Green Terrace Teas

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Recent Tasting Notes

88

These days buying Taiwanese Oolongs, especially the green variety, feels like a crapshoot. The flavor and quality vary tremendously from season to season and between vendors. Some are highly perishable and turn up stale on arrival. However the one tea that manages to maintain consistency and seldom disappoints is Dong Ding. And this particular Dong Ding was no exception despite the number of duds from my Green Terrace Teas order.

This one tastes like a yummy apple pie in your teacup. It’s characterized by warm notes of baked apple pie and roasted stone fruit, brown butter nuttiness, and an underlying brown sugar sweetness. Very sweet and smooth throughout. The roast on this is gentle and serves to highlight the fruitiness without any heavy char or dark flavors. It tastes even better cold brewed. Super refreshing and the fruitiness really intensifies.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Butter, Fruity, Molasses, Roast Nuts, Stonefruit

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 g 7 OZ / 214 ML
Cameron B.

Yum, apple pie!

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78

Four Seasons spring oolongs usually don’t offer the same experience as their pricer high mountain siblings. That said, they can still enjoyable and occassionally even surprise you as long as you don’t set your expectations too high. This one was fairly decent when prepared gongfu but was overall unremarkable.

Out of the bag, it had a sweet, sumptuous aroma of lychee and flowers. Butter and pastry like aromas wafted out after dropping the leaves into a warmed teapot. Wet leaf brought out enticing aromas of apricot jam, peonies, and orange blossom. The amazing smell however didn’t manifest itself in the tea. The tea is light bodied with a bright fruity flavor, syrupy sweetness, and floral undertones – mostly orange blossom. Doesn’t have the fullness or depth of better gaoshans but that is to be expected. I got several solid steeps out of it before it faded out.

It was less impressive when steeped using other methods. There’s hardly any flavor after cold brewing for nearly 24 hours. Doesn’t hold up well to grandpa style either.

Flavors: Floral, Orange Blossom, Pancake Syrup

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
So Keta

Mmm the aroma sounds amazing, I wonder if it would make a better iced tea?

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84

Finally a Green Terrace Tea that isn’t stale or flavorless. After all the duds so far, I didn’t have much hope for the remaining samples. This was a respectable Li Shan although not the best one I’ve ever had. It has a brothy-floral flavor, a powerful Cha qi, and gives several good infusions.

Dry leaf smells of butter and shokupan bread. Wildflower aromas begin to emerge following the first steep. The brewed tea is thick, buttery, and floral with hints of vanilla, eucalyptus, honeysuckle, and dairy. The Cha qi was strong with this one, almost to the point of feeling nauseous which was probably compounded by drinking it on an empty stomach.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Broth, Butter, Cream, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Milk, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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26

Ugh, this tea was blander than bland. Hot steeped, it tasted like hot water. When cold brewed, it tasted like cold water. Completely and utterly devoid of any flavor…like an empty canvas where flavor should be.

I’ve had a lot of bad teas in my lifetime but at least they had some discernible taste, be it sour, bitter, ashy, musty, whatever. But this is the first tea ever that had zero flavor or aroma of any kind, good or bad. The very epitome of bland tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Leafhopper

It doesn’t seem like you’re having much luck with this company. Are all these oolongs old?

LuckyMe

@Leafhopper, yeah I’m 0 for 3 so far and already thinking about where to order from next. I suspect these teas are old and/or low quality. A couple of them were definitely stale. It’s weird because they were all vacuum sealed with oxygen absorbers so in theory, should remain fresh for years.

Definitely disappointing as this company has generally positive reviews.

Leafhopper

I looked at their website and their prices seem unusually low ($16 for 50 g of Li Shan?). This would have been great if the teas had been any good.

Since you’re in the States and the shipping isn’t outrageous, I’d recommend Floating Leaves for some good high mountain oolongs. (Sorry if you’ve already bought and reviewed teas from them.) Their shipping to Canada is US$20 with no breaks for large orders, so sadly, I don’t order from them often, but in my opinion they provide some of the best high mountain teas out there.

LuckyMe

I was actually going to order from Floating Leaves last time but they were mostly sold out.

I ordered from them a couple of years ago and agree, Floating Leaves is quality stuff!

Leafhopper

Yes, Floating Leaves does tend to sell out of things quickly—for good reason!

I enjoy reading your reviews of less well-known Taiwanese tea vendors. I’d love to find an international company selling quality high mountain oolongs for bargain prices, though I doubt such a thing exists. TTC does come close!

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55

Another dud from Green Terrace Teas. This tea is kinda just meh all around. Stale and flavorless with a muted brothy taste. Doesn’t have those luscious tropical-floral SLX aromatics or flavor.

Once again, cold brewing came to the rescue and made this tea drinkable. I’m puzzled as to why it was stale when the tea was vacuum sealed. A little nervous about trying the remaining samples from this order.

Flavors: Broth, Floral, Musty

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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59

Placed my first order with Green Terrace Teas recently. At this point I’ve done TTC and Tea from Taiwan to death and wanted to try something new. Ended up buying a bunch of samples of my usual go-to Taiwanese oolongs from here – Ali Shan, SLX, Dong Ding, etc. – and will be reviewing them in the days to come.

This Jin Xuan was the first tea I tried and as far as first impressions go, it left a lot to be desired. When I opened the pouch, it had that dreaded stale seaweed aroma, a telltale sign of lost freshness. The description promised milk and osmanthus but instead my cup tasted musty and vegetal, like raw turnips, with a little butteriness.

I was able to salvage the rest of the sample by cold brewing but this was a disappointing start. Hoping for better luck with the other teas in my order.

Flavors: Butter, Musty, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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70

This tea had a flowery taste because of the Jasmine, which was nice. But It was also bitter so I added two spoons of sugar.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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57

This obviously had a very flowery taste because of the Jasmine,but the Green Tea added a bitterness to it so I added two spoonfuls of honey.

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When my SO comes in to work we sit down to tea together, and this was her request for today. The dry leaves have a very faint chocolate smell and the wet leaves smell just as one would expect a black tea to. The liquor comes out a nice, medium dark reddish color.

There is a hint of honey flavor in the first steep, followed up with a sweetness, but not a honey sweetness. She describes it as having the bitterness of gallberry honey, which I’ve never had. It does produce a drying in the mouth with a bit of bitterness left in the throat.

The flavor is stronger in the second steep, naturally, and I feel like it brings both more depth and less bitterness. She says she can see herself drinking this as a breakfast tea with southern biscuits. She’s the black tea drinker, so this is more up her alley than mine, but I’d say it’s a good tea.

We enjoy a couple more steeps that remain consistent in taste. We only had 5 grams of this, so we won’t get to try it again, but it was a good primer for trying a honey black before we open the bigger bag we have from another vendor. All in all, it was a good experience!

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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83

This was from an older teabox but it was a vacuum-packed single serving sample, so I’m sure it is relatively fresh. Though the description calls it medium roasted, it doesn’t seem too roasted to me. The bundles look pretty green and not darker, like a roasted oolong should be. The flavor is buttery, mildly roasted and sweet — it reminds me of kettle corn. The second and third steeps had slightly more roasted flavor but reminded me less of kettle corn.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 17 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 1 minute steep

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78

I’ve had a really long day, and I just got home. I pulled this one out completely at random. I didn’t have enough for a large session, so I busted out my small celedon gaiwan. I warmed up the lil guy and dumped the long black leaves inside. I let them sit as I sat down and unwound. I lifted the lid and took in a very unique aroma. The scent was sweet with some heavy grass tones, alike green bean and hardy vegetables. The winter honey lingered in the background but the heavy dull vegetable tone dominated the brew. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The flavor was light. This is a good tasting brew, but there isn’t anything amazing about it. The flavor begins with some heavy wood tones along with a slight honey taste. The brew was not overly complex, and it didn’t last too long. It was okay for a late night drink, but it didn’t quite hit the spot.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Drying, Green Beans, Kale, Winter Honey, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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65

Working from home today and trying to make a dent in my sample pile before more new tea arrives next week! I believe this one was from Flyawaybirdie’s Christmas card. The leaves are long, dark, and wiry with a light honey aroma. But steeped, this tea has an unexpected scent of green beans! The flavor is also a bit vegetal, reminding me more of a green tea than a black tea (although the color is a deep mahogany brown). The honey flavor comes through mainly in the aftertaste. The tea is super smooth with not even a hint of bitterness or astringency…the silkiness is similar to an oolong. Not really something I’d purchase, but I’m so glad I had the chance to try it and experience a completely black tea from anything else I’ve ever tried!

Flavors: Green Beans, Honey, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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You know when you are drinking a great tea but then think, ‘if only this was as good as…’ but then you realize that you are still drinking something great?
That is how I felt about this one… thanks a lot Verdant teas… actually, we should blame me because I am the one that drank them in this order right?

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So… I drank this last night and apparently it wasn’t note worthy because I remember nothing.
:/

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74

My third and final gongfu with DinoSara
THe dry leaf smell like a light ceylon
First steep 5 seconds, no rinse: Smells like a light black tea. The flavor reminds me of the smell of a peach cobbler, or maybe like sweet mash for horses, a grainy, molasses-y kind of flavor. It is very sweet once it cools off a little.
Second steep, 8 seconds: Sweetish/fruity note in the smell of this steep. It is slightly salty/smoky while hot and more like bitter oak when cooled. A slightly darker molasses on the breath.
Third steep, 8 seconds: It’s getting woody, but a malty flavor lingers. It smells like spend brewers’ mash.
Fourth steep, 10 seconds: Not quite as sharp as the last steep, more malty-floral. The floral is a different floral than my green oolongs, much more grainy.
Fifth steep, 10 seconds: Even breadier; the sweet is gone. Much like weak lipton.
The combined mug is much better all around. All of the depth of the last steeps combined with the honey and up-front florals of the first, which lingers a little. I think we have a western-steeper!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Malt, Molasses

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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74

Our third and final gongfu of the afternoon. It definitely reminded me of a more delicate Taiwanese black tea. It started out with some honey-ish grain and malt notes, and by the second steep that weird fruity-floral note in Taiwanese blacks that I can never properly describe showed up. That note isn’t my favorite, so in the end this wasn’t really the tea for me. The note ebbed and flowed a bit in the steeps, being stronger in some than others, but overall it was just too similar to Taiwanese black teas.

love

nice one..

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84

(In a case of mistaken identity, this review was posted under the alishan oolong of the same company, but I realized today that it belonged here…)
Gong fu # 3 of Sunday’s extravaganza!
First steep 15 sec: some sweetness and butteriness, smells somewhat like an alishan should.
Second steep 30 sec: Flower power hits you in the nose with this steep! Sweet flowers in the aroma cup. Taste is buttery, a light floral. Like a good alishan! Minerals starting to come through, staying on the tongue.
Third steep 45 sec: We’ve hit the beaniness and slight bitter minerality. The scent in the aroma cup is still a lovely floral bouquet.
Fourth steep 1 min: The aroma is even sweeter florals! Flavor is really raw beans, or maybe cucumber skin, nearly bitter. But something keeps me drinking it, like gulping… so refreshing!
Fifth steep 1 min: Bean is coming into the aroma. More of a green pea flavor, less bitter, sweeter an smoothed out.
Sixth steep 1 min 15 sec: Aroma is floral again, though more stately this time. Flavor is getting steeped out- now a blend between beany and floral, but overall much lighter, but still a full, buttery mouthfeel.
Overall a nice oolong. I’m a fan.

Flavors: Beany, Butter, Floral, Peas, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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This was mistakenly attributed to the Ali Shan when instead it was apparently this tea instead. So this is a reposted note!

This was our final gongfu of the afternoon. There was almost too few leaves for this one, so my steeping was fairly wonky. This one was pretty much exactly as I might of expected. The steeps were all variations on the same theme: floral and sugar snap peas, with perhaps a hint of butter. Some were more floral, some were more vegetal, but they were all pretty similar. I kind of drank this one without really thinking about it. It was a perfectly fine tea, but not overly memorable for me.

ETA: Oh, I almost forgot! There was one steep near the end that was really nutty, almost like some chinese green teas. That was an interesting steep, I haven’t gotten a ton of nuttiness from high mountain oolongs before.

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80

The second tea on Dinosara and my gong fu menu this afternoon!
I was really interested in how wide the descriptions of this tea ranged. We ended up getting a completely different set of flavors from this than everyone else!
This gaiwan was completely packed, the whole sample went in. Short rinse was interrupted, and subsequently drank as the first-ish steep, most likely 6 seconds, gonig up 5 seconds for each steep after.
First steep: Pure, sweet artichoke hearts! So strongly artichoke!
Second steep: Artichoke with some additional overprint of a flavor that reminds me of thick, succulent flower petals/leaves.
Third steep: The smell from the gaiwan lid got all of the sudden more roasty. Like water that I steamed artichokes in that boiled a little too much. The smell was so super intense in the aroma cup that I actually coughed! The spiciness of some aromatic wood (not cedar, but close to it) has crept into the flavor. Truly interesting.
Fourth steep: Even spicier in flavor and aroma! The aroma cup had picked up a spicy floral scent with some vanilla notes after the artichoke fades. The tea has become slightly bitter.
Fifth steep: This steep reminds me of the overbrewed generic Jasmine tea they serve at asian restaurants. Bitter, but a jasmine note has definitely crept in.
Overall an enjoyable experience, if strange. I probably wouldn’t purchase this, but I very much enjoyed trying it.

Flavors: Artichoke, Cedar, Floral, Spicy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Taking a quick break from my cupboard sip-through notes to write one for this tea, which I shared with Equusfell during our marathon gongfu party this afternoon. She came over and we had Verdant’s Early Spring TGY (2014), Tea Ave’s Ginger Lily and Magnolia Oolongs, and this one. Now I am a little sloshy in the belly.

Anyway, this was an interesting tea. I kind of “packed the pot” (well, the gaiwan) and used an entire sample pack in a medium-large gaiwan, and it was pretty intense. We agreed that the overarching flavor was that of artichokes. When it started it was fairly green and fresh, with a bit of sweetness. As steeps progressed it became more fruity, although not in an indentifiable way, and woody. It was kind of a spicy wood, like cedar but not quite. It also got more bitter and astringent as the steeps went on, which was somewhat unexpected. I am going to blame that on the somewhat excessive amount of leaves used. But then again it would not be considered excessive by some (based on various gongfu instructions). I was having a hard time placing the fruity/spicy notes at the time, but now I think it was quite reminicent of some of the black leafhopper teas I’ve had in the past. The taste of injured leaves, LOL. Anyway, an interesting tea to try and very different from all the others!

Stephanie

Yum injured leaves :)

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84

This was also good. Will review later, again!

Flavors: Mineral, Tropical

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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84

Thank you Ubacat for this sample. This tastes like a breakfast blend tea to me. It’s fairly malty and fairly sweet. It’s rare now that I have time to review a tea in the morning. I don’t usually have the time before work anymore. Going out on a limb I would say this one has notes of baked bread and dry grapes too. Not really sure but I think they fit.

Steeped this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 min.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Ubacat

Glad you liked it!

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I am not an oolong lover so I am definitely not the target audience for this tea. With that said, I can still appreciate that someone who likes this type of tea might be quite pleased with this one. It has strong floral and grass notes while also containing an element of cream that floats around the cup. It’s nice though not for me. 219.

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85

This is an awesome oriental beauty oolong – it’s pretty sweet, with tasty honey, peachy, nutty, malt, brown sugar, and caramel notes. I got 11 infusions out of this oolong, with one messed up long one in the middle. This tea can take a beating! However, later infusions it does get moderately dry.

My only beef is my sample leaf looked pretty smashed up. Otherwise the taste was pretty good.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/eastern-beauty-oolong-green-terrace-teas/

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