2014 Iron Forge Shou Puer from Crimson Lotus Tea – Tea Review

Today’s tea review is Crimson Lotus Tea‘s 2014 Iron Forge Shou Puer. This pu’er is a huang pian (big leaf or not pretty leaf material) from Yiwu. Generally huang pian pu’er is cheaper, making it a really affordable option. This is reflected in Iron Forge, at this time $38 for 500g of tea!

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I seriously bought this tea because the name and packaging was awesome. I’ve been watching Glen from Crimson Lotus Tea make pu’er knives on Instagram, and it seems totally fitting to have a metal work feel. At the time of order, I had finished the season of Forged In Fire and was pumped up!

Unwrapping the 2014 Iron Forge Shou Puer

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The brick was easy to open, all I did was slip off the label, untwist the grassy bamboo stays, and then unwrap the bamboo. No need to hack it up anything.

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Inside is 2 x 250g bricks of shou. I purchased this tea on Cyber Monday, so I’ve had it since December, drinking in February. Upon opening I realized I should of opened this tea sooner to air out, it smelled heavy wet pile shou. It was not funky shou scent, so it does not have an unpleasant smell, but still had a really strong scent of wet earth. The cakes also felt a touch humid.

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I unwrapped one and it was like a big chocolate bar, yum!

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions

Huang pian broke up big and leafy. This brick was super easy to deal with, I actually didn’t need a pick, I just flaked chunks off with my fingers.

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I did pretty standard gongfu brewing, 1 gram to 15ml, boiling water, 2 rinse. I started with 20 second steeps as my pot pours on the slow side.

Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2014 Iron Forge Shou Puer

First, Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Steeped up, Iron Forge shou smells wet pile, just like the leaf. The tea colour is a beautiful deep reddish ink brown.

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The taste is smooth, sweet creamy with a touch of earth. There’s a hint of wet pile but not sour, funky or bitter. With each steeping, Iron Forge Shou gets more damp forest floor, lightly shroom broth, mineral sweet. There is a wild feel to this tea like I’m drinking scrapings off a west coast rainforest. Each steeping creeps in more strength without face punch strong. It’s very approachable and friendly.

Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: I’m deep into the woods. The flavor is thick dark wood, damp earth, and a mineral finish. The clean aftertaste mouth feel encourages you to sip for more, but each sip has a deep breath feel to it. Each steeping of Iron Forge lightens, opening more wet stone mineral flavor. This tea tastes like what a rainy west coast forest smells, a forest I’ve experienced a lot growing up on the west coast and camping there.

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Eighth Infusion: 10 minute steeping here. The flavor has shifted greatly to a sweet wet stones and mineral. Not much earth or wood now. The flavor trip for this shou is great and wish I got more steeps but I’m fighting. Fighting the Alliance. FOR THE HORDE! KEK!

Ninth and Tenth Infusion: I managed to get a 20 and 40 minute steeping here. There is just sweet wet stones notes, but good to the last drop.

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Big leaf whoa! That’s a single leaf. Not kidding huang piang.

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Comments

Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2014 Iron Forge Shou Pu’er is pretty solid. The main feature is the price is cheap! Want your first shou cake? You can’t go wrong with this one!

Iron Forge Shou is totally a daily drinker as it sips fast, easy to drink, and smooth. You can go chug away at this shou as you work, it’s not that heavy heady shou that coat your insides with mud. I quite enjoyed the notes on this shou as it gave me warm fuzzies for home, plus Owl loves a good price for a good tea.

Sunday Tea Hoots 13 – Tea Table Flowers

As an checkout impulse buy at the Asian Supermarket, I bought a narcissus bulb in a water dish. I’m pretty bad at plants, I’m alright with succulents as I can propagate them faster than I can kill them and I can keep a lucky bamboo alive, so I figure I could give this narcissus a go.

I placed it behind my tea table for a more interesting background, whereas most of the background is my paper towel holder, blow torch, and tupperware containers. In a few days, it bloomed pretty white star shaped flowers with yellow middles! Interesting background indeed!

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The Little Ruyao tea pet loves the narcissus!

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The next day, I woke up to the plant has bloomed more flowers, and the one branch has tilted over the tea table, trying to catch the morning sun… or steal some tea as it was hovering just over a tea cup. I promptly grabbed my camera and took lots of photos!

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The smell of the flowers is fantastic, prompting a couple green oolong sessions, then finishing the day with a good shou pu’er session. The next day, the flower branch went upright again. Just that one day it chased after the tea!

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Coffee Leaf Tea, Mango and Mint from Wize Monkey

Coffee Leaf Tea! I previously reviewed Wize Monkey’s unflavored Coffee Leaf Tea. They also did really well at the World Tea Expo 2015! Coffee Leaf Tea is quite the innovative product as it uses the leaf which can be harvested all year round vs the coffee beans’ 3 month harvest window. The tea tastes pretty good too.

It appears Wize Monkey has new packaging, as well as a sample pack of their new flavors, Mango Party and Mint Marvel.

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The sampler pack is in a kraft bag, but the box is really well designed with lots of information about Coffee Leaf Tea!

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Yeah my hometown Vancouver!

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And new big pyramid tea bags!

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Steeping Instructions

The instructions on the box said to steep the Coffee Leaf Tea at 200f for 3 to 5 mins. I found at the 4 minute mark I got more of the mango or mint flavor.

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Tasting of Wize Monkey’s Mango Party Coffee Leaf Tea

Coffee Leaf Tea has a gorgeous tea color of perfect amber, I love it!

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Mango Party sips in super smooth and creamy. The base is like orchard grass hay and light herbal with a finish of yellow mango. After each sip there is a stronger mango aftertaste. The coffee leaf tea has a fresh feel and a thick texture. The tea gets sweeter as it cools going with the mango flavor. Mango Party would be great chilled for a sweet iced tea.

Tasting of Wize Monkey’s Mint Marvel Coffee Leaf Tea

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Mint time! The pairing of coffee leaf tea and mint is a good one. Upfront is the taste of sweet mint, it reminds me of a wint-o-green kind of mint flavor. The creamy light grassy base goes well with the mint flavor producing a cool and relaxing sip.

Comments

Like the unflavored Coffee Leaf Tea by Wize Monkey, both blends are super smooth and easy to drink. I like the mint a little more but both are good. I’m waiting for some more flavors to come out, I tasted some other excellent ones at the World Tea Expo 2015.

Wize Monkey has lots of great reasons to try their product, with it being innovative, using more of the coffee plant, and really funky logo. Coffee Leaf tea does sound like it would be heavy and bitter, but it’s easy to drink and many people would enjoy the flavor.

(tea provided for review)

Fresh Shou Pu’er Balls Tasting Experiment

Back in June 2015, the White2tea club included 3 ripe pu’er balls with a challenge of drinking one ripe ball now, and the rest 3 months later. I tasted the first ball with my White2Tea club June 2015 review and then set my calendar to alert me 3 months and 6 months later.

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As far as I know, you cannot get these ripe pu’er balls unless you were in the White2Tea club back in June, so this is more of a educational tasting. Maybe they are material in another pu’er cake?

Anyways, read the tasting I did on the fresh shou balls before reading these later tastings. For all tastings I used the same procedure, even down to the same gaiwan. I used boiling water, 1 shou ball and 2 rinses. I steeped starting at 15 seconds.

Shou Pu’er Balls Round 2 -Three Months

In strange, 3 months ago the balls were 6 grams each. When I approached the shou ball at the 3 month mark I had a problem – the shou ball got fat! It grew to 7.3 grams and got stuck in the jar that held it. The jar was some freebie that came with some teaware I bought on Aliexpress. The lid fits loosely, so there was some airing out happening.

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I had to pry it out with a pu’er pick and I was lucky it came out! It is September and it was quite humid here with the A/C being toast for a big chunk of the summer.

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First Infusion: Steeped up, the tea is still cloudy. It has a dark woodsy scent and not fermented smelling anymore. The flavor is too light, so I dumped it and considered this another rinse.

Second and Third Infusion: Much better and the colour is dark but a little cloudy. The taste is of dark earth, wood and roasted chestnut skin, getting stronger with each infusion. The finish is creamy finish with a bit of chocolate, chestnuts and sour. The tea isn’t as sour as I remember and is only present in the aftertaste.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: Ball looks broken up. Very strong unlike last session. 5 cleared up the cloudy. The sour note has faded on the fourth infusion, and the flavor is quite intense, peaking at the sixth infusion. The notes are abrasive nut, wood and earth.Fresh Shou puer balls tasting experiment - oolong owl (4)

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: The shou’s intensity cleared up and I’m happy pu flavor country. It’s sweet, earthy, nutty, chocolate. without being too light. It is missing that cherry wood note that I got in the session 3 months ago, likely due to lack of sour notes. Each steeping is getting sweeter and better, though a bit of dryness is starting to creep in in the back of throat.

Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Infusion: Big flavor shift as now the pu’er ball is sweet strong mineral, light caramel, butter thick texture, with a woodsy finish. Long steeps here to keep the party going.

Fourteenth Infusion: A 20 minute infusion and pretty light tasting. I tried.

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Shou Pu’er Ball Round Three – 7 Months

So the calendar alert went off in December, but I was so busy with Christmas stuff I put off drinking the shou ball until January. I changed storage as I was worried the ball was going to get stuck.

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Interestingly, the shou ball clocked in at 6.8grams when it used to be above 7 grams. The pu’er bulked in the summer and cut in the winter.

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First Infusion: Still a little cloudy appearance, but with a sweet scent. The taste is light, sweet creamy vanilla.

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Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: Well the shou ball fell apart, it melted after the 2nd steep.

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The flavor is clean, sweet, creamy, earthy, smooth, with dark chocolate finish. Absolutely no sour flavor, nor as intense as it was 4 months ago. On the third steeping the tea was clear. The shou ball certainly calmed down after 7 months.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: Each steeping is getting sweeter and the shou ball is very smooth and clean in taste. There’s a bit of a spice note with smooth chocolate rich notes.

Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: Long steeps here and the tea is super sweet! Notes of vanilla and sweet mineral. With an oily texture on the lips. Glup this one down!

Thirteenth Infusion: 30 minute infusion. Not much left here just sweet mineral notes.

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Comments

Interestingly I didn’t get as many steeps with the final shou ball, but I did get a much better tasting shou. I think the session was shorter as the ball fell apart faster, so the inside leaves got steeped sooner rather than later on.

What I also found neat was how the tea chilled out with the second shou ball, and even more with the third. The shou lost the strong abrasive quality and sour notes. For all three, there was no fishy fermentation funk tasted, that is often seen in bad shou pu’er. Maybe if you got a tempermental shou pu’er that is young, you certainly can leave it for months for it to chill out, as well as save money buying new shou to save for later. Though, I imagine the shou balls chilled out faster due to their small size.

As a tea reviewer, and it is something that is always on my mind when I review or read other’s reviews, is how long did the writer have the tea for. This pu’er certainly changed a lot in 7 months, thus tasting notes can drastically differ depending how they stored their young shou pu’er and how long they’ve had it.

 

Organic Ceremonial Matcha from First Harvest Tea

It certainly feels weird for me to review just a single matcha and not 20 of them at once, as the last 4 matcha reviews I’ve done all are huge comparison ones. Today’s review is a matcha from an online seller based in Nevada, First Harvest Tea. At this time, they just have a single matcha for sale, the Organic Ceremonial Matcha, and a free matcha recipe ebook.

This matcha is from Shizuoka, Japan. It is Certified Organic by the JAS-JONA & USDA.

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Matcha Powder and Preparation

The matcha powder is a light grass green colour. It’s not super vibrant but pretty good looking. The matcha has a herbal grass and sweet scent to it.

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I made this first batch fairly traditional. I used 3 grams (around 1 teaspoon) and it worked out to under 1 cup of 160F water. I am lazy, so I used an electric frother to start, then foamed up with some quick whisking by hand.

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First Harvest Tea’s Matcha whisked up with a great thick foam. I ran my finger through and found no bald spots.

Tasting of Organic Ceremonial Matcha from First Harvest Tea

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First Harvest Tea’s Organic Ceremonial Matcha is on the light bitter side first sip. The notes are of strong and savory grassy green, hint of cream with a fresh, almost spearmint aftertaste. The texture is lightly creamy. This matcha has quite a punch of green, but not as unami, creamy, sweet or rice like as some like in their matcha. I do like how fresh this one tastes though, especially with the aftertaste.

With the strong grassy flavor, I think First Harvest Tea’s Matcha would be a good one to make smoothies. Let’s go!

Smoothie Time!

I’m a fan of peanut butter and spinach smoothies, but I don’t want the calories of peanut butter and some bunny ate all the spinach. That said, I’m slapping together a serving each of PB2, matcha, along with some vanilla whey for protein and fitness fiber to make it come out (hahah), blended with a handful of ice. A splash of honey would works well here too.

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Yup, this matcha is very crisp and green, excellent for blended drinks. The flavor shines for just 3 grams (1 teaspoon) of matcha and 1 cup of milk + serving of everything else.

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Iced Matcha

I laugh at the people asking how to “cold brew” matcha. Matcha doesn’t need brewing, it’s a powder! A late discovery was trying First Harvest Tea’s Organic Ceremonial Matcha iced. I simply added 3 grams of powder to around 1.5 cups of ice water in a mason jar and shake it. This matcha does quite well iced as the crisp fresh green shines and the iced tames the light bitterness found in the traditional steeping.

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In the end, First Harvest Tea‘s Organic Ceremonial Matcha is a good matcha for type who want a more green grassy flavor vs. a marine flavor. Pricing right now is good, $14.99 ($24.99 originally) at this time with free shipping!

If you want something more sweet or unami, I have reviewed a lot of other matchas.

(matcha provided for review)

 

January 2016 White2Tea Club featuring 2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er

Starting the new year with a bang, White2tea got a bunch of new shous. However, being in the White2Tea club scored us a whole cake of the new 2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er. Also in this month’s club is a 2008 Shou Mei sample.

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If you are wondering about the “love letter”, it is a coupon code for Teaware.house!

White2Tea’s 2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er

2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er is a 200gram cake. The wrapper is really cool!

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The cake has a light woodsy scent. I trust White2tea will have this cake smelling good, no funky times.

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Steeping Instructions

I made this shou pu’er twice. First time was about a week after it arriving in the mail, the second time was actually yesterday, giving it 3 weeks of airing out time. Both steepings tasted pretty similar. All times using a 1 gram to 15ml ratio. As usual, I did boiling water and 2 rinses, steeping in a nice azure ruyao pancake pot from Teaware.house.

I steeped a bit longer, 20 second steepings since my pot pours kinda slow.

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Tasting of White2Tea’s 2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er

First Infusion: Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er tastes like sweet dark wood and is super clean. It has a touch of sourness at the end but it’s pretty light.

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Second and Third Infusion: Wow rich colour time! The tea colour is inky with reddy browns, which I love in ripe puer.

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The flavor is richer, with cedar wood, rich earth background, spice finish that gives you a bittersweet tea breath. Super clean taste and feel, no dusty or funk, though still a bit of sourness. Each steeping the sourness escapes more making a more smooth creamy pu’er with a bright sweetness.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The sour note is gone and Old Reliable ripe pu’er is super sweet! The flavor is mineral, sweet rock sugar, and earthy woody. Also getting a heart thumping deep breath feel as I drink, oh yeah!

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Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: The colour faded to light. The super sweet taste is the main flavor, with some woody. If this is sweet, I wonder how sweet White2Tea’s 2015 Brown Sugar ripe pu’er is?

Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: I did really long steeps here, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and about an hour. The colour of the tea is just about gone and my battery died. The tea is still going though and is really sweet.

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Comments

2015 Old Reliable Ripe Pu’er is a nice, inexpensive, daily drinker shou pu’er. I will probably wait a few more months to get that sour taste out but otherwise really solid and sweet. The price is excellent for what it is too, at this time 200g cake for $14.50!


2008 Shou Mei White Tea

I do love the aged white tea I got from the Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver Canada. I’m hoping more aged white teas catch on. This month of the White2Tea Club has a 25 gram piece of aged white, with instructions to boil it to death on the stove.

Dry Leaf

The 2008 Shou Mei has a dry cracker scent. The leaf looks quite large and flat, compressed into a brick.

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Steeping Instructions

Instead of the complicated gongfu instructions I did for my previous aged white tea, I caved into boiling it to death. I used 10 grams of leaf and 1 liter of water.

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The instructions was to boil the tea until it changed colour. I wished I kept track of how long I boiled mine, but once I got mine to a simmer, I left to go make and then eat a salad, say 10 minutes?

When I came back and wow that’s dark! The tea is cloudy but has a oak brown rich colour. THIS IS A WHITE TEA! Pretty sure waving this cup around to anyone else, no one would believe this is a cup of white tea.

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Tasting of Stove Boiled Aged White Tea

Wow, the flavor is really different. People asked me whether gongfu steeped aged white tea tasted like tea since I said it was really different, however it boiled on the stove is way more different!

The flavor of the stove boiled aged white is strong with a thick creamy texture. There is a strong red date flavor. Some sips give me a dried coconut vibe too. Actually the more I sip, the more it tastes like creamy coconut to me. The end of sip has an interesting finish of medicinal herb with a light bitter freshness. There is a lingering date sugar taste with a hint of dryness in the aftertaste. This does not taste like white tea, it tastes more like a herbal – better than all the herbals in my stash!

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Comments

Boiling your aged white tea – it’s a new twist to white tea! Serve this up and most would not be able to figure out what the hell they just drank. The con for this method is aged white tea is expensive! Gongfu steeping it would probably yield more tea in the end. I would likely try this with my other aged tea once, but with aged whites being uncommon and expensive, it’s not something I’d get into the habit of doing often.

In all, a pretty cool White2Tea club for January 2016!

January 2016 Global Tea Hut – Tea Review

Global Tea Hut is a monthly subscription tea box, however this one is run a little differently. The main feature of this subscription is getting a magazine, but you also get a tea sample and a small gift. The subscription proceeds go towards a free tea center. The subscription price is a minimum of $20, but you can pay a higher amount as donation.

Let’s check out January’s Global Tea Hut! Since this is my first time with Global Tea Hut, let’s go in depth here.

The packaging!

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Inside is a magazine, tin of tea, and a gift.

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First off, the gift. I could not figure out what this thing is and had to ask tea friends.

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Turns out this bamboo thing is to clean out your tea spout. Ambitious Tea Owl has claimed it and is using it to tease the other Tea Owls.

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Global Tea Hut Tea & Tao Magazine

The magazine in the subscription is full colour and does not have any advertisements. You can also view past issues online for free (at this time it looks like they are up to August 2015).

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Tea & Tao Magazine for January had lots of information on the processing of dong ding oolong and information about the tea master who made the oolong in the subscription’s sample. Pretty nice photos too!

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There is also a focus on a more spiritual aspect of tea and your tea space, along with other pictures of people looking pretty serious. I’m not one for spiritual aspects of tea, the articles more or less flew over my head. I’m more of a cluttered, crash and burn type of tea drinker with Tea Owls jousting pu’er picks in the background.

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Old Man Dong Ding Spring 2015 from Global Tea Hut

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I got 13 grams of leaf, so enough for 2-3 sessions depending how you roll.

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There is an option to buy more of this oolong, but it’s limited quantities and packaged for aging. The dry leaf is HUGE! Some of the wads of oolong are the size of my pinkie! The tea smells like brown toasty butter, yum!

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I decided to steep in a gaiwan, around 90ml, 5 grams of leaf used. I did one rinse using 200F water and started steeping for 30 seconds. The Old Man Dong Ding steeps up a lightly tinted green gold with a soft floral scent.

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First Infusion: The Old Man Dong Ding has a soft buttery tastes with a sweet finish. The flavor is quite weak, but the texture is like thick licking lips lip balm.

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Second Infusion: This infusion was very unlike the rest. It has a sweet tangy fruit up front, sipping to a buttery, woody branch with a bit of leafy taste, and finally a floral gardenia finish. The floral flavor is quite strong, giving a long lasting floral aftertaste. The complexity here in this steeping is interesting, it has an “drinking in an old forest with fat squat trees covered in blooming white petals” feel.

Third and Fourth Infusion: Moar floral! So much floral! The flavor is a stiff floral with a peak a bitterness from intense floral in your face. The gaiwan is getting full.

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Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: The leaves are huge and breaking out of the gaiwan.

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I needed to fight the leaves off to close the lid! The fat stems put up a resistance so I had to go in and smush them in.

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The flavor is softening up to sweet. It starts off with citrus that mellows to a buttery blooming floral. I stop drinking for a minute and notice a strong peachy floral aftertaste creeps in, a delayed onset aftertaste, haha! It is interesting how these steepings are very delicate vs strong from earlier steepings.

Eighth Infusion: The final steeping of the Old Man Dong Ding. The oolong is light with notes of citrus and butter. The floral is a wisp at the end.

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The leaf, as predicted, is huge and well intact. A few of the leaves have some really thick stem pieces too.

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Comments

Global Tea Hut is a different kind of tea subscription. I’d say it’s more so for the learning experience as you get a physical copy of the magazine and 2-3 sessions of a quality tea.

It’s not a subscription you can min/max and get a good deal on a lot of teas to sample or drink for the month. Global Tea Hut is more of a subscription for someone who wants to learn more about tea, processing and culture. It’s something you can sit down with on an afternoon, read about the tea you are drinking and share with friends. You would want to have an interest in a more spiritual aspect of teaas well.

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(subscription provided for review)

2014 Gu Ming Xiang “Bulang Gushu 2.0” Shou Pu’er – Crimson Lotus Tea

I was waiting for Crimson Lotus Tea to have a sale, and during Cyber Monday I put in an order for a bunch of their shous. My love for shou pu’er is growing stronger and stronger. I love Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade a lot and the 2012 Bulang Shan Gushu was awesome too. When I saw they got a new Bulang shou, 2014 Gu Ming Xiang “Bulang Gushu 2.0” I ordered a sample. It was really hard for me to not order the 1kg brick. 1kg size entertained me greatly but I managed to talk some sense into myself that I need to try the brick first, as well as I don’t know where I’d store a brick that large.

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Dry Leaf

My sample was broken up in nice big chunks, so it was easy to pick out 6 grams of leaf. I bet breaking up a 1kg brick into 40 x 25 gram samples must be a pain in a butt for a seller. The tea has a light earthy scent in bag, but outside not much scent.

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Steeping Instructions

I decided to steep the Gu Ming Xiang in my 90ml ruyao teapot. I used boiling water, 1 gram to 15ml ratio, starting with two rinses. I did a bit longer of a steep to start, 20 seconds.

My assistant Tea Owl was helpful in pouring tea out of the tiny tea pot!

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Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2014 Gu Ming Xiang Bulang Gushu 2.0 Shou Pu’er

First and Second Infusion: These first steepings of 2014 Gu Ming Xiang Bulang Gushu is light and sweet with a milk chocolate fish. Despite being really sweet, it’s too light so I steeped on.

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Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: Opening up in flavor, yay! Gu Ming Xiang shou is still really sweet. The flavor has a crisp rich dark chocolate with a tangy sour vibe in the end of sip. There is also a bit of a date essence to it. Date as in the fruit, not dinner date. I asked the Tea Owls on whether shou is a good date tea, they simply said, “Whatever goes with Prime rib, hoot.” I don’t think this tea would work with prime rib, it’s too sweet.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion:  The sour notes cleared up, leaving a clean taste of dates, chocolate, and spice with an earthy floor finish. These steepings are the best, and I’m having a great time. I also started getting weird and when I went to sip I would tip the cup the other way. Either the tea has rerouted my brain, or the Owl tea pet has secret powers to make me pour more tea on him.2014 gu ming xiang bulang gushu crimson lotus tea - oolong owl (2)

Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: The flavor level has reverted back to what it was like in the start, super sweet shift chocolate with bit of spice. I still think there’s more in this tea though. By the way, this entire time there has been no bitter or dryness, these are really easy sips.

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: I did a 20 minute and a 1 hour steeping. It is pretty light, but I got a sweet meaty chocolate. The colour is quite dark, despite not having really any flavor left.

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Comments

Crimson Lotus Tea‘s 2014 Gu Ming Xiang “Bulang Gushu 2.0 is a monster sized 1kg brick and is a pretty good shou pu’er for someone who likes the fruity side. I think it needs a bit of age to remove those sour notes (and that’s gonna take awhile I assume since the brick is huge, unless you go hammer time on it), but the flavor is great and easy to drink for a new drinker, and great for a sweet tooth. If you are a big shou pu’er drinker that drinks a lot, it’s worth snagging this giant brick while its cheap and drinking it later.  They also sell a half brick if that works better for you.

If you want something from Crimson Lotus Tea that you can drink now, I’d get the 2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade brick.

 

Green Needle and Fushou Green Tea from Tea Adventure – Tea Review

I’ve been working through all the green teas I need to review. Today’s review is a pair of green teas from Tea Adventure! This online seller is based in China. I got some green tea from them, but they also carry a nice range of black and oolongs that impressed me. They also carry some yellow and pu’er tea. I quite like how Tea Adventure also lists other names for the tea and origin.

Both greens, Green Needle and Fushou Green, I steeped in a gaiwan with a 1 gram to 30ml ratio, 175F (80c) water temperature, starting with a 30 second steep.

Green Needle Tea from Tea Adventure

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Also know as Sanjiang Chun, this green is also organic and from 2015. The leaf has an interesting looking with a uniform mini snap pea appearance. Green Needle has a pistachio scent.

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Wow, and steeps so pretty!

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First and Second Infusion: Green Needle has notes of strong, bitter vegetal bite, like concentrated string beans, a hint of butter, corn with floral finish. After each sip there is a buttery vegetal aftertaste. Quite a bit of bite on this green, way to punch me in the face, tea.

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Gaiwan BLURP!

Third, Fourth and Fifth Infusion: Green Needle chilled out and switched to notes of sweet peas and nuts with apricot floral finish. After that bitter green punch from earlier, Green Needle became quite tasty and delicate.

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A gorgeous tea, be sure to have your camera ready when you steep this tea! This green is also really messy due to the fine leaves, and Tea Owl accidentally sat in a pile of leaf that fell off the lid.

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Fushou Green Tea from Tea Adventure

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This one appears to go out of stock from the time it took for me to drink it to post about it as it’s not on Tea Adventure’s website anymore.  Maybe they’ll have it in stock for 2016? Either way, here is the review. Fushou Green’s leaf has a smokey, grassy and tobacco scent. The leaf is quite delicate and fine to the touch.

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Fushou green steeps up a smokey scent, but barely tinting the water.

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First Infusion: Oh that’s good! Fushou Green has a smokey start, but then tastes like butter melted on green vegetables.

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Second and Third Infusion: Fushou Green has shifted to asparagus with a smokey sweet finish. There is a nice light dryness at the end that pleases the Tea Owls.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The final steepings of Fushou Green has notes of avocado with a lot of dryness. The flavor dropped off quick unfortunately.

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Comments

Tea Adventure has some pretty interesting and high quality green teas – green tea fans, be sure to check this tea seller out!

Admittedly, I like the Fushou Green more than Green Needle as there was more going on. Fushou Green also kind of reminds me of a young sheng pu’er, evidence that I think I’ve been drinking too much sheng.

(teas provided for review)

Blog Anniversary Giveaway – Closed

Hi Tea Readers! My very first post here on Oolong Owl was on January 12, 2013!

That said, Oolong Owl is now 3 years old! Reading that first post I see how much as changed, as I had 187 teas and didn’t own a pu’er pick yet.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing the love for tea! That said, I’m doing a giveaway as thanks. Nothing too big this year, I have hosting fees to pay soon, boo.

The giveaway? These mega cute Black Kitty Mugs along with some tea samples from my stash!

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2 Winners! The cute black kitty mugs from Daiso and are around 6.5oz (200ml). The lid makes for a great cover to keep your tea hot, or a coaster for the mug or leaf strainer. I will ask the winners their tea preferences and curate some interesting samples for them.

Giveaway open to USA and Canadian mailing addresses. If you live outside North America you may enter however I will cover the first $5 of shipping (you will need to pay the rest, shipping is so expensive!). For any Canadian winners, I will be mailing in late February. Giveaway ends Feb 2 2016. Good luck!

Enter below with the spiffy Rafflecopter thing.

February 3 2016 – Winners have been contacted! Thanks for entering!