• Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Tieguanyin

    Superior Iron Goddess from Mei Leaf

    If you find a good TGY, it’s a keeper. Good Tie Guan Yins  are very hard to come across. This is because with TGY, and basically any Chinese oolongs in general; there are so many steps to perfect the tea. Even if 9 out of the 10 steps involved are superbly done, if the last step is lacking or not good, the tea can easily become bad and not delicious anymore. Also, there is so much demand for TGY in the market, and so finding a top grade TGY is very difficult. In China, the word Tie Guan Yin is so famous, and is very classic. Even if the person doesn’t drink tea, they would at least recognize the name of this tea, “Iron Kwan Yin.”

        Last week, I decided to try another Mei Leaf tea, and I didn’t expect this TGY to blow my mind to this extent. I really really enjoyed this one. This is some information given by Don about this tea.

    “This is a very famous Chinese tea and it is in huge demand which inevitably means that it is produced in large quantities with big differences in quality and styles. Our Qing Xiang Tie Guan Yin is true Anxi Iron Goddess made in the modern Light Qing Xiang style.”

    “Traditional Tie Guan Yin (Chuan Tong) is oxidised more and at room temperature, whereas the more modern light Tie Guan Yin (Qing Xiang) borrows the more Taiwanese approach of cold room withering and lower oxidation. This is why modern Tie Guan Yin tends to have a more flowery and rich aroma compared with the thicker texture traditional tea.” Mr. Don Mei

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2017 Autumn Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin
    • Guan Yin Cultivar
    • Up to third or fourth leaf picking
    • 600 m
    • From Chang Keng Village, Anxi, Fujian China

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (120 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by  15 to 20 sec depending after infusion 3)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings:  12 infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Fresh, spring, lily orchid, grassy, layers of cream and florals.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Honeydew melon sweetness, grassy, but not really eggy. Very clean, fresh yet creamy smelling.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: medium to medium thick

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling sensation towards the back of the mouth, watering huigan.

    Price: 6.67 dollars/8 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Hot gaiwan with TGY leaves

    The moment I placed this tea inside the hot gaiwan, I knew I was in for a treat. The tea, smelt so divine. So much going on– that my explanation won’t be able to tell you how much it can offer you. Not only was it grassy, but incredibly floral, creamy, and somewhat nutty. There was a thickness in the smell as well. Not just sweet, but dense and rich.

    1st Infusion: Lovely color.

    The first infusion was grassy, but yet also floral. The florals were like gardenia, and flowers that smell quite green yet sweet. Some jasmine, lilies, and very green florals. After you swallow, the creaminess will spread in your mouth, and the tea coats the mouth evenly.

    Second infusion.. getting more and more delicious!

    Second and third infusions: Grassy, and creamy like butternut squash wrapped in unsweetened  honeydew sauce. Clear, crisp and clean.

    Fourth and fifth brew: Sweeter, nuttier and creamier. More and more of creaminess coming out through each infusion. Very minimal astringency, no bitterness. Some green apple notes detectable.

    Sixth to eighth brew : Nothing much has changed in taste wise, but in fact getting better. Sweeter, rounder, and has shifted from being veggie like to honey like.

    Ninth to Eleventh: Finally, the banana comes. When I breathe out, the notes of honeydew and banana are present. Very fragrant.

    Twelveth: The tea has almost no taste left, but the water tastes soft and still creamy. Nice thickness.

    Well processed, very lasting.

    Overall

    I am very pleased with this quality of TGY, and how durable it was. Many TGY will die off after the second or even the first infusion, and turn into this broccoli and eggy kind of tea. I don’t like the taste of that. It’s too simple, and not elegant. However, Mei Leaf’s Superior Iron Goddess had it all. The floral, the cream, and the nice texture. In addition to that, the returning sweetness was incredible as well. I don’t have enough experience to talk about Yin Yun, but I felt a slight stiffness near the sides of my mouth which may be the same Yin Yun that many connoisseurs are talking about. This is a very good Qin Xiang or unroasted TGY. Good job, and thank you Don for sourcing this. It’s truly a nice tea, and is well rounded, and a satisfying TGY.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  Teavivre

    Award Winning Alishan Oolong / Teavivre

    Award Winning Alishan Oolong from Mr. Lui Zhiqiang
    Basic info about this special tea:
    Jinxuan Oolong Varietal
    2017 Autumn Tea
    From Alishan, Jiayi, in Taiwan
    1000m to 1500m Elevation
    Picked on Oct. 28th
    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (110ml Gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 20 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 7 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Nuts, Spinach, Grass.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Egg yoke, Tarts, Light cream.
    Taste Profile: Asparagus, Kale, and some Taro . Very veggie like.
    Texture Profile: Smooth, and soft. Velvety texture with sweetness.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Longan, with a Honey aftertaste.
    Price: 23.50/100 grams
    Rating 7 out of 10.
    The leaves look perfectly neat, organised and big. Large, dark green balls usually indicate a good sign. So, I think that the tea does have a very good appearance and when I look into my gaiwan I do not see many broken leaves, so I can tell that these are surely very good quality materials.

    Jade green tiny ball shaped leaves about to be becoming unrolled leaves.

    The initial taste was very corny, vegetal, and not too floral. I did get a lot of cream and the egg thickness, which was very soothing and comfortable to drink. I would recommend everyone to drink this in the evening as it is a soothing, relaxing tea. I don’t think that this tea had a lot of high notes or that whiff of gardenia that Teavivre was talking about. It seemed more green and clean than most high mountain oolongs.

     

    However, the aftertaste becomes richer as more infusions pass, and my throat feels very good. I also feel that this tea is better enjoyed rather hot than cold because when cold the almost bar soapy, cardboard sort of flavor comes out. I didn’t get too many of the traditional gardenia or sort of high mountain classical flavor. It reminded me much more of like a Chinese Lu An Gua Pian or a Long Ya green tea.
    If it had more depth and multidimensional flavors with each infusion, the rating would be much higher. But because this tea was packaged nicely, great leaves, and tasted like a good oolong, I would like to give it 7 out of 10.

    Taking spent leaves in your hand reminds you of how much the tea expands from being a ball to a giant leaf.

    Thank you Teavivre for providing this sample, and I am being completely honest with my opinions. There are some very good points about this tea, and I love being fair with everything I try. More reviews coming very soon.

  • Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  Tieguanyin

    Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin

    Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin Tea from Totem Tea
    Basic info about this special tea: 

     

    The classy packaging; have to appreciate the goodness and care:)

    Tie Guan Yin varietal
    – From Alishan, Chiayi, in Taiwan
    – Muzha style
    – Temperature ( 92 degrees celsius)
    – Brewing Vessel ( Large Dehua porcelain gaiwan 100ml)
    – Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    – Steeping Time ( less than 25 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 15 seconds)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings:
    – 6 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves:
    – Slight smoky,
    – Roasted corn flakes
    – Cereal like.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves:
    – Persimmons
    – Poached peaches with fried rice.
    Taste Profile:
    – Similar to a Oriental Red dan cong tea
    – Honey, Ripe mango, Papaya, And lychee profile.
    Texture Profile:
    – Leather, Library books. Not too sticky
    – More of a mouthfeel and richer taste compared with other Taiwanese high mountain tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste:
    – Crisp, Slightly sour taste from the Muzha. Hui gan is slow but long lasting. .
    – Price: 15 USD
    – Rating 7.5 out of 10.
    Something triggering has happened when I tried this tea. As I smelled the flying scent of the craftsmanship, I began to recall the moments of when I really started to discover the beauty of tea. When I first had the Oriental Red Dan Cong at my friends house in Vancouver, I was lost for words. I cannot even describe the amount of significance and declaration of satisfaction I felt from drinking every sip of that golden drink. My mind felt as if I entered nirvana, and didn’t care where I was going. The scent I first got when interacting with the warm dry leaves and me bringing back the emotions from the past was great. The cornflake like, typical cereal or cookie smell was present, like how in a dan cong some of the major characteristics are like the marzipan or butter cookies .

    Golden balls of goodness.

    Oriental Red was a mixture of Duck Shit and Ba Xian together. A buttery, fruity, spicy, and dry finished dan cong. Truly remarkable. But, don’t have the money to spend 8000 CAD for 500 grams. That’s 160 dollars per pot, and most people won’t pay that kind of money for the drink. I would rather buy something affordable for my budget, but not as long lasting as the dan cong. This muzha doesn’t last too long, while the mouthfeel is still consistent and the bitterness still being persistent. The sour taste becomes more metallic and I would’ve wished that the tea can last a little longer. That’s the only thing I wished was different.

    Honey liquid, rich and thick like a quality tea.

    The packaging is very organized, clear, and the leaves are nice and shiny. Very affordable too. 15 dollars for a package is better than any other price I’ve seen before for Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin’s out there on the western market. I must say that I am very impressed and Totem tea; you converted me to Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin. I very much was intrigued by the incredible honey and strong fragrance it carried while being very grounding and having a thick body. My final rating for this tea would be a 7.5 out of 10. Great tea for people who are looking into trying to get a very uplifting and satisfying experience at the same time, and very affordable. Thanks Phillip for this tea, and more reviews coming shortly.

  • Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Tieguanyin

    Tie Guan Yin from Zhiqiang Wang

    Tie Guan Yin Tea from producer Zhiqiang Wang
    Basic info about this rare tea:
    Tie Guan Yin Varietal
    2017 Spring Tea
    From Anxi County in Fujian Province
    600-700 m Elevation Above Sea Level.

    Temperature ( 95 to 96 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Porcelain Gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, and every 2 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Dried Nougat, Sour Apples, Grassy Nuts.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Soft ketchup, Orchid.
    Taste Profile: Boiled Broccoli with Gardenia Stems, Bitter Grass.
    Texture Profile: Soft but Astringent.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Gentle, Sweet Melon aftertaste.
    Poetic Expression: “ A bull frog taking a nap under the hibiscus flower.” -An ugly beast having pretty foods, that’s what I feel from this tea.
    Price: 150 dollars/500 grams
    Rating 7.2 out of 10.

    I will first give a brief introduction to Tie Guan Yin.
    The Chinese believe in two stories surrounding the myth of where Tie Guan Yin is originally from. The first story is from Wei, where the tail saids that Wei was concerned about the local temple that had a Iron statue of the Buddhist goddess Guan Yin, who is no other than Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, while he was so poor and couldn’t even afford thinking about repairing the statue and temple. So, what he did was bringing a broom and some incense twice a month for a long time, accumulating merits for his good karma. One night, the goddess Guan Yin appeared in his dream indicating that there is a treasure in a cave nearby, and he was told to take it out and share it with others. In the cave, he found a tea shoot, and brought it out to plant in a small stream. This eventually became a great bush, providing the best tea. Later on, people in the village started to call this tea, Tie Guan Yin, The Iron Goddess of Mercy.

    The second story is from Wang, as this tale goes like this. The great scholar Wang accidentally found a Tea bush underneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping, Anxi, China. He then brought the plant back home for cultivation. In the 6th year of ruling for the Qianlong Emperor, Wang visited the emperor with this tea as a gift from the local village. Qianlong was so impressed, he asked where this tea is from. From there, the name Guan Yin was started to be used for this tea.

    There are three main types of Tie Guan Yin teas.
    Traditional ( Charcoal roasted)
    Jade or Modern Style ( Unroasted)
    Medium Roast (Traditional medium roast)
    The traditional-style Tie Guan Yin offers a very dark, heavily-oxidized, and was the first kind of Tie Guan Yin to ever be made. The roasting however is usually lighter and more fragrant than typical Wuyi Rock teas. The Medium Roast Tie Guan Yin offers very bright and deep aromas, compared with the Green Type, also known as Modern Style, very strong on the nose and has notes of gardenia flowers, honey butter, and melons. The market recently has shifted more attention on the Green Tie Guan Yin rather than the Traditional ones, due to the high-rise in Taiwanese Oolongs, and land, labor, and capital is actually cheaper to produce green oolongs in China than it is in Taiwan. Plus, making Green style requires less effort and is cheaper, so more people want to buy it, and the economy is rising for this.

    I did enjoy this tea, but I wouldn’t say I am a lover of it, because I know the quality isn’t the highest. High quality Tie Guan Yins are very hard to find in the western Market, because of two main reasons. First, because the good Tie Guan Yins are being bought within China, and the outside market doesn’t usually get involved. Also, because the price gap between qualities of Tie Guan Yin significantly jumps from very low to high. I mean, very much. In my opinion, Pu Erh has a much more controlled and standard rate for Gushu material, while Tie Guan Yins are very skeptical and increase in price so much compared to other higher quality teas. This one I tried was given to me by Lillian Li, the owner of SpiriteaStudio, as it was given to her by her friend in Xiping, Anxi. The initial taste is very good, resulting in a deep, warm taste of broccoli, with gardenia stems. I should say this sample was not exclusive, but was not bad either. It was not a tea for me to contemplate on, and during the last 3 infusions, I experienced the typical, minerally, acidic sort of taste that comes from Green Tie Guan Yin when the session is almost starting to fade away. This gave me that look on my face of, “Is this the thing again?” Yes, so this tea is a good oolong but not a great oolong, because it doesn’t have anything unique, but very standard and fair. It is a good tea for beginners to compare qualities. For more info and to get sample packs of different grades of oolong teas, go to Spiritea Studio in Vancouver or contact Lillian at lillian0403@gmail.com. This was a introduction to Tie Guan Yin, more oolong related articles coming soon. Stay tuned for the next article, the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin.`

    Dry leaves of the Qingxiang Tie Guan Yin from Anxi, Fujian.

  • 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