• Ecocha,  Jinxuan,  Oolong,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    2017 Premier Crop Organic Jin Xuan Oolong

    This is my third tea from Eco-Cha that I am very honored to review here on Tea Reviews with Shinzo. Andy expressed about how surprised he was about this tea, especially for it’s unique mouthfeel and character.  Let’s dive straight in and analyze this tea!

    Olive green, and is very vibrant. Smells super green.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Jin Xuan Oolong Varietal
    • 2017 Winter Tea
    • From Songbolin, Taiwan
    • Premier batch
    • 400 m above sea level.

    Temperature ( 90 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (150 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 20 seconds after the second brew)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 5 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Veggies, green pepper. Floral spiciness, with a splash of fresh milk

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Fresh artichoke, somewhat savory

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Super sweet and delicate, if you push the tea enough, it will become very thick and creamy.

    Price: 29 dollars/75 grams

    Rating 6.8 out of 10.


    1st brew: Very light, but full of aroma and robust flavor.

    1st infusion; Light, but clean. Extremely easy to drink, and tastes full. The aroma is most present in this infusion. Notes of green beans, fresh avocado and some pistachios. Very soothing. Light, creamy and very soft.

    2nd brew: Less vibrant, more grassy and punchy.

    2nd infusion: Wow. The mouthfeel changed completely. While the fragrance seemed to buzz off a bit, the mouthfeel is super thick and rich. The savory character is also very nice, creating more of a brothy feeling than a tea feeling. A little sea foody, but not sticky or anything. It’s just got some strength and richness.


    3rd brew: Color changed, and so did the taste.

    3rd infusion: This infusion was also very unique, as the bitterness started to welcome me and reminded me of how much strength these leaves have. Notes of very green veggies, like spinach or kale were also prevalent.  The bitterness adds more complexity and enjoyment to the experience. I very much enjoy the freshness but also how much strength and power this tea reveals in every infusion.


    4th infusion: Similar in the sense that the tea has a lot of strength, but the fragrance is really starting to fall off the cliff. But, in return, the sweetness has become even better and is really nice.

    4th brew: Thick, and is very soothing.

    5th infusion: The tea becomes fairly basic, and the freshness of the tea starts to become dull. Notes of stewed vegetables, broccoli and the taste becomes slightly sour. It’s not that it’s become bad or anything, but just not my style.


    In conclusion.

    Beautiful!

    It’s a very interesting tea, because of its nature of being so green and fresh yet having so much to give. It reminds me more of a Japanese sencha than of a Taiwanese oolong. I feel this tea works great especially in the mornings, as it’s slightly milder than a green tea but still greatly resembles one. Nothing crazy, but a nice tea to begin the day with. I would suggest people to experiment, and see what you like the best. If you want to extract more of the aroma, perhaps decrease the temperature and brew for slightly longer. On the other hand, if you want more of the mouthfeel, you can brew it with hotter water and fairly quick steepings. You cannot really over-brew it, which is really nice for people that wishes to brew more care-free.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Yiwu

    2018 Yiwu Wild Sprit– Yiwu Mountain Tea

    Yiwu has always remained as one of my personal favourite areas, as the taste is so classic, unique and very elegant. The classic, most important Pu Erhs in history were mostly from Yiwu, such as Song Ping and the lineage of SP cakes from 1910 onwards. I have a personal love relationship with Yiwu, and it was actually my first aged raw Pu Erh to try at The Best Tea House in Vancouver. It was a 2005 Old Tree Yiwu cake. Full of exotic honey, fruits and very soft to the tongue; while spreading quickly around your entire mouth. While I have tried some Yiwus that taste very harsh, the common terminologies associated with are “soft, sweet and very elegant like the queen of Pu Erhs”

    Phillip Lee, is a tea merchant that sells mainly Yiwu Pu Erh and Pu Erh from regions surrounding Yiwu. His family produces tea within Gaoshan, but also produces private productions from other areas. Today, I have decided to taste one of his teas, and do a proper review on it.

        The 2018 Yiwu Wild Spirit is a Sheng Pu Erh from an unmanaged, “secret” garden that was left to grow in the wild for a long time. They found it while searching for any “lost” gardens. Sounds intriguing, right?!


    Stunning leaves, silvery goodness

    7g, close up

    Let’s get straight into the review, shall we.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 Yiwu Sheng ( Uncooked)  Pu Erh Tea
    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Cultivar
    • 30 year to 100 year old tea trees.
    • From Yiwu area, Mengla, Yunnan, China.

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 3 min depending on infusion) * This tea is very durable, and can handle being pushed. Doesn’t really get bitter.

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Wild honey, plum

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Wild paprika, veggies, and some cream

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: medium to medium thick

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Calming, not much Qi. Easy to drink/great morning tea.

    Price: 34 dollars/100 grams

    Rating 7.7 out of 10.

    First Infusion: Was very silky, and light.

    First Infusion : Clean, pure very crisp aroma without any astringency nor bitterness. Very light, soft, and floral. But not really honey. More like a fresh sweet sencha, and that crisp quality was there in the brew.

    Deeper, slightly richer, but is super fresh and awakening.

    Second and third infusion: Stronger, but not bitter. A tiny bit of astringency, but again. Sweet, lingering floral character. Easy drinking.

    Fourth and fifth brew: Taste is quite simple, not super complex. Wild veggies, honey, and very crisp. The satisfying mouthfeel makes me want to have more. The aftertaste is subtle, but still noticeable. Notes of jasmine and lychee sort of light floral, and sweet aftertaste.


    Sixth brew. Getting more and more similar, characteristics of Yiwu shining bright!

    Sixth to ninth brew : Very consistent. Solid, and taste like what a good, well made Young Pu Erh should taste like. The aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste is all present. The crispness and the fresh, wild character stands out as being the most prevalent character of this tea.

    Slightly fruitier, plummy and soft.

    Tenth to Thirteenth brew: From the tenth to twelfth brew, I brewed it for 20, 30, and 40 seconds. Very light, soft, and like spring water. Makes the water taste cleaner and with a little something. For the thirteenth brew, I brewed it for 2 mins and the result was quite different. Slightly bitter, stronger, and more fruity. Tropical!

    Spent leaves, very nice Mo Li Si color.

    In Conclusion: This tea will be a great morning tea, and is nothing crazy– but is very much enjoyable, refreshing and is a good quality Pu Erh. The outstanding part of it is the crisp and very fresh zesty character of it. Thank you to Phillip for sourcing this tea. It is for sure a well made and forgiving tea even if you potentially over-brew it.

  • Teareview,  White tea

    2018 Nightlife

    This is a White Moonlight, which is a type of white tea made with a different cultivar than usual called Camellia Taliensis. The processing is also quite different from your average white tea; and thus creates a very different tasting profile compared to many white teas from Fujian. Although it has many similar characteristics to Yunnan-made white teas, the tea has its own sticky, citric and sort of medicinal character that is unique to this tea. Some argue that this is a pu erh, and some say its a white tea. However, I am no expert so I have no free will to comment on this. The most important aspect to any tea is the actual experience and the taste.

    This tea was made by White2tea, and they mainly sell Puerhs, but also deal with White, Oolong and Black teas.

    Quite bud heavy, rich tea. Looks very clean and pure. Almost like a fresh Raw Puerh.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 White Moonlight (Yue Guang Bai) Tea
    • Camellia Taliensis
    • From Yunnan, China.

    Temperature ( 90 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 15  seconds depending on infusion)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sour apple, apricot smell with some creaminess

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Rich, deeper honey, some spiciness, smell of cold patches; like root beer. But not very very strong root beer smell, only a hint. Vanilla as well. (Sorry to all root beer fans;(

    Leaves after the first brew. Olive greenish brown tones.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Different with every brew

    Feeling/Aftertaste: relaxing and very natural. Spicy and slightly medicinal aftertaste.

    Price: 35 dollars/200 grams

    Rating 7 out of 10.

    First infusion: Bright, and just started to breath.

    First to Third infusions : Light, sweet, warming. Notes of hay, apricot, but not much else going on. Mostly focused on the texture and mouthfeel. The finish especially on the third brew is quite drying.

    Fourth to Seventh infusion: Richer, and more texture, medium to medium thick body. Taste of medicinal honey, apricots, and the classic Yunnan white tea taste. But, the finish is still dry. Cooling gan sensation on both sides of my mouth, and back of my throat. Every infusion is very consistent, and you can push this tea without getting bitter. Slightly astringent, which makes you want more.

    4th brew. Deep color.

    Eighth to Tenth Infusions : Soft, silky tofu with honey and almonds. Nuttiness coming out.

    Eighth brew. Very consistent color throughout.

    Eleventh to Thirteenth Infusions: Acidic, soft, velvety, and super easy drinking. But, no more tea taste.

    In conclusion
    This tea is a good, daily drinker. Price to quality ratio is very fair, and I am excited to see the progression this tea will take over the years as it ages. Aged White Moonlight should give more oomph and more character to satisfy the senses. Nothing crazy in this tea, a very good easy drinker that is soft on the pallet. I am also curious to see the outcome of this tea; cold brewed. The higher notes of the tea should reveal better that way, and not much of the astringency should reveal.  This tea is ideal for people that are not very comfortable to spend a huge amount on tea and like teas that aren’t too strong yet still has a distinctive quality but want something nice and solid in their collection to drink daily.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    2018 Fall Da Xue Shan Raw PuErh from Zuo Wang Teas

    I usually stick to my spring teas, as they are known to be the best and most complex. This tea was my first fall picked tea, and came from 大雪山 Da Xue Shan which means Big Snow Mountain in Mandarin. Da Xue Shan is located inside Mengku, which is inside the Lincang area. This mountain is renowned for its complexity and mild taste. My previous experiences with this area has been very good, and I seem to really enjoy the soft yet powerful effects of the tea. I have tried other Da Xue Shan teas from other companies but not the fall pickings, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Let’s first start off with the basics and the brief outline of this tea.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Varietal
    • 2018 Autumn Tea
    • From Da Xue Shan, Mengku, Lincang,  Yunnan China
    • 2000 m plus above sea level.

    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 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 15  seconds depending on infusion)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Slightly nutty, basic Sheng Aroma. Very clean khaki smell.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Sticky sugar, a little bit of mango, rare fruitiness (classic lincang character)

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Medium thickness, coats your mouth. But not thick .

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling huigan with a zesty finish

    Price: 18 dollars/30 grams

    Rating 7.8 out of 10.

    Fall Da Xue Shan Gushu material from trees that range from 400 to 500 years old.

       

    Looking very fresh and vibrant. Very big fat buds.

    This Gu-Shu was interesting.. The first infusion had traces of  rich beans, peas, and some sort of vegital character, accompinied with this brightness! The tea intially was light, and developed over many infusions. Mature spirited Puerh speaks for itself.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WMbEHS2ExNCAgOL3Ue2oPcNJjwFJceC9e7loArne5NyeujEp_zWHxXcDEWCVSKCN5arOdiLENx3JBtMYATEgT-UqeI69XSz9X_xGX2KWZtAWUwMRNYmaF1_gl2L3Gjk_eoqvpMNV50x5rtnElWL1nr0xBG_hKSGq-w7eH9TbS65vQ7n7bWIrkLbn6ldJYHk044A1yejL7FELyQmYGgLIbkg4TeTIOIxI5j3I3kYevpKqqw46PL8dS5bMn9cKH7UVBg6HebZxo1wJ7iwMQZRKNjm_bRMEArvOEY7bNcoAftUP0tV4PeoFb9rkf0zq0-iFcUzwVE6SwdHKCSkpjFsmXIlhrs_MJiSfkgaWbQV-d7QzC2tm6iePP_dH8ut1x7-ntuBkWVxJG3juUWAx9c7ciK3s3KLTWgCuzziJNjGTLkTPWaXg9RFFUHBY94xcbubfnEP13ZAx6O0znR1-lZWa26Q2R_GAjsyO5grD2xFSLC_os91asWggPgeNtOVoNn2hGM6k4pXnT5yp-Szf_cbPZB3Rs6BcS5tWmTAp_BEvycvF5QP5d49CFLEezx8Ifyvw_RJX6iPHcTLl_ZxgbCCDmBdR-zdvi-kTFZGFTESyvRKgvNLZH7Mghz93Hi3nDFez_sdAhwQczTgFsIJalIZgkqH5=w543-h723-no
    Sticky deep dark green leaves. Leaves smell heavenly!

        The age of the tree really hits me on this one, as the bitterness is very classic, and fast. The bitterness hits, and is gone. After the bitterness leaves, your mouth gets very sweet and huigan arises. Bitter-sweet, charming tea.

    Sweet and slightly bitter, but fast huigan.

        The second infusion was still quite soft, and the bean taste became more like raw sugar. Intense sweetness and the taste of the tea was like an empty sprite glass that became dry.. That very dry sweet fragrance. Classic lincang taste and character, with a medium to medium thick body. The dry mango is mostly replaced by the raw sugar coating which brings a cooling feeling towards your body.

    Third steep: Light yellow

        The third to around fifth infusions had very similar characteristics. Bitter sweet lincang soup with a stronger bitterness and cooling effect. The throat felt smooth and cooling; almost minty.

    Sixth steep: Brighter yellow, some classic forest and mossy tasting. Metalic as well.

        The sixth to eighth infusions tasted again, similar, but with lesser bitterness. Not much chi.

    Ninth steeping, lesser viscosity but the taste remains the same.

        The ninth to eleventh steep; the soup turns to a very clear, almost transparent color. The water tastes sweet, mild and very comfortable in the body. Correct processing, but maybe a little bit too much killing green, as the leaves appear red in some areas.

    tenth steep, leaves have opened up! Beautifully large.

       

    Thirteen steep. Pale, interesting color.

    The twelfth and thirteenth infusions had no tea taste, but a really nice velvety mouthfeel and slight sweetness at the end.

        Thus concluding this tasting, I got a picture of what autumn tea is like. Autumn tea, if it is from quality material, the spring and autumn pressings will both result in strong tea, but the matter of complexity will be different and the approach from the start to the finish of the tea will be different. The complexity is something that can only found in spring tea. It’s the nutrients that gets stored over the winter that accumulates and creates the wonderful spring complexity. Autumn Puerh can be equally delicious but may lack in complexity and the different sides to the tea.

  • Aged Tea,  Gongfucha,  Liu Bao,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    1950s Liu Bao from Mr. Chum in Singapore

    Liu Bao is something I haven’t talked a lot about it on my instagram neither on my blog, and so this will be the first post about it. This Liu Bao was delicious, mysterious and very warming. Perfect for on a cold, winter evening!

        I do not know much about the history of this tea other than it’s from the 50s and was kept in Singapore by Mr. Chum, a very well known collector of aged teas. His friend who visited Canada last year happened to also come to Calgary, and he was very generous enough to brings these testers of three aged teas from Singapore. I want to say a big thank you to Mr. Chum and his friend for providing and helping me try this! 谢谢您们!

        I just finished 6 exams and now have two more to go, and so please understand if this post is only a very basic one, and here I am writing about my experience with my tea and not really on the historical and more knowledge based material.

    So these are the parameters that I used for brewing this tea-

    Temperature ( 98 to boiling degree Celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml F1 Yixing)

    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Garlic with oranges, almost metallic and herbal .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Camphor with wood, slight spiciness and 陈味 ChenWei, an aged smell.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Soft and smooth, but with enough mouthfeel. Feeling of going down the throat getting accentuated.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very warming, lots of chi around the chest and face.

    Rating 8 out of 10.

    Leaves looked whole, and very clean as you can see.

        My initial reaction to the tea was like, “omg, how can it still be so strong?” Even though it has been aging for nearly 70 years old, the tea still has some bitterness and a very powerful richness that can be felt after swallowing. The tea seems to rest on the stomach, and slowly releases energy up. Makes me burp often.

    Oily, thick, medicinal and very clean tasting. Layers of age.

        The first three infusions were thick and juicy, and every sip tasted slightly different. Brought my focus somewhere else. This tea made me really slow down and I really just started to be in the moment.

    Wet leaves inside my F1 Hongni pot. Garlicy, rich, brothy earth tones with slight fruitiness of apple sauce.

        It has a lot of chenwei or old fregrance in the tea, which leads me to becoming very relaxed and in the middle of everything. It is such a mysterious smell, as it isn’t very obvious on what it is. It’s just a smell of age and stories, that just makes you think.

    Glorious, stunning color.

        After the eighth infusion, really beautiful orange peel aroma coming off the wet leaves and the empty cup smelt like brown sugar. This is a complex and has become a super personal tea to me– as the tea is so pure and the storage was done amazingly. No funny smells. Clean and strong aged taste.

    After the fifth steep, the tea has finally opened up. Mild salivation, and mostly amazing chi.

        To me, this tea is all about the body and after-feeling. The real activity of the tea is after you take a sip, and notice how it blends within you and how it makes you feel. The taste of course is purely delightful but the real beauty of aged teas is the yun or rhyme that invokes a certain feeling within you.  

    This is what many Liu Bao/aged tea connoisseurs are looking for. This beautiful, white cloud that covers the tea.

        The reason why I am giving this tea an 8 out of 10 is simply because of the price point, and I won’t mention the price. It’s because I feel that if I do, I feel like people will become very confused and maybe too scared to try it. But it is VERY expensive, and to my knowledge and based on how much I can really appreciate these flavors; not something I would pay this much. But if your interested in this tea, and won’t have a problem with the price; it’s surely a different story. But, love the chi and the intense relaxation moments this tea gave me. Thank you again to Mr Chum and his friend for bringing these to Canada and letting me try it!

  • Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Duck Sh*t Oolong– Yashi Dancong from Mei Leaf


    On Dec. 29th, I was asked to go to a friend’s and make some tea for them as we haven’t gotten together in a while and we were on a two weeks break. I asked my friends what tea they would like to try, and they replied with “something sweet and fun.” So I thought, why not Duck Shit from Mei Leaf— as I thought it would be the perfect tea for the occasion. Even just the name; is intriguing.

    The name, 鸭屎香, which translates to Duck Shit Aroma, creates many people to have misunderstandings that this tea will actually resemble “duck shit.” But in many cases; it’s the complete opposite. Baked notes, fresh, out-of-the oven type of smells are very common characteristics of this cultivar, and as well as floral notes, lilacs, orchid, and other sweet smelling things. It’s supposed to be delightful, and make your senses dance. The farmer who named this cultivar Duck Shit is incredibly clever, as he/she didn’t want others in the village to know how wonderfully delicious this tea can actually be.

    There are many different flavors or different cultivars/ sub-flavors/cuttings of Dancong. Such as 蜜兰香 Mi Lan Xiang,玉兰香 Yu Lan Xiang,杏仁香 Xing Ren Xiang,八仙 Ba Xian,通天香 Tong Tian Xiang, and many others. All of these names are representations of what the varietal of this type of Dancong is supposed to remind you of. For example, Mi Lan on one side is renowned for it’s very peachy, honey like taste;while the Xin Ren Xiang is supposedly very herbal and bitter, with almondy characteristics. In the future, I would love to make a blog post on the differences between these varietals, to really dive deep into the world of Dancong. My first Dancong I tried was a 东方红 (Oriental Red Dancong), and it blew me away completly. Since then, I have not incountered anything that tasted better than that one. I asked if the tea was expensive, and my friend’s mom said. “It’s Chairman Mao’s signature Oolong.” I was speechless at how vast and rich the flavors were. Now, let’s get right into the tasting of this tea!

    Duck Shit Oolong  


    Leaf
    This is from Mei Leaf’s webpage as I forgot to take pictures of the dry leaf. Upps.
    But, nice glossy leaves. Very whole.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Ya Shi Cultivar
    • May 2017.
    • Wudong, Fenghuang, Chaozhou, Guangdong China
    • Up to third or fourth leaves
    • 1200 m elevation

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 20 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info

    Nice leaves. But quite green. I got very milky, soft peachy notes from the wet leaves.

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, almost like dried cherries .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Flower Garden with peaches and a little bit of butter mixed with it. Purely unique.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like 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. Easy going, very friendly tea.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Warming, slightly energising. Rising warmth or “chi” towards the heart area. Friend’s loved the warmth of this tea!

    Price:  42.5 Canadian Dollars/ 30 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    This tea had a lot to say, but first things first. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy pouring for my guests and was focusing on tasting. I have my tasting notes for every two infusions below.

    I tasted a lot of cream, nuts, apricots and that greenish, viny taste that I associate with a lot of lighter roasted Dancongs. Sophia, was like “Oh, it tastes so comforting.” I knew right off the bat that they all liked this one. It’s just super easy going—- easy to drink. Good for any occasion; even with sweets. I feel like this tea will go really well with sweets, especially, like those very light, cream based cakes. The first two infusions had very mild astringency and bitterness, and leaves your mouth coated with the essence of goodness.

        The third and fourth infusions of this oolong was probably the most delicious brews, as the bitterness was just right and it had a very nice heart warming chi afterwards. Me, Jenny, and Sophia all agreed that our bodies felt warm after drinking the fourth infusion. We were all enjoying the tea, to a point that no one spoke for around 5 min! Perhaps, a little tea drunk?

        After the fifth and sixth infusion, I felt extremely calm, grounding, and warm. Notes of more florals, different type of fruit maybe; almost like mandarins.

    On the eighth infusion, I pushed it hard. Added 5 min, and the tea was almost like stew, offering this herbal, very silky and smooth but nicely creamy tea soup that was a different experience as well.

    Although this tea did not blow me away completely, it still provided us with a great experience of  what quality Dancong is supposed to taste like. I just found it a little light and too green to my liking. But nonetheless, it still deserves to be called as one of my favorite lighter , more aromatic Dancongs I’ve tried. It’s also very balanced and easy to drink.

    I told my friends, “Maybe this was the best sh*t you’ve had so far.”

    LOL;)

  • Ecocha,  Gongfucha,  Jinxuan,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Tieguanyin

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong- Eco Cha

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Eco-Cha Teas

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Pinglin and Muzha, Taiwan
    Half Tieguanyin/half Jinxuan varietals. 
    45 dollars/150g
    500m/300m altitude. 
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Gaiwan 90ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, after the third infusion increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (6)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (charcoal, ripe plum)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( coffee, cream, chocolate)
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( medium)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste (huigan after first infusion, cherry aftertaste)
    Attitude Rank: 7 out of 10.

     

    Dry leaves before expanding. Both Tie Guan Yin and Jin Xuan cultivars!

     

    Tea made from two cultivars intrigue me as it makes me wonder how the characteristics of the two cultivars affect each other and affect the final result. This tea, made from Tieguanyin and Jinxuan cultivars, should match very interestingly. I was excited to see how the milky aspect of the Jinxuan cultivar might affect the TGY. The results are expressed below.

    1st infusion, starting light! But nice fragrance!

    Initially strong, the tea when warm smelled like wild bushes, wood, and some dry mango. The TGY cultivar probably supported the flavors and fragrance of the tea, while the Jinxuan made sure that it’s smooth and well structured. The tea has a good amount of roasting on it, and because of the style of processing being the Muzha style, the tea has a lot of depth, strength as well as richness in the mouth. The fragrance is good, starting with a nutty, roasty fragrance and slowly changing into a dry to juicy mango. Robust, and reminds me of a Shui Xian Rock Oolong from the Wuyi Mountains. Although it doesn’t have the same rock yun or Yan Yun that I associate with Rock Teas, the characteristics of this tea is very similar; without the sweet savory turn I find in a lot of Yanchas. Boiled potato is another one, after the heavy, roasted note comes that warming, potato skin aroma that I get in a lot of Jin Xuan Oolongs.

    Getting darker! 2nd infusion

    The third brew

    The second infusion was much more thicker, rounder, and sweeter. The best infusion, as it had everything from raisins to coffee to grains, to sweet huigan that lasted ten minutes or so. Good minerality, a little drying and nice strength. Gongdaobei smells sweet, like honey and chocolate. The lid of the gaiwan had that sourness that many Muzha TGY have, with intense veggie notes.

    Third and fourth infusions in, the fragrance and aroma started to fade away, but maintains a very nice mouthfeel and huigan still persists. Nice caramel, honey, and a grainy sweetness that remains in your mouth. Very nice color as well.

    The 4th brew. Super creamy, almost zero astringency.

    Fifth and sixth infusions were definitely lighter, and by the sixth, I knew that the tea was done. There is just no flavor and thickness in the tea. Perhaps doing this tea western style might impact how the taste comes out differently. It might work better for this tea.

    Intriguing colored leaves! Half and half;)

    I think that this Tieguanyin Oolong made by Eco-Cha offers the sweetness, bite, and aftertaste that people look for in a nice dark roasted oolong. However, I expected the tea to last a little longer, and gave off a little bit more in infusions two, three, and four. It’s a good everyday type of tea, and can be enjoyed inside a larger cup or mug without worrying too much on how the taste changes on each infusion. Solid oolong for a good price!

  • 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!

  • 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.