1309 Tasting Notes
Western again, but in 150 ml and maybe 3-4 ish grams. After about 2-3 minutes, this was really excellent and opening up. Melon, butter, lilac, lavender, and honey. I was very happy with this session, so I am upping the rating a little bit.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Honey, Honeydew, Lavender, Melon
I treated myself to this one since I am a sucker for regions that don’t commonly produce tea. Brewing it up, western as instructed, it turned out nice. I did some slurps after about a minute, and it was a light yellow with intense fragrance and flavor. This tea is extremely versatile making me think I might gong fu it, or definitely grandpa it. It’s lasted five rich yet balanced brews, and the body is overall lighter, but thick with fruity notes. I personally got some plum at the beginning, stonefruit mid body, berries towards the finish and lingering honey afterwards. The tea is a lot like a Taiwanese black, and it’s got the lighter body of a Georgian black. I like both of those kinds of teas immensely, so I’m extremely happy with this sample. I think anyone would easily love this tea, it’s on the pricier end, yet I personally don’t mind some extra expense as a gift and to support tea businesses.
Flavors: Berries, Honey, Nectar, Plum, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick
I amped up the leafs a lot filling a third to a fourth of my gaiwan. I also improvised the heck out of the brewing and let the leaves soak until I got a honey color. The sweetness and body amped up. It’s still lacking in any astringency, bitterness, and it’s super light on the malt. The honey note actually came up this time in like heathered honey. There’s more honeydew melon in the texture, but it’s there. Oddly, the sweetness this time lingered into corn territory in the first brews, and then heavy brown sugar in the later brews. I’m holding back on rating it yet, but I enjoyed it more this time with the generous amount of leaves. Like I said in the last review, not boring.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle
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I got this one when skimming some Teaforme and Oolongdrunk reviews, and I came up on one on a Lishan White. I thought about the white, but with Oolongdrunk’s code and decided to sample some of their tea.
I was excited about having samples less than 25 grams again, and there were some unique offerings on their site. I tried a raw oolong tea “temple” pyramid tea bag, and was disappointed by woodiness. This oolong did not, however, did not. The Wudan oolong is a Baozhong style, but it’s extremely fruity for a Baozhong. Their notes are Floral, sweet tangerine, delicate and silky. After following the 45 sec with 4 grams steeping parameters I personally got heady coconut, plumeria orchid, vanilla, lilac and sweetened condensed milk in steep one through flavor and aroma, and then the orchid and tangerine in following steeps. The aroma evolves, but the flavor becomes fruitier in later steeps retaining the floral orchid plumeria quality. I’m glad that I did not rinse this one because the flavor really shined the best in steep one and three, and continues to give an elegant profile.
There’s some fresh vegetal quality, but it’s faint compared to the sweeter notes and florals. The body is thick and the flavor is delicate and pronounced at the same time putting it in the 90s for my personal rating. I’m really liking this one so far and look forward to the other ones I get to try.
Flavors: Floral, Orchid, Sugar, Sweet, Tangerine, Vanilla
Backlog and present note reflection.
I took a vacation to tour the historic Saint Augustine Florida and visit my father. I thought about taking my teas with me, but decided not to because I know my dad doesn’t have a filter and drinks tap water. I planned on going through my Hugo Bagged Earl Grey and Jasmine Bai Hao because I know those teas can usually withstand okay bottled water while retaining their flavor, and I wouldn’t lose out on the flavors of my more expensive leaf.
Then I had a hair up my butt, and decided to get some Coconut Pouchong and this one from the Spice and Tea exchange and see how they held up. This Golden Money is the tea that begins to convert regular drinkers to higher end fancier black teas-a stepping stone drug if you will. I know I’ve had this one years ago and didn’t think much of it, so I decided to go at it again by pure impulse.
Opening the bag and 10 dollars spent later, the tea’s earthy but distinctly spicy, smelling like pepper, ginger, anise seed, and distinctly, licorice root and chocolate. Spice and Tea I’m not sure if it’s because the tea sits in a spice store soaking up the other flavors, or if its the tea itself since some black teas can have an edge to them. Brewing it western at my dad’s house with bottle water, I only got some flavors. The Spice and Exchange undersold the description making the tea savory, which is accurate. Dense malt, honey hints, muddled chocolate, and earth licorice root. Solid, okay. Quaity water is needed, and less humidity that is not Florida weather.
Back in Michigan on a hot day with only ten percent less humidity, the dry tea smells incredible. Spicy more so with qualities of the golden monkey that I know I like. Gong fu, and I got the flavors I described about and thick layers. Chocolate, honey, yams are more prominent yet still equal with the licorice and malt. Some people say tobacco for it, and I can see it more now in the malt. I’m getting mega peanut butter vibes in steep one and two.
I like this one’s profile, but $10 is a lot for it. So far, I never go beyond 3 steeps with it before the tea loses flavor, and I’ve gotten better quality for the same price and cheaper.
Flavors: Anise, Butter, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Licorice, Malt, Peanut, Pepper, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco
Just came back from visiting Saint Augustine, and when I thought I was just going to save up for my trip, I decided YOLO and got some tea samples that waited for me when I got back home.
This tea is probably one of the more expensive ones I’ve gotten from What-Cha, but I was really curious about it because One: I’m going through a Jin Jun Mei phase, and Two: Alistair described this one having honeydew notes, which is extremely unusual for a Fujian Black Tea. The single review also raved about it gong fu, and I figured this one would probably disappear.
Brewing it up western in my kyusu with 2 teaspoons and 195 F water, I pour a testing sip to see what I taste. Honeysuckle, milky texture and hot water. This tea is probably one of the most subtle blacks I’ve ever had, and the profile was identical to a Yin Zhin white. Interesting. I decided to let it sit for two more minutes, and the tea had a little bit more to it. It’s not flavor forward at all so far, but it’s not boring. The texture is heavily viscous, and the bitterness and astringency are nonexistent. There’s slight malt, but it’s barely there. The honeydew is there a little bit more dominating mouthfeel and texture rather than flavor. Honeysuckle is the main flavor through and through, bordering on being kinda like a chamomile. Sometimes, I got weird hints like incense or cardamom.
Not satisfied with that session, I decided to be heavily more generous with the leaves gong fu, and got more of the honey flavor and a denser after taste. Honeysuckle is still dominant with the flavor having more trademark black tea qualities like sweet potato. The thing that’s unusual is that those qualities are a lot more subdued, and again, the tea resembles a white tea more than what I think of a black one in flavor.
While I’m being pretty critical about the flavor, the tea definitely is not one dimensional. It resembles the Snow Tips a lot in its overall profile, whereas that one was more rosy, and this one is more “yellow” i n the florals and soft. It’s also extremely calming, which is a nice change of pace for a black.
I’m not fully decided on this one yet. There are cool things about the tea I really enjoy, though it’s too subtle for me so far. Out of all the teas I’ve reviewed, this one is what I’d personally rank as an expert’s tea because of it’s subdued nature and nuance. I know professional sommelier’s look for something that they can slirp without astringency or bitterness, and I can see this tea hitting high marks because of how dense in texture and lacking in abrasion it is. A newer drinker would think it tastes like hot water, and I intermediate drinkers who like blacks would be pickier. I do see white tea drinkers liking this one a lot though if they are exploring Fujian Blacks.
I hope my review didn’t disappoint you, Alistair. I’m going to try this one out again soon and am very happy I have it. I do have a descent sommelier book, and I am going to read it to see if I get any more insights. I am looking forward to a very leaf intense gong fu session!
Flavors: Chamomile, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Malt, Smooth
Another addition in later notes. The tea didn’t quite last as long as I thought, but it’s doing some fun things with the more cooked notes. Pine sap, resin, smoke, charcoal, and some sweetness mid body and in the finish. The brew afterward was just smoky, so I decided to put the leftover leaves in my garden.
Flavors: Charcoal, Pine, Resin, Roasted, Sap, Smoke
Rating between a 87-92. I decided to western brew style it because I felt lazy.
I rinsed it, and the rinse was extra sweet and buttery, but a little bit cool from the 195 temp. I amped up the kettle to 200-205, and aimed to steep it for two minutes. I let it sit, and after about 30 seconds I poured some into my cup to check its progress. It was sweet buttery and melony. I gave it another ten seconds, and same thing with more of the lavender floral. I thought I waited another minute into what ended up being two, I poured some more out to check, and it was vegetal edging on broccoli and cabbage, so I “saved” what I could by dumping it out.
The vegetal notes took over! I should remember that hotter water makes the tea develop faster. I poured some room temperature water in the mug to cut down on the vegetal notes and the slight grassy astringency, and it was good. Still sweet, buttery, creamy, and heavy on the melon, but the dill note was the strongest. I looked at the mug again, and I think I put closer to 5 grams instead of the 3 I assumed I did. There were some smaller leaves I couldn’t see.
Oh well, I took that as a lesson about this particular tea, so I dropped the temp back to 185-190 and let it only sit for between 1-2 minutes. The vegetal notes resided back, and the honeydew melon was back in place as the main flavor. I’m going to have to use 2 grams instead for western next time-I underestimated how powerful it would be.
I’m pretty happy with this one so far western, but gong fu is the way to go with this Li Shan. I have not decided if I want to tumbler it or not because it’s a little bit too vegetal for longer steeping, and if I do, I cannot exceed 2 grams. The veggie notes are making me lean more toward an 88 for a rating despite this being a higher quality tea, but my parameters in what makes a tea I prefer is versatility, so I am docking a few points for now. I will likely raise the rating back up later on, so we’ll see how it goes in other styles.
I know this is a critical good review, but I am a little bit more harsh this time around because I am liking some of the other teas they have more, especially the Long Feng and Shan Lin Xi….nevermind the notes I didn’t like were absolutely my fault. I still recommend Trident because they basically have a full catalogue that only focuses on the good teas. It’s by no means overwhelming, but it’s pretty damn complete.
Flavors: Broccoli, Butter, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Honeydew, Osmanthus, Spinach, Vegetables, Vegetal, Zucchini