16 Tasting Notes
Flavors: Malt, Sweet
The dry leaves smell very sweet with an undercurrent of sugarcane, malt, and grape juice concentrate. I know purple tea… am I making up the grape smell? I drank through 60 grams to try and prove myself wrong before writing this.
I brewed up 6g in a 120ml gaiwan using 190F water and roughly 30 second steep times ( I dont time my black tea just have a feel for starting at about 15 seconds and by steep 10 I’m at 45 seconds to a minute)
The liquor smells like one of those malt sodas with grape flavoring, quite unique. It has a deep satisfying sweetness of frozen grape concentrate mixed with malt powder. I DO NOT usually like fruity black tea, but the grape isn’t sour or overpowering, it flows smoothly with the malty sweetness. I would compare it to a good Indian breakfast assam very malt forward, exactly what I want in the morning with grape must to keep it interesting. I find that I don’t get as much traditional Jingmai character from this tea. The mouthfeel is smooth with a hint of oil and a lasting sweetness.
I always get about 10 infusions out of this tea with the last infusion at a rolling boil, and the second to last infusion at 200F. The flavor stays with the tea remarkably well, not changing too much or getting markedly weaker.
This is a very unique and delicious tea. It’s not a tea I would want every day, but I want to always have a tin in stock. It satisfies the cravings for a grape tea that I didn’t know I had before trying this. The tea makes me want to experiment with brewing a malt heavy beer with the addition of dark grapes.
Flavors: Grapes, Malt, Sugarcane
The dry leaf smells exactly like chocolate chip cookies with a bit more malt, I let this tea sit for a few months to settle into itself before brewing, but I think it was one of the quicker to acclimate black teas I have tried.
I brewed up 6g in my 120ml gaiwan with 190F water, and the liquor brews into a delightful light brown color (almost with a hint of light green) that gets darker at each infusion. It smells heavily of malt and chocolate like a malted chocolate shake with a hint of the more plant like sugarcane. The taste is pleasantly balanced with an undercurrent of astringency that accentuates the sweetness and keeps it from being as one note. I get heavy malt and sugarcane with marshmallow and chocolate taking a step back but still very much there. The mouth feel is like drinking soup, much more reminiscent of a bud/tip heavy tea, or a good puer.
I get about 10 infusions out of every session with the second to last infusion at 200F and the last infusion at a rolling boil ( at my altitude `~2k meters water boils not much above 200F) The taste steadily moves into more malty flavors and picks up more astringency.
I am usually a big fan of black tea made from material traditionally used to make puer, and this tea is no exception. I find myself reaching for this tea every other day to start off my morning, and it pairs spectacularly well with my sourdough cinnamon rolls I have been perfecting lately. I’m almost out of my 100g, and this will be in my next YS order.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cookie, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Sugarcane
I received this tea from the 2017 regional oolong group buy hosted by Liquid Proust
The dry leaf is a very tightly rolled dark brown to black balls that have a strong roasted smell with the expected biting oolong scent following close behind. I brewed up 5g in my 200ml kyusu with 190F water and 30 second infusions.
The liquor is a clear dark orange/light brown reminiscent of a black tea. It smells sweet and roasty, more like a light roast coffee than any tea I have ever smelled. I want to accentuate that the sweet smell is overpowering like I have my head over a pot of burning sugar, but with the promise of some nice umami flavor behind the sweetness. The mouthfeel is like a thin vegetable broth with no lingering sweetness, but rather, a lingering char. The taste is heavy upfront charcoal, with sweetness but less than I was expecting, like vegetables that I meant to char on a grill but burnt instead. You can feel the granules of char on your teeth like a charcoal toothpaste I used in the past. Not what I was expecting but not bad with a high fired tea and no rinse. Sitting with the tea for a while I get some caramel out of the sweetness.
The second infusion is a notably darker color an amber/medium brown. The aroma looses a bit of sweetness trading off for more umami savory notes. The char is still upfront but loses some of it’s overpowering nature while the sweetness is more pronounced. I’m tasting fresh honey roasted peanuts and the traditional oolong flavor is shining through. The aftertaste has a smooth roast that I get from good coffee.
The roasted smell dies down a bit more on the third infusion, as do the umami notes, with the sweetness still there in force. The taste is much lighter/smoother and I get the caramel notes others have described more than the previous burnt sugar. This is my favorite infusion so far… maybe ill rinse it next time and see if I get these notes out of infusion #2
The fourth infusion looses more char and gains more sweetness, it’s now close to indistinguishable from coffee now. Turned the temperature to 200F for the fifth infusion, and it was like a slightly more flavorful #4. The sixth infusion on are all very similar as well, with the tea dying off around steep number 9.
This is a tea for coffee drinkers… seriously I think I can convert a coffee fanatic with this. For me it was an interesting complex experience with a tea that is a bit all over the place in it’s smell and flavors. I would definitively give it a good rinse and time to fully unfurl before my next session with this tea.
SECOND TEA TASTING (follow up a few weeks later)
I followed TeaLifeHK’s advice this time with a boiling rinse, and 200+F water using 30 second steeps in my 200ml ceramic kyusu with 5.5g of tea.
The wet leaf smells like sweet roast, I wish I didn’t already bias myself, but again I get fresh roasted coffee beans with a nice oolong backbone coming through.
The liquor color is a STRONG reddish-brown with a pleasant roasted sweetness reminiscent of honey roasted peanuts. The taste is very nutty again being similar to peanut brittle with a nice burnt sugar aftertaste. This session is more pleasant with the rinse allowing the leaves to open up before my first steep letting the caramel notes come through.
The tea continues to produce good flavor for about six steeps slowly loosing it’s sweetness. I think this tea is unique among roasted oolong’s for its sweet profile, where in most roasted oolongs I would be looking for grilled vegetables or a savory soup.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Char, Coffee, Peanut, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Vegetable Broth
I received this tea from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy hosted by Liquid Proust
I tasted this side by side with the un-roasted “sister tea” in a nice long session with a friend who is new to oolong, I will include comparison notes as well as reviewing the un-roasted tea. Both are brewed 5g of leaf in 200ml glass teapots with 190F water and 30 second infusion times (taking into account the ~10 second pour)
The dry leaf smells like a light-medium charcoal roast with a suprisingly strong floral scent, must stronger than the un-roasted tea. The teapot lid smells of dandelions and honey by an old campfire where only ashes remain.
The liquor brews up a delightful gold with a bit more opacity than the un-roasted tea. The smell is again like a field of dandelions. The taste is very good, sweet with notes of caramel and burnt sugar moving into a edamame like savory taste. The mouth-feel is thick and creamy with notable cooling effects upon inhalation.
Steeps two and three loose progressively more floral taste and sweetness in favor of the savory notes. It tastes like grilled zucchini or a fresh miso soup, and the mouth-feel is getting thinner as well.
Steep four tastes like roasted walnuts and has an oily consistency that it keeps until steep 10 developing into butter notes around steep 7. The tea was quite pleasant to drink throughout the session, but the first three were the best.
The charcoal roasted tea is notably more savory than it’s un-roasted partner, although the roasting seems to have increased the floral aroma. While not quite as good at first; the charcoal roasted tea holds good flavor for much longer than the un-roasted and was notably more complex. The un-roasted tea was a bit one note (although that note was glorious)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Char, Dandelion, Honey, Roasted nuts, Soybean, Walnut, Zucchini
I received this tea from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy hosted by Liquid Proust
I tasted this side by side with the charcoal roasted “sister tea” in a nice long session with a friend who is new to oolong, I will include comparison notes as well as reviewing the charcoal roasted tea. Both are brewed 5g of leaf in 200ml glass teapots with 190F water and 30 second infusion times (taking into account the ~10 second pour)
The dry leaf is more subdued than I would have thought with a strong and biting oolong scent and not much else. The teapot lid carried an extremely strong floral scent with more strong oolong notes.
The liquor brews up a stunning gold color like a freshly filtered apple juice and smells like a meadow of wildflowers and grass that has just been mowed down with their scent still thick in the air. The taste is what really took me aback… before this I didn’t really see what the fuss was about the floral oolongs fetching high prices, I have had floral tea before I figured it was just a pretty common tasting note, I was dead wrong. This is ambrosia truly the nectar of the gods I am drinking. The pure sweet floral taste with hints of fresh honey and beeswax made me exclaim out loud how wonderful it is, and the rest of my group could not stop talking about this infusion. The mouthfeel is like a thin broth with an excellent lasting sweetness.
The second infusion was a pale comparison of that first taste with the same general notes but a bit of orange zest sourness coming through. The third infusion loses a bit of sourness and keeps mostly the same. Steep four is much more buttery and grassy getting progressively fruitier and less flavorful until it died at steep 10.
Overall this is a great tea; however, you trade longevity for amazing tasting early steeps. Maybe this is a tea that would be better western style to really bring out the early notes, as after steep three it wasn’t a tea I was fond of, but before that it was amazing.
The charcoal roasted “sister tea” is more muted early on; however, I was able to take it all the way to steep 10 and still enjoy it. The roasting mellowed out the floral notes, but made an overall sweeter more well rounded tea. It also had significantly more umami flavors and more cooling.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral
I received this from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy Put Together by LiquidProust.
I woke up early to finish proofing my sourdough cinnamon buns, and wanted a nice savory roasted oolong as a breakfast replacement, this seemed perfect.
The dry brick smells very pleasantly roasty, like roasted malt used in brewing beer. It weighs in at 11 grams so I cut it in half, though I wish I cut it into a thin “top and bottom” instead of just chopping it in two, I think that will leave more leaves intact next time. I brewed up the 5g half brick in my 200ml glass teapot with 190F water for 30 second infusions. Due to the compressed nature of this tea I gave it a 10 second rinse and left it to steam in the teapot for 10 minutes or so. The rinse had a great roasted peat moss aroma, and was a bit too weak to drink but carried the same lovely scotch like notes.
After steaming and resting the brick started to break apart nicely with a bit of a high pour from the kettle. The liquor from this infusion is a nice transparent copper with an aroma of squash blossoms, roasted edamame, and maybe a hint of miso. The Chinese origin of this oolong becomes clear upon the first sip with a bracing rock oolong flavor balanced masterfully by the smooth roast that brings both sweetness and umami. The tea is very clean with not much lingering flavor besides some roasty smoothness, it has the mouth-feel of a heavily clarified broth, this makes it quite refreshing despite its savory taste.
The second infusion steeps a shade redder than the copper first steep and the aroma picks up a notable mineral quality (I keep thinking copper but is it just the color?). The roast dies down slightly as the umami flavor takes center stage, it reminds me so much of roasted edamame I can almost taste the salt, and the rock oolong flavor is still there accented by the increased mineral note in the taste.
The third infusion is a similar color with the roast aroma dying off further and again increased mineral notes. This is the most balanced tasting infusion yet, I still get all the flavors from previous brews yet no individual flavor stands out over the others. I would say this is the “natural state” of the tea as it is now fully opened up and infusions 4-7 (~1.5L H2O) were very similar, getting weaker as the tea gives out more and more of itself in later brews.
This flavors in this tea remind me of Verdant’s DHP, but with a clarity and cleanness that is unique to this tea. You can tell it’s a rock oolong, but the bracing flavor does not overpower; it’s well roasted but maintains delicacy. It has a good bit of finer tea pieces but it does not brew up too strong or tannin heavy. This and the Gold Rose from YS are both wonderful examples of oolongs, while showcasing the flavors unique to Chinese oolongs in particular.
Flavors: Mineral, Peat Moss, Roasted, Salt, Scotch, Soybean, Squash Blossom
I received this from the LiquidProust Regional Oolong Group Buy 2017.
The dry leaf (very tight almost black rolled balls) smells like a middle ground between a strong rock and an alishan oolong with a nice roast but not overly so a slight sweetness also comes through. In a good oolong mood today, I decided to brew up 6g in my 200ml tempered glass teapot with 30 second infusions and 190F water.
The teapot lid smells strongly of honey roasted peanuts and the wet leaves smell like cracker jacks. The liquor is a very transparent light copper brown and smells of roasted edamame. It has a pleasant roasted vegetable umami flavor with a sweet almost vidalia onion lasting sweetness. The tea is smoother than it’s aroma led me to believe with a delicate mouth-feel and noticeable cooling afterwards.
The second infusion is noticeably darker as the tightly rolled tea is able to unfurl in the teapot. The flavor profile moves into more nutty territory, reminding me of roasted chestnuts, and the mouth feel is a bit more oily. The third infusion on is more of the same with the roast dying off a bit more. I stretched it out to six infusions overall.
This was an enjoyable tea that was a worthwhile addition to the group buy as the flavor is akin to other oolongs but still sets itself apart, and shows its terrior.
Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut, Honey, Peanut, Popcorn, Roasted, Sweet, Tannin