127 Tasting Notes

78

Eco Cha has consistently had some of the finest taiwanese teas I have tasted, this one is no different. It is one of the best hong yue I’ve tasted, the dry leaf are of noticeable quality as well and the tea lasted 4 gongfu style infusions.

If you not familiar with red jade, google “tai cha #18” but basically is it a hybrid cultivar that is known to have the cinnamon/clove front and a cooling camphor/mint backend all with malty/astringent “assamesque”. Truly unique so much so that I made the personal decision to not but it in my hong cha yixing. I am sure a few steepings wouldn’t hurt the seasoning of the pot but it also wouldnt add to the tea or display it’s aroma subtitles either.

Only compliant I think oxidation went a tad too far some of the complexities of past hong yue (rishi tea has had the best one i’ve tried to date) seemed to be lacking. All and all a good representation and noticeable quality in both infusions and dry leaf.

Flavors: Astringent, Camphor, Cinnamon, Clove, Malt, Menthol

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Finally cracked this bad boy open today

My hopes were mixed as I know MT tea co has amazing dongfang meiren, award winning in fact, as well as other grades. That being said I am aware of the aging potential but have yet to see another cake of this nature so I was thinking is maybe more of a gimmick/way of turning lemons into lemonade (stale tea into a collector’s item). I purchased about a year ago and stored the cake in a big tin that is fairly airtight with approximately a LB of other various Dongfang meiren teas (the whiff once I opened it was intoxicating) in my cabinet of my kitchen which I am sure the temperature and humidity varies wildly.

All that being said not sure if I stored it with the best care but the tea was a bit of disappointment. The dry leaf still wasn’t sweet or much a smell at all. The first steeping was not like any other bai hao i’ve had before. It was the hallmark liquor color and the playful muscatel light tannic quality but no sweetness up front like usual and actually a rather strange menthol quality on the back end. I realize later that the cultivar might be red jade tai cha #18 due to the camphor flavors.

While not a bad tea, as I stated it reminded of red jade cultivar also from taiwan, I was hoping and expecting something completely different. I did end up prying a rather lot of fanning and dust rather than whole leaves so Im sure that was a factor. I will surely tinker with the brewing parameters/prying technique fairly soon so at the moment holding off on numerical rating.

Bottom line if you expecting something sweet look else where it reminded me of a cross between a darjeeling and tai cha #18 both of which I happen to like from time to time.

Flavors: Camphor, Menthol, Muscatel, White Grapes

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78

In a hurry so more of a note for myself

Sweet, not bitter or sour that I could detect, only had a decent body on the second or third steep otherwise was fairly light and “daintly”.

Maybe lighter in caffeine or maybe just my caffeine tolerance but calming gaba content seemed higher maybe because of the elevation.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 95 ML

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Holy Shhhh
Ever looking for a cake makes you wonder “mmm sooo this is what meth feels like”(and probably tastes like for that matter) Then this is your cake!

Will this tea win any awards for flavor complexity, pleaseant anything….. NO !
Will this tea wake you up? Yes and Violently !

The first half hour after I had a cocktail of an GABA/Caffiene/theanine anxious stimulated trip which mellowed out into clean productive, happy energy.

Bottom-line: this tea tastes like battery acid and will make you uncomfortable anxious at first but if you can hold on for the ride the residual feeling is worth the abuse :) I cleaned my place, worked out and went out for a very social adventure filled night, all of this while originally waking up super tired with a terrible hangover and accompanying headache .

So am I upset I gambled with a whole cake before sampling?
Hell no although I had to fight every urge to chuck the cake into the trash bin for the first hr or so, It was good fun and cheap thrills a true definition of a utilitarian tea.

Flavors: Bitter, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
Stephanie

Hahaha, nice

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84

You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

I filled my yixing with whatever was left of my bag (probably at least 10-15 grams lol) from last year in an effort to drink within freshness and to clear room in my cupboard.

This is still one the most unique black teas I have ever tasted. Fruity, sweet, silky, complex, with just the right amount of body. I taste over-ripened plum very pleasant sweet add a tail of sourness, with hints of thyme/oregano or some other woody spicy herb in the background. This one is a crowd pleaser for sure I even poured some for my guests who have american “pepsi palates” and they actually enjoyed and asked for seconds(usually the best I can get out of friends is a sip and a patronizing “not bad”). The flavor profile is the complete opposite of chinese hongcha, a lot sweeter/smoother /fruitier, less astringent, a nice break from my usual fare.

The calming effect and unbelievably perfect body makes the leaves origin apparent, far more than being a marketing ploy of buzz words associated with the description. This high mountain black tea has theanine left from the roasting to give you the gao shan relaxed buzz but with a taste thats more bold and “heavier” than a typical floral green oolong.

Is it worth the $11/oz price tag? Depends on your budget I suppose but I would repurchase for sure. But like anything else the quality bump that comes with the high price tag would not be appreciated from new comers. I have come to appreciate teas too much to let price tags bother me especially when I stop comparing prices to other teas and start comparing prices to other beverages . I also don’t mind supporting eco cha as a company they seem to have a friendly, transparent orientation.

Flavors: Black Currant, Plum, Smooth, Sweet, Thyme, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 15 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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77

Back log, received as a sample. Reminded me of a taiwanese hong yue(tai cha #18) but less complex and less sweetness. Basically a poorman’s red jade.

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76

Was a typical TGY towards the end but the first flash steepings and dry leaf really surprised me. I got a unfamilar smell and taste over the first two steeping. The liqueur was a pale green almost like a green tea and I got a strong “dark green” vegetable aroma/taste. Maybe kelp or seaweed ? I was so surprised I wasn’t able to pinpoint it before it vanished. Also the body and creaminess with the first few steeping was really unique unfortunely after a total of maybe a minute of steepings it returned to the typical flavor profile and yellow TGY liqueur color.

Interesting, not amazing(TGY isnt my thing lately) but I would drink it again if I had more(only a 6g sample).

Flavors: Bread, Cream, Seaweed

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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84

This is a weird one, good just strange. Not sure were this tea falls caffeine wise but since it is Gao Shan Cha it still possesses the tea drunk aromatic oils :) so I am super mellow and smiley. I’ve western brewed in the past but decided to gongfu today. The first few steeping I got tart dark cherries sour sweet and tart plum at the tail, later a strong berry flavor appeared and remained constant for the rest of the steepings. A sort of piney, woody maybe fruit branch flavor accompanied the fruity flavor. I say fruit branch since it still had the berry taste it reminded me of berry branches that some time make it through the sorting in the frozen berry mix I like to buy.

An interesting tea, not something Id reach for daily (also just realized it was $11/oz yikes) but definitely enjoyable and glad I got to try this one.

Flavors: Berries, Cedar, Plant Stems, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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77

I am a little confused …. I have honed my sheng brewing skills (6-7g/100 ml, rinse then 25 sec steep +10sec subsequent) but this tea tasted polar opposites from what I remember. This was my first sheng and being so Im sure I over brewed it the first two times. I remember a smokiness, bitter, petrol-like barely tolerable cup. This time maybe 1-2 months later I got minimal, if any, smokiness from the first cup (infusion 1&2) and zero astringency the whole way through. This scares my a little because I have switched it to a few different tins and my kitchen where all my tea is kept has been rather humid at times due to cooking/showering/opening window on nice days. Hopefully I just learned to tame sheng and I am not speed aging all my teas.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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77

Actually took the time to gong fu this tea and it sounds dumb saying it (I brewed EVERYTHING else in a gaiwan) but I was surprised what a difference it made. As per teavivre’s parameters I brewed this in a gaiwan open lided 3g/3oz water. Every single infusion was no longer the yellow color I was accustomed too but actually a very pale translucent green. I rushed through the first few steepings not taking note of the flavor other than different than tall glass brewing, much sweeter and no astringency or bold dragonwell bitter brothy taste I was expecting. The last steeping I actually focused and got a cooked zucchini flavor which was quite pleasant.

I put more value in this tea and will try gong fu cha with green tea more often. Since the tea has arrived I have gong fu, tall glass and grandpa style brewed this I think my favorite is still generic open lid tall glass because I like my greens strong 90% time but an interesting experiment and a note worthy tea at just over $5/oz a strong candidate for a staple daily drinker.

Preparation
3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cwyn

Wow, I am certainly glad to find all your tea reviews, I’m going ka-ching nearly every tea review is a tea I’ve had too!

Jiāng Luo

thats great, do we seem to have any similar opinions? tastes? dislikes/likes?

Cwyn

Yes, we have effectively paid the equivalent of a small nations’s annual GDP to white2tea.

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Profile

Bio

Reputable Companies I have narrowed down to over the years and my personal purchase preferences from each

Origin tea (Gao Shan Oolong)
-Eco Cha (Taiwanese Teas)
-Rishi (Great starter for Taste Profile Footing and high quality teaware)
-Yunnan Sourcing (Teaware, Black, Pu er)
-White2Tea (Curated Pu er)
-Essence of tea (Curated Pu er)
-Yuuki-Cha (Japanese Teas/Teaware)
-Teavivre (Chinese Teas)
-Jing Tea (High quality Chinese)

“You can go a week without food, but not a day without tea."

Numerical rating personal meaning
70-75
#Bulk#
Drinkable but would not purchase

76-80
#Traveling/Tumbler/Office Tea#
Willing to pay up to $5/oz

81-84
#Staple#
Willing to pay up to $8/oz

85-89
#Reserve#
Willing to pay $10/oz

90-99
#Experience#
Priceless

I try to refrain from numerically rating a tea until I have tried brewing at least an oz of it with various different parameters and vessels (hotter/colder water, longer/shorter times, yixing/gaiwan etc)

Location

Hovering over my tea table

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