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Recent Tasting Notes
The dry leaf has some long stems and is a cross between balled and what looks like machine-rolled which give the tea a rustic, textural appearance. I smell raspberries, twigs, rye toast, blackberries, walnuts, charred food, forest floor and surprisingly a floral high note. The warmed leaf gives off a sweet aroma of brown toast dipped in honey-sweetened coffee, grain, walnuts.
First steeps are fruity with red apple and pineapple, mineral, spicy with cinnamon and darker tastes of caramel and rye. I pick up on strawberry hear and there. The tea has a good body and is oily, very clean. It reminds me of an Wuyi oolong. It’s roasty but not overly so, mineral, grassy and light, even; minty. Banana leaf-unripe apricot aftertaste. The tea fades pretty quickly after the fourth infusion, ending with the eighth infusion of 1 minute revealing only a gentle caramel-grassy taste.
I brewed the remaining almost 2 grams grandpa style and the most notable aspect was a very apparent nutmeg nose!
This is on the gentler end of dong ding. The roast is really nice and doesn’t produce those intensely nutty flavors I don’t like about a lot of dong ding oolong. The tea, though, doesn’t have a lot to give. It’s a mellow cup and would be a good no-think’um daily-drink’um.
Thank you Leafhopper :)
Flavors: Apricot, Blackberry, Brown Toast, Burnt Food, Caramel, Cinnamon, Coffee, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruity, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mint, Nutmeg, Pineapple, Plants, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Rye, Sweet, Walnut, Wood
The impression is of a somewhat savory, alkaline mineral water with a lingering, disconnected roast. White lily, orchid and ginger leaf provide the higher floral and grassy notes. A body of dry grass, millet, sandalwood, walnut shell and faint warm, dry earth mixed with tones of apricot-orange-eucalyptus-balsam, golden raspberries, soft Ceylon cinnamon, crystallized honey-brown sugar, scalded milk. Sometimes I’d get fleeting impressions of yellow apples cooked in bacon grease, roasted pepitas, yellow currants, burnt sugar. The aftertaste was not a focal point of this tea, but I did sense sugared violets at one point.
While the mouthfeel and longevity are lacking, the roast brought out very pleasant, sweet incense-like aromatics that perfumed my room. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable offering and I’m happy to have had the chance to try it. Thank you for sharing, Leafhopper, and exposing me to TheTea.pl. They look to have interesting options :)
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Biting, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Char, Cinnamon, Dry Grass, Earth, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Ginger, Grain, Grass, Honey, Meat, Milk, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Perfume, Raspberry, Roasted Nuts, Violet, Walnut, Wood
As all of you have been exploring new teas, I’ve been trying to sip down some old ones in preparation for my massive Black Friday haul. (Nope, I’m not envious at all!) Even teas I usually like are starting to get boring, however, so I broke out this 10 g sample, which is my last remaining oolong from my 2018 order from TheTea. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot in boiling water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma of these dark, loosely rolled nuggets is of charcoal, honey, walnuts, and flowers. The first steep has notes of rye bread, caraway, honey, walnuts, grass, and charcoal. The second steep brings a heavier roast, along with caramel, more honey, flowers, berries, rhubarb, and cooked pineapple, though these flavours are more in the aroma than the tea. The bottom of the cup has a lovely cereal/honey/fruity aroma. Sadly, the fruit isn’t as apparent in the next couple steeps, and the tea veers back toward honey, cereal, charcoal, and grass. The next few steeps concentrate on the honey, grain, and nutty flavours, with the session ending with notes of wood, roast, minerals, and walnut skins.
There was a brief moment in the life of this tea when it was amazing, but otherwise, it was a fairly standard Dong Ding. However, this review is pretty subjective, since I don’t have a great palate for roasted teas. In the future, I’ll stick to TheTea’s less roasted offerings, which I’ve found to be truly fantastic.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berries, Caramel, Char, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Nuts, Pineapple, Rhubarb, Roasted, Walnut, Wood
I decided to take this tea out of the archives to celebrate Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge for National Freedom Day/Black History Month, though thankfully, it’s not a sipdown. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have any teas from black-owned companies, partly because I’m a creature of habit and partly because these companies tend not to sell straight teas that I’d want to gongfu. (Please let me know if any of them actually sell these types of teas.) I also don’t have any teas from Africa, although I remember having an interesting one from Malawi a few years ago that I passed on to Derk. So, I’m steeping my favourite black tea.
I won’t go into a lot of detail because this session was much like the first, though I noticed the lemon a bit more and found some lovely floral apricot/peach notes in the middle of the session. Basically, if you can think of a fruit, it’s most likely in this tea, though it has very little tartness. There’s lemon, lychee, pineapple, cranberry, raspberry, those stonefruit notes … all balanced by light malt, florals, and a few tannins near the end of the session. Drool.
I haven’t had many unsmoked lapsang souchongs so I may be biased, but this tea is magical. I would consider buying 100 g despite the price if it ever comes back in stock. Until then, I will be hoarding my two or three sessions’ worth.
This company carries a version of this tea every year, and the one I’m drinking is from 2018. I love unsmoked Lapsang Souchongs and this tea came highly recommended. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using boiling water for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma of these long, curly leaves is of lychee, pineapple, tart fruit, malt, and flowers. The first steep is extraordinarily fruity and smooth, with flavours of lychee, pineapple, raspberry, cranberry, flowers, malt, grass, and chocolate. Baked bread, orchids, and a stronger pineapple flavour emerge in steep two, and there’s a floral and lemon/pineapple aftertaste. The lemon becomes more pronounced in steeps three and four, joining the tropical fruit, tart, and malty profile of the tea. Orange and wood appear in the fifth steep. By steep seven, the malt starts getting stronger and some tannins appear, but the pineapple, lychee, and raspberry persist. The end of the session sees more tannins, malt, minerals, earth, and still, gloriously, those pineapple and lychee notes.
Aside from the 2019 Yuchi Assam from What-Cha, this is, hands down, the best black tea I’ve had this year. It’s fruity, complex, smooth, long lasting, approachable, and surprisingly affordable for its quality at around $13 for 30 grams. (I know this isn’t exactly cheap, but did I mention how awesome this tea is?) Drinking it has been a high point in a somewhat lousy month. I’m not sure why TheTea.pl hasn’t gotten more press, but I think many of their teas are amazing. Some of their oolongs are too roasted for my palate, but others, like this one, have the fruity, floral notes I love.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cranberry, Earth, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Pineapple, Raspberry, Smooth, Tannin, Tart, Wood
Yay! This is my two hundredth tasting note. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to develop my palate on Steepster and to meet so many fellow tea people. This is truly a great community, one that I hope to continue participating in for a long time to come.
I bought this oolong two years ago. Ai Jiao is usually a Wuyi varietal (and I had a not-too-impressive example of that version a few years ago), so naturally, I was curious to see how it would take to my favourite terroir, which seems to be all of Taiwan. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot using boiling water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of honey, flowers, grass, roast, and faint stonefruit. The first steep has notes of honey, raspberry, roasted grains, apricot, and grass. The honey, roast, and grains become more prominent in steep two, and the roast gets even stronger in subsequent steeps, with a hint of roasted walnuts. Though the stonefruit, berries, and flowers put in sporadic appearances throughout the next few steeps, mostly what I can taste is the honey and roast.
As someone who prefers greener oolongs, I’m not the ideal drinker for this tea, but I do appreciate its complexity. Maybe after another two hundred reviews I’ll be able to look past the roast to understand the full spectrum of flavours, though by then this tea will probably be gone.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honey, Raspberry, Roasted, Stonefruit, Walnut
What can I say? It’s a bug-bitten oolong, so I had to try it. Because it was heavily roasted, the owner recommended that I get a 10 g sample instead of a full 50 g. (Thanks for the good advice.) I steeped 5 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot in boiling water for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry leaves smell like honey and charcoal, but the first steep is honey and grain. In the second, the charcoal becomes apparent, along with tangy honey, grain, and walnut shells. The third and fourth steeps have notes of honey, nut shells, burnt toast, and wood. The liquor is very drying. The next few steeps are a cross between a honey oolong and a Dong Ding, with little to suggest that it was originally a green Alishan. The final few rounds still have honey and cereal flavours, with minerals, tobacco, and wood in the background.
In its favour, this tea is long lasting and keeps its honey, nutty, and toasty character till the end of the session. However, it’s drying and a little too roasted for my liking. Judging from the other teas I’ve had from this company, this is a well-made Mi Xiang; it’s just not something that appeals to me. For this reason, I’ve decided not to rate it, although I still recommend it and TheTea in general.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Char, Drying, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Tangy, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood
When I was browsing this vendor’s website around Christmas 2018, it had three bug-bitten teas. Naturally, they all ended up in my cart. After Bai Hao, I love Gui Fei, and it’s usually a lot friendlier on the wallet. This one does not disappoint. Following the website’s instructions, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 212F for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, followed by a couple long, untimed infusions to extract all the flavour.
The dry tea leaves smell like honey, raisins, and flowers. The first steep has soft honey florals with raisins and a little stewed fruit, but is a bit watery. (Note to self: Fifteen seconds is too short.) The second steep is a bit more intensely fruity, with hints of grapes and baked apple. The next couple steeps get even more intense; tangy stewed fruit, baked bread, and particularly honey are the dominant flavours. Despite being brewed with boiling water, this Gui Fei isn’t astringent, as many others seem to be.
In the next few steeps, the liquor evens out into a gentle honey nectar. There are still baked bread and stewed fruit notes, but they’re secondary. Even the final few rounds are sweet and not vegetal or astringent, though some woodiness and dryness sneak in.
This is basically my ideal Gui Fei. It’s sweet, decadent, and undemanding, with all of the flavours I like and no off notes. Bug-bitten tea aficionados may find it a little predictable, but then again, that’s not always a bad thing.
Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Floral, Grapes, Honey, Raisins, Stewed Fruits, Tangy, Wood
Inspired by a recommendation from Liquid Proust, I bought six teas from this company, which I’d never heard of, for Christmas. Even though I’ve tried only two of them, it’s safe to say I made a good decision. Following the instructions on the website, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 212F for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry leaf smells floral, nutty, grassy, and faintly citrusy. I was wary of steeping it in boiling water, but this tea can apparently take it. I get notes of grass and sweet citrus, followed by lighter notes of nuts, orchids, and cream. Even hitting it with boiling water, there’s no astringency. The citrus becomes kind of like a mandarin orange in the second steep and a slight bitterness emerges. The citrus morphs into grapefruit in the third steep, and I get vegetal hints that remind me of spinach. Swishing it around in the mouth reveals the roasted almond in the description. I can kind of see how the body can be described as oily, though I’m not very good at detecting such things.
I let the fourth steep cool and it’s vegetal and bitter with some nutty undertones; it’s probably best to drink this tea hot. As the session winds down through the next five steeps, the tea loses the citrus but retains the floral, creamy, vegetal, and grassy flavours.
I usually find Alishan oolongs to be all about the florals, but this one had refreshingly diverse flavours. (The citrus was a particularly nice touch.) The brewing method let me see how the flavours evolved, although I could have extended the steeps farther apart near the end of the session. It was well worth the $16 I paid for 50 grams.
Flavors: Almond, Blood Orange, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Grapefruit, Grass, Nutty, Orchids, Spinach, Vegetal
Again, received from fidgetiest, I’m uploading a few tasting notes tonight.
The rinsed leaves smell like smoke and green hay to me. On first steep, I just wrote “whoa” and then skipped to the next page apparently. This is thick and rich, not quite like anything I’ve had before but this is my first aged sheng. I wrote down that this smells like wet wood and citrus rinds. Steep 2, this is definitely bitter, but no astringency until like 5 minutes later when my mouth suddenly dried up.
Steep 3: formaldehyde, cinnamon and ginger, the latter two are definitely more pleasant than the first which just reminds me of anatomy lab.
Thankfully by steep 4, I’m getting sweetness, astringency, but no sour acid refluxiness like other shengs give me which is a plus. I also felt like I was floating, feeling light.
By steep 6, most of the taste was in the nose, ether retronasal or aroma though nothing was left in the cup afterwards which I found very odd.
Started to become just sweet+bitter melon by steep 8 but I kept going through and past 13 when I also noted some sort of waffle-cone-y notes, as well as sugarcane and rum.
A really interesting session overall.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter Melon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Hay, Rum, Smoke, Sugarcane
From the start it shows a very thick, deep creamy texture plus a sweet brown sugary liquor.You feel an instant tingling within your whole front teeth.Taste and scent-wise there is a nice wet storage basement stony moss composition to it.Between its mouth watering woodsy Autumn notes there is also a mysterious bouquet of something fruity sweet noticeable.
Imagine a little story with this aged fellow like a spiritual pilgrimage through a deep from rain soaked Autumn wood.While you literally can taste and feel the fresh rain dripping down from those reddish brown colored treetops.You can hear wood cracking near and far and feel a fine breeze of wind cooling your cheeks.Along your way of withering with mushrooms covered wood, moss, fresh springs and fallen leaves you finally find shelter inside an abandoned old wooden temple before the rain started pouring down with all its natural power.While listening to the sound of the rain playing its mystical music on top of the roof you can smell the old wood of this temple getting soaked up.You might also discover an old library filled with ancient parchments and scrips.This was quite the image I got.
Now let’s get back to the fruity aspect. The first thing that came into my mind was a gentle tiny hint of an old ripe pickled cherry note within a fusion of pear skin.The major sweetness of this aged sheng definitely shines through its dark sugary aspects.There is also a subtle vegetable note of a tomato nuance but more of green salad especially red chard plus a nice fresh taste of whole grain bread.Talking about the tart aspect it reminds me also a tiny bit of grapefruit.Imagine it all as a nice fusion where all those aspects complement each other and bring a unique united flavor to its perfection.Definitely a very inspirational and relaxing long lasting Pu!
The first view associations which came into my mind were very wet stony & medicinal TCM.The aroma in its dry stage is totally different as from the actual wet leaves.At first the scent is strong in its wet HK storage with all the funky moldy basement aspects but then those wet leaves oh my god they scent like pu heaven.This Sheng is packed with so many breath taking moments.This unbelievable pleasant medicinal scent are following delicious layers of eucalyptus and licorice.It really reminds me a bit of a perfectly balanced Shou with all its dark aspects.
Taste and bouquet-wise those two go more or less hand in hand.It comes all together the fallen leave basement stoniness, the TCM herbal medicine and those lovely eucalyptus & licorice nuances plus new fine spicy hints of caraway and anise.The liquor is very creamy and thick with a certain ripe fruity sweetness to it like over ripened pears with a thick skin.This is a very relaxing tea and also cooling with a nice tingling in your front cheek section – the same with the tongue.It’s not like the body actual feels chilled more like the brain.With the sweetness comes a very subtle hint of raisins and figs but just like a fast fading breeze.This Pu got such a unique natural sweetness to it like if the tea was cooked with dried dates inside the water.This wet storage aspect with the hint of those ripe pear skin stays quite persistently long within your mouth.
The actual thickness and this medicinal sweet liquor isn’t changing that much while it stays strong and full bodied for a very long time with all it’s diversity complex flavors and bouquet.A perfect example of a well aged & masterfully composed Sheng a la HK style without an unpleasant wet storage note to it.
I got a sample of this one from a teafriend during our Secret Santea exchange. It was a very tasty one! The leaves had a complex aroma – I noted a bit of humid storage scent over floral, slight leather, cocoa, cinnamon, sweet bread, moss, and a bit of nuttiness.
The flavor was a little bit more straightforward. I was impressed by the way this tea seems obviously aged, but has still kept some youthful character. It was more bitter than I would expect in a tea of this age, though it was a clean and pleasant bitterness. The tea was active on the tip of my tongue. It had a rounded woody taste – thick and pleasantly musty with a good bit of woodiness. Finish was sweet with some of the sweet bread notes I smelled in the leaf earlier.
A really good tea, and one I’m glad I got to sample!
Flavors: Bitter, Musty, Sweet, Thick, Wood