Eco-Cha’s Tsui Yu Jade Oolong

(Tea Provided For Review)

So I am going to experiment a little and change up my format a little. I tried Eco-Cha’s Tsui Yu Jade oolong. So I am going to list the flavors/tastes in order from strongest to weakest.

Origin: NanTou, Taiwan
Harvest: Spring 2014
Elevation: 400M

Dry Leaves: The shape is interesting, they are rolled smaller than a normal oolong and a little flattened, almost like an oval with a flattish bottom and rounded top. They had a light floral aroma and a stronger rosemary scent.

First Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Mostly Vegetal, Fresh Sage
Flavor: Mostly Nutty, Green Beans, slight bitterness
Tasting Notes: I was surprised by the sage aroma; I have not encountered any Taiwanese oolongs, or any oolong for the matter, which have herb scents. I am rather fond of sage so I immediately knew I was going to like this tea.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 190oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Vegetal, Cooked Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Flavor: Nutty, Spinach. Floral and Honey
Tasting Notes: I love how savory yet sweet this tea smells! This is very smooth and easy to drink. Right now it is a nice mix of savory and sweet, I like savory scents and flavors more so then sweet. This is very balanced so if you love savory teas and hate sweet ones (or vice-versa) you’ll probably not like this. I happen to like both and find this to be a perfect balance between the two.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 190oF
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Orchid and Honey
Flavor: Green Beans, Spinach, Nutty, Honey and Sage
Tasting Notes: I was sad to see the savory scents disappear, but the taste became more prominently savory at this point (although in later steepings, it wavered back in forth between sweet and savory). Although I could finely taste the sage I’ve smelled in the tea.

I liked this tea and it isn’t that expensive, only $7 for 38 grams. It had a nice mouthfeel, a little thicker than similar Taiwanese oolongs grown at 400 meters above sea level, but not as thick as a proper high mountain oolong. I’d definitely buy this tea when I run out, as I said before I have not encountered any oolong with a nice herbaceous aroma or taste and I am quite fond of this flavor/taste. While I adore floral oolongs, herbaceous teas are something of a rarity for me; I can often find herby tastes in Japanese greens. I was surprised at how long this tea lasted, for the price I was expecting it to last maybe six or seven steepings, but I got thirteen whooping steepings out of the leaves and while it started to lose its complexity around the tenth steeping and become distinctly nutty, it was interesting enough to continue on. This is a great value for the price. 


Midweek Matcha! - Teavivre’s Organic Green tea Powder

So I decided to continue Midweek Matcha, even though I have yet to sample a proper Matcha for this blog, with Teavivre’s Organic Green Tea Powder. When brewed with water, this green tea powder has rather nice seaweed taste, while not as complex as a Japanese Matcha it compares quite well to a similarly priced powdered Japanese Sencha. But where this powdered tea really shines is when it is prepared with milk, it becomes more sweet then bitter and has a nice rich grassy taste. I was surprised by the richness of it. Overall a very good powdered green tea. I’ve reordered this three times already and it is my everyday powdered green tea. The price is pretty good for the quality, if this was a Japanese powdered Sencha I think it would be selling for about twice the current price. 


What-Cha's Fujian Milk Oolong Jin Xuan & Beautiful Taiwan Tea's Golden Lily Oolong

Today I am going to write a little something different then my thoughts on my first impressions of trying teas. Spoiler alert, I really enjoy the teas I’ve tried from both What-Cha and Beautiful Taiwan Tea, so I thought I’d compare two similar yet very different Jin Xuans. I love both of them, but for very different reasons.

What-Cha’s Fujian Milk Oolong

This is a very unique Milk Oolong, which isn’t much of a surprised as  I am always pleasantly surprised by What-Cha’s teas distinctiveness; this is a flavored Milk Oolong which is a little off putting to a lot of people. I’d probably have skipped this if it wasn’t from What-Cha, I’ll admit it I am a little prejudiced against flavored Jin Xuans, especially flavored ones from China, but I decided to take a risk and purchase it.

And I am glad that I took the risk. This is the best flavored Milk Oolong I have ever had, ok that bar isn’t set very high, but this along with the Golden Lily Oolong is my favorite Jin Xuan that I have tried this year. There are a lot of different tastes in this. If this was from that Tea Company that everyone knows it would probably be called something like “Majestic Tropical Milk Flowery Oolong”, ok probably something more ridiculous then that. The major flavors in this is Mango, Toasted Coconut, Butterscotch, and Orchid; while some of the minor notes are milk, pineapple and a little vegetal. While I don’t drink a lot of flavored teas, but from what I understand most flavored teas cannot be steeped more than once without a significance loss in flavor; I got four long (three minutes first steeping, four minutes second steeping, six minutes third steeping and seven minutes for my fourth) before the leaves started to feel completely used up.

Beautiful Taiwan Tea’s Golden Lily Oolong

Unlike What-Cha’s Jin Xuan this is unflavored. This was the first of BTT’s that I have tried and this is the tea that sold me on the company, while it isn’t as nuanced as the other GeoShanCha at BTT, it is wonderful, I almost want to say it is my favorite, but whenever I purchase this tea I always drink it all within a week and I won’t want to drink anything else besides this tea.

This feels like a more traditional Jin Xuan, and unlike the Fujian Milk oolong from What-cha, this has a very thick mouthfeel, almost syrupy. This is primarily milky (more a sweet creamy butter then milk though), but I can taste a little bit of nutty vegetables, and some strong floral notes. While I don’t have as much to say about this Jin Xuan, I’ll just say this leaves me breathless and when I am done I regret not having more.

While both are very different Jin Xuans, I have been comparing all Milk oolongs to these two, and most fall short.  I’ve bought 150g of What-Cha’s Fujian Milk Oolong within two weeks and I have no idea how much I’ve bought of Beautiful Taiwan Tea’s Golden Lily Oolong, I have at least four empty bags littering the bottom of my box of tea. I was actually surprised that Alistair had his Milk Oolong since starting his store and I hadn’t noticed it. If you like oolongs, you should definitely try both these teas, both are good introductions to the seller’s sites. 


Midweek Milky Matcha - Beautiful Taiwan Tea Matcha Powdered Green Tea from NanTou

I was lucky enough to be one of the few who purchased Beautiful Taiwan Tea’s r/Tea exclusive super deal, where I paid $15 for:

1)      A 2 oz. bag of Twisted Green Tea from Sanxia.
2)      A 2 oz. bag of Misty Mountain High Mountain Oolong also from Shanlinxi.
3)      A 2 oz. bag of BaoZhong Green Oolong from Pinling.
4)      A small sample of Winter 2014 Shanlinxi Premium

The owner also included a small sample of his Matcha PowderedGreen Tea from NanTou, which is what I’ll be looking at today. I was a little off put by the yellowish green color, but this tastes very similar to a Japanese powdered Sencha and you can tell it wasn’t dyed like some powdered teas are. I am a little curious to know more of the cultivar that produced this tea, it tastes so similar to a Japanese tea that I can’t help, but think it is one of the Taiwanese-Japanese hybrids or a transplanted Japanese cultivar. Anyways, I did prepare this both with water and milk; honestly this could easily be a higher end Japanese powdered Sencha or a matcha in the $10-15 range. Regardless this was a very good powdered green tea, I was surprised at how finely ground this is and this is prone to slight clumping, but nowhere as bad most Chinese powdered green teas. It didn’t froth up as much I would like when I made it with milk and when I made it with water, but I can ignore that. Definitely worth checking out.  


Beautiful Taiwan Tea - DaYuLing Premium High Mountain Oolong

I was so excited when the owner of Beautiful Taiwan Tea announced he secured a small batch of DaYuLing and immediately bought a small sample of it. The question is, “Was it worth it?” Yes!

This is the first tea that I have got tea drunk off of the first steeping. I imagine if I drank the water I used to rinse the tea leaves I’d probably have gotten tea drunk off of that as well. Generally I avoid teas that make me feel drunk off of, but I may have to make an exception for this one in the future.  I am only going to post my first four steepings, I got to twenty three and the tea felt like it still had more to give sadly I just had to much tea by then. I’ve had DaYuLings before, but none have tasted like this (I am starting to suspect those were not true DaYuLings) and the dry leaves looked fairly typical of a hand rolled oolong. The dry leaves had a slight floral scent.

After I rinsed the tea with boiling water, I steeped at 190 °F for one minute. Immediately I could smell a very strong orchid aroma. The liquor was a light yellow, but it was like syrup! The mouthfeel was so nice! I’ve had thick feeling tea before, but this was absolutely wonderful as it coated my throat. It was very buttery and it had a slight edamame taste, but it was very sweet. I got very tea drunk off this steeping.

For my second infusion I brewed at 190°F for one and half minutes. The aroma became more intensely floral (still mostly orchid, but there was some other flowery scents in there). The mouthfeel is slightly thicker and it is starting to become creamy. The taste is largely the same although it had honey notes this time rather than general sweetness.

Next I brewed at 195 °F for two minutes. The floral aroma started to become distinctly orchid and violet. The mouthfeel is still thick, but from here on it becomes slightly thinner with each infusion, although it was still creamy. This time I was getting a little roasted chestnut, there still was the edamame and honey notes to it and there was a mineral aftertaste.

For my fourth infusion I brewed at 200 °F. The aroma is starting to become more mellow, mostly violet by now, but there is a little spicyness now; still very creamy and has a pleasant feel. A new orchid flavor started to show here, the roasted chestnuts and honey from previous infusions are still there, but the edamame was gone completely.

In my subsequent infusions the chestnut started to wane and the floral and honey notes lingered on to the end. I loved this tea, it was very typical of the High Mountain Oolongs from beautiful Taiwan Tea, but there is something in it that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes it very different from BTT’s other teas. It might be my new favorite Taiwanese oolong. I can only imagine how the earlier harvests tasted. Definitly worth checking out; Taiwanese oolongs are always very easy to love and hard to hate, but this DaYuLing is simply amazing. My only advice is drink it slowly and savor it. 


Midweek Milky Matcha (Powdered Green Tea) from eBay

Today I had a nice powdered green tea. It was a Korean powdered green tea from this eBay seller, while it was not as good as a proper Korean Malcha, it had a nice mix of sweetness and bitterness. I wouldn’t prepare it with water because it is considerably bitterer although when brewed with milk it is perfectly palatable. Like many powdered green teas it is prone to clumping, I mixed two grams of sugar in with the powdered tea and still it was very lumpy. Overall it is not bad for culinary grade powdered green tea, it is quite economical and I am probably going to use the rest baking something like green tea bread. 


What-Cha's Discover Russia Green Tea Sampler

Today I am looking at What-Cha’s Discover Russia Green TeaSampler, sadly Alistair of What-cha appears to have run out of one of the teas at the time of writing this, but it appears he has adjusted the price.  This time I am a little more prepared for what Russian teas taste like and I did have multiple steepings with each tea, although I am only posting my first impressions.

Krasnodar Dagomys Tea Estate Green Tea

The dry leaves were more broken up then I expected (I totally ignored the photos on What-Cha’s website, hopefully any reader ignores my own) although broken up may not be the right word since the tea leaves appear purposefully cut up. The tea leaves have a slight dried fruit scent. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes.  The liquor had a very common greenish yellow color and there was a slight peachy aroma. The taste not surprisingly was of nectarines ( a lot of the greens I’ve tried from What-cha have a peach-nectarine taste I suspect Alistair likes them) and there was a slight tart edge. Compared to the Premium greens I had before the taste was a lot less clean.

I could very well see myself buying this tea again as a sort of everyday tea that I could easily serve to company.

Krasnodar Large Leaf Dagomys Tea Estate Green Tea

The dry leaves were not as cut up as the last in fact they appear twisted into tight spirals and are quite dark even though most of the Russian Teas I have tried had dry leaves darker then I normally see in greens and oolongs; I must remember to look into how Russian Tea growers roll their teas, I don’t remember seeing spiraled tea leaves before. There was a slight tangy scent to the dry leaves, almost like barbeque sauce without the smoke and spice. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes once again and the liquor became very redish-brown for a green tea. This time there was a very slight smoky aroma, although not as smoky as the Yunnan Purple Zi Juan, but more than the ZhejiangPurple Zi Sun Cha. There was a very generally fruity taste, maybe more apple than anything else, but the taste lingered for a long time.

Once again I could definitely see myself buying this tea individually as an everyday tea. It is very non-offensive.

Krasnodar 'Since 1947' Matsesta Tea Estate Green Tea

This tea had the greenest dry leaves of the batch; they reminded me of Long Jing's tea leaves that have been mangled a bit. In fact they tasted very much like a Long Jing. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes; this produced a very pale yellow liquor. There were some minor fruity and grassy notes. This was probably the most complex of the sampler.

I don’t know if I would buy this one again, while there was nothing wrong with it, it didn’t stand out beyond the appearance of the dry leaves.

Krasnodar Stem 'Chereshkovaya' Matsesta Tea

The tea leaves are dark and very strange, they remind me very much of chai blends a few longer strands while majority is finely cut. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes and this produced a grassy tea with a lingering nutty taste. Not too grassy, but it was not light, almost just right.

I might purchase this again. It is neither bad nor good, it does nothing wrong, yet it does not do anything particularly well. To be honest it is a little middle of the class type of tea. While I could find better easily at the same time I could find a lot worse at the same time. I almost want to say it is mediocre, but this was my favorite tea of the sampler if that makes any sense. It doesn’t challenge me, but I don’t feel held back with this tea.

Krasnodar Stem 'Chereshkovaya' Host Tea Estate Green Tea

The tea leaves are very green for a Russian green tea (although I have not tried enough Russian tea to determine if dark tea leaves are normal) and there is a scent that I can’t identify. The leaves are a mix of chopped and longer strands. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes and this produced a grassy tea. Not too grassy, but it was not light, almost just right.

While this tea was relatively simple I might purchase it if it was sold individually, I could easily find grassy teas that were complex, but if I was looking for a one note tea (not that this is bad) I would consider purchasing this.

Krasnodar 'VIP' Matsesta Tea Estate Green Tea

The dry leaves were a mix of tightly spiraled tea and cut up leaves. I brewed at 175 °F for three minutes. This one taste very similar to a Dragonwell even though the dry leaves look nothing like one, it was mostly nutty with a mild grassy taste, although there was no sweetness in this tea.

I may or may not buy this tea if it was sold individually, because it tastes so similar to a Dragonwell I feel I can easily find very complex ones relatively cheaply. If I were to buy it again it would have to be priced very competitively. While this may be my second favorite of the sampler, it doesn’t stand up to What-Cha’s Zhejiang Dragonwell which is very cheap for the quality.

This sampler was considerably harder for me to write on, while many of the teas from the Discover Russia Premium Non-Black Sampler had more distinctive tastes; the teas in this were more restrained. I enjoyed this sample more though, but if you are looking for teas that feel unfamiliar the other sampler is for you. I felt very comfortable with these teas since sampling them felt like trying on an old sweater.  Overall these teas felt like the easy kind of tea to enjoy whenever rather than the kind you have to be in the mood for.