311 Tasting Notes

drank Mao Xie by jing tea shop
311 tasting notes

This is a lightly oxidized greener oolong, less floral and fruity than the greener TGYs and the Alishan oolongs I’ve been drinking, with a spicier note that dominates the middle infusions (reminds me a bit of rou gui, but not as clearly cinnamon as that tea) and something elusive that is not precisely spicy/sweet/fruity/floral but not either smoky/earthy/toasty, something that is both tart and herbaceous and delicious.

I start with water between 190 and 200, and am too lazy to keep reheating the water when at home, so the water cools with later infusions. But I start short and hotter, and go longer as it gets cooler.

I only bought a one-ounce sample of this tea, and I have enjoyed quite a few mostly very small-scale brewings of it. As my tea cabinet runneth over, I won’t be ordering more of this one now, but when I do order again from Jing Tea Shop, some of this will be in the cart.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Today made this one again, still haven’t done it formally with photos and drinking each infusion separately, but I wanted a thermos full of tea, so used enough to stuff my 100mL red clay pot full when then opened, and from that brewed up a quart of tea. It’s been sitting a few hours, and the impression now is sweet, floral, not very earthy. Rather chameleon like vs my first experience with this tea. Delicious however you brew it.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I bought this tea at the request of a friend who had heard about it and was interested in the purported health benefits of the GABA-rich tea. I thought it sounded intriguing, and I’m always up for an oolong, so I tried it. The dry leaf was brown rather the green I expected from their photo, and when brewed I was a bit disappointed at the relatively thin flavor: I used a quantity that usually is enough to fill my thermos with rich, deep oolong flavor from wuyi, anxi, or taiwanese teas.

I steeped it at 185 degrees, several infusions totaling about 2-3 minutes of infusion time, and combined the infusions to fill my thermos. The result was a brown infusion, with flavor of highly oxidized, almost black tea—no hint of bitterness, but a lightly fruity flavor, without much spice or earthiness.

I have passed it on to my friend after we shared the first infusion, and doubt I’d buy it again. It wasn’t particularly memorable, and I didn’t feel particularly mellow afterwards either.

Addendum: as I was cleaning up last night, I discovered the leaves from this tea were still left in my kamjove, and about 10 hours after the infusion, they were springy, not as soft as typically rehydrated tea leaves, and had a wonderful plum scent—probably more accurately, a very pleasant prune scent—fruity and sweet, and I was regretting giving the entire rest of the bag over to my friend, because it seemed like something with so much good scent must have more flavor potential as tea. Sigh. But if he figures out how to make it yummier, maybe I’ll try a smaller sample again.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Thanks for this review! I’m really curious about GABA oolongs. So sad to hear that that the taste is thin.

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Today brewed this as a ‘tea in a hurry’: dumped a few teaspoons into the bottom of a quart thermos, added hot water from the water cooler tap, and went to my meeting. An hour and a half later, it is still delicious: no bitterness, astringency, still just sweet, toasty, delicious.


I love teas like this!


It is a wonderful thing to be able to trust a tea to tolerate this degree of ‘abuse’, because my work days do sometimes require that my tea tolerate this, or I have to go without for the afternoon. This and a handful of shu puerhs are the best I’ve found for those circumstances.


I agree! I often just toss the tea leaves in my travel mug and leave them there to steep. Puerh and houjicha have worked the best.

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This is a lovely puerh. The dry tuo smells woods and earth, without being musty. There are some broken leaves and stems, probably inevitable as such a tuo is broken up, but lots of large leaf pieces and some intact leaves visible after brewing. The leaf still smells spicy-sweet and promises more infusions to come.

Infused at 1 gram per ounce in a small yixing pot with boiling water, the first infusions need to be short as it still has some bitterness left that is apparent with careless or overlong infusions. Infused cautiously, 15 seconds at a time, it reveals sweet, smoky, earthy, spicy flavors. The smoky flavors fade fairly quickly, but the spicy sweet remains grounded and earthy for many infusions. I’m at least at 10-12 infusions now, limited more by bladder capacity than by the leaves giving out, and have lengthened the infusions to as long as a minute.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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This is a wonderful, brilliant tea. Spicy, fruity, sweet, and with complexity and depth to carry through many infusions.

I have generally given up before the tea has, somewhere around 20 to 25 infusions.

The dry leaves are long, twisted, and open up into reddish green when infused. They don’t smell like much until they hit the prewarmed infusion vessel, and then the scent starts to grow strong and exotic. The spicy scent remains in the leaves after many infusions, promising more goodness to come.

I use about 1 gram of leaf per ounce or 30mL water, use a small yixing or gaiwan, and keep infusing over hours or leave the leaves overnight, do a flash rinse with boiling water, and keep going the next day. Water 185-195 degrees, and infusions that start at about 15 seconds but later extend to a couple of minutes. You do have to watch this one—it is not quite as friendly as the Honey Orchid “commercial” Dan Cong I got at Imen’s recommendation as a ’beginner’s Dan Cong’—this one can get bitter if you abuse it. But if you work with it gently, such a wonderful, wonderful tea.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Gyokuro Suimei by Den's Tea
311 tasting notes

I am just getting started exploring green teas, and found this one to have umami that overwhelms the honey-sweet that I crave, especially when infused as long and as low as Den’s recommends. I think it will is a great tea for those who are seeking that deeper vegetal flavor. It never gets remotely close to bitterness. It’s just not the tea for me, yet.

My rating reflects my preferred shorter hotter infusion time; because the longer steep is so much less to my preference, I would have to give it a lower rating under those conditions; but people who really crave that deep green vegetal umami, I think the rating would be much higher.

I infused it 5g per 5 oz at 140 for 140 seconds, as recommended, but prefer it 160 degrees for 30 seconds, 4 grams per 5 oz. I have trouble getting a pleasing second infusion because the umami takes over.

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I wouldn’t try to treat an illness with this leaf, but the sweet, spicy, delicious brew made from it is certainly cheerful and heartening on a chilly day in winter when your head is stuffy. I tried this on my first trip to Hankook’s store, and I bought several other items so was offered a sample cup of any of their teas. I picked this one because I remembered a reference to a hydrangea tea somewhere in my tea wanderings online, and I was delighted from the first sip. It is very very sweet, but I don’t find it cloying.

I use one or two leaves per 6-8 oz cup of tea, boiling water, and infuse grandpa style, directly in the cup, waiting at least 5 minutes for the first sips. My first sample cup was nearly 16 oz from 2 leaves, and I got another full infusion out of it at home.

It is very very expensive, but a little goes a LONG way. Highly recommended as a treat.

I also once brewed it up with a cinnamon stick too, and that was an exceptionally delicious cup.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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This is the tea I ‘grew up’ drinking, starting with Chinese restaurant teas and moving on to this one, which I was taught to revere as special and rare, one my father had learned on from Chinese friends but found hard to get before the 80s. By the time I started to drink it, it was easier to find, but still not something that every chinese market would carry. If I couldn’t find the familiar red tin, I’d go home empty handed rather than buy an unknown tea. A long period when I could not get t from my usual suppliers finally led me to my new local Chinatown, tea shops, and the internet, and this is no longer my favrite tea.

In retrospect I’m very glad that I didn’t find this tea on my first trip to Wing Hop Fung. But I’m glad that I eventually did find it again. It’s inexpensve, reliable, and comforting: a dark roasted toasty oolong with a little sweet, a lot of earthy, a touch of caramel, and when the leaves are treated just right, a bit of spicy too. I have managed to make a harsh bitter cup out of this one a few times, but it takes real effort: boiling water, too much of the dark, tightly curled leaf, and long steeping.

Use teaspoon per mug or 6oz pot, water 185-195, steep 1-2 minutes, and you’ll get another 1-2 steepings from the leaves.

It keeps very well, so it’s a great one To keep around just in case, to introduce newbies gently to the darker side of higher roast teas, and for effortless drinking when you’re to frazzled to break off a piece of puerh or babysit a tempermental green.

I’d rate it about a 65, but can’t Figure out the sliders on the phone.

170 °F / 76 °C

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I’ve been drinking tea for 30 years, but only bought 2 brands of 2 different teas for most of that time. It took me almost 30 years to discover sencha, puerh, and green oolongs. Now I am making up for lost time.

I try to log most of my teas at least once, but then get lazy and stop recording, so # times logged should not be considered as a marker of how much a particular tea is drunk or enjoyed.

Also debunix on TeaForum.org and TeaChat.


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