along with that medicinal black cherry and elderberry. A very faint butteriness turned up mid-session at the top back of the mouth. The florals eventually mellowed. The bitterness was never overwhelming and despite oversteeping here and there, the liquor never became offensive. Toward the end, a light sweetness presented and salivation finally became noticeable. I ate a few cilantro leaves and that really amplified some wonderful flavors between tea and herb. The session faded away smoothly with 10 steeps.
I can’t wait to try the remaining 5 grams in a long-steep/higher-water-volume western style brew. I get a feeling that might produce something quite interesting and much more medicinal. For me, this isn’t an everyday tea. I was going to say I can’t figure out where it would fit in my life beyond an instructional tea but it’s certainly perking me up on this dreadful, um, cramping day. Warming and lightly relaxing.
Thanks again, Mastress Alita. It’s always nice for a tea to find a good home.
Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Floral, Green Wood, Medicinal, Menthol, Mineral, Orchid, Orchids, Peach, Perfume, Sweet, Tannic, Violet, Wood