56 Tasting Notes
This tea came unlabeled in my order, making for an interesting adventure and practice in identifying an unknown.
Compressed into a nearly perfect sphere I was almost certain it was a blooming tea at first. Can you make a blooming pu’erh? Doesn’t smell green, not very dark and doesn’t smell much like a black either, is it a flowering oolong? A search for “bloom” and “flower” on the white2tea site reveals no results. Upon closer inspection I decide it’s not a blooming tea at all but rather a tightly and neatly compressed cake, almost definitely a pu’erh then. I’m not very pu’erh experienced… is this a raw sample? Or just young? I guess I don’t actually know the difference but I’m pretty certain it’s not very aged in any case. I decide it’s probably a raw.
Breaking it up confirms that it’s a compressed tea rather than a flowering ball. It has a very light scent, maybe a little bit bready, a little vegetal. Brewed in a gaiwan at 200F for 10 seconds reveals a much lighter liqueur than anticipated! Definitely not an aged tea! Brews up gently floral and sweet with an underlying vegetal flavor that quickly strengthens with more steepings. By the third steep it’s already too bitter for me.
Sorting through the raw pu’erh section on the white2tea site I finally find my tea! Turns out it’s not necessary to break it up, I’m sure that contributed to the bitterness. It is certainly not to my taste, being fairly bitter, but I had a surprisingly fun time unraveling the mystery as well as trying out a new kind of tea.
Flavors: Biting, Floral, Vegetal
There’s certainly nothing wrong with this oolong, it’s just relatively unexceptional considering the price. Fairly malty, slightly fruity, low floral, low sweetness, low acidity, not much else going on. Good but underwhelming.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Wood
A big thank you to teabento for the sample pack! I will do my best to be unbiased and thorough.
Sweetly vegetal on the nose with just a hint of nuttiness. A sweet and delightfully floral, gently fruity oolong with a well balanced creaminess and ever so slight toastiness. An all around good oolong, particularly if you like your oolong heavier on the floral and lighter on the cream.
Brewed as the directions dictate this tea is the heavy on the malt! It’s right up there with a deep nut brown ale or a dense homemade wheat bread. A honeyed sweetness, maybe the very slightest fruitiness, it’s like drinking a cup of fresh baked honey wheat bread with a little banana snuck into the dough. There’s also a damp leafiness to it, the way a rainy autumn day smells. Later steeps see a softening of the honey and a strengthening of deciduous leaf flavor, though the honey always remains on the nose. The smell of the empty, cooling cup is like sticking your nose in a honey pot.
A gongfu session for me brought out the best flavors, the first steep at only about 12 seconds with a high leaf:water ratio seriously pumping out the honey notes and creamy mouthfeel. Every subsequent steep is delicious but lacks that thick honey flavor, winding down almost immediately into the musty leaf and bready flavors with that tempting honey on the nose. That first steep really left me wanting more. I’d rate this one a solid 100 if that flavor weren’t so fleeting.
Edit: tried a batch cold-brewed as I do with almost every new tea. Pretty unremarkable compared to the hot.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread, Honey, Malt, Musty
Short gongfu session with about 4-5 steeps, each one more bitter and drying than the last. First steep was lightly melony sweet and little toasty toasty, nothing too exceptional, the second steep coming in with a sudden brash and unpleasant astringency and char flavor that only intensified with each steep. Not until I finally did I give up on this tea and trash it did I realize it’s an oolong, maybe I should have used cooler water? I only had a 5g sample so I guess I’ll never know!
Flavors: Char, Melon
The box says “buttery, savory, soothing.” That is absolutely the case.
Gaiwan brewed. Dry leaf smells just like good heavy cream! First steep has a delightfully smooth texture and sweet cream flavor with a little sweet fresh corn juiciness. Other milk oolongs I’ve tasted were a little heavy on the savory characters but this one has a perfect balance, the creaminess in later steepings not unlike fresh unsalted sweet cream butter. The first steep was all sweet cream with subtle honeysuckle notes, the second steep strengthening the floral notes and bringing a delightful crisp green character like cucumber peel and sweet peas, nicely balancing the cream without adding any bitterness. Later steeps find the sweet pea character staying strong with a very lightly oaty buttered green flavor lasting deep into a dozen steeps.
What a fantastic milk oolong!
Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Peas
Gaiwan brewed, the raw leaf smells delightfully malty and toasty with only a hint of sweetness. The first steep was a lovely composite of gentle cocoa and malt flavors, gently sweet with a very faint toasty char character. I mostly found these flavors remained balanced and unchanged in later steeps with the flavor sadly fleeting. A delightfully drinkable tea that left me wanting a little more.
Flavors: Char, Cocoa, Malt
Each bag of this barley tea is pretty prolific and brews 1-2 liters of fine cold brew tea!! It’s refreshing and simple, tastes like bready barley. If you’re looking to replace literally all of the water you drink with something refreshing that you probably can’t get sick of, this is your jam. One day I’ll get around to brewing it hot.
P.S. I ran out of lemonade once and made a “barley pick” with this tea iced, some good vodka and a little zero-cal sweetener. Absolutely amazing and probably dangerous.
P.P.S. one order of this tea comes with approx. one hundred billion very large bags. This is an extremely cost effective iced tea.
Flavors: Bread, Roasted Barley