• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Black Tea,  Gongfucha,  Hongcha,  Oollo Tea,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview

    Gongfu Black Tea/Oollo Tea

    Alishan Gongfu Black Tea from producer Grandpa Mr. Lo
    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qingjing Oolong Varietal
    2016 Winter Tea
    From Alishan, Jiayi, in Taiwan
    1200m-1800 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
    Temperature ( 97-98 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 4 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 2 to 5 seconds)

    The whole unbroken leaves of this beautiful Gongfu Black

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 10 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Clove, Dates, Raisins, Honey, Chocolate
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Dark Honey, Plums, and a bit of Eucalyptus.
    Taste Profile: Almonds, Dark Cocoa and tropical fruits .
    Texture Profile: aged Cheddar sort of sharpness but with a complex finish .
    Feeling/Aftertaste: sweet and delicate, with a herbal finish.
    Price: 15 dollars/25 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Thick, glossy liqure with a bubble formed on top. Indecating rich minerality and quality.

    Firstly, the packaging is amazing, with its ultra-protection aluminum lining on the inside; the aroma is kept safe, while the tea can mature or rest. Perfect little baggy or package for one or two gongfu sessions at home. The leaves are long, unbroken, and very distinctive. Using these unique twigs and edgy leaves, Oollo Tea has managed to make this tea into something amazing, using again a non-black tea cultivar, and using such advanced oxidation techniques and making sure that the body of a good black is there while keeping the fragrance that many Taiwanese Oolongs carry. The dry leaves smelt a lot like a KitKat bar or something chocolaty with some clove, or something a little cinnamony. Then came the wet leaves, which transformed more of the vegetal, herbal notes into something fruity, and more woody. The classic roasted aroma came out from the dry moist leaves, meaning the dry leaves that hit the gaiwan right after.

    The initial first impressions were very good, resulting in me exploring both my upper and lower palate. The upper palate engaging in activities like seeing where the fragrance can go, and while the lower pallet sees the body, or how much richness the tea soup carries. It was really an amazing experience, and I will recommend this tea for especially for people who love complex, artisan, rich tea.

    I also feel as a constant tea drinker that this tea very much impressed me. My body and soul was warmed, and I feel as if I was walking in the markets of the middle east, buying spices and dried tropical fruits. A real experience that should be looked up to. The money is definitely worth it, as you get more infusions than definitely most of the black teas. The leaves pulled off extremely well, and I tried to cold brew it after. It worked so well. The body really kicked in as well. I gave it 8 on the Attitude Rank, as it definitely has the power and flavor to make me feel drunk. The missing two stars was because I felt maybe the chi could’ve been stronger, and if it had lasted more than 15 infusions, there is no doubt that it deserves a full 10 Attitude Rank.

  • Black Tea,  Gongfucha,  Oollo Tea,  Oolong,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    Honey Scented Black Tea – Oollo Tea

    Honey Scented Black Tea from producer Family Fu

    Fancy presentation of the ice and hot brewed tea side by side. Iced one with strawberries.

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qingxin Oolong Varietal
    2017 Winter Tea
    From Pinglin, New Taipei, in Taiwan
    400 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
    Temperature ( 97-98 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Japanese Red Clay Kyusu)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 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 5 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Hay, Dates, Chicken broth.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Camphor, and a bit of Eucalyptus.
    Taste Profile: Qingxin butteriness, Dark Cocoa with a hint of Ginseng and Rose water. .
    Texture Profile: Cardboard softness but with sticky minerality. .
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Short and Crispy cinnamon, with a herbal finish.
    Poetic Expression: “ As the night stars shine, Darkness comes out, shining and dancing like there is the second face.” The leaves used was a cultivar intended to be used for oolongs, but used in a fashion for making black tea can show the real character or the other potential that the plant holds.
    Price: ON SALE 5 dollars/25 grams
    Rating 7 out of 10.

    The dry leaf of the Honey Scented Black Tea.

    Jenny said that this tea was in fact created using oolong leaves, and making it in a traditional honey-black tea style so that the baked honey, the spices, and the special characters of the Qingxin varietal, blends out. My teacher from school actually asked me to make tea for the Foods and Fashion class, so I chose a Taiwanese black tea that may be easy for most people to appreciate. Friends told me that the soup tasted like pumpkin spice, and I kind of understood. Often at times people who are not very experienced at tea drinking can tell you more about the quality of teas because they have a very pure and clean pallet, and also their judgment is without bias or conceived ideas from previous experiences. I found that Grade 9 students actually enjoyed this tea because they prefer sweet teas, and I feel great that they loved it.

    I was mainly impressed by the fact that it isn’t actually a black tea yet the farmer’s skill and determination to make quality tea made the subtle, very bright notes into something more dark, sweet, and rich. Oolong teas normally are very pungent, strong, and can be bitter, astringent, etc. However, this tea comes across very smooth, rich and fragrant at the same time. I have to say one thing, which is that this tea tends to require more time than the average Taiwanese Black or Oolong teas. I used 5 grams, and the first infusion which I did for around 15 to 20 seconds came out pretty light, but secure flavor. I actually liked the variety of different notes and characteristics that the tea can share with me, but I wish I could’ve experienced more honey, high notes, and fruits. Brown liquor, sweet, and on the spectrum of black teas, I would put this one more on the spicy side. It isn’t very malty, but is very chocolaty, and has more of a damp sweetness than is it high up on the nose. That is the only down point.

    This is the tea liquor from the third infusion.

    I should purchase some for next time and will be interested in brewing grandpa-style. This is when you leave the leaves inside the cup or tall glass and drink ¾ and adding water on top each time. This is because I feel that the tea doesn’t have much bitterness to it, so if its being brewed grandpa-style, we can enjoy very concentrated infusions and the thick honey aroma maybe more present. In conclusion, this tea did impress my friends and teacher, plus, I very much thought it was a very good everyday-type of Blackish/ Oolongish tea. ;p

    Thanks to Jenny for letting me review this today! Visit her at www. oollotea.com