• Puerhtea,  Raw,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  XiZiHao

    2018 Diangu/ Xi Zi Hao Daughter Tea

    2018 Diangu,  From Xi Zi Hao Daughter Tea

    Chunk of Golden Diangu

    I have known (Xi Zi Hao) this brand of Pu Erh tea for many months, and I didn’t have a chance to try any of their teas until this year in 2019. I am very happy to be able to try these rare teas that are difficult to require here outside of China or Taiwan. . Today, I tried the 2018 Diangu, which seems to be very popular among Pu Erh lovers here in the west. After drinking it today, I realize what the hype is all about. This boujee tea, said it all!  First, I will like to share somethings about this tea.

    This tea comes from Old-Growth or Gushu tea trees within the Fengqing region, which is renowned for its ancient tea gardens and government protected areas. There is approximately 14,400 square miles of ancient tea trees in that area, and it’s also very famous for producing good Dianhong or Yunnan Black Teas. When I spoke to the owner of Xi Zi Hao, Mr. Tony Chen, he told me me that the tea comes from government protected areas of Fengqing county, and comes from trees that age between 200 to 600 years old. The oldest tea trees that is said to be alive is the King Tea Tree, or Cha Wang Shu in this protected area, and is said to be 3200 years old. This tea does not contain material from that specific tree, but you know what I am trying to refer to. The Fengqing area is pretty special, and is an area that is lush with super old tea trees.

    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 Spring Tea.
    • From Government Protected Land within Fengqing County, Lincang, Yunnan, China. 凤庆茶区国有森林。
    • Hand picked and hand processed
    • 2300 m to 2900 m depending on where in that area
    • 1.23 CAD per gram
    • 200 – 600 year old tea trees

    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 sec to 15 min depending on the infusion)

    Let’s get started with the actual review!


    XZH Diangu 7g loose


    Dry leaves: Looks

    Fat, glossy leaves with tons of golden hairs, buds looking golden already after almost a year of aging in Tainan, Taiwan.

    Dry leaves: Smell

    Green peas and matcha, very nutty and fresh aroma. Sweet, almost like a light processed Tie Guan Yin, but with more creaminess and complexity.

    7g/100ml Gaiwan. Look at those hairs!!!!

    Wet leaves : Smell

    Incredible, like a mixture between a Longjing green tea and a phoenix Dancong, creamy and fruity while being fresh! Very unique, special aroma. After some infusions, the aroma of the wet leaves change into something like lilacs and watermelon rind. Fresh, grassy, and quite green smelling.

    2nd brew


    1st to 3rd infusion: Lighter sweetness, bitter, but very long mouthful. Rich, mouthwatering sensations after the second cup. Fresh aroma, very refreshing, quenching. Green peas with a slight twist of creaminess, lilacs and white peach. So much going on, it’s so hard to pinpoint.

    6th Brew


    4th to 6th infusions: Bitter, but with a beautiful creaminess that just rounds out the bitterness, almost like a cheder bitterness. Green veggies, broccoli, and this very unique green aroma. My mouth is covered in sweetness, and is sticky. The body of the tea is incredible, mouthfeel is so strong, with an intense head and neck, as well as back 茶气 Cha Qi. The tea soup is incredibly vibrant, with lots of tea hairs floating. The bitterness can be sometimes so overwhelming, but afterwards there is a huge rebate of saliva and sweetness that comes out from the bitterness.

    7th brew! So oily!

    7th to 9th infusions: Still bitter, but less peachy. More of the honey notes starting to come out, with a slight tang. The more I drink, the sweeter it gets. The bitter sweet is very rewarding, and it makes you want to drink more. I was also afraid that the tea hairs would mean that the tea would be harder to drink, and would make my throat uncomfortable… but this was not the case. Very nice throat feeling.

    11th and 12th brew

    Even after 12 brews, so much fluff! Crazy tea!

    10th to 12th infusions: I pushed the 11th infusion up to 6 min, and the tea soup was bitter, yet sweet and was incredible. Such unique aroma and relaxing taste. Citrus fruit with golden peas. Creamy as well.

    13th to 15th infusions: Light, but still the tea taste is noticeable. I pushed the 15th infusion for 10 min. Not as bitter, but still a noticeable tea taste and is very refreshing to drink. Umami, seaweed, and some plum.

    16th infusion: I brewed it for 15 min, and the tea soup was pretty much done. No more aroma coming off, just a sweet mineral taste and a slight bit of astringency.

    Huge leaf and stem combo!
    Beautiful leaves. This is really nice material.

    In Conclusion

    This Diangu is incredibly potent, and is for sure not a beginner’s tea. If you cannot tolerate bitterness, this tea is meant for you. That being said, if you are already use to Pu Erh and can handle some levels of bitterness and strength, this tea will be your soulmate. With such potency, it’s very easy for one to remember this experience. Also, this tea has such a unique flavor profile, and it is for sure not a flavor that everyone will love. I, personally like this tea very much, and it’s unique green, fruity flavor but that’s not everyone’s liking. Some may say it is too fruity for them, or too strong.. Etc.

    However, because of such high-grade material and it’s very unique body feeling and strength, I would give it a 9.4 /10. I want to personally thank Mr. Chen for sourcing and producing this tea, and I am very excited to try the 2019 Diangu as well. It was a very enjoyable session, with great material and very surprising tasting notes!

  • 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.

  • Teareview,  White tea

    2018 Nightlife

    This is a White Moonlight, which is a type of white tea made with a different cultivar than usual called Camellia Taliensis. The processing is also quite different from your average white tea; and thus creates a very different tasting profile compared to many white teas from Fujian. Although it has many similar characteristics to Yunnan-made white teas, the tea has its own sticky, citric and sort of medicinal character that is unique to this tea. Some argue that this is a pu erh, and some say its a white tea. However, I am no expert so I have no free will to comment on this. The most important aspect to any tea is the actual experience and the taste.

    This tea was made by White2tea, and they mainly sell Puerhs, but also deal with White, Oolong and Black teas.

    Quite bud heavy, rich tea. Looks very clean and pure. Almost like a fresh Raw Puerh.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • 2018 White Moonlight (Yue Guang Bai) Tea
    • Camellia Taliensis
    • From Yunnan, China.

    Temperature ( 90 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 15  seconds depending on infusion)

    Main Info

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sour apple, apricot smell with some creaminess

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Rich, deeper honey, some spiciness, smell of cold patches; like root beer. But not very very strong root beer smell, only a hint. Vanilla as well. (Sorry to all root beer fans;(

    Leaves after the first brew. Olive greenish brown tones.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: Different with every brew

    Feeling/Aftertaste: relaxing and very natural. Spicy and slightly medicinal aftertaste.

    Price: 35 dollars/200 grams

    Rating 7 out of 10.

    First infusion: Bright, and just started to breath.

    First to Third infusions : Light, sweet, warming. Notes of hay, apricot, but not much else going on. Mostly focused on the texture and mouthfeel. The finish especially on the third brew is quite drying.

    Fourth to Seventh infusion: Richer, and more texture, medium to medium thick body. Taste of medicinal honey, apricots, and the classic Yunnan white tea taste. But, the finish is still dry. Cooling gan sensation on both sides of my mouth, and back of my throat. Every infusion is very consistent, and you can push this tea without getting bitter. Slightly astringent, which makes you want more.

    4th brew. Deep color.

    Eighth to Tenth Infusions : Soft, silky tofu with honey and almonds. Nuttiness coming out.

    Eighth brew. Very consistent color throughout.

    Eleventh to Thirteenth Infusions: Acidic, soft, velvety, and super easy drinking. But, no more tea taste.

    In conclusion
    This tea is a good, daily drinker. Price to quality ratio is very fair, and I am excited to see the progression this tea will take over the years as it ages. Aged White Moonlight should give more oomph and more character to satisfy the senses. Nothing crazy in this tea, a very good easy drinker that is soft on the pallet. I am also curious to see the outcome of this tea; cold brewed. The higher notes of the tea should reveal better that way, and not much of the astringency should reveal.  This tea is ideal for people that are not very comfortable to spend a huge amount on tea and like teas that aren’t too strong yet still has a distinctive quality but want something nice and solid in their collection to drink daily.

  • Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Duck Sh*t Oolong– Yashi Dancong from Mei Leaf


    On Dec. 29th, I was asked to go to a friend’s and make some tea for them as we haven’t gotten together in a while and we were on a two weeks break. I asked my friends what tea they would like to try, and they replied with “something sweet and fun.” So I thought, why not Duck Shit from Mei Leaf— as I thought it would be the perfect tea for the occasion. Even just the name; is intriguing.

    The name, 鸭屎香, which translates to Duck Shit Aroma, creates many people to have misunderstandings that this tea will actually resemble “duck shit.” But in many cases; it’s the complete opposite. Baked notes, fresh, out-of-the oven type of smells are very common characteristics of this cultivar, and as well as floral notes, lilacs, orchid, and other sweet smelling things. It’s supposed to be delightful, and make your senses dance. The farmer who named this cultivar Duck Shit is incredibly clever, as he/she didn’t want others in the village to know how wonderfully delicious this tea can actually be.

    There are many different flavors or different cultivars/ sub-flavors/cuttings of Dancong. Such as 蜜兰香 Mi Lan Xiang,玉兰香 Yu Lan Xiang,杏仁香 Xing Ren Xiang,八仙 Ba Xian,通天香 Tong Tian Xiang, and many others. All of these names are representations of what the varietal of this type of Dancong is supposed to remind you of. For example, Mi Lan on one side is renowned for it’s very peachy, honey like taste;while the Xin Ren Xiang is supposedly very herbal and bitter, with almondy characteristics. In the future, I would love to make a blog post on the differences between these varietals, to really dive deep into the world of Dancong. My first Dancong I tried was a 东方红 (Oriental Red Dancong), and it blew me away completly. Since then, I have not incountered anything that tasted better than that one. I asked if the tea was expensive, and my friend’s mom said. “It’s Chairman Mao’s signature Oolong.” I was speechless at how vast and rich the flavors were. Now, let’s get right into the tasting of this tea!

    Duck Shit Oolong  


    Leaf
    This is from Mei Leaf’s webpage as I forgot to take pictures of the dry leaf. Upps.
    But, nice glossy leaves. Very whole.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Ya Shi Cultivar
    • May 2017.
    • Wudong, Fenghuang, Chaozhou, Guangdong China
    • Up to third or fourth leaves
    • 1200 m elevation

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 20 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info

    Nice leaves. But quite green. I got very milky, soft peachy notes from the wet leaves.

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, almost like dried cherries .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Flower Garden with peaches and a little bit of butter mixed with it. Purely unique.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like fresh citrus peel. The mouthfeel is lighter than other Dancongs I’ve tried. But still good enough to appreciate the different faces of this tea. Easy going, very friendly tea.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Warming, slightly energising. Rising warmth or “chi” towards the heart area. Friend’s loved the warmth of this tea!

    Price:  42.5 Canadian Dollars/ 30 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    This tea had a lot to say, but first things first. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy pouring for my guests and was focusing on tasting. I have my tasting notes for every two infusions below.

    I tasted a lot of cream, nuts, apricots and that greenish, viny taste that I associate with a lot of lighter roasted Dancongs. Sophia, was like “Oh, it tastes so comforting.” I knew right off the bat that they all liked this one. It’s just super easy going—- easy to drink. Good for any occasion; even with sweets. I feel like this tea will go really well with sweets, especially, like those very light, cream based cakes. The first two infusions had very mild astringency and bitterness, and leaves your mouth coated with the essence of goodness.

        The third and fourth infusions of this oolong was probably the most delicious brews, as the bitterness was just right and it had a very nice heart warming chi afterwards. Me, Jenny, and Sophia all agreed that our bodies felt warm after drinking the fourth infusion. We were all enjoying the tea, to a point that no one spoke for around 5 min! Perhaps, a little tea drunk?

        After the fifth and sixth infusion, I felt extremely calm, grounding, and warm. Notes of more florals, different type of fruit maybe; almost like mandarins.

    On the eighth infusion, I pushed it hard. Added 5 min, and the tea was almost like stew, offering this herbal, very silky and smooth but nicely creamy tea soup that was a different experience as well.

    Although this tea did not blow me away completely, it still provided us with a great experience of  what quality Dancong is supposed to taste like. I just found it a little light and too green to my liking. But nonetheless, it still deserves to be called as one of my favorite lighter , more aromatic Dancongs I’ve tried. It’s also very balanced and easy to drink.

    I told my friends, “Maybe this was the best sh*t you’ve had so far.”

    LOL;)

  • Ecocha,  Gongfucha,  Jinxuan,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Tieguanyin

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong- Eco Cha

    Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Eco-Cha Teas

    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Pinglin and Muzha, Taiwan
    Half Tieguanyin/half Jinxuan varietals. 
    45 dollars/150g
    500m/300m altitude. 
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Gaiwan 90ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 15 seconds per infusion, after the third infusion increasing by 10 seconds every infusion)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (6)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (charcoal, ripe plum)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( coffee, cream, chocolate)
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( medium)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste (huigan after first infusion, cherry aftertaste)
    Attitude Rank: 7 out of 10.

     

    Dry leaves before expanding. Both Tie Guan Yin and Jin Xuan cultivars!

     

    Tea made from two cultivars intrigue me as it makes me wonder how the characteristics of the two cultivars affect each other and affect the final result. This tea, made from Tieguanyin and Jinxuan cultivars, should match very interestingly. I was excited to see how the milky aspect of the Jinxuan cultivar might affect the TGY. The results are expressed below.

    1st infusion, starting light! But nice fragrance!

    Initially strong, the tea when warm smelled like wild bushes, wood, and some dry mango. The TGY cultivar probably supported the flavors and fragrance of the tea, while the Jinxuan made sure that it’s smooth and well structured. The tea has a good amount of roasting on it, and because of the style of processing being the Muzha style, the tea has a lot of depth, strength as well as richness in the mouth. The fragrance is good, starting with a nutty, roasty fragrance and slowly changing into a dry to juicy mango. Robust, and reminds me of a Shui Xian Rock Oolong from the Wuyi Mountains. Although it doesn’t have the same rock yun or Yan Yun that I associate with Rock Teas, the characteristics of this tea is very similar; without the sweet savory turn I find in a lot of Yanchas. Boiled potato is another one, after the heavy, roasted note comes that warming, potato skin aroma that I get in a lot of Jin Xuan Oolongs.

    Getting darker! 2nd infusion

    The third brew

    The second infusion was much more thicker, rounder, and sweeter. The best infusion, as it had everything from raisins to coffee to grains, to sweet huigan that lasted ten minutes or so. Good minerality, a little drying and nice strength. Gongdaobei smells sweet, like honey and chocolate. The lid of the gaiwan had that sourness that many Muzha TGY have, with intense veggie notes.

    Third and fourth infusions in, the fragrance and aroma started to fade away, but maintains a very nice mouthfeel and huigan still persists. Nice caramel, honey, and a grainy sweetness that remains in your mouth. Very nice color as well.

    The 4th brew. Super creamy, almost zero astringency.

    Fifth and sixth infusions were definitely lighter, and by the sixth, I knew that the tea was done. There is just no flavor and thickness in the tea. Perhaps doing this tea western style might impact how the taste comes out differently. It might work better for this tea.

    Intriguing colored leaves! Half and half;)

    I think that this Tieguanyin Oolong made by Eco-Cha offers the sweetness, bite, and aftertaste that people look for in a nice dark roasted oolong. However, I expected the tea to last a little longer, and gave off a little bit more in infusions two, three, and four. It’s a good everyday type of tea, and can be enjoyed inside a larger cup or mug without worrying too much on how the taste changes on each infusion. Solid oolong for a good price!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Longjing,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Imperial Green 2018/ Mei Leaf

    Imperial Green 2018 from Mei Leaf

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Picked on
    19th March 2018
    CULTIVAR
    Long Jing No.43
    ORIGIN
    Xinchang, Zhejiang, China
    PICKING & PROCESSING
    Bud and one or two leaves
    ELEVATION
    600 m

    The leaves are thin, and all is proportionate.

    Temperature ( 83 degree Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 7 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds depending on the infusion)
    Main Info
    The Number of Total Steepings: 6 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Superbly green, some vegetal notes, white chocolate, raspberries, and hints of banana.
    Aroma of Warm Dry Leaf: Spring berries, citrus cream, almost like a meringue pie.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Smoothe, no itchiness in the throat. Very comforting and warming.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: I feel like this green tea speaks to me, my body is constantly reacting with the different notes and sometimes the sweetness can be felt on your tongue, sometimes on the back of your throat, and mostly on the sides of my cheeks.
    Price: 22CAD /40 grams

    Even after 5 infusions, the smell of the wet leaves are very much like fresh and green. No stewed notes.

    Introducing this tea.
    I first wanted to share some info on this tea provided by Don on his website for Imperial Green. This will explain some of the misconceptions a lot of people have when associating with Longjing.
    “Authentic Longjing tea (otherwise known as Dragonwell) must be grown in Zhejiang province. If it is grown anywhere else then it is considered a fake (much like champagne). Every year we taste many samples of Longjing to find our batch for the year. For the past couple of years, we have selected a tea from outside the West Lake area because we feel that it has a much higher quality compared with the West Lake tea.”

    “This is a Pre Qingming tea picked on the 19th March giving a lightness and delicacy combined with a powerful fragrance and taste. Any Pre Qingming tea from Xi Hu (West Lake) is exorbitantly expensive and whilst it is often excellent tea, we felt that this batch won out in terms of flavour and we are not paying the extra price tag for the name of Xi Hu.”
    “Please note that you may find white yellow fur on the tea and little balls of fur in the tea. This is NOT mold but is tea fur showing that the tea is a very early spring tea – it demonstrates the quality of this Longjing.”

    Don Mei

    Now that we understand what really makes true Longjing green tea, let’s go into our tasting notes for every infusion. Notice how each infusion is different and how this contributes to the overall experience of tasting this green tea.

    Light but full on the pallet. A true green tea.

    First Infusion
    The first thing I noticed when I took my sip was how delicate yet full it is. In some poor quality Longjings, yes the tea is delicate and soft, but it doesn’t have the character and richness that a really good green tea or especially Longjings would carry. The first thing you smell would be grass, and perhaps some sweet minerality but not the full green pea, and white chocolate sort of richness that you can get from this Imperial Green. It is a really good tea from the start, and I want to mention this as well. Good tea will have character and it’s own unique system of revealing itself to you, but it will always make a good impression on you. It is like some people that take a job interview. In order for you to be hired, you have to make a very good first impression. This is the key. This tea has very special qualities of brightness and a very rich taste. The notes of early spring, the freshness in the air during spring. This is the first feeling I got. I got notes of ripe strawberry, peach and star fruit. The nuttiness is there, but not super obvious. I have to dig on and it seems to come later after the fruits and lasts at the tip of my tongue.
    Second Infusion
    Less intense aroma, more broth and umami concentrated. However, still fresh, and keeps improving in the mouth. Surprisingly, I did feel some energy from this tea as well. The energy moved from the tip of my tongue to the shoulders and went down to my stomach. The tea will keep going.
    Third Infusion
    On top of the minerality, there is a floral note. The one I am getting the most would have to be jasmine. Jasmine with white chocolate and lightly sprinkled hazelnuts would be the best description of what it tasted like on the third brew.
    Fourth and Fifth Infusion
    Very different from the rest of the infusions in that the cooling aspect is coming out. Real sensation in the throat, not minty but more like watermelon coolness. Honeydew can also be used as an example of what I am trying to describe. It isn’t a cooling sensation nearly as obvious as the ones from Tie Guan Yin’s, but rather fruity.
    The sixth infusion.
    Wow, the leaves are still fresh. Sweet spinach aroma floating from the gaiwan, and the tea still tastes good. In most cases, after the third or fourth brew, the tea is finished, but it is not the case for this tea. I can keep pushing and the result is still nice. Classic seaweed taste with a lingering zesty finish. Delicious.

    What a creamy colour. Stunning.

    Final Thoughts and Conclusion
    I would rate this tea a 9 out of 10 because it simply deserves the high ranking. The tea is clear, persistent and yet constantly evolving. It makes me appreciate and connect with the world, and just like any other good tea, it makes me feel good. Distinctively special Longjing. Very good tea overall. I think that this would be the second best Longjing I’ve ever tried.

  • 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.