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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve been back at work for about 6 weeks, and just last week our mall was ordered to close again (I manage a store in the mall). Our company has decided to proceed with curbside pickup, so we’ve been going in everyday, with not much to do. I decided to bring in a small gongfu set, to enjoy some of the teas from the JL (Fong Mong) sampler while I read some comics I’ve been meaning to catch up on.
I brewed this up…and it tasted terrible. This was no fault of the tea, I realized, even though I filter our shop’s water, the water just did not taste good and ruined the poor tea. Lesson learned, but a waste of this tea.
This GABA enriched oolong is something new to me. It’s quite fascinating, too. As I examined the dry leaf I found it contained more pieces of twig and stem than other teas, but there’s a good reason for that: the stems contain more GABA. The aroma is indeed strong and of dried fruits, such as raisins and also a little bit woody. It’s interesting too how some leaves are quite green and some are more brown and black in colour.
I’ve tried this tea both in a teapot and flash steeping in a gaiwan. Although I don’t think I’d infuse it more than twice in a teapot, in a gaiwan it produced round after round of rich liquor that was full of flavour and a bit tranquillizing. Brewing in a gaiwan, I used 3g of leaf per 75ml of water, later increasing to 90ml.
This tea wasn’t quite what I expected. The liquor is darker in colour, a rich amber more akin to a black tea such as Ruby 18. The flavour also makes me feel like I’m drinking a black tea, with malty and caramel notes and a hint of vanilla sweetness. It’s very enjoyable, and I find that it’s minimally astringent, becoming even smoother as it cools. I finished with 8 infusions, letting the last one sit for an extended period of time. I enjoy the calming and focus enhancing boost from this tea.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Honey, Malt
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up for tasting today we have healthy GABA oolong. I dont have all that much experience with GABA tea, and wasnt really sure what to expect. I started by heating a yixing with near boiling water, then putting the dry leaf in to smell. I got an aroma of honey and spices.
I decided to skip the wash as the leaves look pretty clean and open already and just go right for the first brew. The flavor is a bit hard to describe, honey, spices, nutmeg, malt and a bit of sweetness. It does have a few of the flavor profiles of bug bitten, but more spicey and malty. The liquor is clear, reddish brow, the color of whiskey or dark honey.Second brew I got much more intense honey aroma and flavor, almost overpowering the other flavors and aroma. Also just a tiny bit of black tea flavor. Not really bitter or astringent, but a bit of the tea flavor of black tea, I cant think of another word to describe it. The liqour got a bit darker at this point as well.
Third brew is about the same color as the second and seems very similiar though the flavor and aroma is drifting from honey to malt. There is a teeny bit of astrigency in this brew as well. Some spice notes, and possibly nutmeg again. Tiny bit of coffee note as well, again a flavor I usually get with black tea.
This has been an interesting experience as I dont drink much GABA tea, so I didnt really know what to expect. It almost tastes like a cross between black tea and bug bitten. This tea type is supposed to be very healthy , lowering blood pressure and sugar. I do recommend trying this tea for yourself and seeing what you think.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Nutmeg, Spices, Sweet
Beautiful leaf with almost a copper complexion to it when you turn the leaf around. Giving a smell smell to the brewing liquid I expected a honey taste as it reminded me of a oriental beauty. Unfortunately, what I thought was going to be an amazing tea ended up having the second most funky taste I’ve ever encountered. The best way I can describe it would be oversalted butter melted and then mixed into some instant tea. It was one of the hardest few steeps to get through as the leaf looked so great that I decided to continue at least 7 steeps to see if it changed… no, still really awkward tasting; though I’ve had this same experience with another gaba oolong before.
As I mention in my full-length article of this tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/01/03/taiwan-gaba-oolong-tea-from-fong-mong-tea/ Of the many Oolong teas that are out there, I think that GABA Oolong teas are the one that I probably have the least amount of experience with. I’ve only tried fewer than a handful of this type of Oolong.
This is sweet and nutty with hints of spice. It has a lighter taste and texture than what I would normally experience from an Oolong. It’s not as creamy as Oolong teas often are.
Later infusions were stronger tasting, with a well developed roasty, toasty sort of flavor that I enjoyed. Subtle notes of peach began to emerge and develop. My last infusion had a really pleasant development of the peach note.
I’ll admit, I was a little afraid to steep this for 6 minutes, having only ever steeped Oolongs for much much shorter times, but it came out absolutely lovely. Sweet, soft, beautiful. Mmmmm.
The second steep was much less sweet with more of the oolong leaf flavor coming through, but very nice with a light floral fragrance and taste.
Having never had an Oriental Beauty before, I was quite interested to hear how it was made. Here’s a blog post (To which I am not affiliated) on some basic history – http://teamasters.blogspot.co.nz/2007/02/study-of-oriental-beauty.html.
(Free sample provided by Fong Mong Tea. Thank you!)
Teapot/tasting cup method
- 150 ml / 3 gr
- 95 C / 6 min
- 85 ml / 3 gr
- 95 C / 4 min, 5 min, 6 min
Leaf & Infusion
Dry leaf – Mainly dark with addition of larger and more loose copper-red leaves with fine white hair. There are also some really small white buds in this small heap.
Wet leaf – Fresh fruity aroma with honey and flowery undertones. When compared to other rolled oolongs such as TGY, the leaf is somewhat smaller and variegated in shades of coppery-brown and olive green. The well preserved structure of leaf reveals its one bud – two leaves picking standard and the stalk is relatively thin and only few have wooden texture.
Infusion (Teapot) – First sip reveals rich taste and fruitiness with honey-sweet finish and intensive aftertaste of the two. As tea cools down there can be sensed some muscatel notes that get a stronger magnitude as tea continues to cool down. I did two more steeps, 8 and 10 min, and former brewed a delicious cup leaning more to lighter mouthfeel than first steep and almost as equally aromatic experience. Ten minute steep came out with decent fruity liquor that was enjoyable.
Infusion (Gaiwan) – This method seems to show off more of Oriental Beauty’s finer nuances. The infusion is rich and along of its usual fruity and honey aspect there are some earthy and woody notes involved backed with pleasant astringency and touch of bitterness.
I really enjoyed this one it’s very nice some earthiness with astringency of a black tea and roasty oolong nuances. Nutty smooth on it own and slight fruity notes with sweetner added almost muscatel some one else said like “licking a grapevine” thats was about right not in a bad way at all tho. Many steeps for this one I enjoyed the first steep to me could have even been tossed and considered a rinse because the second and third steeps were much more flavorful. Wonderful tea I want to get some more of this.
Oh lookie! ANOTHER Oolong! :)
Not that I’m complaining…it’s the complete opposite, actually!
This Oolong SURE IS a beauty! Sure…I have had other Oriental Beauty oolong before…but how is this one different? Well, the first thing I noticed was the dry leaves smelled like a formosa-type with a bit of natural citrus notes.
The taste was delightful! It’s gentle, a bit floral, but a sweeter-floral, maybe a touch of sweeter-nuttiness, too. I could also taste those subtle citrus hints, too! This is juicy and – dare I say – succulent? YUM! This is great!
Many thanks to Fong Mong for the samples! I have a feeling that I will thoroughly enjoy them all! I received the box last week but have not had a chance to truly appreciate an oolong until work yesterday. Armed with my Teaopia Teamaster (probably not ideal but great for watching the leaves unfurl) and an eight hour workday I set out to sample this tea.
The result- ahh-mazing! Oolong’s like this almost make me want to never drink anything else. So smooth, so sweet, so deliciously yummy…
Before steeping observations: Not really any smell to the leaves, leaves are curled tightly but white tips are evident.
1st steep: Tea came out to a deep brown colour, which I wasn’t really expecting. The smell is mostly sweet, like honey or baked goods. I am getting gentle earthy tones and a lot of natural sweetness. After the first steep the leaves had fully unfurled and were almost shiny.
2nd steep: Unbelievably smooth with a sweet kick at the end, almost tastes fruity, but I can’t put my finger on which fruit… Definitely some lovely honey notes in there!
3rd Steep: This is where I turned into a tea criminal… I left it steeping for way too long as I got busy at work, and then proceeded to let it get cold in my mug, and you know what? It was still amazing! This tells me that this tea doesn’t need to be babied to taste amazing, which is something that I absolutely look for in a tea!
4th Steep: took it home so that my dad could have a try- he loved it, said he couldn’t believe how sweet and smooth the taste was. I couldn’t agree more! I probably could have easily gone for 7 steeps, but I ended it here.
Overall, the best oolong that I have tried and it will definitely become a staple on my tea shelf!
Thank you to Fong Mong Tea for their generosity in providing me with this free sample!
This is one of those teas that gets its flavor from being bitten by leaf hopping insects, I almost forgot!
I’ve had a few Oriental Beauty type teas in the past and have always enjoyed them. I wish I had a gaiwan to steep this in, but this afternoon I don’t. I did steep in the infuser mug for around 90 seconds.
I got a light yellowish infusion that is slightly toasty with a slight floral aroma. The tea reminds me a bit of sandalwood and has a nice sweet, finish. At first I doesn’t seem too impressive but a few seconds after you take a sip, there’s a honey like sensation on your tongue and the back of your throat. This tea stay with you in a good way. Very nice!
My second steep was similar to the first, but the infusion is a bit darker, I think I steeped it for around 2 minutes. There’s a bit of rose in the aroma & flavor of this tea. Roses and sandalwood is quite a nice combination! I have another Eastern Beauty but would certainly consider purchasing this once I’ve finished the other one off. A very enjoyable afternoon tea, relaxing and brings you back to sanity.
Thank you very much to Fong Mong Tea for the generous samples that arrived yesterday. I have been wanting to try more Taiwanese teas for awhile. In fact it was an Oriental Beauty that opened my eyes to the greater tea world and led me to Steepster, so it seems appropriate that I start with this. These leaves are a bit more varied than the other version of this tea I’ve tried. While the silver buds are slender and twisty, the bronze leaves are broader and while most are long and whole, there are some smaller and broken bits mixed in.
The smell is so lovely and familiar, yet hard to pinpoint. My mouth is greeted by a similar welcoming warmth, like embracing an old friend. This is woodsy, a soft fragrant wood, with a dusting of… powdered sugar? Yes, mmm. Later in this cup is the most subtle hint of fruit, like licking a grapevine.
Second infusion: hello flavor! There is a fleeting sweetness like cocoa powder, but it is gone in an instant. Oh, this is quite muscatel, but I so prefer it to Darjeeling. Mmm grape leaves now.
Third infusion: more herbaceous, like Shou Mei. And the next five infusions are pretty consistent with this, even though I increased the steep time by 15 secs up to 2 mins. I brewed this session in a makeshift gaiwan (curvy mug with a lid that I only used the bottom 4-5oz of) with 3 grams of leaf starting at 5 secs.
Today I brewed the other half of my sample, starting at 3 mins and increasing by a min for a total of four sessions. This tea definitely does better with more time and higher temperatures, but still never gets very strong or buttery and still reminds me more of Darjeeling and Shu Mei. Not quite what I was looking for, but lovely all the same, thank you! I may eventually order the Top Grade.
Thank you FONG MONG TEA for this beautiful tea sample!
The first thing you notice about this tea are the multicolored dry leaves. Rust, grey and various shades of brown with tinges of green. Very pretty.
My porcelain gaiwan is small and just the right size for multiple infusions of this Oolong. Using a scant tsp of leaves, I waited almost a minute before the first pour.
The aroma from the now large brown ochre leaves was unexpectedly malty and vegital. The liquor was light yellow and clear.
I slurped the brew deeply…like a fine wine letting all of the liquid hit every taste bud.
Oh my! For no reason whatever…the first thing I thought of was yellow roses in the garden. Beautiful roses with the blush of soft pink that reminds you of ripe yellow delicious apples. The fragrance and taste of both mingled together but gently…ever so slight in the tea base. The room seemed to be spinning.
The tip of my tongue became hot like a nettle sting but there was no bitter aftertaste or tannin. This tea was juicy.
The second steep.
The leaves looked like rusty parts of filigree floating in the gaiwan. The liquor was golden, leaves smelling like lilac and rock sugar. The broth was much thicker coating my mouth, still juicy and sweet but reminded me of a corn broth. Not a sweet corn but the real corn juice that comes off the cob when you cut the kernels with a knife. Light and fresh.
I decided to increase the steep time a bit. The discription of sweet fruit had not appeared. The flavor was subtle and enjoyable but maybe I was doing something incorrectly.
I steeped 1.5 minutes.The added time produced more color and flavor.
Right away my mouth tingled…the flavor so much sweeter and richer with juicy goodness. The developed flavor was huge and resembled a pineapple mango with acidity and smooth textural creaminess all in one fruit. This is what makes you want to lay down on a beach and take a nap.
One thing that I have to comment on is that of all the Oolongs I’ve had thus far, this one tastes far different than any other. It just does not taste like the Chinese Oolongs. No orchid flowery taste. It is much more delicate and I fear that I am not trained to understand this tea. I am under-educated and too young in the tea life.
I am so appreciative of the opportunity to taste this tea and thank FONG MONG TEA!