9 Tasting Notes
A bit tart, with good balance and complexity. Flavors include dried fruit, warm mineral undertone, and earthy range that’s somewhere along the lines of pipe tobacco. I like the tea even though I usually don’t care for tartness in black teas. Dian Hong often include more cocoa and roasted yam or sweet potato flavor range but this one is different. I suppose that dried fruit and earthiness could also be interpreted as not so far off sun-dried tomato. I suspect this tea might be even better in another year since sun-dried blacks do tend to pick up a bit more complexity with a little age. It’s good tea, not great, but per my preferences good and also interesting in style, with nice depth and complexity and a decently full feel. Even for Dian Hong it can brew a lot of infusions, very nice brewed lightly (it probably wouldn’t do nearly as well made Western style), producing lots of consistent and pleasant infusions.
I bought this tea in St. Petersburg over New Years and it’s coming up on a year old now, I suppose potentially transitioning a little. The main flavors are plum and white grape, with a lot of sweetness and just a touch of bitterness, but not bitter in the same sense a lot of sheng are, nothing like aspirin. It’s more that slight edge that one might experience from tasting a tree bud (hard to think of foods like that; maybe like an unripe peach, but different in taste). If anything this tea might be too sweet and mellow for some sheng enthusiasts, leading me to wonder if it’s really going to improve or if this isn’t the kind of tea you should drink within the first year or two. At any rate I really like it as it is, and it seemed a pretty good value for pricing that seemed moderate to me. A more comprehensive review is here:
This is as good a version of this oolong type as I’ve tried, with intense peach, lychee, and floral flavors, a thick mouthfeel, and a pronounced aftertaste effect. There’s minimal astringency, not really any astringency in the typical sense, not even much in the way of that unripe fruit effect Dan Cong sometimes have, just enough of that particular mouthfeel effect to give it some structure. Usually this version of Dan Cong can exhibit great flavors but it’s nice that this one is more complex in other regards as well. I wrote a long version of that in this post: http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2018/05/wuyi-origin-old-bush-mi-lan-xiang-dan.html
It seemed like a nice version of shou, especially for the price (listing at $22 by Yunnan Sourcing now). As far as aspects go it was clean flavored, somewhat complex, reasonably full in feel, and well balanced. Flavors were on the rich side, but not earthy, so the overall effect was a bit light. To me it seemed to include molasses like sweetness with some degree of fruit, probably in the range of fig, dried persimmon or dried tamarind, maybe not peach so much, transitioning to include some spice tones. Without negative aspects of any kind to work around, astringency, of course, or pronounced earthy flavors, it works well brewed at a range of infusion strengths. As far as limitations go it could’ve been a little more complex, but I guess it might fill in a bit with more time. I don’t drink that much shou so it’s hard to place it on a scale but it’s the third relatively inexpensive version I’ve bought this year and the best of those.
The tea is made from buds mixed with very light leaf material. The dry tea scent and initial taste are fresh and fragrant, floral with a good bit of citrus. It has a juicy, soft feel and sweet, drinkable character. That’s likely related in part to the plant type, listed as 157 clones. The freshness ties to a floral tone in a unique way, like a light and sweet wildflower scent and taste. The effect is bright, only hinting towards a light vegetal range. It’s nothing like kale or spinach, instead like the scent of a picked flower that includes a fragrance from both the petals and also some hint of leaves and stem, with that not pronounced as the edge in a Dan Cong can be.
After initial infusions—more than one, related to using an approach in between Western and Gongfu styles—the tea transitions from a light wildflower floral scent to heavier tones, more towards orchid or plumeria. Aspects complexity include a nice citrusy high note, in the range of orange zest, but lighter, in between tangerine and lemon instead. Other fruit range is similar to the bright taste of juicyfruit gum, sweet and complex, not unlike pandan leaf or Fruity Pebbles cereal. The fruit aspect is probably best described as a mix of different fruits, that citrus with peach and apricot, a bright version of those. Other flavors fill in depth, more like dried hay or sunflower seed, with that range subdued related to the bright fruit and floral notes. Altogether it’s a nice tea, very bright and fresh. A review version with pictures and related links follows:
This was one of my favorite new teas I’ve tried this year, with mostly positive aspects and a unique nature. The general effect is that of a bright, sweet, pleasant lightly roasted oolong with a nice range of flavors. Flavor aspects include fruit and floral range, with fruit in the range of melon and floral not completely unlike Dan Cong, the typical honey orchid aspect. I compared it directly in tasting to a nice Dan Cong and it gave up a little related to presentation of refined, clean flavors, not the kind of thing one might notice straight away, more in comparison. I obtained a sample directly from the producer, not from What-Cha, but since it is generally available in the US and Europe through What-Cha I’m reviewing it listed as their tea, identified as from Toba Wangi by them. A more complete review appears here: http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2016/04/wu-mei-oolong-from-toba-wangi.html
I’ve just tried the 2013 version, but I tried a later version not so long ago, the 2015 last year, and they weren’t so different. To describe the tea: Bai Hao Oriental Beauty in general is a mild, sweet oolong prepared with twisted rather than rolled leaves, including some degree of silver tips (what Bai Hao really refers to), also referred to as Dong Fang Mei Ren, with typical flavoring of honey sweetness, fruit, and mild earth elements. Similar teas are most typically from Taiwan, where the style originated, but this one is from the North of Thailand. This version had taste aspects in the range of peach fruit with cocoa and cinnamon elements, a really nice, clean, balanced tea, with a nice effect to the very mild astringency, which gave it just a touch of dryness.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Honey, Peach
A very interesting, nice, unique white tea, somewhat similar to Darjeeling white teas but with a different character. There is essentially no astringency as different versions of teas from Darjeeling can have. There are a lot of fruit flavors, so many different people would likely describe the tea differently, with citrus, towards a bergamot tone but not exactly that, more a citrus zest effect, with a fresh grape element, and beyond that towards berries. The feel and effect of the tea are nice, light and bright and clean, with a sweetness, fruit range, and light dryness that reminds me of Oriental Beauty teas. It’s the kind of tea that isn’t hard to brew but can change character based on brewing parameters so for many optimizing it would make sense, or for others changing around brewing to experience different aspects from the tea. The only down-side would be if someone doesn’t like that particular style of tea. I’ve included contact information in a related blog post about the tea, but it’s only sold from Nepal as far as I know, and that vendor isn’t really set up for limited volume retail sales: http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/11/shangrila-estate-white-tea-from-nepal.html
a really pronounced cocoa taste leading into a bit of cinnamon, with a rich complexity, and a creamy texture. of course the tea had no astringency to speak of, along with a decent amount of sweetness. I hadn’t had much luck with rolled-ball style oolongs dark roasted oolongs as a favorite prior to this but I loved this tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus Fruits, Cocoa, Wood