Taiwan Oriental Beauty from Teavivre – Tea Review

Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong (aka, Bai Hao) grown in Zinzhu, Taiwan. This tea is from Teavivre.

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Looking further into this tea, it has been EATEN BY LEAF HOPPERS! NOOO ATTACK OF THE LEAF HOPPERS! As mentioned in an article by Teavivre on leaf hoppers, the bugs nip at the leaves, causing the leaves to oxidize, this effecting the aroma and flavor of the tea. What I found interesting, is pesticides cannot be used, as it will kill off the leaf hoppers.

The girly owls have gathered for this oolong tasting, hoping “beauty” oolong will give them lush feathers.

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DRY LEAF: Lovely delicate oolong! I’m used to seeing large leaves or lumps, whereas Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong is dainty, thin, silver brushed leaves.

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Let’s load the gaiwan!

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Steeping information: I followed the gaiwan steeping instructions stated by Teavivre: 7g, 185F. Rinse. 30 second steeping, adding 10-15seconds for each additional steeping.

7grams seemed like a lot of leaf. It quickly filled up my gaiwan. Oh my!

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First, Second Infusion: Gorgeous colour! A lovely reddy orange brown! Swooon! Can I have hair that colour?

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The cup smells rosy floral and mellow. First sip, smooth, full flavored sweet honey that mellows out the earthy maple flavor. The tea finishes with a nice fruity and honeysuckle floral flavor. Very easy to drink as Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong has a balance between the sweet, earthy and floral!
However, I do find Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong a little strong, especially end of sip. When I make this tea again, I’d go with 5 or 6grams, instead of using the entire 7gram sample packet.

Third, Fourth, Fifth Infusion: Sweeter! The honey sweetness and floral has perked. The honeysuckle floral being a 3/10 on the Floral-o-meter. The earthy woodyness is still there, gently balanced with the other flavors.

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Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Infusion: The tea is lightening in flavor, but also getting even sweeter!

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Ninth Infusion: Very light and sweet, I think it’s done for me. The leaves have expanded fully and look very beautiful! Like an autumn forest floor!

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COMMENTS: Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong is a very beautiful tea!

Taiwan Oriental Beauty Oolong is a very good starter oolong due to its balance of flavors – not too floral, sweet or earthy. I love the colour of this tea too! I think this tea would be top choice for me to serve to guests! The flavoring notes are very clear, easy to drink, and has a great appearance!

BONUS PIC!

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(tea provided for review)

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong from Art of Tea – Tea Review

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong is a unique oolong from Sumatra, Indonesia. This tea is sold by Art of Tea.

*Oolong Week!* I’ll be reviewing Oolong teas all this week. Yeah, I started late, it was a holiday weekend! 

I am really interested in this tea. I’ve heard mostly about oolongs from Taiwan, but not Indonesia. However, the biggest selling point is it is a “purple” oolong. Purple is my favorite colour! Purple Owl here also loves purple!

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DRY LEAF: 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong has a gentle smokey scent.

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The appearance is quite interesting – it has that tightly bunched oolong look, but with a deep deep brown purple colour.

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STEEPING: The suggested steeping range is 185 to 200F for 3 to 5 minutes. I did 185F for 3.5 minutes. For each additional infusions, I added 30 seconds.

For the first infusion, the tea slowly changed darker and darker, impressing the purple owl.

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After 3.5 minutes, I had a cup of tea that smells.. really woodsy and kind of bitter, kind of like coffee. Oh geeze, what I get myself into???

It looks so pretty though, a black tea with a twinge of reddy purple.

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First, Second Infusion: Full bodied! 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong has a smokey ash flavor upfront, with mid sip notes of earthy cedar, malt and amber. The tea finishes with an interesting cinnamon and caramel sweetness. The aftertaste is a bit of smoke and wood. No bitterness or dryness.

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong reminds me of liquid incense – a stick of incense, on wet stones, smoking away amber scent.

Third, Fourth Infusion: The smokey notes are almost gone, showing up mostly at end of sip. The tea is more sweeter, with really flavorful musky, malt, amber and caramel sweetness. The aftertaste is almost chocolately with the mix of deep woodsy and sweet notes.

Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Infusion: Brighter, more juicy flavor. Mid sip, the tea is still caramel sweet with some earthy amber woodsy. End of sip, I was getting a bit of creamy sensation on the lips. Very nice!

Eighth Infusion: Very mild, with most of the flavor at the end of sip.  The end of sip is a soft chocolately flavor, mixed with a hint of cinnamon spice. Very good resteep ability, and I’m not even using a gaiwan – this last steeping was like 7.5 minutes!

COMMENTS: I find 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong very interesting. I’ve mostly tried greener oolongs that have grassy flavors. I’ve had a couple roasty oolongs, which seems the middle between the grassy ones and this 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong. This oolong is very smokey, full flavored, complexThe flavor level really reminds me of drinking a ripe/shu pu’er 4 or so steepings in.

With that said, I’m thinking a tea owlet that loves blacks and pu’er would love 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong! It is not as strong as a black, but has plenty of flavor. I’d also like to point out that this oolong doesn’t have any floral to it, for those tea peeps who dislike floral.

I’d really like to see 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong used in blends – I think this would make a fantastic chai, or would pair well with chocolate nibs.  SOMEBODY DO ITTTTTT!

(tea provided for review)

Tea Bunny

I wanted to introduce you all to my bunny, Benson! He’s a 1 year old holland lop. A very handsome rabbit. However, he’s rarely photogenic and always full of bunny mischief.

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I’ve tried taking photos of him with tea and it usually doesn’t go very well.

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That’s a tea tin under his bunny butt!! I tried to photograph him with the tin, and he quickly dragged it around then sat on it. I guess he doesn’t like black tea. Now can you see why this blog is called Oolong Owl and not Black Tea Bunny?

Before this photo, I was trying to take a picture with a star-shaped tea on his head, and he snatched it and ran away with it! He would also take tea packages and throw them at me, UGGG! Rabbit drool all over my tea!

By the way, it is not recommended to feed caffeine tea to rabbits. However, you can offer your bunny some weak chamomile tea for upset tummies. Does Benson like tea? Despite his tea leaf-thieving mischief, no. I’ve owned a number of bunnies and they usually will drink chamomile tea, but Benson refused and looked quite offended.

However, Benson makes his own tea. I will spare you the picture of it, but he’ll toss hay, fur, bunny poop and dry food into his water dish. Ew.

I did get one good tea photo, as well as a video for a Butiki Teas photo contest.

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I was thinking on what is the most relaxing place to enjoy tea. It used to be me, with my cup, hanging out with Benson. I’d pet him and feed him treats. However, my tea cup would get loaded up with fur. He tries to knock over my tea cup by pushing it with his nose.

Ehhh, I think I’ll stick to giving him cardboard boxes.

Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell Green from Verdant Tea – Tea Review

Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell is a green tea from Verdant Tea. This dragonwell is organically produced, hand picked and roasted by the Li family in Shi Feng, Dragonwell Village in the Zhejiang Province of China.

My tea owlets, I admit, the dragonwells I’ve had so far I wasn’t very impressed with. Though, I’m not sure how old the dragonwells I had were. Verdant Tea was taking preorders for their spring teas, and I figured I should give Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell a shot. This is the freshest tea I’m going to get my owl claws on. Seriously. The leaves were picked early April. It is mid-late May as I write this. 

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DRY LEAF: Dragonwell always has a curious appearance with its flat green leaves.

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The leaves look greener than I’m used to. I took a few leaves from the other Dragonwell I had on hand to compare. WOW, very green indeed!

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Gongfu Steeping: Following the Dragonwell brewing instructions, I used 175F water, no rinse, 3 second steeps. After infusion number 3, I add an additional 3 seconds.

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First Infusion: A lovely pale yellow cup of tea that smells sweetly grassy. Kinda reminds me of gyokuro, but not as strong of a smell.

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First sip, SUPER CRISPY! During mid sip I get a lovely creamy texture on the lips. The tea is lightly vegetal spinachy sweet. Like homegrown, ultra fresh baby spinach. End of sip I get a sweet, juicy vegetal flavor that lingers.

The vegetal is similar to a gyokuro, but much milder, creamy and sweeter. Very very nice. Absolutely no bitterness or dryness.

Second Infusion: Even more crisp! The vegetal is mellower, like the inside flesh of an english cucumber. There is still a nice creamy texture, which guides me from first sip to the sweet end of sip. YUM.

Guest Reviewer: My husband who dislikes tea – I asked him to try, so he can say he had fresh tea picked a month ago. “I guess it tastes fresh, but it also tastes like tea. Ick.”

Third, Fourth, Fifth Infusion: Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell brightens at first sip, with delicious juicy cucumber vegetal flavor, ending with the cucumber melon creamy sweetness. The creamy texture is reduced, but still there with the tea is so crisp and refreshing! Each further infusion (4th and 5th) get more clean, crisp and fruity sweet. It is like I can’t stop sipping away at this tea – it’s so fresh and relaxing! I forgot all about my headache I was having.

The leaves are losing their flat shape, it appears the leaves were pressed or folded to be flat flakes – very interesting!

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Sixth, Seventh Infusion: The vegetal note here is super mellow, with the sweetness mid and end of sip stealing the show with a delicate, yet bright sweet, almost tangy, lychee-cream flavor. End of sip I get a quick touch of dryness, which adds to the lychee experience. After my sip, there is a lovely silky texture remaining!

Eight Infusion: This is probably the last infusion. All I’m getting is a little savory vegetal with a hint of melon sweet at the end.

TEA LEAF SALAD: Eating the steeped out leaves is mentioned as a side note in the Dragonwell brewing instructions. Let’s try!

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I had my guest reviewer, Tea Hating Husband, try it first. “I doesn’t taste like tea, but it doesn’t taste good.” Oh well, I tried.

Me? Well, when you first chew on the leaves, it has a nutty flavor which develops into a strong vegetal flavor with a dry aftertaste. I think eating the leaves would be better mixed with salad greens than on its own.

GLASS BREWING

I’ve had tea brewed like this as a kid – I’d go to Vancouver, BC Canada’s China town every weekend. The noodle house would serve tea in tall glasses, too hot to the touch. Of course, when I thought of trying this at home, I was like, “Great, tea in a pyrex measuring cup will look great in photos for the blog.” Then I realized, “Duh, a tea tumbler!”

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Action shots!

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Really cute leaves on the bottom of the tumbler!

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First sip, I’m trying to get the leaves out of the way. they aren’t budging when I blow on them. I’m thinking this tumbler is too narrow as there is no room to move the leaves aside on the surface.

The tea tastes very strong, grassy spinachy. I’m now stabbing the leaves with my finger, and wiggling the tumbler to hopefully make the leaves descend,  which isn’t working either. Ehh, screw it, I’ll fish leaves out of my mouth, it’s not like I haven’t done it before. I have had a few lazy mornings where I just throw in loose tea and pour water on it, without use of a strainer.

More I sip, less strong the tea tastes and more sparkling the tea gets, with the lovely vegetal flavors. Slowly, the tea gets creamy as I sip the tumbler down.

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I hope when I refill that the leaves will sink. Plllease!

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Sort of.  Here at Oolong Owl, we are accident prone owls. I went in with a clean knife and pushed the leaves down, which helped most of them descend. Okay, now this is easier to drink!

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I’m finally getting the cucumber fresh notes in Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell with loads of fresh, clean and crisp notes! I actually let this tea sit for awhile, and it never became overly strong or dry – very nice! Very flexible, yet delicate tea!

COMMENTS: Want FRESH tea? Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell! Hurray for Verdant Tea for having a cool line up and quick work of getting teas from the farm to us tea drinkers!

I preferred the gaiwan brewing myself. The glass steeping went a little hairy for me, so next time I’d probably pop on the filter on my tumbler or find a better glass. I think this would be  fantastic tea to take to work or school, and top off with hot water throughout the day!

Pomegranate Magnolia White Tea from Upton Tea Imports – Tea Review

Pomegranate Magnolia White Tea is a unique blend from Upton Tea Imports, an online tea seller.

This tea is from my first Upton Tea Imports order! I love that all their teas come in inexpensive sample sizes, so I can try a bunch of teas before committing to buy a large size. You can also have your name printed out on these – I should of had “Oolong Owl” printed on everything. Hoot.

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So, why this tea? Well, I do love pomegranates and floral teas. I have a pomegranate tree in my backyard and it is exploding in flowers.

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Oh man, I’m going to have even more pomegranates this year! Last year we couldn’t eat them all! Anyone wanna help?

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DRY LEAF: Pomegranate Magnolia White Tea smells lightly peachy sweet. Lovely tea appearance, as always.

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Heck is this? (the unfocused thing.. lol my photography skillz got used up on the pomegranate tree!)

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I’m guessing this is a pomegranate kernel. I used to always spit those out when I first ate pomegranates. I later got lazy and didn’t bother.

STEEPED: The steeping instructions are 180F for 3minutes. I did 175F as my kettle doesn’t do 180F. Sigh.

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Gentle floral sweet smell! A nice light amber cup of tea!

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TASTE: Very delicate! Sip is light at first, then develops a lovely floral. 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter. I can identify this floral as a little magnolia and rose.  Magnolia is softer than jasmine, no harshness.  The white tea base is very fresh, juicy and floral on its own. The tea ends softly sweet, juicy and fruity, mixing in with the magnolia. I can’t really detect if this is pomegranate, but the fruityness compliments the tea beautifully. Finally, the aftertaste is a stronger floral, a 6/10. No tartness, though there is a slight dryness (1/10 Astringe-o-meter) the longer you drink.

I added a little sweetener to see what would happen to this tea. The light fruityness came upfront and stayed throughout the sip, with the strong floral as an aftertaste. I prefer this tea unsweetened to enjoy all the flavors.

RESTEEP: The tea changed to be a little savory floral up front, with a slight fruity tang as an aftersip. However, this is really light, so I doubt I’d resteep this tea next time.

BONUS STEEPING: I tried a steeping at 185F for 3 minutes to see if it would beef up the fruityness. At 185f, Pomegranate Magnolia White Tea has a stronger white tea base flavor, with a slight bitter flavor mixed in with the floral end of sip. The fruityness wasn’t improved or stronger. Oh well, I tried.

COMMENTS: Very lovely tea! I love the floral in this, the magnolia is very nice. My only complaint is the pomegranate, which wasn’t strongly present, but the fruityness in this tea was very delicious. The bonus in the fruit flavor in this tea was that there was no tartness, which is fairly common in pomegranate tea blends.

If you love floral teas, Pomegranate Magnolia White Tea is a must try! For me, it was totally worth the $2 I paid for this sample!

100th Oolong Owl Post!

Hey tea owlets!

This is my 100th post on Oolong Owl!

Thank you, my tea owl readers! I hope you all have just as much fun reading my posts as I do writing them!

Also, lots of love to you tea sellers out there who get their teas attacked by stuff owls here at Oolong Owl!

Oolong Owl 100 post

Wow, I didn’t know I had this many Owls! Thankfully, I have lots of tea to feed all the them!

Organic Silver Needle White Tea from Teavivre – Tea Review

Organic Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) is a white tea from Teavivre, an online chinese tea seller.

I received this tea, and a few others for review, from Teavivre.  They have a really nice lineup of unflavored teas and blooming teas. I also love Teavivre teaware – great prices! My tea was shipped from China and came a few weeks later, in perfect shape.

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DRY LEAF: Organic Silver Needle has a peachy dry floral scent. Very nice looking white tea leaves with a mix of silver and green.

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Organic Silver Needle is also FUZZY! Oh, I’m a sucker for fuzzy tea leaves. Oh man, I just had the most amazing crafting idea – a giant fuzzy silver needle tea leaf plush doll! Ehhhh, not sure if it would sell well. Knowing me during a Oolong Owl tea drunk session, I’ll be nomm’ing on the stuff toy.

Owly decided to join the tea session. I think he mostly wanted to show off his Owl-scouts sash and merit badges. Sigh, he needs more merit badges.

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STEEPED:  I followed Steeping instructions listed on the Organic Silver Needle product page: Gaiwan – 5g. Rinse, 45 seconds,1 minute ,1.5 minutes, 1.75 minutes, 2 minutes 20seconds,3 minutes. The sample package is 10g, so I used half for my gaiwan, the other half for my cold steep!

Post rinse, the leaves made a huge pop in colour to a vibrant green mixed with silver!

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I love my glass gaiwan for watching tea. Arg, Owly foot bombed!

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The result is a gorgeous pale yellow colour. Another owl foot bomb!

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When I brought my cup of tea up to my office, I noticed in dimmer light this tea was glowing!

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Organic Silver Needle steeped smells fruity, like a bosc pear.

First Infusion: BAM! FULL FLAVOR, but also delicate! 45 seconds for a full flavored cup of white? Now this tea is FRESH! Organic Silver Needle is sweet, gentle, slight peachy pear fruit notes – an earthy fruity sweet. The earthy sweeps through my tongue, with a touch of silky texture. End of sip, the fruityness quickly slips out, leaving a fresh aftertaste. Absolutely no bitter or dryness.

Second, Third, Fourth Infusion: A little stronger flavor than the first infusion with the fruity pear also has a touch of warm honey notes at mid sip. The sweetness is also lingering longer after each sip. I’m getting a little floral mixed with the earthy touch.

Owly and I admired the tea in the gaiwan <3 so pretty!

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Fifth Infusion: The flavor has lightened in strength and the pear notes are blending in with the floral, but still slightly sweet. The sweetness is more earthy floral. 2/10 on the Floral-o-meter.

Sixth Infusion: Very very light flavor with the flavor only present in mid and end of sip. Organic Silver Needle flavor is a soft, exceptionally delicate and sweet. A great conclusion to this tea!

Bonus Seventh Infusion: I thought I try to squeak out another infusion. The flavor is even lighter and less sweet – actually it has a savory quality now with a floral earthy orchid note end of sip.

COLD STEEPED: I cold steeped Organic Silver Needle for almost 5 hours.. I simply forgot about it in the fridge to test it sooner. This tea is really florally sweet! Much more floral than hot, say a 5/10 on the Floral-o-meter, it’s like drinking sweet flowers at a lovely tea party! End of sip tastes sharply like sweet pear. Throughout the entire sip, this tea is very clean and crisp!

COMMENTS: Organic Silver Needle is a very fresh, lovely tasting white tea. White tea purists and organic tea drinkers, Organic Silver Needle is calling out to you!

If you are new to white tea, this tea is a good start as it has lots of flavor, yet delicate.

Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green from Verdant Tea – Tea Review

Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green is a green tea from Verdant TeaAutumn Harvest Laoshan Green is from the He family farm in Laoshan Village, Shandong Province, China.

I have a giant pile of teas and samples that I haven’t gotten around to trying yet. It is pretty bad. While I was waiting for my rice to cook, I figure I should get the gaiwan going. My little crochet Owl Laoshan came over with my sample of Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green with a disapproving look on his face.

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We went to the computer and saw this tea is out of stock for the new Verdant Spring Harvest Laoshan Green. It also finally clicked in my brain that it is now spring. I just received my preorder for Verdant Tea spring teas too! Crap! Time to drink this autumn tea ASAP!

Those spring harvests really sneak up on us tea drinkers. You got all this tea you are working on (or in my case, haven’t tried) then the big spring harvest OMG SUPER FRESH teas arrive and BAM! Your greens and whites seem old and need to be steeped…. so you can work on the new teas. Sigh.

DRY LEAF: Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green has a smokey hay scent. The tea has an interesting appearance of thin, tightly rolled ringlet curls.

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STEEPING INSTRUCTIONS: I followed Verdant’s steeping instructions for this tea – 175F for 3 seconds, adding 3 seconds at infusion number 3.

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First Infusion: The 3 second steeping went fast! The tea smells a lovely sweet and savory green with a gentle pale yellow green colour. Taste? At first the flavor is light, but as I sip, there is a creamy mouth feel that sweeps through bringing in an oaty sweetness that lingers. Very lovely transition of flavor!

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Close up of the leaves in the gaiwan – kinda looks like spinach! Great deep green colour!

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Second, Third Infusion: The colour perked up more yellow and I got a stronger vegetal flavor similar to wheat grass. It was like the oaty flavor grew grass into the next infusion! The tea is still sweeping through with creamy and sweetness. End of sip, the tea goes to a high point of vegetal hitting right below that line of it becoming bitter – very daring!

Fourth Infusion: The vegetal flavor weakened and is asparagusy, paving the way for the sweetness to be more distinct. The sweetness is carrying a sensation of spice along with creamy. 2/10 on Astringency-o-meter – at end of sip, the tea is adding a drying effect on my teeth, but not unpleasant to drink.

Fifth Infusion: The astringency now carries across the entire sip. I’m getting a little roasted sesame flavor, which matches the astringency as if I’ve been chomping on the sesame seeds.

Those cute tea ringlets have unraveled and bloomed!

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Sixth Infusion: Very interestingly, there’s a little less astringency, being back to end of sip sensation. I’m getting a warm vegetal sweetness. Verdant describes it as pumpkin, I kinda think it more vegetal squash flavor. Like kabocha squash and eating a little of the peel.

COLD STEEPED: Cold steeped Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green is quite interesting. It is very creamy, coating the lips even. The flavor upfront is oaty vegetal that finishes off with sweet hay – all lingering after sip along with the creamy sensation.  No bitterness or astringency.

COMMENTS: Sorry guys, Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green got reviewed late.

Overall, Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green has great transitions between all the flavor notes. I love the sensation of the oaty flavor blooming into grassy notes in infusion 2 and 3, very amazing! I’m excited to get my hands on Spring harvest version, I can compare the two! Woooot!

BONUS!

Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl tea review (9)

Bao Zhong from The Persimmon Tree – Tea Review

Bao Zhong is a twisted pouchong oolong tea from The Persimmon Tree.

Mmmm, Bao Zhong, I love this oolong! It is also used often as a base in all my favorite oolong blends that feature creamy or fruity flavors. Oh yeah! I had to give The Persimmon Tree‘s Bao Zhong a try!

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DRY LEAF: Mmm, delicious smelling dry leaf! It smells sweet, buttery and a little floral.

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Nice big leaves too!

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STEEPED: I steeped Bao Zhong as per instructions on the tin – 190F for 4 minutes.

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After 4 minutes, I had a golden yellow/green cup of tea that smells buttery!

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TASTE: A very delicate tea! Bao Zhong has a nice buttery, sweet vegetal flavor similar to a fresh bean. It is delicately fruity and sweet- the floral is described as “lilac” by The Persimmon Tree, I don’t think I’ve eaten a lilac, but I’d say the floral is similar to orchid. 3/10 on the Floral-o-meter – Bao Zhong‘s floral is light, yet detectable. The tea finishes with a slight astringency 1/10 on the Astringe-o-meter.

Talking about astringency, last time I had this tea I found it much more astringent, but I followed the same steeping instructions. I’m thinking I overleafed the first time.

RESTEEP: The resteep of Bao Zhong is still just as sweet, but towards a light fruity note. This time the tea is more crisp as there is less butteryness. The astringency went up a touch, 2/10 on the Astringe-o-meter.  Overall, pretty good resteep.

GONGFU: I decided to give Bao Zhong a run through my gaiwan – 190F for 15 second steepings, increasing the time as I go along.

Bao Zhong from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (6)

First Steeping: Bao Zhong is lightly sweet, refreshing with a slightly silky texture – yum!
Second & Third Steeping: Pear notes! Similar to the cold steep! The creamy butteryness has finally developed.
Fourth & Fifth Steeping: Flavor has become brighter – sweet and vegetal. The astringency has begun appearing now.
Sixth & Seventh Steeping: Much more astringent,  3/10 on the Astringe-o-meter. The creamy buttery flavor has slipped, leaving stronger floral notes – 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter.

I love how lush and big the leaves got in my gaiwan!

Bao Zhong from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (7)

COLD STEEPED: I’ve been loving oolongs cold steeped – they do very well with a longer steeping, so I do oolong cold steepings overnight. I was excited to try Bao Zhong cold steeped! The taste? Very refreshing with a slightly silky texture. The oolong is slightly grassy with a gentle sweet pear note at the end. Very tasty! No dry or bitterness! I could drink this tea as a cold steep all day!

COMMENTS: Bao Zhong is a lovely floral oolong offering from The Persimmon Tree. The flavors are lightly complex and a nice starter oolong for someone who is into greens, or a staple floral fresh oolong for your tea collection.

(tea provided for review)

2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu’er from Misty Peak Teas – Tea Review

Today, I am sampling some 2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu’er from Misty Peak Tea. This tea is produced in pu’er country – Yiwu, Xishuangbanna Yunnan China.

Misty Peak Tea was giving away a free sample of this tea and I jumped on it fast. Sheng pu’er? YUM!

DRY LEAF: This one is a doozy as I’m pretty sure my sample was smashed up by USPS – it happens. I had one small intact piece of cake, with the rest being pretty loose. I’m not getting much smell off the dry leaves.

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The tiny green Owl is sitting in my tea cup. I bet he’s hoping I will pour the tea straight into his beak.

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Steeping procedure: I used around 5g of tea leaf, steeped with 200F water, 10 second rinse, then 15 second steepings for the first two, then adding an addition 15 seconds to each infusion. I went with a little cooler water to hopefully decrease the astringency due to this being a young sheng.

Fantastic smells during the rinse – smelled like I was in the mountains!

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First Infusion:  Lovely golden yellow cup of tea that has an earthy forest floor scent.

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The taste? SMOOOOOTH! Very light beginning of sip. Mid sip the tea perks into a sweet, woody and a little bit of pear notes carried with a smooth creamy texture. The tea finishes off with a light astringent note, 1/10 on the Astringe-o-meter – an interesting grainy dry sensation on the teeth.

Second Infusion: Very similar to the first infusion, but I’m getting less woodyness, but instead a mineral/coppery flavor. The tea ends with that sweet pear, kind of apricot note. A little more astringency, hitting a 2/10 this time, with the grainy dryness hitting the roof of my mouth.

Third, Fourth Infusion: Tea, you are really complex, aren’t you? It is like the flavor notes are dancing, and I happen to capture the dancers in different positions at each infusion. This steeping is not as smooth, but upfront, strong sweet pear and apricot flavor mixed with savory cream notes, with a linger aftertaste of florally apricot. Astringency still present.

During the fourth infusion, the tea leaves really opened up, fully expanded in my gaiwan.

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Fifth Infusion: I was warned around 5th infusion this sheng pu’er will get good. Beginning and mid sip is beautifully light, with end of sip ending in that fantastic apricot persimmon floral flavor. Lovely aftertaste!

I’m finding I’m feeling really relaxed from this tea. Maybe it is a bit of me having Misty Peak Tea site open and the “Beautiful Chinese Music” is playing on loop.

2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu er from Misty Peak Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (9)

Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Infusion: The tea has lightened into a flow of mineral coppery sweet ending with a bit of savoryness, with that fantastic fruity floral aftertaste!

Wow the leaves are pretty big!

2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu er from Misty Peak Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (10)

Ninth, Tenth Infusion: The tea is very light here, however the creamy is back! Up front, creamy wave that leads through a clean light woodsy flavor, to a 5/10 Astringency end of sip. After taste is a simple mineral sweet taste.

COMMENTS: 2013 Yiwu Spring Sheng Pu’er from Misty Peak Tea is quite a complex flavored tea! I enjoyed all the various notes dancing, infusion to infusion. I felt really relaxed drinking this tea, having a nice calming tea experience.

I’m not a huge fan of the astringency that perks up in the later cups, but from what I gather, with some age this pu’er will be very lovely!

BONUS PIC:

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