Monday, April 18, 2022

Tea Review: Manlouxiang (Chaouzhou Tea Grower)

Manlouxiang
Chaozhou Tea Grower
Type: Oolong
Origin: China, Guangdong Province, Chaozhou
Product Description: 

Man lou xiang  is from Fenghuang Mountain around 1000 meters above sea level. 
Soft, mellow fragrance, tongue fluid, lead a person to endless aftertastes, sweet and powerful, natural fragrance, bright yellow liquor color gold, rich aroma and elegant, mountain rhyme was sweet strong.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is pungent and roasty with notes of nut shells and wood.

The golden peach liquor has aroma notes of a sweet fruit that I can't quite identify and fire roasted root vegetables.  The flavor is floral and fruity with notes of roasted root vegetables and a long toasty finish.

The roasting process really shines through for this oolong, reminding me a bit of hojicha with the sweetness of starchy vegetables, more specifically reminding me of a satoimo (Japanese taro) and lotus root dish I sometimes eat in winter.  The liquor deepened in color following a second infusion and I especially enjoyed a 2.5 minute third infusion.  The leaves had only just begun to unfurl after three infusions with the promise of several more flavorful steepings.  

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.




Friday, March 18, 2022

Tea Review: Phoenix Dan Cong Charcoal Roast Honey Orchid Aroma (Serene Tea)

Phoenix Dan Cong Charcoal Roast Honey Orchid Aroma 蜜兰香
Serene Tea
Type: Oolong
Origin: China, Guangdong Province, Guangzhou, Phoenix Mountain
Product Description:
Mi Lan which is Honey Orchid Aroma, is one of the most distinguishable aromas from the ten aromatic categories of Phoenix Dan Cong teas. This Mi Lan, however, it's a very special varietal and it's not roasted by machine, but hand roasted painstakingly with charcoal. It's unlike any other Honey Orchid you have ever tried, and it's one that you won't be able to stop sipping.

Fresh harvested from the coastal area in Canton province, this 100% pure tea benefits from the mineral-rich soil on Phoenix Mountain. Constantly surrounded by mists and fog, wild tea tress and tea farms populate the mountain in soil as rich as the folklores of Phoenix Dan Cong Tea. These ancient trees exceed 100 – 200 years in age and are from a special type of Oolong known for its highly distinctive natural aroma that mimics certain flower or fruit aroma. Believed to be the ancestor of all Oolong teas, it’s well-known for its ten aromatic categories and its rich and complex flavor. 
Temperature: 205° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is sweet with notes of fig, apricot, aged wood and a hint of dried flowers.

The golden amber liquor has a rich aroma of baked fruit, honey, and a hint of rice-like starch.  The taste is floral with a hint of honey and a light touch of astringency.

I started out with a higher water temperature than I usually prefer when cupping oolong and the results were pleasantly surprising, full-flavored with no unpleasant sharpness in flavor or aroma.  Sweetness had developed by the third (my favorite) infusion.  Overall, this was a very pleasant brewing session.

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Tea Review: Xin Yang Mao Jian (Crafted Leaf)

Xin Yang Mao Jian - Umami Bomb
Crafted Leaf 
Type: Green
Origin: China, Henan Province, Xingyang City, Dong Jia He
Product Description: 
This spring-picked Xinyang Maojian is produced in Xinyang County of the Henan province, and is widely regarded as one of China’s top ten teas with its distinct color and flavor. This lovely green tea opens up with a light grassy vegetal flavor, savory up front with a rich fried bean sweetness that lingers afterwards and then deepens in later steeps.

It’s a surprisingly bold taste and give a Umami Bomb for a green, and the dry leaves are long and thin, with downy silver buds in between This beautiful tea provides a superb retreat from the troubles of life or simply a moment of relaxation on a clear afternoon.
Temperature: 175° F
Amount: 1.5 grams
Steeping Time: 1-2 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is sweet with notes of spice similar to cinnamon and fresh hay.  

The pale yellow-green liquor has a rich and buttery aroma with notes of ground nuts.  The taste is nutty with a mild note of cooked greens (pea vine came to mind) and a dry finish.

The color deepened noticeably following the initial infusion.  While I found the second infusion rather drying after steeping for 2 minutes, a shorter steeping time of 1-1 1/2 minutes was ideal for my preferences.  The third infusion mellowed considerably and a longer steeping time worked nicely.  For reasons I can't quite explain, the aroma of the dry leaves reminded me of eating mooncake.

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.




Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tea Review: Old Bush Wu Dong Mi Lan Xiang (Chaozhou Tea Grower)

Old Bush (More Than 300 Year) Wu Dong Mi Lan Xiang
Chaozhou Tea Grower
Type: Oolong
Origin: China, Guangdong Province, Chaozhou
Product Description: 
Grown at over 1000 meters on Wudong Shan in the Fenghuang tea mountains.
 
This tea is fruity, sweet-honeyed base, light-bodied and incisive, with a surprisingly pleasant bitter edged aftertaste. Some says it has a sweet lychee flavor. Suitable for multiple infusions.

The Honey Orchid Dancong belongs to the honey aroma category, and only the high mountain Mi Lan Xiang has this honeyed floral aroma and taste. Once brewed, this tea will deliver a slightly roasted flavour combined with a floral aroma and the distinctive sweet honey after taste. This tea is also delicious if allowed to cool, when the flavours become more pronounced.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma has notes of antique wood, spice, burnt caramel, and leather.

The liquor is mahogany red with a deep roasty aroma with notes of leather, stone fruit, dates, and wood smoke.  The taste is roasty and almost savory with notes of fire roasted vegetables and something that reminded me of dried shiitake mushrooms.

Something about the combination of flavor and aroma of this oolong brought to mind nearly forgotten childhood camping trips to the ocean where we would sit by the fire, waiting out the rain under the picnic shelter.  The first two infusions were full-bodied with a delightful sweet aroma developing by the mellower third infusion.

This tea was purchased by me.





Monday, March 14, 2022

Tea Review: Goblin King (Friday Afternoon)

Goblin King
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Green
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
This earthy green tea blend features a dark underground note of woody black peppercorn and bright pops of ginger. Enjoy the light mineral flavor and the lingering toastiness as you delve into your favorite old book or pen your own.
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend contains green tea, ginger, and black peppercorn.

The amber liquor has a roasty and spicy aroma with notes of black pepper, ginger and green pepper.  The taste is spicy and peppery with notes of ginger, roasted tea, and fire seared peppers followed by a long, roasty, and spicy finish.

Something in this tea blend reminded me distinctly of roasted green peppers.  This tea produced three great infusions and the promise of more, with a nice spicy kick and a finish that goes on and on.  The flavor tended more savory by the third infusion with cracked pepper notes moving forward.  I was left with a curious, certainly not unwelcome, urge to read old books while sipping away at this tea.

This tea was purchased by me.




Monday, February 7, 2022

Tea Review: Ya Shi Xiang (Chaozhou Tea Grower)

Ya Shi Xiang
Chaozhou Tea Grower
Type: Oolong
Origin: China, Guangdong Province, Chaozhou
Product Description: Not provided.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is roasty, smoky, dark and savory with dried shiitake mushroom and wood notes.

The golden liquor has aroma notes of charcoal-like roasting, cinnamon, butter, and flowers with a savory undertone.  The taste is rich, buttery, nutty, and lightly smoky.

This oolong was flavorful throughout multiple infusions with the aroma changing notably following each infusion, reminding me of both dinner and dessert.  By the third infusion, the more savory elements had taken a step back and increasing the steeping time brought out better results.

This tea was provided as a free sample without guarantee of a review.




Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tea Review: Pure Oolong Tea (Zealong/TeaGschwendner)

Pure Oolong
Zealong/TeaGschwendner
Type: Oolong
Origin: New Zealand
Product Description:
Zealong’s organic Pure oolong tea is sweet with fresh-tasting leaves that are un-roasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavour of the tea.

Zealong teas are hand-picked by only the top three leaves, are certified organic, and grown in the Waikato region in the North Island of New Zealand. Known for its unique climate and growing conditions, these teas are truly special and has won many international awards.
Temperature: 195° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

The dry leaves have a sweet, mineral-green aroma with notes of nuts, oats, and a hint of smoke.

The golden liquor has a rich, buttery, and floral aroma.  The taste is sweet, buttery, and smooth with a long sweet and buttery finish.

This oolong was surprisingly light following a 3 minute steep and at it's peak after steeping for 5 minutes.  The flavor was rather rich, reminiscent of milk oolong, and something in the aroma of the second infusion reminded me of buttered croissants (hello, sudden craving!).  The third infusion was mellow and still quite enjoyable.

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tea Review: Hot Buttered Yum (Friday Afternoon)

Hot Buttered Yum
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
This butter rum flavored black tea contains little bits of real toffee for a pre-sweetened cup of decadent comfort. Pro tip: try with a touch of cream (Irish or otherwise)!
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend includes black tea, toffee chips, almonds, milk chocolate, and natural butter rum flavor.

The cloudy orange liquor has the distinct aroma of butter rum.  The taste has rich notes of butterscotch, light rum, a hint of cocoa with a hint of black tea in the back and a long butter rum finish.

This tastes and smells exactly like it says on the tin, delivering the flavor and aroma of the popular holiday beverage and setting a warm and glowy mood for the winter season.  While the best flavor is in the first infusion, a second infusion is also quite pleasant.  On a personal note, this brought back happy memories of my grandfather and the butter rum flavored candies he would share with me.   

This tea was purchased by me.




Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tea Review: Peppermint Stick (Friday Afternoon)

Peppermint Stick
Friday Afternoon
Type: Flavored Black
Origin: Not provided
Product Description:
Don't have a candy cane for stocking stuffers? Try this tea! It's the perfect, healthy replacement for those sticky treats. No sugar, just good black tea, Egyptian peppermint and natural caramel flavoring. Pair with winter breakfasts and/or mint liqueur for best enjoyment!
Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The blend includes black tea, peppermint, and natural caramel flavoring.

The dark red infusion has the aroma and taste of sweet peppermint candies and candy canes.

This tastes just like the seasonal confection starting with a bold burst of peppermint followed almost immediately by the other flavors I associate with candy canes, including the (guilt-free!) sweetness and natural cooling sensation.  The black tea flavor came through nicely, as well.  A 2-3 minute steeping time works very well, longer or shorter depending on how bold you like your peppermint.  While the best flavor was in the first infusion, with black tea notes moving toward the front by the second, the peppermint can go a long, long while.

This tea was purchased by me.




Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tea Review: Rou Gui (TeaSource)

Rou Gui
TeaSource
Type: Oolong
Origin: China
Product Description:
These amazing, large, hand-made leaves have a slight caramel/toasty aroma and deliver a cup that is very complex and evolves as it steeps.
Temperature: 195° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of seared wood, nuts, nut shells, sweet oats, and a hint of cinnamon.

The copper-orange infusion has a pungent roasty aroma with notes of caramelized fruit, sweet spice (cinnamon and more), and something that reminded me of papaya or guava.  The taste is rich, roasty, and almost savory with notes of chestnuts and something herbaceous and a chestnut and fruit finish.  

This is a delicious oolong, which should come as no surprise since I've never met a Rou Gui I didn't like.  A 3-minute initial steep worked well for the purposes of this western-style tasting session with longer subsequent steepings bringing out more flavor.  Meanwhile, a 30 second initial steeping works very well for gongfucha preparation, followed by increased time with each new steep.  On a more personal tasting note, something in the flavor reminded me of the baked persimmons that were served as dessert at a restaurant in Kyoto, a happy memory.  

This tea was purchased by me.