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!
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)
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.