• Baimudan,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  White tea

    Baimudan- From The Best Tea House Canada

    Basic Info about this Tea
    From Fujian China
    White Peony: One bud one leaf ratio white Tea
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (My yellow hand painted Jingdezhen Gaiwan, 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds after the third infusion)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (6 good ones)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves ( plumy, vegital, and quite heavy )
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( wet, leather, and like a Puerh)
    Taste Profile ( See paragraphs below )
    Texture Profile ( smooth and silky, some astringency from the first to third brew)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( cooling, but the tea seems to get stuck near the throat)
    Attitude Ranking: 6.5/10
    
    Silvery buds with leaves
     

    When I initially received this tea, the tea was inside a foil bag. Like the metallic bags, but I took the tea out and  placed it into a plastic bag a few days after. The tea definitely does have a lot of dust, and that was probably why the tea released it’s juices so fast. I have no previous information on the terrior, the year of picking and processing, and other facts that usually are important to analyze as well. That even said, the tea still was something enjoyable and refreshing but not my type of tea that I would enjoy everyday.

    Dark brew. Amber orange is not very common with newer white teas.

    The first infusion was dark and strong, producing a slightly astringent brew. The flavor is mild, and not as powerful as I wanted it to be. The fragrance isn’t bad, but it’s just too light. The body feels lighter than expected, despite the heavy colour. I was tasting some nuttiness but with a earthy overtone, accompanied with plums and grass. The taste did have some of the character that I associate with baimudan, but not as obvious. I almost thought it must be aged because of the colour. Man, it was so dark and quite weird! The apperance fooled me.

    Still amber orange, is it aged?

    The second and third infusions has a very pleasant cooling effect around the sides of my tongue. But, it gets dry very quickly and the flavor of the very natural, sweet, white tea taste dissipates. I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind this.
    The fourth and fifth infusions was probably the best ones out of all six. Flavor was milder, and less astringent. Calm and cool, the tea wasn’t as weird as the first and second brew. By the sixth infusion, the tea died down quite a while, and took almost 5 minutes to brew to the normal strength I like. Some honey notes, grape notes, but not as pure as a baimudan I tried before.

    The brewed leaves look quite green, so must be young! But why was the brew so dark?

    Teaheads, what could’ve I done wrong? Was it because I stored in inside a plastic bag for two weeks? Could it be that I dried out the tea? Maybe so. If I dried the tea out, I learned a good lesson today. Don’t move your teas into many storage areas, and keep it clean, dry, and out of light. It is maybe because I left the tea on my display that faces light and the tea absorbed some unwanted characteristics? This was a very good experiment on how storage affects your brew. The tea is alive, and will react to the environment quite constantly. You are able to see that the colour is abnormally dark and red for a relatively new white tea. Anyhow, was a great session to see and think about what could’ve went wrong. A cup of tea is always a reflection of the causes that was created!

     

    The reason I gave this tea a 6.5 was because for me, this tea was kind of strange. The flavors were nice but not what I was expecting. Also, the tea didn’t last as long as what I wished, and so that’s why I am giving it a 6.5. I love The Best Tea House nonetheless, and  more amazing BTH teas to come!

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  • Black Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Wild Tree Black Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Wild Tree Black Tea
    From Wuyishan, Fujian
    2018 Spring Tea
    First Flush
    Temperature ( 90 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and increasing by 5 seconds after the third infusion)

    Big leaves, and dark!

    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sweet, well rounded. Plumy and long lasting
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Mandarin peels. Almost like dried dates boiled and add some Chen Pi or orange peel.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Medium to thick, lasting on the tongue.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: This tea has constant changes. Every infusion has different levels of depth which I enjoyed very much. There was some astringency, but not a lot. Bitterness was gone in a couple seconds.
    Price: 22.34 CAD for 80g.
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.
    This black tea was a real showcase of great quality. From the start, the fragrance of fruit, especially dark fruit and a little bit of nutty, chocolaty aspect of the tea were alive. When I smelt the gaiwan, it fled my nose and literally the smell went down my whole face and upper body. Honey, some clove, almost like a Taiwanese Red Ruby but with more fruit and starchiness. There is a certain potatoey feel to it that just reminds me of a Xiao Zhong.

    Bright caramel orange liquor!

    The first infusion is sweet, refined and well balanced. Neither here nor there, it displays the outer layers of flavour and is bitter at first, but then the rich sweetness comes into place after that. Medium body, the tea is nourishing to the throat. Honey notes are prominent, accompanied by a malty aftertaste.

    Honey like quality, strength and texture.

    The second and third infusions have more movement, and what I mean by that is like a heavier tingly feeling on the tongue and good minerality. The tea is definitely from older trees because the layers of aromas and textures are really good. Flavours are changing from honey sweetness to a plum jam sort of taste and some oranges. Fruit, but really tropical but more sticky and sweet. There is also that sweet potato note which I often associate with Xiao Zhong unsmoked. I personally like this one more because I felt that this tea had less astringency.

    From the fourth to sixth infusion, the profile is similar. Juicy, but with maybe more dryness.

    Seventh infusion, still kicking!

    Infusion seven and eight did not seem to have as much flavour, but the body is still there. Maybe it’s like when you get down to the core of a watermelon, and there is no more flavour per say but the sourness and refreshing character of a watermelon can be still tasted; likewise, infusion 7 and 8 had more of this in it. I wish it lasted a bit longer, but I cannot complain about this price.

    Finally, this tea would be great for beginners to understand the complexity and sweetness that a black tea can offer. It will open up the beginner’s mind in drinking good tea, and enjoying very infusion with patience. For those tea lovers that want something honey like but without being over-the-top, this is the tea for you. I noticed that it has very good tolerance for long infusions, so brewing this western-style or grandpa style could give you excellent results.

  • Dancong Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Black Leaf Special via Tea Hong

    Basic info about this special tea:

    The dry leaves are tight, smaller and looks glossy.

    Da Wu Ye Cultivar
    2017 Spring Tea.
    From higher altitude area near Wudong, Fenghuang, Guangdong China
    Temperature ( 95 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 12 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, very gentle but floral. Almost minty in a way. It has the Qingxiang or Clean Smell.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Classic Dawuye characters like mango, banana, lychee and herbs. But not like medicinal, but rather very fresh herbs from the garden.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like a fresh citrus peel. The mouthfeel is lighter than other Dancongs I’ve tried. But still good enough to appreciate the different faces of this tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling, and not over the top chi. Some energy is felt around the heart, but it cools down my body. Reminds me of a greener TGY
    Price: 23 dollars/ 40 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Da Wu Ye leaves in 盖碗

    From the appearance of the dry leaves, it is obvious that it is probably not roasted nor fermented as much as perhaps a Milan or Duck Shit. The smell and taste are definitely heavier than a green TGY, but is not thick like a roasted Dancong. The aroma is very delicate, more savoury than sweet but not in anyway herbal. The tea does give off a lot of fruity aromatics, but rather dry and less sweet. It’s maybe like dried fruits, lychee is the number one thing I smell. Candied, dried, but not fresh.

    1st infusion
    Bubbles indicating a rich brew!

    The first and second infusions are just opening up the tea. Smells quite grassy, as well as tastes fresh and fruity. Like wild mango but without that honeysuckle taste. The end is short, and has a very nice bite to it. The third infusion is sweet, more balanced, and bitter. Throughout all the infusions up to the sixth, the aroma is mostly focused on being light and fragrant. However, after the seventh infusion, the ending became longer, and the tea felt thicker. The leaves were pushing itself to the maximum. The creamy aspect of this tea started to coat my mouth, and a herbal stewed note came off. It was delicious. After the 12th infusion, my mouth was full of gan. The minerality of this tea is very good, and powerful. My gongdaobei started to smell sweet even after the first infusion. The lingering aftertaste lasted uninterruptedly for 15 min.

    The 5th infusion of this tea

    In conclusion, this tea is really good. I am impressed with t

    Dancong Dawuye leaves completed their opening.

    he price, it’s a really good value. The taste is super light but fulfilling, and it can be steeped over and over again. I would’ve liked it to be a little deeper in the body, but this lightness is the character of Da Wu Ye. A great morning tea, I think! Thank you, Tea Hong, for providing me with this awesome sample!

  • Longjing,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Imperial Green 2018/ Mei Leaf

    Imperial Green 2018 from Mei Leaf

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Picked on
    19th March 2018
    CULTIVAR
    Long Jing No.43
    ORIGIN
    Xinchang, Zhejiang, China
    PICKING & PROCESSING
    Bud and one or two leaves
    ELEVATION
    600 m

    The leaves are thin, and all is proportionate.

    Temperature ( 83 degree Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 7 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds depending on the infusion)
    Main Info
    The Number of Total Steepings: 6 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Superbly green, some vegetal notes, white chocolate, raspberries, and hints of banana.
    Aroma of Warm Dry Leaf: Spring berries, citrus cream, almost like a meringue pie.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Smoothe, no itchiness in the throat. Very comforting and warming.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: I feel like this green tea speaks to me, my body is constantly reacting with the different notes and sometimes the sweetness can be felt on your tongue, sometimes on the back of your throat, and mostly on the sides of my cheeks.
    Price: 22CAD /40 grams

    Even after 5 infusions, the smell of the wet leaves are very much like fresh and green. No stewed notes.

    Introducing this tea.
    I first wanted to share some info on this tea provided by Don on his website for Imperial Green. This will explain some of the misconceptions a lot of people have when associating with Longjing.
    “Authentic Longjing tea (otherwise known as Dragonwell) must be grown in Zhejiang province. If it is grown anywhere else then it is considered a fake (much like champagne). Every year we taste many samples of Longjing to find our batch for the year. For the past couple of years, we have selected a tea from outside the West Lake area because we feel that it has a much higher quality compared with the West Lake tea.”

    “This is a Pre Qingming tea picked on the 19th March giving a lightness and delicacy combined with a powerful fragrance and taste. Any Pre Qingming tea from Xi Hu (West Lake) is exorbitantly expensive and whilst it is often excellent tea, we felt that this batch won out in terms of flavour and we are not paying the extra price tag for the name of Xi Hu.”
    “Please note that you may find white yellow fur on the tea and little balls of fur in the tea. This is NOT mold but is tea fur showing that the tea is a very early spring tea – it demonstrates the quality of this Longjing.”

    Don Mei

    Now that we understand what really makes true Longjing green tea, let’s go into our tasting notes for every infusion. Notice how each infusion is different and how this contributes to the overall experience of tasting this green tea.

    Light but full on the pallet. A true green tea.

    First Infusion
    The first thing I noticed when I took my sip was how delicate yet full it is. In some poor quality Longjings, yes the tea is delicate and soft, but it doesn’t have the character and richness that a really good green tea or especially Longjings would carry. The first thing you smell would be grass, and perhaps some sweet minerality but not the full green pea, and white chocolate sort of richness that you can get from this Imperial Green. It is a really good tea from the start, and I want to mention this as well. Good tea will have character and it’s own unique system of revealing itself to you, but it will always make a good impression on you. It is like some people that take a job interview. In order for you to be hired, you have to make a very good first impression. This is the key. This tea has very special qualities of brightness and a very rich taste. The notes of early spring, the freshness in the air during spring. This is the first feeling I got. I got notes of ripe strawberry, peach and star fruit. The nuttiness is there, but not super obvious. I have to dig on and it seems to come later after the fruits and lasts at the tip of my tongue.
    Second Infusion
    Less intense aroma, more broth and umami concentrated. However, still fresh, and keeps improving in the mouth. Surprisingly, I did feel some energy from this tea as well. The energy moved from the tip of my tongue to the shoulders and went down to my stomach. The tea will keep going.
    Third Infusion
    On top of the minerality, there is a floral note. The one I am getting the most would have to be jasmine. Jasmine with white chocolate and lightly sprinkled hazelnuts would be the best description of what it tasted like on the third brew.
    Fourth and Fifth Infusion
    Very different from the rest of the infusions in that the cooling aspect is coming out. Real sensation in the throat, not minty but more like watermelon coolness. Honeydew can also be used as an example of what I am trying to describe. It isn’t a cooling sensation nearly as obvious as the ones from Tie Guan Yin’s, but rather fruity.
    The sixth infusion.
    Wow, the leaves are still fresh. Sweet spinach aroma floating from the gaiwan, and the tea still tastes good. In most cases, after the third or fourth brew, the tea is finished, but it is not the case for this tea. I can keep pushing and the result is still nice. Classic seaweed taste with a lingering zesty finish. Delicious.

    What a creamy colour. Stunning.

    Final Thoughts and Conclusion
    I would rate this tea a 9 out of 10 because it simply deserves the high ranking. The tea is clear, persistent and yet constantly evolving. It makes me appreciate and connect with the world, and just like any other good tea, it makes me feel good. Distinctively special Longjing. Very good tea overall. I think that this would be the second best Longjing I’ve ever tried.

  • Black Tea,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Golden Hand Black Tea- Totem Tea

    Golden Hand Black Tea @ Totem Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:
    – Ruby 20, Ruby 12, Jin Xuan, and Si Ji Chun
    – From Nantou, Taiwan.
    – Completely Handmade
    – Newly blended cultivar
    Temperature (90-degree water.)
    Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5.5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)
    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Roasted nuts with dark chocolate, medicinal, and malt.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Brown sugar coated with cinnamon and plum notes. Layers of dark chocolate.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Thick body and intense mouthfeel. Almost like Candy.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Like loosely packed red dates and very sweet quenching sweetness. A lovely blossoming feeling inside the mouth, with slight bitterness with a rounded huigan,
    price: 16.86 CAD /per ounce
    Attitude Ranking: 7.5 /10

    Paper Packaging, great for the tea to be able to breathe.

    Opening Statements.
    This tea looks stunning. Leaves rolled beautifully, with a glossy chocolate brown tint, gorgeous golden flakes that appears like buds, but very balanced. Totem teas have very unique and innovative teas and this one was one of them. It is a new cultivar and a mix of all four of these cultivars. The Ruby 20 and 12 with Jin Xuan and Si Ji Chun. This will become the result of a very complex and intricate tea. I am very excited to try this one.

    Tender leaves that look so beautiful. The tiny buds remind me of spring.

    First and Second Infusion
    Rich and syrupy like maple syrup, and a fast bitterness with a quenching feeling towards the end. Very sweet and lingering in the mouth. Beautiful minerality, different from honey black teas and Dian Hongs, but with a heavier mouthfeel and sticky texture. Definitely, during the second infusion, I was able to catch more tasting notes like dark chocolate, lightly simmered apple, buttery crust, and dates.

    Burnt orange.

    Third Infusion
    Turning medicinal, the tea reflects many aspects of rosehip, dark wood, and dried longan. Characteristics of a Ruby cultivar is clearly shown. Slight dryness in the throat

    The sweet fragrance of dancing wild honey, rosehips and dark chocolate.

    area but not in an unpleasant way. Makes me want some more!
    Fourth Infusion.
    The liquor turns more orange, and dates become the boss. Cranberries, sour candy with a heavier bitterness is present. With the use of a Jian Zhan teacup, the bitterness does soften out.

    The fifth infusion in my Jian Zhan Teacup

    Fifth Infusion
    Less obvious aroma, the tea is slowing down. I taste minerals, more berries and some cocoa. Maybe a twist of zest.
    Sixth to Eighth Infusion.
    The colour does pushing, while the tea aroma is fading away in the cup. The liquor is still sweet, but less obvious. Aftertaste does remain.

    Overall Experience
    I did not have too much to say about this tea, but it was certainly delicious. I can see the complexity in the brew and different aromas in every infusion. The tea master was able to manipulate the taste and traits into a parade in your mouth. It does make me feel very calm and in a good state. I enjoyed every sip but wanted the tea to last a bit longer. This is the reason I am giving this tea a 7.5 out of 10. Delicious tea, whatsoever. Thank you Totem tea for this experience, as it brought my attention to detail and to see what I am able to connect between the relationship of these cultivars and it’s natural flavour.

  • Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Peach Kernel Varietal Dancongs Comparative Review

    桃仁香 Oolong From Yunwei Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Peach Kernel 桃仁香 Varietal:
    Spring 2017 vs Spring 2018 Tea
    From Phoenix Village, Chaozhou, Guangdong.
    Picking Grade: Up to the third leaf.
    One is roasted, one is unroasted.
    Temperature ( for the roasted one 98 degrees, unroasted 95 degrees.
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)

    Clearly labeled with unbroken leaves inside.
    Similar, but is still Maocha meaning it hasn’t gone through the full processing.

    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8-10 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Have a honey-like sweetness right off the bat with a splash of purple, ripe juicy grapes. Super sweet ( Roasted)
    Smell is similar to the roasted, except much lighter with a less intense tropical fruit aroma. More of white flesh juicy fruits. Lychee, longan, passion fruit, and some dragon fruit. Sourness as well. (Unroasted)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Peachy with a veggie base. Higher notes of mango and cane sugar. The heavy greenness in the Dancong is going really well with the obvious peachy aroma. (Roasted)
    The wet leaves smell much more potatoey and complex on the unroasted one. I am not sure why. However, I found out that the aroma is more sharp on the unroasted one, but did not last longer than the unroasted.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Medium body with obvious changes throughout the sessions. Fairly consistent, but can be over-brewed (Roasted)
    Thin to medium body and with a much more intense bitterness rushing through. More of a greener taste, meaning not as full.

    Notice the leaves looking much darker than the unroasted version.
    Olive green in colour, this one still looks and smells more like a rough Tie Guan Yin.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Changes from sweet to sour, fruity to savory in later infusions. Mouth is watering with perfume, rich lychee sort of huigan (Roasted) Sweet but astringent, almost like sour orange, and a very sharp bitterness at the end. Zestier than the roasted. (Unroasted)

    Price: 45.33 CAD /50 grams (Roasted) 38.77 CAD/50grams (Unroasted)
    Attitude Ranking: 9 /10 (Roasted) 8/10 (Unroasted)

    The first to third infusions were super balanced, and I enjoyed the second infusion the most. The second one had a bitterness that I liked while maintaining the coolness in the throat as well. ( Roasted)
    The unroasted version was good as well, but not as balanced as the roasted one. For example, the roasted one was able to give off the same level of depth and honey-like sweetness as the aroma and fragrance, but with the unroasted, the body is slightly lacking. Aroma does fade away faster as well. (Unroasted)

    A golden cream with a hint of brown.
    This one has more of a yellow tone, but I think that’s because the roasting is not mellowing the tea down.

    The fourth and fifth infusions: The infusions become slightly more astringent while maintaining the peachy taste, our friend next door, the apricot; started to introduce itself. Sourness also kicks in. (Roasted)
    Almondy, almost chalky. Getting more nutty and creamy. While the body is not as good, the aroma is rocking! I am just amazed at how much the tea can change with time the roast. ( Unroasted)

     

    The sixth to eighth infusions: Getting weaker. The taste is becoming blander but the body is still coming through. It’s like a bitter persimmon. Astringency is the boss, and the starchy or almost mochi-like texture is in the cup. (Roasted)

    By the tenth infusion, the taste almost becomes sweet water with astringency and bitterness. It is very hard to describe. However, I learned mainly two things from this experiment.

    1. The tea becomes smoother and heavier after the roasting.
    2. It will become often fruitier and the notes become more balanced and become grounding.
    From the 6th brew, the leaves started to open up even more. The smell was like a mixture of cooked eggs and piled dry Momiji leaves.
    On the left, is the unroasted finished leaves, while on the right would be the roasted. The difference isn’t a lot, but the roasted version has more of a dark hue around the edge of the leaves.

    I would like to give a big shoutout to Yunwei Tea and a huge thank you for letting me do this experiment. I truly learned a lot. Both teas are special and I love them both very much but the key differences should be taken to account. I understood that the only way to really understand the tea is not just only through knowledge but through tasting, With tasting, we are able to see what really the tea processing is and how it affects us as tea drinkers.

  • Dahongpao,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Rock Tea,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Yancha

    Empress Oolong from Mei Leaf

    Wuyi Zhengyan Da Hong Pao Qi Dan Varietal From Mei Leaf

    It’s so cute. Like a mini treasure packet, waiting for me to crack it open.

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qi Dan Varietal
    May 2017 Tea
    From Zhengyan, Wuyi, Fujian.
    Picking Grade: Up to third or fourth leaf.
    500 m above sea level.
    Temperature ( 99-100degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)

    Leaves look dark, but not black: Great roasting.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: 8 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Freshly made coffee, almost smoky but quite. Deep and grounding, well rounded.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Medicinal, distinctive rocky terroir aroma. A little bit of citrus at the end.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Honey like thickness with incredible body. I have to mention that for this tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Changes through each infusion. Mainly chocolatey and sweet, but turns more into fruit in later infusions.
    Price: 22 CAD /30 grams
    Attitude Ranking: 8.5 /10

    Soup is thick and mouth-watering while being fragrant. Good vibes.

    A little bit of history behind the tea and where the terroir comes from.
    “Da Hong Pao is one of China’s most revered and highly sought after teas. This tea is grown on Bai Yun Yan mountain in the protected area of Zhengyan in the beautiful Wuyi mountains of Fujian Province, a nine peak mountain with vast rocky fingers pointing to the sky. The mineral rich, fast draining terrain make it the only place to grow true Empress Oolong.”
    “The tea is produced by hand and is then roasted for many hours slowly over real charcoal fires. This adds a warmth, smoothness and nutty depth to the tea. We advise avoiding any of these roasted oolongs for at least 6 months after they have been produced in order to let the ‘fire’ taste of the charcoal roasting to reduce. This is why we always stock tea picked in the previous year.”
    Don Mei

    After brewing for roughly 20 min, the leaves indeed show it’s nature. Beautiful brown-black leaf with a greenish undertone.

    These two paragraphs really made me thirsty for this tea! I would love to visit Zhengyan one day. But, it is a World Heritage Site, so getting access into the area is very expensive. People have told me that just to get in you have to pay around 50 dollars per person. However, I do think it’s an amazing area for tea lovers and people who want to explore more of China and see something eye-opening. The rocky terroir makes it such a good area for tea to grow, and it is said that many Oolong and Black teas originally came from the Wuyishan area. I believe that Wuyishan can be called as one of the few birthplaces to tea and especially to Oolong and Black teas.

    Tasting through the Infusions.
    First Infusion: Delicious, and very savory at start. Body and depth is excellent, while the balance between the roasting and preservation of the original characters of the Qi dan Varietal is well done. I can notice the flavors changing slowly with time as the savouriness develops into sweetness. Huigan is coming out but not fully present.

    Second Infusion: Taste turns 180 Degrees: Flavors change from the coffee like start into more of a strawberry or ripe apricot taste. However, it is a dry taste; the flavors are on top of one another and hidden. A very complex turn inside and out, as I am starting to feel something from my shoulders.
    Third to Fifth Infusion : The tea is so complex that I can’t exactly pinpoint what I am tasting. But very thick on the pallet, with a fruity overtone before swallowing. The minerality is definitely strong, with a deep apricot taste arising in the cup more. Sounds funny but I kinda think that the infusions taste more like a broth than tea. The sweetness and after taste or huigan is stronger than previous infusions.
    Fifth to Sixth: Notes are too complex by now, resulting in incredible sweetness. My tongue cannot stop salivating. I have never experienced this from a Yancha before; was truly amazed. The taste is not particularly medicinal, not fruity either. It is more of it’s own taste.

    The 8th Infusion tasted like a soup of somekind. The closest thing I can think of would be like a chicken base carrot soup. The carrot is from the minerality and it’s own rock taste. But with a savory kick.

    Sixth to Eighth.
    Silky smooth with a bit of astringency and a little bit of chestnut if you dig hard enough, but I couldn’t get anymore out of it. I think Yanchas are a little less durable for consistent infusions of more than 10 brews. Each brew is very thick and if you can brew it for at least 8 that would be considered a good Yancha.

    In Conclusion…

    I am very new to the world of Yancha and Oolong, but I did very much enjoy this session of Qi Dan Dahongpao from Mei Leaf. The energy and mouthfeel combined with the aromatics of this Yancha just made me wow. I gave a 8.5 out of 10 because I did find that the tea ended a little bit too fast. I wished that the fruity and chocolaty aroma lasted just a bit longer, but the taste transformed throughout different infusions so that was super interesting.

    I am excited to try something that’s again roasted, but a traditional TGY from Fujian that’s full of baked fruits and sweet candy notes. Should be delicious and fun to review.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Ripe,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh from The Best Tea House

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh

    Pure 2011 Gushu Menghai material; sweet and creamy!

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Dayezhong (Big Leaf Cultivar Varietal)
    2011 Spring Tea
    Area : Menghai and surrounding area.
    Hand picked and selected by Vesper Chan.
    Lightly to Medium Fermented Shou
    280 CAD for 400g.
    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 60 seconds depending on what infusion)

    Look at the dark leaves, it can tell you so much. The picking is pretty good, big leaves but still have some buds.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Soybean/ deeply fermented smell. However, not fishy and bland but the finish is toasty and nutty, which makes it more complex. .
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Plumy, and very deep. Almost like dried dates as well. Not too much savouriness. Longan underneath the richness, which uplifts the tea.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Perfect, extremely well done. It’s not heavy, but not light. Smooth and goes down like a Raw Puerh.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very light sweetness with a slight soybean aftertaste. Huigan is there, but not obvious. The chi is really strong, and probably the best chi I’ve experienced from Shou Puerh.
    Price: 280 CAD for 400 g.
    Rating 9 out of 10.

    This tea is really really good, from start to finish. The tea is super smooth and not uncomfortable, easy to drink. I cannot pinpoint at what is so delicious, and that intrigues me even more. Made from Arbor Trees in Menghai, this tea delivers a sensation that I have never experienced before. It feels like I am drinking a vintage Raw Puerh, that is maybe of ages over 20 years old. Super easy drinking but the feeling and chi you get does not make you believe it is a Shou Puerh. I will recommend people who dislikes Ripe Puerh to definitely try this one; or any tea lover. The only thing I have to keep mentioning about would have to be the intense chi and aftereffect this tea had on my body. I felt as if I may be half floating, my eyes started to close; and feel my feet tingle. That’s what we call Chachi, or tea energy. The bushes from this tea are of ages 200 to 250, which is Gushu or old-tree material.

    The tea soup is dark and yet bright, how miraculous!

    The taste of good Shou is very hard to describe. It isn’t overly savory, not overly creamy, but everything is balanced. It is sweet and vibrant, but not medicinal. It is thick and rich, but not overwhelming; super clean finish. It feels like a rich cocoa tea infused with non-sweet brown sugar. I hope you can image the lovely feeling that can coat my mouth, and the natural, slightly sweet sticky feeling. Ohh I’m in heaven!

    It almost looks like a old Sheng Puerh, I mean look at the clarity!

    I don’t have too much to say other than I am super impressed. Just by the fact that it’s making me feel tea drunk is amazing for a Ripe Puerh. Gushu material really makes a difference, huh! I hope everyone can give it a try. Thank you Mr. Michael Fung from The Best Tea House for letting me sample this here in Calgary! What’s to try next, Attitudes?

  • Black Tea,  Class,  Gongfucha,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Lapsang Souchong (non-smoked) from Family Li

    Lapsang Souchong from Family Li (Unsmoked, traditonal processing.)

    The small 5g packet for the Zhengshan Xiaozhong tea.

    This tea was believed to be the first ever black tea ever produced, as it was believed to be the mother trees for the Ceylon, Indian and also Darjeeling tea bushes. It is also believed that Keemun Black tea came after the Souchong varieties. So, the history is truly incredible.

    A little history behind the tea

    People say that this tea originally wasn’t smoked, and it didn’t happen until the mid- Qing Dynasty, when some soldiers came to tea farmers and asked if they can take some rest on their tea racks. The tea farmers were not happy about it, but they were kind of obligated to say yes. So, the soldiers took some rest on the racks, and because of their heavy weight, the tea became very oxidized. People during that time in Tongmu only made green tea and pure black tea, but because the soldiers stayed on the tea for so long, the leaves became almost undrinkable. So, the farmers decided to maybe try exporting the tea out to the world, which actually brought great results to the farmers. So many Russian, Indian, and other importing countries truly fell in love with the tea. Also, some people say that because the demand was too high, the farmers wanted to really speed up the process. So, they used pine trees to ferment and smoke the tea lightly, which also was a big hit for many countries. From there, other black teas were produced, such as Darjeeling, Keemun, and Ceylon. However, this is just one version of the story that I’ve heard. Please don’t quote me on this.

    Excuse my hand, but the long leaves are unbroken and gorgeous.

    The sweetness aspect of this tea is truly amazing. As soon as you open this packet of Zhengshan Xiaozhong, you will smell notes of beautiful roses, a type of potatoey sweetness, and a very distinctive hongcha aroma. This is the type of tea I would enjoy everyday. Anytime, morning, night, afternoon. Would definitely love to drink it afterschool, and when your mood needs a lift.
    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Tongmuguan, , Wuyishan, Fujian Province.
    26 /100 grams.
    Xingcun Xiaozhong Species.
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (92 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Big Gaiwan 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, increasing by 5-10 seconds every infusion)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (more than 14)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (sweet corn, roasted basil, bergamot, and intense honey citrus.)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( sweet potato, a little bit of orange and sandalwood )
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( bitter with some sweetness.)
    Attitude Rank: 9 out of 10.

    Even after brewing many times, the leaves are still very intact.

    The first infusion is light but savory, and intensely honey like; while the texture is buttery. It’s the perfect drink for autumn and fall, being so cozy and warm on your body. Huigan is slowly arising, and and is not intense. Very relaxing to both the body and mind.

    The second to fourth infusions carry more berrie notes, oak notes, and sweet potato notes. The huigan is more persistent, building up inside the mouth. I also taste some jujube through these infusions.

    This is the tang-su or infusion colour for the 3rd brew.

    From the fifth to eighth infusions, a more complex, candy like quality is shown. Amazing broth with a golden brown colour. Sweet, tangy mouthfeel. More astringent than the previous infusions.

    Like Pure gold. Lovely colour for every infusion. This is from the 5th infusion.

    Even after the tenth infusion, more raisin and plum like aromas are present. Sweet potato always remaining. I think this may be the best black tea I have ever tried from Tongmu. Thank you Mr. Li for giving me this sample and many other teas to try. You guys should definitely check him out on instagram which is @tong_xin_she. This black tea is truly remarkable. Just super!

  • Ecocha,  Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Uncategorized

    #1st Eco Cha Review: March 2018 Eco Cha Tea Club Roasted Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong

    Roasted Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong
    Basic info about this special tea:
    Xueba High Mountain Oolong Varietal
    2017 Summer Tea
    Harvest Date: June 2017.
    From Guanwushan, near the Xueba National Park, in Taiwan
    Hand picked, medium batch
    1550 m above sea level.
    Temperature ( 92-95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 2 to 5 seconds)

    This beautiful box is recyclable and eco friendly. I love these small details that goes in with the packaging!

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 10 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Roasted nutmeg, and very strong bug bitten smell. The typical sweet, nutty, honey like aroma.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Very distinctive plant/woodsy like smell, almost medicinal. Interesting Eucalyptus aroma can be found too, maybe some passion fruit.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: No sharp corners, gentle but with a little bit of astringency at the really end. However, its pleasant.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very floral with a asparagus sort of feeling towards the end. The aftertaste definitely stands out for this one.
    Price: 29 dollars/75grams
    Rating 9 out of 10.

    The green medium roasted Oolong has so much complexity but flavors are very down to earth and clean.
    Huge leaves! Not much red is obvious but it was delicious!

    I have to say that the packaging for all the Eco Cha teas are very nice, coming in a airtight common oolong packing with a detailed instruction booklet and box, what more is it to ask for? The box is detailed with the month of picking, level of picking, meaning like hand-picked, or machine-picked, etc; and tasting notes with the brewing guide. Amazing work, and thank you for preserving the artistry of Taiwanese Tea. The tiny card illustrates the situation of the garden, introduces the farmer, the area the tea grows in, the bugs associated with the fermentation of this tea, and so forth. Even from the packaging, there are very clear signs that this tea definitely does have a star quality to it. Plus, I love the story behind every box. It really tells us how interconnected everything really is, and how much effort needs to go in in order to just make a cup of good tea.

    Clear broth with a tinge of green. Beautiful light liquor, with a thick taste.

    Starts off like a Shan Li Xi, with but with more of a roasted Dong Ding finish. Very crisp and huigan is slowly coming out. The roast added to this tea is especially present during the first infusion, with a very caramelly like aroma with a floral base. Very complex initial taste, with a genmaicha sort of approach. The finish is clean yet persistent, with various aromatics. Maybe Mango will start to come out eventually. Very clean brews. Thick mouthfeel as well.

    I don’t know too much on how to describe this tea except for being very interesting and delicious. My grandparents from Japan very much enjoyed it and it is super smooth. No bitterness. The astringency is perfect inside your mouth, as it salivates and creates more gan, or the sweetness. The pitcher smells like candied marshmallows. Light but sweet.

    The hasle or nuttyness started to show more obviously from the third infusion, then moving on to a very butter squash sort of plant taste. The taste is very interesting as it shows a very floral side with a buttery, almost caramelized vegitable flavor. Its very hard to describe, and a rare oolong to serve this many complex tastes and characters. For the price, it is an excellent daily drinker and would recommend anyone to try it.

     

    I also think this tea would be great if cold brewed as well as enjoyed hot. Brewing Gongfu was so good, but have yet tried brewing it western style. I think that every infusion you can get something different, and I very much like it thick and a little bitter. You can really feel the oolong. The huigan comes fast and the astringency makes your mouth tingle. The sourness of a Muzha Tieguanyin is also found in some infusions. After the roast has started to mellow, the taste feels extremely thick and the soup is sour, but the mouth will have a intense feeling.

    In conclusion, I think this tea is very good, and the majority of the people that like tea will be intrigued by this, as it is very sweet and the tea aroma is kept authenticity. I feel it going down my body like my roots are coming alive and fresh from dry. The scent is sweet and floral, while keeping the original tea characteristics in front. I am very pleased with this one, so I will give a 9 out of 10. Super, but if the tea would’ve maintained it’s roast a little longer, it deserves a full 10.

  • Green Tea,  Longjing,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  Teavivre

    Organic Superfine Longjing

    Organic Imperial Longjing from Teavivre.

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Qiandao Lake, Chun’an Country, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
    Spring 2018, April 07th picking.
    13.90 /50 grams.
    C. sinensis cv. Jiukeng Varietal
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (75 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Big Gaiwan 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)

    The description that Teavivre uses for this Longjing.

    Longjing Review:
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (8)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (sweet corn, nuts, and a little bit of casis or citrus.)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( fresh grass, boiled vegitables )
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( bitter with some sweetness.)
    Attitude Rank: 6 out of 10.

    Very green leaves without much yellow. Few white strands of hair is visible.

    My first impression about this tea was very decent, as the leaves are pretty green and leaves were unbroken. However, we cannot judge the tea by the appearance, as the taste is the most important. I did see some white furry spots on the tea which was a good sign, showing that the tea leaves are not too old. The tea is not pre-qingming which is an important thing to notice especially for Longjing, but let’s not put assumptions. The dry leaves had a very pleasant roasted aroma, which is good. We will see what we can pull out from the taste.

    The first infusion of this green tea,

     

    The first infusion is the most important for green tea, as it shows everything. The number one strength I have to put out fo this tea was the aftertaste, as it is very pungent. I felt the tea lingering inside my mouth for around 15 min, which is impressive. The leaves are of quality for sure. The taste of the first infusion is eggy, and very vegital. Notes of broccoli, asparagus, and cooked beans are strong. The important note of chestnuts or very fresh peas are missing, which isn’t a bad thing but better with for Longjing. This is not a pre-qingming so it is understandable, as the price is probably double or triple the original price of this.

    The second infusion was similar, except more of the floral notes came in, and tasted much like a Japanese steamed green tea. The oceanic aroma and taste of umami did remind me of Japanese sencha. Thick and rich sweetness in the brew, but also very persistent bitterness. I am using 75 degree water, so I don’t think that is the problem. Very crisp at the throat, almost drying.
    The third infusion was much like a continuation of the second infusion, as there was nothing really happening. The thick body and rich aftertaste is persistent. The taste maybe similar to a Anhui green or Zisun.

    Pouring the liquid can definitely tell you how consistant or thick the infusion was! Not very thick on this one, but some umami and minerals are found.

    In conclusion, the tea is a good green tea, but not a good Longjing. I am being as honest as I am able to, and by no means is the tea bad. But, as a tea reviewer, I do believe I have to be fair and without bias to companies and to the teas. This organic Longjing does have a certification on it, and you can view it here. Great green tea however, especially if your looking for a good tasting organic green tea and don’t want to spend too much on it. In a Longjing, I am looking for a spicific aroma of chestnuts and a roasted aroma.

    Teavivre, more reviews are coming soon. Stay tuned.