• 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!

  • Baimudan,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  White tea

    Baimudan- From The Best Tea House Canada

    Basic Info about this Tea
    From Fujian China
    White Peony: One bud one leaf ratio white Tea
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (My yellow hand painted Jingdezhen Gaiwan, 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds after the third infusion)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (6 good ones)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves ( plumy, vegital, and quite heavy )
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( wet, leather, and like a Puerh)
    Taste Profile ( See paragraphs below )
    Texture Profile ( smooth and silky, some astringency from the first to third brew)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( cooling, but the tea seems to get stuck near the throat)
    Attitude Ranking: 6.5/10
    

    Silvery buds with leaves

     

    When I initially received this tea, the tea was inside a foil bag. Like the metallic bags, but I took the tea out and  placed it into a plastic bag a few days after. The tea definitely does have a lot of dust, and that was probably why the tea released it’s juices so fast. I have no previous information on the terrior, the year of picking and processing, and other facts that usually are important to analyze as well. That even said, the tea still was something enjoyable and refreshing but not my type of tea that I would enjoy everyday.

    Dark brew. Amber orange is not very common with newer white teas.

    The first infusion was dark and strong, producing a slightly astringent brew. The flavor is mild, and not as powerful as I wanted it to be. The fragrance isn’t bad, but it’s just too light. The body feels lighter than expected, despite the heavy colour. I was tasting some nuttiness but with a earthy overtone, accompanied with plums and grass. The taste did have some of the character that I associate with baimudan, but not as obvious. I almost thought it must be aged because of the colour. Man, it was so dark and quite weird! The apperance fooled me.

    Still amber orange, is it aged?

    The second and third infusions has a very pleasant cooling effect around the sides of my tongue. But, it gets dry very quickly and the flavor of the very natural, sweet, white tea taste dissipates. I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind this.
    The fourth and fifth infusions was probably the best ones out of all six. Flavor was milder, and less astringent. Calm and cool, the tea wasn’t as weird as the first and second brew. By the sixth infusion, the tea died down quite a while, and took almost 5 minutes to brew to the normal strength I like. Some honey notes, grape notes, but not as pure as a baimudan I tried before.

    The brewed leaves look quite green, so must be young! But why was the brew so dark?

    Teaheads, what could’ve I done wrong? Was it because I stored in inside a plastic bag for two weeks? Could it be that I dried out the tea? Maybe so. If I dried the tea out, I learned a good lesson today. Don’t move your teas into many storage areas, and keep it clean, dry, and out of light. It is maybe because I left the tea on my display that faces light and the tea absorbed some unwanted characteristics? This was a very good experiment on how storage affects your brew. The tea is alive, and will react to the environment quite constantly. You are able to see that the colour is abnormally dark and red for a relatively new white tea. Anyhow, was a great session to see and think about what could’ve went wrong. A cup of tea is always a reflection of the causes that was created!

     

    The reason I gave this tea a 6.5 was because for me, this tea was kind of strange. The flavors were nice but not what I was expecting. Also, the tea didn’t last as long as what I wished, and so that’s why I am giving it a 6.5. I love The Best Tea House nonetheless, and  more amazing BTH teas to come!

  • Green Tea,  Longjing,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview,  Teavivre

    Organic Superfine Longjing

    Organic Imperial Longjing from Teavivre.

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Qiandao Lake, Chun’an Country, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
    Spring 2018, April 07th picking.
    13.90 /50 grams.
    C. sinensis cv. Jiukeng Varietal
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (75 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Big Gaiwan 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)

    The description that Teavivre uses for this Longjing.

    Longjing Review:
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (8)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (sweet corn, nuts, and a little bit of casis or citrus.)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( fresh grass, boiled vegitables )
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( bitter with some sweetness.)
    Attitude Rank: 6 out of 10.

    Very green leaves without much yellow. Few white strands of hair is visible.

    My first impression about this tea was very decent, as the leaves are pretty green and leaves were unbroken. However, we cannot judge the tea by the appearance, as the taste is the most important. I did see some white furry spots on the tea which was a good sign, showing that the tea leaves are not too old. The tea is not pre-qingming which is an important thing to notice especially for Longjing, but let’s not put assumptions. The dry leaves had a very pleasant roasted aroma, which is good. We will see what we can pull out from the taste.

    The first infusion of this green tea,

     

    The first infusion is the most important for green tea, as it shows everything. The number one strength I have to put out fo this tea was the aftertaste, as it is very pungent. I felt the tea lingering inside my mouth for around 15 min, which is impressive. The leaves are of quality for sure. The taste of the first infusion is eggy, and very vegital. Notes of broccoli, asparagus, and cooked beans are strong. The important note of chestnuts or very fresh peas are missing, which isn’t a bad thing but better with for Longjing. This is not a pre-qingming so it is understandable, as the price is probably double or triple the original price of this.

    The second infusion was similar, except more of the floral notes came in, and tasted much like a Japanese steamed green tea. The oceanic aroma and taste of umami did remind me of Japanese sencha. Thick and rich sweetness in the brew, but also very persistent bitterness. I am using 75 degree water, so I don’t think that is the problem. Very crisp at the throat, almost drying.
    The third infusion was much like a continuation of the second infusion, as there was nothing really happening. The thick body and rich aftertaste is persistent. The taste maybe similar to a Anhui green or Zisun.

    Pouring the liquid can definitely tell you how consistant or thick the infusion was! Not very thick on this one, but some umami and minerals are found.

    In conclusion, the tea is a good green tea, but not a good Longjing. I am being as honest as I am able to, and by no means is the tea bad. But, as a tea reviewer, I do believe I have to be fair and without bias to companies and to the teas. This organic Longjing does have a certification on it, and you can view it here. Great green tea however, especially if your looking for a good tasting organic green tea and don’t want to spend too much on it. In a Longjing, I am looking for a spicific aroma of chestnuts and a roasted aroma.

    Teavivre, more reviews are coming soon. Stay tuned.

  • 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.

  • 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