Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates and important news!

Archive for Tea Review

Tea Review

Shui Jin Gui ‘Golden Water Turtle’ Wu Yi Rock Oolong Tea

Yunnan Sourcing. 3 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 200℉. Impression: wiry dark strands, see photo. Dry tea smells sweet, floral, fruity, baked. Brewed tea scent is sweet, with hints of baked bread. Taste: Typical wuyi oolong ‘baked’ flavor, with woodsy notes, little body, not sweet. No unpleasant notes. Not astringent.

A very pleasant wuyi oolong. As with other teas of this type, 3 grams were required to achieve proper flavor, not 2-2.4 g, as with most other teas.

Tea Review

Formosa Black Tea, Keemun

Upton TT51. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: pieces in all sizes from near-whole leaf down to dust, see photo. This is known as ‘choppy’. Dry tea has typical black tea scent. Brewed tea scent has woody, briery scents. Taste: woody, earthy, with an occasional hint of ripe pu-erh funk. Little body, not sweet. Moderately astringent.

Rating: ★★

Keemun is a well-known variety of Chinese black tea. I’ve had a mainland version of Keemun once before, but this is the first Taiwan Keemun I’ve had. I didn’t much like the mainland version, don’t much like this one. Tastes are very different from black teas from South Asia, more like some Chinese green teas. I don’t seem to like Keemun as a type, and probably won’t try another.

Tea Review

Kenilworth Estate, Ceylon OP1

Upton TC86. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: OP-size dark bits, see photo. Dry tea has typical black tea scent, with spice and hints of citrus. Brewed tea scent suggests nutmeg, cinnamon, and citrus. Taste: bright, open, with some woody and brackish notes, slight body, not sweet. Moderately astringent.

Very pleasant black tea, with characteristics of both ‘English’ and ‘Scottish’ type breakfast teas.

Tea Review

Strathdon Estate, Ceylon CTC BP1

Upton TC15. 2.2 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 212℉. Impression: Tiny rounded dark bits, typical CTC appearance, see photo. Dry tea has typical slightly spicy black tea scent. Brewed tea scent is musty, with hints of bait fish and wet dog. Taste: Flat, woody, unpleasant funky notes, no body, not sweet. Moderately astringent.

I did not like this tea. This was a sample packet of 15 g. I did not finish it.

Tea Review

Victorian Brew, Ceylon BOP1

Upton TC64. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: Dark OP-sized pieces, see photo. Dry tea smells sweet, strong floral notes with hints of spice. Brewed tea has scents of herbs, grass, a trace of citrus. Taste: flat, brackish, woody and tobacco notes,  little body, not sweet. Pleasant, fruity finish. Moderately astringent.

Another rather harsh Ceylon. The pleasant aftertaste is the only thing interesting in this tea.

Tea Review

Premium Anxi ‘Huang Jin Gui’ Oolong Tea of Fujian * Spring 2016

Yunnan Sourcing. 2.2 grams steeped for 4 minutes at 200℉. Impression: a whole-leaf tea in tightly compressed bright green nuggets, see photo. Dry tea has a pungent floral scent, the strongest and most distinct I’ve ever smelled in a tea. Brewed tea has same floral scent, but none of the usual oolong baked scents. Taste: Marked floral taste, no other tastes, little body, not sweet. Minimally astringent.

Strong floral taste, but one-dimensional. Oolong teas are baked during their processing, but this tea lacks the typical taste this imparts to oolongs. For a floral-tasting oolong, I much prefer Upton’s Special Grade Tie-Guan-Yin, Product ZO88, which is more subtle and complex.

Tea Review

Imperial Mojiang Golden Bud Yunnan Black Tea * Spring 2016

Yunnan Sourcing. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: Curly golden strands, see photo. Appears to be whole leaf. Slightly moist, unusual in a black tea. Tea leaves smell sweet and very fruity. Brewed tea scent smells of fruit with hints of hay. Taste: Mild fruity taste with notes of hay, no body, not sweet. No finish. Not astringent.

A visually beautiful tea with a remarkable scent. Sadly, the brewed tea doesn’t live up to its promise, and has additional uninteresting flavor notes.

Tea Review

Premium Grade Anxi Ben Shan Oolong Tea * Spring 2016.

Yunnan Sourcing. 2.2-2.6 grams steeped for 4 minutes at 200℉. Impression: whole leaf tea with leaves compressed into green nuggets, see photo. Dry tea smells intensely floral. Brewed tea scent is intensely floral. Taste: Strongly floral notes, entirely lacking the usual roasted scents of oolong. Not astringent.

I can’t read the name of this tea without thinking of “The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti.” Sorry. This tea is similar to the Anxi Huang Jin Gui oolong I reviewed a while ago. Both are very young oolongs with minimal oxidation. I prefer the Ben Shan a little. Perhaps the floral tastes are more complex or less overpowering. However, I still prefer more traditional oolongs, aged and baked.

Tea Review

Pre-Chingming Pi Lo Chun

Upton ZG49. 2.5 grams steeped for 3 minutes at 180℉. Impression: delicate curly silvery-green strands, see photo. Dry tea smells stale. Brewed tea is very pale yellow-green, see photo. Scent is sweet, hints of cinnamon, almost like fresh pastry. Taste: Slightly floral and savory, faintly sweet, not much body. Not astringent.

Taste is too delicate for me, and does not fulfill the promise made by the tea’s lovely scent. Years ago, Upton had a pre-Chingming pi lo chun that I really liked. It reminded me of bacon and eggs. Their selections since then have been disappointing.

Tea Review

Tippy Orthodox Assam GFOP

Upton Product TA40. 2.2 grams steeped for 5 minutes at 212℉. Impression: orange pekoe-size bits, see photo. Dry tea has typical spicy black tea scent. Brewed tea scent is malty and a little stale. Taste: malty, like all Assams. Trace of bitterness. Not astringent.

 

An excellent Assam black tea. This has been my favorite black tea since I first opened the package in May. I am running out just now, and am sad.