• Aged Tea,  Gongfucha,  Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    1999 8582 Sheng Puerh from Hei/ PuerhPrivate

    1999 8582 

    This is a tea sample I received from PuerhPrivate on Instagram. Hei, who runs the account kindly sent me these samples for me to review. I not sure what material is used in this recipe, but I do know what 8582 means and how Zhong Cha started to produce these. 

    85 meaning the year the recipe was created, and the third digit represents the grade of leaf used in the recipe. The last digit represents the factory the tea was being produced at.

    • In this case, the first two digits of 85 means that this tea was first created in 1985
    • 8 representing the grade of leaf, so the lower the number the smaller the leaf; thus meaning this cake consists of bigger leaves and less of the buds
    • The last digit represents the factory, so 2 in this case the Menghai Tea Factory. 

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Dayezhong Assamica Varietal
    • 1999 Spring Tea
    • From Menghai, Yunnan
    • Blended

    Temperature of Water ( 96-100 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Hongni Yixing Pot)

    Grams of Leaves ( 10 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 40 seconds, depending on the infusion)

    8582 Cake Front
    Loose

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 15 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Clean, basement with some fruity aromas of ripened dates and apple.  

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Sweet dates with basement. Basement by what I mean is like cooked mushrooms, earth moss, forest floral and the smell of an old house combined together. 

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Not much thickness or viscosity, but quite soft and easy to drink. I suspect the material itself is not the best out there. But, with the storage impacting the tea; it increased in potential and quite complex. 

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Medium. 

    Rating 7.3 out of 10.

    First steeping of this tea. Quite an interesting color.

    #1-3

    Very camphor, Chinese medicine. Broth is lighter than expected. I feel it’s not the best material, but the taste is quite sweet and enjoyable. Nothing crazy good, but quite mellow and has a little bit of astringent to not make it boring. The aftertaste is ok.

    This storage is not my thing, I just think the storage overpowers the tea. I feel it’s too medicinal, not sweet enough. When I slurp the tea, it immediately sort of evaporates from my mouth, and becomes very bubbly which I thought was quite something.  

    Fourth and Fifth steep combined. I like to combine infusions, as I find the taste to round off more and become easier to tell the quality of the tea.

    #4-7 

    Sweeter, more thick. Stronger. Prune, liquorice,

    Longan and more layers of the tea were revealed. However, I am still not quite sold on this tea. The thickness of a great aged raw is not there. The 88 green and 93 水藍印 have this almost syrupy, very slippery but thick texture in the mouth. 

    What a glow;)

    #8-12

    More solid vegetables, mushrooms with wild forest taste. Not as sweet as the previous brews. Thickness isn’t very good, but just ok. 

    It feels like a ripe tea that’s almost done but accumulated some age.

    Gentle tea.

    #13-15

    Tastes like a broth that was made from Chinese medicine. These brews in my opinion taste the best. They don’t have any bitterness or harshness but a very soft texture that coats your mouth. Very nice ginseng fragrance as well. A little drying after but nice overall finish.

    Concluding thoughts

    Finished leaves.

    I personally am not a fan of this tea, but it does have a lot to offer. I don’t know about what others will think, but to me, the texture is not there. It’s too soupy, too light; almost like pure chicken broth.  However, it has a lot of complexity taste wise and I think this is the tea for you if you enjoy flavors of aged puerh. This is not to say that it’s bad tea, but there will be various responses. People who will love this tea will love it, and others maybe not so much.

    It will all depend on what their experiences have been with their previous teas.  

  • Gongfucha,  Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  XiZiHao

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying

    Xizihao is a brand that I am quite obsessed with lately, and I am trying more and more of their teas from different years. This tea, the 2014 Da Hong Xi Yin or for short the 2014 DHXY is made from very high-end regions from the Mengla area. This tea was first produced to create a collection of supreme teas in memory of the ancient seal collections, by what I mean is the 1950s classic Pu Erh pieces ever made. Such as the 1950 Red Mark, Blue Mark, Yellow Mark, Green Mark and etc. Tony Chen decided to recreate these teas but using the best material he could obtain as well as making sure that the wrapping also is using exceptionally crafted paper.

    A small sample of this cake. Long, bright leaves.

    There were seven cakes that are part of this collection, which are the

    2014 Da Hong Xi Yin                       2014 大红囍印

    2014 Hong Yin Tie Bing                  2014 红印鐡餅

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying (Jia Ji)         2014 大红囍印 (甲级)

    2014 Da Hong Xi Ying (Yi Ji)          2014 大红囍印 (乙级)

    2014 Da Xi Lan Yin                        2014 大囍蓝印

    2014 Da Xi Lu Yin                         2014 大囍绿印

    2014 Da Xi Huang Yin ( Shu)       2014 大囍黄印 (熟)

    5g in my gaiwan

    This time I tried the 2014 DHXY in a 50 ml gaiwan, brewed with Whistler Spring Water with 5 g of leaf. I figured that this specific 1g to 10 ml is a great ratio to begin with, being not overpowering but will make sure that the tea shows it’s true colors and will affect my body sensation.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2014 Spring Tea.
    • From Government Protected Land within Walong 瓦龙, Bohetang 薄荷糖 , and Wangong 弯弓 Yunnan, China. Three area premium blend.
    • Hand picked and hand processed
    • Almost 4 CAD per gram
    • 200 – 600 year old tea trees

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (50 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 2 sec to 10 min depending on which infusion)

    Dry leaves: Looks

    Glossy leaves, golden buds and longish stems. Leaves are loosely compressed. Stone pressed.

    Dry leaves: smell

    Deep honey covered with storage notes of slightly old books added with this clean aroma of dried bed sheets. Clean clothes, fresh smell. A tiny bit smoky as well.

    Wet leaves : Smell

    Nothing harsh, very easy sweet smelling leaves with various ripened fruity aromas. No smokiness what-so-ever. Mango and passion fruit aromas from the wet leaves.

    1st brew. Amazing color from the beginning.

    1st to 3rd infusion: Lighter body, but very intense floral aromas as we expected, with notes of wild flowers and a bit of khaki peel. The throat feeling is super good, or what we call in Chinese 喉韵。However, the aftertaste starts to build after the second infusion. Not right from the beginning.

    3rd infusion. Thicker and better.

    4th to 6th infusion: Sweeter, a little bit of astringency which enhances the tea’s character. The aftertaste is really present throughout these two infusions. A little bit of a wild herbal taste coming out, but not overpowering.

    5th brew. Very nice touch of acidity that is very enjoyable.

    8th to 12th brews: Amazing brews, so buttery, so sweet.. It almost didn’t seem like a tea. It has such amazing, sweet florals combined with this mango, passion fruit taste which is slightly astringent, but quickly transforms into a deep honey pineapple sweetness that stays in the mouth for quite some time. I can tell that very premium material was selected for this tea. It’s just so easy and pleasant to drink.

    7th brew.
    Leaves expanding.
    13th infusion. Getting lighter, but still very sweet.
    The brewed leaves of this Da Hong Xi Ying.
    Such beautiful leaves, I love this tea!!

    13th to 18th brews: More buttery, still very fragrant and the tea was still strong and potent. When cooled, I get some faint mangostine and grape notes that remind of fruit juice mixes. Around the 18th brew, it has come to a conclusion that the tea was done and we couldn’t push the tea anymore.

    In Conclusion

    I like this tea, quite a lot. It has a very distinctive Yiwu vibe, as well as the leaf brews out so tenderly and not harshly. This tea is for sure a Gu Shu or 古树茶 that comes from very tall tea trees. There is barely any astringency, nor a strong bitterness. Very delicious tea. However, I would’ve liked it if the tea is a bit stronger, and can give a little more. I understand that the goal of it was supposed to resemble the tenderness of a Yiwu and more of a milder tea, but I would’ve liked it a bit stronger and a bit more potent. I would rate this tea at a 9 out of 10, just because of that part. Great tea, what so ever!

    .

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Oriental Beauty,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview

    Oriental Beauty Reserve/ Totem Tea

    Oriental Beauty Reserve

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Taiwan
    60 % oxidation, bug bitten
    18 dollars/Ounce
    Qingxing Da Pan Varietal.
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (90 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Big Jingdezhen Gaiwan 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)

    The dried bug bitten tea. Gorgeous leaves.

    Oriental Beauty Reserve
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (8)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves ( muscat, cedar like sharpness with a typical bug bitten smell)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( ume plums, candies, dark grapes, jujube)
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( sweet aftertaste and a rush of chi.)
    Poetic Expression
    Attitude Rank: 9.5 out of 10.
    Ulala, I was excited for this one. As soon as I opened the sample, I knew I was up for something interesting. The leaves were covered with fresh white hair, often a good sign for oriental beauty. The company does say that this oolong went through quite a lot of interesting steps, including the bug bitten stage where it produces the white strands of hair by recovering itself after being bitten by the cicadas. The relationship between the cicada, tea plant, farmer and tea drinker connect and replenishes the environment and supports the farmers to keep making the good teas.

    The wet leaves after brewing three to four infusions.

    The first infusion
    The infusion had medium to thick body, with a very intense aroma and taste. The aroma of sweet corn, wild honey, and delicious jujube. Wow, just amazing. The oolong had the fragrance and solid body. Now it does kind of remind me of a Yunnan Dien Hong black but without that sort of bitterness and chocolaty taste. The savoriness with a punch of flowers were there though. Very solid and good taste.

    The second to fourth infusion
    Heavier mouthfeel, rich, the balance is good between the fragrance and the mouthfeel. The quality is superb, due to the fluctuating flavors and tones displayed from each sip and the temperatures of the liquor. Drastically changing aromas shows the complexity of the leaf and each process of tea making. The bug bitten sweetness with the rich texture of malt & the bursting ume/muskat is just so addictive.
    The fifth to seventh infusion

    the tea liquor is dark yet bright. Thick and syrupy.

    Really good, beautiful mouthfeel but with more of a bean sweetness with a light pear aroma, incorporated with a dark wheat and hay sort of taste. While maintaining the original characters, the tea is becoming more warm and quiet. One of the best OB I’ve ever had. Quality, price, and lasting wise. The lid near the end smelt like savory custard. Very good tea, but if the plumy or bergamot flavors would’ve lasted a little longer, I would totally give it a 10.

    I am super excited to try the Hongshui oolong now, waiting for that drizzling taste. Thank you Totem Tea for providing this sample, and it was very delicious. Very impressive from start to finish, so would definitely recommend this one from them.