Featured & New Tasting Notes
Fantastic tea! They use a jin xuan milk oolong, barrel aged in Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey.
The flavor is so balance with the whiskey, without being overpowered. I got notes of butter, milk, woodsy, caramel, grass, floral, and fruit. No strange alcohol notes. This tea does well western and gongfu style, resteeps very well, though I think western does a better job.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/tennessee-oolong-steven-smith-teamaker/
Tea Swap Session, Backlog
I used to think that charcoal roasted teas were so horrendous to the point that I avoided trying and/or buying any at all. However, through recent tea swaps, I’ve been seeing them pop up in my boxes from tea friends. Lo and behold, I do like some charcoal roasted oolongs/tea if they’re done correctly.
Notes: I was surprised when I discovered that this tea wasn’t similar to licking the bottom of a piece of charcoal; rather, it had plenty of other, unexpected notes attached to it: cornflakes, mineral, and buttery notes throughout the cup.
The Lord looks after fools and drunkards. I guess I was a fool.
I saw a coupon code for a Golden Moon sampler and tried to order it. I couldn’t find a place to put in the code so I quit trying, but I did comment on the company Facebook post that it wasn’t working for me and I really wanted to try their Keemun.
Big dope slap to myself at lunch when I pulled this off the shelf and realized I already own it. To be fair to myself, it was a gift, so I wasn’t the one who placed the order with the company. I still should have known I had it since I have almost finished the tin, though!
This was served with a tea lunch with egg salad sandwiches and thin potato wedges. It is a great tea sweetened or unsweetened, and I went with “un.” It is good hot or cold. It has a touch of fruitiness but still that lovely light scrape of dry cocoa I like.
Tea Swap Session
I’ve been meaning to start reviewing teas again…So, I started a “plan” on getting that done: Drink tea every week and write a quick review on each one the following Monday.
Notes: It had a nice buttery, savory note throughout the session. I had started this session with 4-5 steeps before allowing the leaves to rest a few hours before concluding the session (one thing I’ve noticed with a lot of teas is that they tend to change once they’ve rested a little while). Throughout the remaining 3 steeps, I allowed the water temp to increase (190F, 195F, & 200F) with each steep, to see how far this tea could to be pushed; which, I must admit, can be pushed after it has been mostly “brewed out.” However, the 200F steep didn’t really do much with the tea since it had mostly lost all of the flavor prior to the last. This definitely was a good tea, though. I’m not one to boast about green tea, but this was definitely one worth trying.
Flavors: Broccoli, Butter
This is an oldie but goodie. This sample has been languishing in my big chest of tea, I have no idea for how long. I served it yesterday with breakfast and again today with Hungarian Apple Soup.
Husband doesn’t like black tea except with milk and sugar so he likes for me to make other types of tea when he is joining me. Breakfast would normally be a black tea for me or when my kids join me, but I have to find something he will Iike that still goes well with breakfast food.
This one fit the bill. The baked fruit and nut flavors gave it the strength I want in the morning, especially with scrambled eggs and cheese, toast and cherry preserves, while the smoothness satisfied hubby and kept him out of the sugar bowl.
We had a guest for lunch and served it with the soup and cheese sandwiches made with Dubliner by Kerrygold, followed by chocolate cookies, and my friend said she enjoyed it. A former coffee drinker, she is now more fond of white and green teas but she still liked the lightly roasted goodness.
I am going to miss this one, but not for long. I am running low on oolong tea so I see a Teavivre order in my future.
This is an awesome puer, especially for the price. The notes are clean and bright, tasting of mineral amber and rocks, rock sugar, stone fruit, and floral. The body is heavy and thick. Wuliang H has plenty of energy too. I got 13 good infusions.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-wuliang-h-essence-tea/
Whew, what a day. I had a pretty good job interview today, ran into a former coworker and had a nice visit, was bad and ate delicious food at the food court (feel terrible now but damn, that mini DQ Blizzard for Miracle Treat Day was for a good cause! And I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed the Pizza Hut personal pan pizza), plus picked up this and a bunch of other blends for the sale price. I wanted to grab another steeper, this time for my mom, but can’t seem to find anymore of those $9 ones despite checking two locations over the past couple days. Oh well.
And psst, that maple fudge talk a few of us were having the other day? I picked up some Maple Walnut Fudge at Rocky Mountain Chocolate, plus some Chocolate Pecan fudge since it was BOGO half off. Ugh! So ashamed, but I won’t try them until tomorrow since I already failed at the calorie game today.
ANYway, onto this tea. I have tried this in store not long after it came out and I wasn’t too impressed. I liked it but it seemed a little too sweet. Something possessed me to grab a tin of it today and I’m glad I did, because brewing it at home, it’s a lot more orange juice-like. I get a swig of that infamous DAVIDsTEA passionfruit flavouring at the beginning of the sip but it rapidly dissipates. But I’m not upset about that because this hits the spot for those times when you want orange juice but don’t want to drink your calories, you know? It tastes pulpy.
Stay with me on this one… Last night we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I washed it down with a iced tea brewed from random black teas. It gets interesting. My wife makes her meatloaf with oats (no bread crumbs) and uses chili sauce and Splenda brown sugar instead of ketchup. When I grabbed the tea it tasted for all the world like a really good rose tea. We made a gallon of the tea poured into a dispenser. I filled a glass bottle to drink. I used the same bottle before dinner and the tea was a normal tasty blend of teas. Same with the bottle after dinner. The flavor change with dinner was so unique and unexpected I thought I would share. Looking forward to trying again with leftovers.
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.
I’m really getting into some of these Nepalese black teas. This was both my latest acquisition and latest conquest. I found it to be a basic, yet respectable black tea very much akin to a traditional first flush Darjeeling.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3-4 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted.
First things first, let me just say that What-Cha has a well-deserved reputation for sourcing quality leaves, but I was initially let down when I opened my pouch of this tea. It appeared to be nothing but broken leaves. I figured I shouldn’t just judge the tea by my perception of the leaf quality, however, so in I dove. Prior to infusion, I picked up mild, inviting aromas of Muscatel, grass, hay, and herbs underscored by a hint of citrus. After infusion, the citrus scent grew stronger and I began to pick up on aromas of malt and almond. In the mouth, the tea offered up notes of malt, grass, hay, straw, almond, toast, Muscatel, lemon zest, and pungent herbs. The finish was malty, nutty, and slightly grassy with herb, Muscatel, and citrus undertones.
It may have been due to my remaining somewhat congested from the most recent sinus infection, but I found this to be a very basic tea. It was pleasant and approachable, but it was also somewhat simplistic and lacking in depth. I could see it making a good afternoon or evening tea, though people who like to really delve into the subtleties of the tea tasting and drinking experience (like me) will probably be expecting more.
Flavors: Almond, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Lemon Zest, Malt, Muscatel, Straw, Toast
We started drinking this late last night. We are moving youngest into her own room this week and it involves painting (including the ceiling – what a pain in the neck!) and finding a home for all my crafting supplies. (Gulp. I buy those like I buy tea.)
Last night’s four steeps were all Western style and combined two at a time. The predominant aroma was mushroom. Or maybe I should say MUSHROOM. I haven’t had a powerfully mushroom pu in a while, so this was a refreshing change.
This morning as we have it with breakfast, i am struck by how creamy this is. This is smooth and mild and has a silky mouth feel.
I need to do a gong fu session with it sometime, but it has been great by the (large) pot. I think six steeps are the limit on this one for me. The final one took a while to color up but had nice flavor when it did.
This is a really good black tea. Its soft glossy dark syrup sweetness, with some spicy fruit, a bit long the lines of a very nicely balanced dongfang meiren. Low malt, ripe wood flavours. Lasts a good amount of infusions. Does not get sickly like some oriental beauty can. Some good fruits in there too – raisins? stonefruity
I’m not a big fan of blacks really, but this one took me by surprise. This and the other black I got from what-cha (the taiwanese wild chan cha – 25% off this august as the tea of the month!) are some of the nicest black teas i’ve tried in a good while.
I brewed it gongfu and got a load of steeps from it, i’m really sure black fans will be able to get a lot of pleasure from it western style as well. You can get a whole lot of flavour from it & possibly create a much more complex cup than I got – its nice and gentle gongfu.
I got back in town from a 10 day road trip on Sunday and this whole week I’ve been lagging, just not really on my game, dragging myself through weed pulling (maybe my garden IS too big?), errands, and a few household things. After my meditation this morning I went out into the garden & collected a few volunteer white turnips, a bunch of red carrots, a beet, and a pile of Kale. I had a student for an hour, ate a bowl of leftover Asian greens and chicken soup, and a cup of some unimpressive but drinkable black tea. One of the perks of being a self-employed musician is teaching from home. It’s a mellow job that can include pj like clothes & lots of tea. I only had one student today, so the rest of the day and most of tomorrow are mine. No gigs this weekend either!
That means I have time for a gongfu session or 2, and this tea was long overdue for some quality time. I had a love affair with Purple teas 3 years ago, and bought a ridiculous amount of this one, because it’s just SO awesome! It’s one of those teas that defies explanation, because although it is technically a black tea, it has qualities of an amazing oolong, with incense like aroma’s and after aromas and a fruity taste, but it also is kind of like a sheng puer with a real mind clarifying kind of energetic tea buzz, and like a sheng, it will help clear out your sinuses a little if you have allergies. For me this tea is more about texture, which is ultra smooth & clean, and the overall ambiance of how I feel. It’s a feel good tea. And it also tastes good, sweet and fruity in the early steeps, more herbacious near the end.
Delightful stuff. Dreamy, soft, fruity, with flowers in my head. Any fuss is kept in the background, little in the way of pungent leafy flavour, and whats there is good.
I noticed a nice energy or vibrancy in the taste – which I love, while being oh so soft. It has that pearlescent streak of fruity sweetness that just lifts it into (insert happy place)
I like the food pairing recommendation on the website – ‘by itself’ :)
Flavors: Honey, Lychee, Peach
Short notes from holiday:
The roast and fruit taste are mixed together into one thing, I dont even know what fruit it is. Its also mellowed a lot, quite soft.
Nice and rich milky in a galaxy chocolate vs 90% dark chocolate kind of way.
i’ll re-review this when I have more time as now back in tea HQ.
I had stopped trying Xing Reng because I could never “get” the almond fragrance the tea is named after. Time after time it was probably a blended inferior Bai Ye varietal and it would invariably have too much floral perfume. Well I’m glad to say this is a true representative of this fine Dan Cong. For the first pour it is imperative that you place your schnozzola just above the vessel, be gentle, as the hot water hits the thin threads of tea, bingo, almond fragrance. The soup has a lovely flavor, with almond, butter, floral tones, sweet, orange slight sourness in later steepings, just an all around enjoyable brew. I am really impressed by the offerings from this company and will continue my forays into their terroir.
This stuff is the bees knees – I took some tea to sample on holiday in Limousin, France for 2 weeks with no phone signal, let alone internet. And this one was my favourite.
Medium-heavy roast Wuyi goodness. I cannot describe the joy I have had drinking this – the smell & taste & huigans & pure relaxed chi that comes out of the first 5 steeps is something close to heaven. My notes are sparse but it created tasteual colour (yes thats the word) that bordered on magical, for me its the fact there is a Floral-fruity-something in there thats expertly interwoven with the roast that knocks it out of the park.
After that it disappears. Quickly. – and if this was expensive I would be disappointed (later it tastes like really cheap store oolong!)- but its not. Its like 20p/g and this actually added to my impression of it because I dont always want to drink an Oolong you need to dedicate a day or wallet to. So its just a quick sesh of brilliant wuyi.
‘5 steeps in heaven is better than no steeps in heaven’ As they say.
This was a tea I had been looking forward to reviewing since I bought it. I am a big fan of some of the black and oolong teas produced by Jun Chiyabari, and though I was not familiar with this tea until today, I had heard nothing but good things about it. Well, I am happy to report that I found this to be a very fine black tea.
I prepared this tea two ways. For the first part of the session, I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I then conducted a second infusion at 7 minutes. For the remainder of the session, I relied on my usual single infusion (3-4 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes).
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of chocolate, citrus, wood, and malt. After infusion, I began to detect hints of butter, brown toast, black grape, roasted grain, and cream. In the mouth, I detected rich notes of wood, chocolate, roasted grain, orange peel, lemon zest, butter, brown toast, cream, malt, and roasted almond supported by delicate undertones of brown sugar, nutmeg, and black grape. The finish was woody and malty with notes of citrus, chocolate, and roasted grain providing support.
This was a nice black tea. I was especially impressed by the fact that it did not come off as a clone of any sort of Darjeeling. The chocolate notes were particularly impressive in this one. I would definitely recommend it to fans of traditional black teas who are looking for something unique.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Butter, Chocolate, Cream, Grain, Grapes, Lemon, Malt, Nutmeg, Orange, Wood