• 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.

  • 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!

  • Black Tea,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Golden Hand Black Tea- Totem Tea

    Golden Hand Black Tea @ Totem Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:
    – Ruby 20, Ruby 12, Jin Xuan, and Si Ji Chun
    – From Nantou, Taiwan.
    – Completely Handmade
    – Newly blended cultivar
    Temperature (90-degree water.)
    Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5.5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)
    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Roasted nuts with dark chocolate, medicinal, and malt.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Brown sugar coated with cinnamon and plum notes. Layers of dark chocolate.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Thick body and intense mouthfeel. Almost like Candy.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Like loosely packed red dates and very sweet quenching sweetness. A lovely blossoming feeling inside the mouth, with slight bitterness with a rounded huigan,
    price: 16.86 CAD /per ounce
    Attitude Ranking: 7.5 /10

    Paper Packaging, great for the tea to be able to breathe.

    Opening Statements.
    This tea looks stunning. Leaves rolled beautifully, with a glossy chocolate brown tint, gorgeous golden flakes that appears like buds, but very balanced. Totem teas have very unique and innovative teas and this one was one of them. It is a new cultivar and a mix of all four of these cultivars. The Ruby 20 and 12 with Jin Xuan and Si Ji Chun. This will become the result of a very complex and intricate tea. I am very excited to try this one.

    Tender leaves that look so beautiful. The tiny buds remind me of spring.

    First and Second Infusion
    Rich and syrupy like maple syrup, and a fast bitterness with a quenching feeling towards the end. Very sweet and lingering in the mouth. Beautiful minerality, different from honey black teas and Dian Hongs, but with a heavier mouthfeel and sticky texture. Definitely, during the second infusion, I was able to catch more tasting notes like dark chocolate, lightly simmered apple, buttery crust, and dates.

    Burnt orange.

    Third Infusion
    Turning medicinal, the tea reflects many aspects of rosehip, dark wood, and dried longan. Characteristics of a Ruby cultivar is clearly shown. Slight dryness in the throat

    The sweet fragrance of dancing wild honey, rosehips and dark chocolate.

    area but not in an unpleasant way. Makes me want some more!
    Fourth Infusion.
    The liquor turns more orange, and dates become the boss. Cranberries, sour candy with a heavier bitterness is present. With the use of a Jian Zhan teacup, the bitterness does soften out.

    The fifth infusion in my Jian Zhan Teacup

    Fifth Infusion
    Less obvious aroma, the tea is slowing down. I taste minerals, more berries and some cocoa. Maybe a twist of zest.
    Sixth to Eighth Infusion.
    The colour does pushing, while the tea aroma is fading away in the cup. The liquor is still sweet, but less obvious. Aftertaste does remain.

    Overall Experience
    I did not have too much to say about this tea, but it was certainly delicious. I can see the complexity in the brew and different aromas in every infusion. The tea master was able to manipulate the taste and traits into a parade in your mouth. It does make me feel very calm and in a good state. I enjoyed every sip but wanted the tea to last a bit longer. This is the reason I am giving this tea a 7.5 out of 10. Delicious tea, whatsoever. Thank you Totem tea for this experience, as it brought my attention to detail and to see what I am able to connect between the relationship of these cultivars and it’s natural flavour.

  • 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.

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

    Gongfu Black Tea/Oollo Tea

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

    The whole unbroken leaves of this beautiful Gongfu Black

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

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

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

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

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