• 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.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Yiwu

    2018 Yiwu Wild Sprit– Yiwu Mountain Tea

    Yiwu has always remained as one of my personal favourite areas, as the taste is so classic, unique and very elegant. The classic, most important Pu Erhs in history were mostly from Yiwu, such as Song Ping and the lineage of SP cakes from 1910 onwards. I have a personal love relationship with Yiwu, and it was actually my first aged raw Pu Erh to try at The Best Tea House in Vancouver. It was a 2005 Old Tree Yiwu cake. Full of exotic honey, fruits and very soft to the tongue; while spreading quickly around your entire mouth. While I have tried some Yiwus that taste very harsh, the common terminologies associated with are “soft, sweet and very elegant like the queen of Pu Erhs”

    Phillip Lee, is a tea merchant that sells mainly Yiwu Pu Erh and Pu Erh from regions surrounding Yiwu. His family produces tea within Gaoshan, but also produces private productions from other areas. Today, I have decided to taste one of his teas, and do a proper review on it.

        The 2018 Yiwu Wild Spirit is a Sheng Pu Erh from an unmanaged, “secret” garden that was left to grow in the wild for a long time. They found it while searching for any “lost” gardens. Sounds intriguing, right?!


    Stunning leaves, silvery goodness

    7g, close up

    Let’s get straight into the review, shall we.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 Yiwu Sheng ( Uncooked)  Pu Erh Tea
    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Cultivar
    • 30 year to 100 year old tea trees.
    • From Yiwu area, Mengla, Yunnan, China.

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 3 min depending on infusion) * This tea is very durable, and can handle being pushed. Doesn’t really get bitter.

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Wild honey, plum

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Wild paprika, veggies, and some cream

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: medium to medium thick

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Calming, not much Qi. Easy to drink/great morning tea.

    Price: 34 dollars/100 grams

    Rating 7.7 out of 10.

    First Infusion: Was very silky, and light.

    First Infusion : Clean, pure very crisp aroma without any astringency nor bitterness. Very light, soft, and floral. But not really honey. More like a fresh sweet sencha, and that crisp quality was there in the brew.

    Deeper, slightly richer, but is super fresh and awakening.

    Second and third infusion: Stronger, but not bitter. A tiny bit of astringency, but again. Sweet, lingering floral character. Easy drinking.

    Fourth and fifth brew: Taste is quite simple, not super complex. Wild veggies, honey, and very crisp. The satisfying mouthfeel makes me want to have more. The aftertaste is subtle, but still noticeable. Notes of jasmine and lychee sort of light floral, and sweet aftertaste.


    Sixth brew. Getting more and more similar, characteristics of Yiwu shining bright!

    Sixth to ninth brew : Very consistent. Solid, and taste like what a good, well made Young Pu Erh should taste like. The aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste is all present. The crispness and the fresh, wild character stands out as being the most prevalent character of this tea.

    Slightly fruitier, plummy and soft.

    Tenth to Thirteenth brew: From the tenth to twelfth brew, I brewed it for 20, 30, and 40 seconds. Very light, soft, and like spring water. Makes the water taste cleaner and with a little something. For the thirteenth brew, I brewed it for 2 mins and the result was quite different. Slightly bitter, stronger, and more fruity. Tropical!

    Spent leaves, very nice Mo Li Si color.

    In Conclusion: This tea will be a great morning tea, and is nothing crazy– but is very much enjoyable, refreshing and is a good quality Pu Erh. The outstanding part of it is the crisp and very fresh zesty character of it. Thank you to Phillip for sourcing this tea. It is for sure a well made and forgiving tea even if you potentially over-brew it.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo

    2018 Fall Da Xue Shan Raw PuErh from Zuo Wang Teas

    I usually stick to my spring teas, as they are known to be the best and most complex. This tea was my first fall picked tea, and came from 大雪山 Da Xue Shan which means Big Snow Mountain in Mandarin. Da Xue Shan is located inside Mengku, which is inside the Lincang area. This mountain is renowned for its complexity and mild taste. My previous experiences with this area has been very good, and I seem to really enjoy the soft yet powerful effects of the tea. I have tried other Da Xue Shan teas from other companies but not the fall pickings, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Let’s first start off with the basics and the brief outline of this tea.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Da Ye Zhong Assamica Varietal
    • 2018 Autumn Tea
    • From Da Xue Shan, Mengku, Lincang,  Yunnan China
    • 2000 m plus above sea level.

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

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

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Slightly nutty, basic Sheng Aroma. Very clean khaki smell.

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Sticky sugar, a little bit of mango, rare fruitiness (classic lincang character)

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Medium thickness, coats your mouth. But not thick .

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling huigan with a zesty finish

    Price: 18 dollars/30 grams

    Rating 7.8 out of 10.

    Fall Da Xue Shan Gushu material from trees that range from 400 to 500 years old.

       

    Looking very fresh and vibrant. Very big fat buds.

    This Gu-Shu was interesting.. The first infusion had traces of  rich beans, peas, and some sort of vegital character, accompinied with this brightness! The tea intially was light, and developed over many infusions. Mature spirited Puerh speaks for itself.

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    Sticky deep dark green leaves. Leaves smell heavenly!

        The age of the tree really hits me on this one, as the bitterness is very classic, and fast. The bitterness hits, and is gone. After the bitterness leaves, your mouth gets very sweet and huigan arises. Bitter-sweet, charming tea.

    Sweet and slightly bitter, but fast huigan.

        The second infusion was still quite soft, and the bean taste became more like raw sugar. Intense sweetness and the taste of the tea was like an empty sprite glass that became dry.. That very dry sweet fragrance. Classic lincang taste and character, with a medium to medium thick body. The dry mango is mostly replaced by the raw sugar coating which brings a cooling feeling towards your body.

    Third steep: Light yellow

        The third to around fifth infusions had very similar characteristics. Bitter sweet lincang soup with a stronger bitterness and cooling effect. The throat felt smooth and cooling; almost minty.

    Sixth steep: Brighter yellow, some classic forest and mossy tasting. Metalic as well.

        The sixth to eighth infusions tasted again, similar, but with lesser bitterness. Not much chi.

    Ninth steeping, lesser viscosity but the taste remains the same.

        The ninth to eleventh steep; the soup turns to a very clear, almost transparent color. The water tastes sweet, mild and very comfortable in the body. Correct processing, but maybe a little bit too much killing green, as the leaves appear red in some areas.

    tenth steep, leaves have opened up! Beautifully large.

       

    Thirteen steep. Pale, interesting color.

    The twelfth and thirteenth infusions had no tea taste, but a really nice velvety mouthfeel and slight sweetness at the end.

        Thus concluding this tasting, I got a picture of what autumn tea is like. Autumn tea, if it is from quality material, the spring and autumn pressings will both result in strong tea, but the matter of complexity will be different and the approach from the start to the finish of the tea will be different. The complexity is something that can only found in spring tea. It’s the nutrients that gets stored over the winter that accumulates and creates the wonderful spring complexity. Autumn Puerh can be equally delicious but may lack in complexity and the different sides to the tea.

  • 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!

  • 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,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Wild Tree Black Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Wild Tree Black Tea
    From Wuyishan, Fujian
    2018 Spring Tea
    First Flush
    Temperature ( 90 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and increasing by 5 seconds after the third infusion)

    Big leaves, and dark!

    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sweet, well rounded. Plumy and long lasting
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Mandarin peels. Almost like dried dates boiled and add some Chen Pi or orange peel.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Medium to thick, lasting on the tongue.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: This tea has constant changes. Every infusion has different levels of depth which I enjoyed very much. There was some astringency, but not a lot. Bitterness was gone in a couple seconds.
    Price: 22.34 CAD for 80g.
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.
    This black tea was a real showcase of great quality. From the start, the fragrance of fruit, especially dark fruit and a little bit of nutty, chocolaty aspect of the tea were alive. When I smelt the gaiwan, it fled my nose and literally the smell went down my whole face and upper body. Honey, some clove, almost like a Taiwanese Red Ruby but with more fruit and starchiness. There is a certain potatoey feel to it that just reminds me of a Xiao Zhong.

    Bright caramel orange liquor!

    The first infusion is sweet, refined and well balanced. Neither here nor there, it displays the outer layers of flavour and is bitter at first, but then the rich sweetness comes into place after that. Medium body, the tea is nourishing to the throat. Honey notes are prominent, accompanied by a malty aftertaste.

    Honey like quality, strength and texture.

    The second and third infusions have more movement, and what I mean by that is like a heavier tingly feeling on the tongue and good minerality. The tea is definitely from older trees because the layers of aromas and textures are really good. Flavours are changing from honey sweetness to a plum jam sort of taste and some oranges. Fruit, but really tropical but more sticky and sweet. There is also that sweet potato note which I often associate with Xiao Zhong unsmoked. I personally like this one more because I felt that this tea had less astringency.

    From the fourth to sixth infusion, the profile is similar. Juicy, but with maybe more dryness.

    Seventh infusion, still kicking!

    Infusion seven and eight did not seem to have as much flavour, but the body is still there. Maybe it’s like when you get down to the core of a watermelon, and there is no more flavour per say but the sourness and refreshing character of a watermelon can be still tasted; likewise, infusion 7 and 8 had more of this in it. I wish it lasted a bit longer, but I cannot complain about this price.

    Finally, this tea would be great for beginners to understand the complexity and sweetness that a black tea can offer. It will open up the beginner’s mind in drinking good tea, and enjoying very infusion with patience. For those tea lovers that want something honey like but without being over-the-top, this is the tea for you. I noticed that it has very good tolerance for long infusions, so brewing this western-style or grandpa style could give you excellent results.

  • Dancong Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Black Leaf Special via Tea Hong

    Basic info about this special tea:

    The dry leaves are tight, smaller and looks glossy.

    Da Wu Ye Cultivar
    2017 Spring Tea.
    From higher altitude area near Wudong, Fenghuang, Guangdong China
    Temperature ( 95 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 12 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, very gentle but floral. Almost minty in a way. It has the Qingxiang or Clean Smell.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Classic Dawuye characters like mango, banana, lychee and herbs. But not like medicinal, but rather very fresh herbs from the garden.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like a 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.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling, and not over the top chi. Some energy is felt around the heart, but it cools down my body. Reminds me of a greener TGY
    Price: 23 dollars/ 40 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Da Wu Ye leaves in 盖碗

    From the appearance of the dry leaves, it is obvious that it is probably not roasted nor fermented as much as perhaps a Milan or Duck Shit. The smell and taste are definitely heavier than a green TGY, but is not thick like a roasted Dancong. The aroma is very delicate, more savoury than sweet but not in anyway herbal. The tea does give off a lot of fruity aromatics, but rather dry and less sweet. It’s maybe like dried fruits, lychee is the number one thing I smell. Candied, dried, but not fresh.

    1st infusion
    Bubbles indicating a rich brew!

    The first and second infusions are just opening up the tea. Smells quite grassy, as well as tastes fresh and fruity. Like wild mango but without that honeysuckle taste. The end is short, and has a very nice bite to it. The third infusion is sweet, more balanced, and bitter. Throughout all the infusions up to the sixth, the aroma is mostly focused on being light and fragrant. However, after the seventh infusion, the ending became longer, and the tea felt thicker. The leaves were pushing itself to the maximum. The creamy aspect of this tea started to coat my mouth, and a herbal stewed note came off. It was delicious. After the 12th infusion, my mouth was full of gan. The minerality of this tea is very good, and powerful. My gongdaobei started to smell sweet even after the first infusion. The lingering aftertaste lasted uninterruptedly for 15 min.

    The 5th infusion of this tea

    In conclusion, this tea is really good. I am impressed with t

    Dancong Dawuye leaves completed their opening.

    he price, it’s a really good value. The taste is super light but fulfilling, and it can be steeped over and over again. I would’ve liked it to be a little deeper in the body, but this lightness is the character of Da Wu Ye. A great morning tea, I think! Thank you, Tea Hong, for providing me with this awesome sample!

  • 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.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Ripe,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh from The Best Tea House

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh

    Pure 2011 Gushu Menghai material; sweet and creamy!

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Dayezhong (Big Leaf Cultivar Varietal)
    2011 Spring Tea
    Area : Menghai and surrounding area.
    Hand picked and selected by Vesper Chan.
    Lightly to Medium Fermented Shou
    280 CAD for 400g.
    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 60 seconds depending on what infusion)

    Look at the dark leaves, it can tell you so much. The picking is pretty good, big leaves but still have some buds.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Soybean/ deeply fermented smell. However, not fishy and bland but the finish is toasty and nutty, which makes it more complex. .
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Plumy, and very deep. Almost like dried dates as well. Not too much savouriness. Longan underneath the richness, which uplifts the tea.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Perfect, extremely well done. It’s not heavy, but not light. Smooth and goes down like a Raw Puerh.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very light sweetness with a slight soybean aftertaste. Huigan is there, but not obvious. The chi is really strong, and probably the best chi I’ve experienced from Shou Puerh.
    Price: 280 CAD for 400 g.
    Rating 9 out of 10.

    This tea is really really good, from start to finish. The tea is super smooth and not uncomfortable, easy to drink. I cannot pinpoint at what is so delicious, and that intrigues me even more. Made from Arbor Trees in Menghai, this tea delivers a sensation that I have never experienced before. It feels like I am drinking a vintage Raw Puerh, that is maybe of ages over 20 years old. Super easy drinking but the feeling and chi you get does not make you believe it is a Shou Puerh. I will recommend people who dislikes Ripe Puerh to definitely try this one; or any tea lover. The only thing I have to keep mentioning about would have to be the intense chi and aftereffect this tea had on my body. I felt as if I may be half floating, my eyes started to close; and feel my feet tingle. That’s what we call Chachi, or tea energy. The bushes from this tea are of ages 200 to 250, which is Gushu or old-tree material.

    The tea soup is dark and yet bright, how miraculous!

    The taste of good Shou is very hard to describe. It isn’t overly savory, not overly creamy, but everything is balanced. It is sweet and vibrant, but not medicinal. It is thick and rich, but not overwhelming; super clean finish. It feels like a rich cocoa tea infused with non-sweet brown sugar. I hope you can image the lovely feeling that can coat my mouth, and the natural, slightly sweet sticky feeling. Ohh I’m in heaven!

    It almost looks like a old Sheng Puerh, I mean look at the clarity!

    I don’t have too much to say other than I am super impressed. Just by the fact that it’s making me feel tea drunk is amazing for a Ripe Puerh. Gushu material really makes a difference, huh! I hope everyone can give it a try. Thank you Mr. Michael Fung from The Best Tea House for letting me sample this here in Calgary! What’s to try next, Attitudes?