13 Tasting Notes
A fairly standard rolled-leaf oolong: tasty and a good value. This is light and very crisp; it almost has a lemony ‘clean’ feel to it. The wet leaves have a slight buttery scent to them, but that doesn’t carry over into the liquid itself: both the smell and the taste are flowery.
This this doesn’t have the depth or tastiness of many higher-quality rolled-leaf oolongs, it’s good and the price is very fair. I got a lot of infusions from these leaves — sometimes 8 or 9 — but I like my tea light (and arguably weak) so others might prefer fewer.
After a few more drinkings: this tea is quite enjoyable and good, but I think it works better as an “occasionally” tea than as an everyday tea. Its interestingness and distinctness were great the first day, but after 4 or 5 days it’s starting to get a bit dull.
Overall, I’d liken this tea to a cross between Lapsang Souchong, Hojicha, and a dark oolong. The flavor is a little more Lapsang Souchong than Hojicha, with only a hint of oolong-ness, while the body and texture are more like a dark oolong than Hojicha, with only a hint of Lapsang-Souchong-ness. Also like a dark oolong, I’ve noticed that the leaves change from black to green when brewed. There’s a nice long, smoky aftertaste, with some astringency and just a hint of wood.
Although overbrewing doesn’t necessarily harm the tea, I definitely prefer it with a shorter brew time, at least for the first few infusions. I’ve been getting 6-7 infusions from the leaves (with a steep time of 2-4 minutes for the last few infusions).
I tried this tea for the first time today. As soon as I cut open the bag, the smokiness exploded out — this smells just like a Lapsang Souchong. The dry leaves are small, thin, wiry, and black; I had to check the producer’s website just to make sure this wasn’t actually a black tea. I gave the leaves a very quick rinse, and the smoky smell subsided, replaced by an almost malt-like scent.
I’ve never brewed this tea before, so I made three infusions with different brew times: 1, 1.5, and 2 minutes. The leaves were still going after the 3rd, so I imagine they could go longer. The liquid is a dark yellow color with lots of tiny leaf-hairs in it, and a relatively mild smoky scent.
Edit, after actually drinking the tea:
I like it: the taste is definitely smoky, but it’s mild — not overpowering. All three infusions were roughly the same flavor-wise, although the first seemed weaker than the others. It does have some characteristics of a light black tea, but it also has an oolong-ness to it. There’s almost a foresty/earthy taste hidden behind the smokiness, and a tiny hint of astringency.
Medium-bodied and smoky. While this didn’t blow me away, it was quite good and I’m looking forward to trying it again.
I’ve had that one. Sorta ruined a tiny yixing teapot with it. A tiny little one containing only half a cup. But it looks nice as decoration on my tv, so it’s okay. :) I remember liking it, although it definitely took some getting used to. I’m not sure what really goes into the production of a yellow tea, but I agree it seemed very black. Sometimes I think it’s a shame that I don’t have any left of it because it’s so special, but on the other hand I’ve never really felt any sort of desire to repurchase.
I’ll keep an eye on what you decide on thinking about it. :)
No, it wasn’t ruined like that. But this is a very special tasting tea, and I had only used the pot for this tea ever. Since it’s unglazed clay, it picks up aroma and flavour from what you put in it, so since this is so strong in flavour, if I brewed something else in that little pot now, it would inevitably taste at least a little bit of Wei Shan Mao Jian. A well seasoned pot that has been used for the same tea for a very long time is said to be able to give off so much flavour that you can have a (probably somewhat weak) cup of tea without adding any leaves at all to the pot.
Note though, that it wasn’t one brew, I went through 50g of the stuff in a pot so tiny it only contains half of an average sized mug. So it turned pretty seasoned towards Wei Shan Mao Jian towards the end of the bag.
This was my last of this tea. I used slightly fewer leaves, with a longer brew time. Although today’s infusions came out a little less flavorful than previous ones, this is still quite good.
The “old cut grass”-ness is less prominent today; instead, there’s a hint of honey, particularly in the first few infusions. It also has a stronger aftertaste — a pleasant, mouth-drying astringency. I’d buy this again.
I used more leaves this time, to make this a little stronger, but it came out almost exactly the same — if anything, the first infusion seemed a bit weaker. I made five infusions.
The wet leaves have a strong, pleasant smell to them — very flowery, and stronger than I remember — and that smell makes its way into the tea’s flavor. This has a woody aftertaste which hangs around for a while. Very pleasant and enjoyable.
Edit: Later, I made three additional infusions using the same leaves (for a total of 8), using a longer brew time (3-4 minutes). There is certainly a hint of bitterness, but the tea is quite good overall — and much stronger. I suspect this can handle even more infusions, and that even the early infusions will be forgiving — next time, I’ll try some normal infusion times, instead of the shorter ones I started off with today.
This is my first time trying this tea; I like it. I rinsed the leaves once and used a rather short brewing time.
This tea first struck me as very “foresty” — bark, leaves, and earthiness — but there’s a strong flower scent and taste, and a bit of fruitiness (raisins?) too. I brewed it to a light orange color, but the flavor is still robust. There’s a bit of pleasant astringency, particularly on the aftertaste.
This is a solid tea with some complexity to it. While it might not be for everyone, it’s one I enjoy. I drank it by itself, but I think it might be even better paired with food or dark chocolate.
I got 4 infusions from these leaves. I think they could probably keep going for 1 or 2 more, but that was enough for me. =)
This was my last serving of this tea. This time, I made two 1-minute brewings and two 2.5-minute brewings, and it came out great — smooth with a nice, soft flavor. It’s rather nondescript and “average green tea”-like when brewed this way, at least to me, but it was enjoyable.
This is far too easy to overbrew. I somehow got this tea mixed up with a different one, and I brewed it like a normal tea (extra leaves, standard time and temperature for green tea) instead of doing short infusions. I’m reducing my rating by a few points. :-/
This still is not a bad tea — a lot of complexity shows through, especially when it’s brewed strong — but it becomes distractingly bitter very quickly. The taste is very mossy today, with some fruity overtones. The self-inflicted bitterness makes it difficult to enjoy, though.
Still delicious. I’m increasing my rating of this by a few points.
Today’s brewing was a bit stronger for me (but I like very light teas, so “strong” for me is likely “weak” to most people,) and it came out less grassy/composty and more nutty. Smooth and enjoyable.
I’ve been holding these for two years, and I used a weird brewing process today (3 of these in a 32 oz teapot, three infusions) so this review might not generalize well. I rinsed these twice before brewing.
Musky and soil-like, with some coffee overtones and a hint of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is mild, with more dirt and a faint hint of caramel. Noticeably bitter, but at the same time it does have some of the pu-erh sweetness. As it sits and cools (or maybe as I get used to it,) the bitterness is subsiding and the sweetness is becoming more pronounced.
I’ve been experimenting with different brew settings for some time; today’s experiment was good but not the best. Similar settings once yielded a wonderful dark chocolate flavor — one the best pu-erh experiences I’ve had — but I haven’t been able to repeat it.