609 Tasting Notes

95

Sipdown. A wonderful session marred only by my pocket pipe kyusu slipping from my hand during cleaning and shattering. Sigh. I love mini teaware for solo sessions especially with pricier tea like gaoshan. Luckily I have my 50ml shibo to fall back on which I’ll now need to be extra careful with.

This was the last tea from my Wang Family Tea order. I have to say, I‘ve really enjoyed all of the high mountain oolongs I tried from Wang. Not only were they all good but I noticed their tea didn’t go stale as quickly. Green oolongs usually deteriorate within a few weeks. I took me nearly 3 months to get through this one and it suffered only minimal loss of freshness.

Dry leaf smelled like pear and lily. Upon placing in a warmed gaiwan, kettle corn and magnolia aromas appeared. More florals and a scent of honeycomb following a rinse.

The tea starts off light and fresh, building body as it progresses through steeps. Luscious spring flowers with notes of orchid and daffodils. Not too thick texture or heavy body but elegant and understated.

It’s best when gongfu steeped but is also nice western style or when all of the infusions are combined.

Leafhopper

Sorry to hear about your teaware mishap. It’s always sad when that happens. I like Wang Family Tea as well, and their oolongs seem to be on the floral side.

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98
drank Mango Green Tea by Tapal
609 tasting notes

Ran out of loose tea while visiting family in Canada last month and they offered me their stash of bagged tea. This was a massive collection of random teas and tissanes ranging from plain commodity tea like Pukka to exotic Arabic Wild Thyme tea. I sampled a bunch of them and this flavored tea from Tapal, a Pakistani brand, was one of the ones I enjoyed most. It has a light but natural Alphonso mango flavor, my favorite kind of mango. It’s not as intense or juicy as higher end flavored teas however the subtle sweetness and flavoring is really nice and leaves you wanting more.

Flavors: Mango

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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88

Shincha 2022.

This has been my go-to for iced sencha all summer long. It’s refreshing and tastes reasonably good iced. But truthfully, the reason I started having it iced is because I didn’t know how to properly steep it hot. The steeping instructions from O-Cha resulted in a murky brew with a generic, salted grass flavor. I couldn’t taste any of those sweet grass and umami notes from the leaf aroma.

After some Googling and thanks to the tasting notes on this site, I was finally able to have a good session with it. Used 4g of leaf for 100ml and steeped 3 times: 1m @ 155 F, 20s @ 160 F, and 45s @ 165 F. Keeping the temperature low and leaf quantity high is the key here. The resulting brew had a sugar pea sweetness mingled with spring grass and pronounced umami. It has a mildly bitter but pleasant edge to it and the umami lingers into the aftertaste.

Flavors: Snow Peas, Umami, Wheatgrass

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97
drank Bai Rui Xiang by Verdant Tea
609 tasting notes

Spring 2020 harvest.

Been a while since I’ve dabbled in yancha. The oily texture and heavy roast usually turns me off but this one has a unique flavor that’s just delightful.

The lovely aroma of roasted peaches and chocolate surprised me. The aromatics resemble a dan cong more than a typical wuyi oolong. I brewed it grandpa style as I usually do with this kind of tea. It has a familiar but gentler taste of wet rocks with floral accents and a fruity finish. Notes of brown sugar and hazelnut. Glides across the tongue smoothly without any ashiness.

A quite refined and elegant yancha with a lot of aromatic complexity and lingering fruitiness.

Flavors: Fruity, Juicy, Peach, Wet Rocks

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93

Picked this up from TJ Maxx as I needed a cheap and convenient bagged jasmine green for homemade taro bubble tea. It certainly served the purpose but I was surprised at how good it tastes on its own. It has a fresh, clean jasmine flavor without the bitterness or weird taste that low grade jasmine tea usually has. You don’t really taste the green tea base but that’s fine by me. I just want the flavor of pure jasmine flowers in my cup.

That said, it’s best to throw out the teabag after a couple of minutes as it infuses quickly and turns astringent if left in the mug. In a side by side tasting, my Yunnan Sourcing jasmine dong ting bi luo chun still blows this way but it’s not really fair to compare it to a loose leaf tea. By bagged tea standards, it’s more than serviceable.

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C
gmathis

I have had this before and agree—it’s not bad for what it is!

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90

Finished this one up a couple of months ago. Another very nice Wang family tea that offers a lot of florals that shift and evolve from steep to steep.

The rolled tea leaves are gigantic and dark green in color, emitting an aroma of apple and flowers. Following a rinse, coconut and tropical fruit emerge. The tea begins with creamsicle, flowers, and mineral accents. Lily of the valley and daffodils bloom in the second infusion. This is followed by more floral notes of gardenia, perfume, and a little honey. It begins fading after the 5th infusion but still offers a pleasant syrupy flavor.

I also prepared this by combining / stacking the infusions together. The result was a sweet and rich floral bouquet. Not as thick though and lacks some of the top notes. Nevertheless still full flavored and tasty.

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86

First spring green tea of 2022.

Pale green leaves shorter than a typical dragon well. Matcha like aroma that changes to spinach and chestnut when the leaves are placed in a heated vessel. The brewed tea is nutty with a pronounced roast. Tastes like stir fried vegetables with an astringency that becomes less noticeable the more you sip. Notes of grilled asparagus, green beans, zucchini, straw, and edamame.

Enjoyable tea but not memorable.

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92

Backlog.

This was the second tea from my Wang Family Tea order. A few months ago when I was knee deep in studying, my tea consumption went way up despite having less time for leisurely gongfu sessions. Most of the time, I just wanted to be able to quickly fill up a mug or tumbler. So I resorted to compounding all of my gongfu infusions into one mug. And to my surprise, infusions often tasted better when combined than on their own. Such was the case with this tea. It expressed itself differently depending on how it was steeped yet was delicious no matter what.

I brewed it grandpa style the first time. Upon opening the bag, the tea leaves smelled of buttered flowers. First sip tasted like crisp, clean spring water with a lily floating in it. Reminiscent of baozhong with its lilac and light floral notes but absent the usual body and minerals of gaoshan. Refreshing flavor with a little fruitiness in the finish. After topping off, it had a more body along with sugarcane and vanilla notes.

Next session was normal gongfu where I tasted each steep individually. The leaves, which had been allowed to rest for a couple of days, now emitted a soft tropical aroma. A heady burst of orange blossom, coconut, and mango following a rinse. The flavor of the tea was sweet, juicy, and mineral rich. Full bodied with a bright, minty herbaceous note, and lingering florals.

The best result though came from combining all of the steeps. Using my 65ml mini kyusu, I stacked 4 steeps at a time and was shocked at how intensely fruity it tasted. It felt like a tropical cocktail in tea form. Fresh pineapple juice accented with with lychee and melon. Some top notes disappeared by the time I got to the later infusions but it was very fruity and delicious.

ashmanra

I will not buy more tea I will not buy more tea I will not buy more tea

ashmanra

I might buy some Wang Family Tea but I will blame it on Steepster

LuckyMe

@ashmanra lol we’re all enablers on this site :D

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88
drank Gangkou Oolong by Wang Family Tea
609 tasting notes

After seeing all of the rave reviews for Wang Family Tea on this site, I finally pulled the trigger and placed an order last November. Picked up 25g each of Gangkou, Lishan, Shan Lin Xi, and Long Feng Xia. I’m happy to report that all of them were outstanding and having experienced these teas, I get the hype for this vendor now.

Gangkou is the first tea I tried and the sole low elevation tea of the bunch. Wang Tea’s website describes it as having five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Indeed, this was the wildest one of the bunch as the flavors are all over the place. The website recommends a high leaf to water ratio and “heavily boiling water“ to steep. Despite my better judgement I followed their steeping parameters initially.

The dry leaf had aromas of flowers and freshly baked cookies. A rinse brought out cucumber and a little incense. The tea starts off with some strong vegetal notes and slight bitterness but eventually this fades and fruitier apricot and pear notes emerge. The bitterness wasn’t as bad as I feared but I decided to revert to my usual steeping method and kept the temperature below boiling which produced better results. Lowering the temperature and leaf quantity brought out gentle floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orchid intermingled with some sugar plum fruitiness. Along the way, there were hints of autumn leaves, toffee, spice, and perfume. When steeped grandpa style, it has a richer mouthfeel, mineral notes, and a sweet, lingering wildflower honey flavor.

Overall, this was a complex and enjoyable tea although a bit challenging at times due to how unpredictable and inconsistent it is.

Daylon R Thomas

How was the Long Feng? I’ve been meaning to get it, but I always pay too much for all their other goodies. I got a bunch of the green Shan Lin Xi Shui Xian (Chefs Kiss) and Jasmine Shan Lin Xi. Their roasts are also incredible too, though I usually move away from roasted teas.

LuckyMe

I’m currently drinking the Long Feng Xia. It’s quite good, tropical-floral flavor but less in your face than other gaoshans. I’m enjoying it more than some of the LFXs I’ve had from TTC.

Haven’t tried their roasts yet but plan to next time. I really want to order from them again this spring but unfortunately they don’t have baozhong which is one of my must-haves. I may end up splitting an order between Wang Tea and maybe Floating Leaves for the Baozhong.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m having the same kind of issue for the splits I’m looking for. I am desperate for some Lishan Black and tried Green Terrace, but they’re paypal isn’t accepting mine for some reason. No idea why. I’m also interested in some of Wang’s Shan Lin Xi White Tea. They don’t always sell it, but they’ve been really kind to give me some, and now Liquid Proust sells it. Leafhopper has talked a lot about Ethan Kurland on a tea forum that you buy directly from vendors and farmers. I haven’t done that yet, but I know he has some good Baozhong. Trident’s Baozhong is also insanely good.

LuckyMe

Green Terrace seems to bd all but closed. Their online inventory hasn’t been updated in a while. I know What-Cha has Lishan black but they’re sold out of it including a lot of other teas I want. Thanks for the tip about Trident, will check them out.

Daylon R Thomas

The Lishan Black was a limited summer crop sold later in that year, and there’s no 100% guarantee it will immediately return. I’ve been hoarding it while I can. Their Long Feng and Shan Lin XI are also good, along with their Darjeeling selection.

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100
drank Earl Grey Green by Adagio Teas
609 tasting notes

Surprised to see the low ratings for this tea. I‘m enjoying this one way more than I expected. I’ve tried other green Earl Greys which left me wanting to wash out my mouth with soap. This tea has a bright, invigorating flavor with notes of orange, mint, and cardamom. The green tea base lets the pure bergamot flavoring shine through. My favorite way to steep it is by adding a little bit to spent green tea leaves.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cardamom, Citrus, Herbaceous, Perfume

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Profile

Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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