Gaoshan QingXiang Lishan Oolong Tea From Fong Mong Tea Shop

Today’s review will focus on the Gaoshan QingXiang Lishan Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea Shop. You can currently purchase 150 grams of this tea for USD $42.99 from Fong Mong Tea Shop.

The English translation for the name of this tea is “High Mountain (Gaoshan) Sweet Scent (QingXiang) Pear Mountain (Lishan) Oolong Tea”. If the aroma and taste of this tea lives up to the name and reputation of other Lishan oolong teas, then this is going to be a great tea session.

Lishan (Pear Mountain) is located in central Taiwan, in Taichung. A map showing the Lishan area is below.

The Qingxing cultivar bushes for this tea are grown at altitudes between 1,500 meters to 2,200 meters (4,900 feet to 7,200 feet) above sea level. At this altitude, the weather is rather cold and harsh on tea bushes. The results of growing tea in this environment are slow developing leaves, rare harvests (one to two per year, usually), and limited production. The limited supply of this product makes the necessity to slowly enjoy this experience even more of a priority.

Let’s get to the review…

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Gaoshan Qingxiang Lishan Oolong Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in shades of green from forest green to dark forest green. The leaves are very tightly rolled and condensed into the standard Taiwanese oolong ball, making them quite dense. I expect most of the leaves to be unbroken and fully intact on the stem, with a pluck in the three to four leaves and no bud. The other leaves should be unbroken but detached from the stem. There appears to be no fragments, all unbroken leaves, which is impressive! There is one stem that is almost entirely bare. The leaves appear to be on the lighter side of the oxidation scale (under 25%), and perhaps given a very light roast. The aroma is excellent, with inviting scents of brown sugar, baked apples and pears, ceylon cinnamon, floral honey, and orchids.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in an eight ounce (240 mL) bizen-ware kyusu teapot, and infused with 190°F (88°C) water for 1:00 minute. Each subsequent infusion had another 15 seconds of time added.

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Gaoshan Qingxiang Lishan Oolong Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, light yellow color. The aroma has scents of stewed apples and pears, orchids, brown sugar, and touches of Ceylon cinnamon and floral honey. The body is light-medium, with a honey-like texture. There is no trace of bitterness, and just a touch of astringency. The taste has notes of stewed apples and pears, floral honey, orchids, and lighter notes of brown sugar and Ceylon cinnamon. The aftertaste is incredible, carrying the fruit and honey notes, then evolving into an excellent orchid essence left on the breath.

As infusions get past four, the fruity and honey flavors diminish, leaving the floral character front and center with a touch of vegetal notes. The orchid essence on the breath remains as potent and amazing from the first infusion through the last.

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Gaoshan Qingxiang Lishan Oolong Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark forest green color. The leaves are all unbroken, some still attached to stems, and some detached. The stems show either a three leaves or four leaves pluck. There are no buds in the mix, and only one mostly bare stem. Some of the leaves display a light amount of oxidation, and there are signs of a light roast. There are also a few leaves showing signs of bug bites. The leaves are very smooth and soft, and rather long and narrow. It’s always a pleasure to play with and observe leaves from high quality Taiwanese oolongs like this. The aroma continues the scents of honey, stewed apples and pears, orchids, and a touch of brown sugar.

I am not sure if I could have picked a better tea to review before the long holiday weekend coming up. This Gaoshan QingXiang Lishan Oolong Tea was incredibly floral and sweet in the aroma and taste. I see some reviews using words like “vegetal”, and I just did not pick up any of that until maybe the fifth infusion. Even then, any vegetal character was very light, and the floral character dominated. The sweet aftertaste and lingering floral essence was the real highlight of this tea, in my opinion. To me, a tea that tastes this good for a minute after the liquid is consumed is an instant favorite. And to think, this tea is not even the best grade of this style from Fong Mong Tea Shop.

Many thanks to Fong Mong Tea Shop for providing this sample of Gaoshan QingXiang Lishan Oolong Tea! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Organic Silver Yeti White Tea From Nepal Tea

A Christmas miracle arrived at my office a few days ago, and few things can lift my excitement to such a level as this. A package from a relatively new tea company named Nepal Tea. As you can probably guess from the company name, Nepal Tea specializes in offering organic teas from Nepal. Today’s review will be focusing on the Silver Yeti White Tea, which can currently be purchased from Nepal Tea for USD $14.99 and includes one ounce of the tea.

It has been a few years since I had a nice assortment of various styles of tea from Nepal, and this sample package definitely offers an interesting assortment. Upon further research, I found out that these teas are actually sourced from one of the tea estates in Nepal that I was offering through my online tea shop. The estate is Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE). KTE was the first organic certified estate in Nepal, and is the only tea estate in Nepal certified as Free Trade.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga, with an elevation ranging from 1,300 meters to 1,800 meters (4,200 feet to 5,900 feet) above sea level, Kanchanjangha Tea Estate consists of about 94 hectares of land under tea cultivation. It is located in Ranitar, Panchthar District, Nepal. The map below shows the location of Ranitar.

Kanchanjangha Tea Estate does more than just produce excellent quality Nepal teas. It is also a great partner for the estate workers. I will provide more details on that partnership in my next Nepal Tea product review.

For now, let’s get to the review…

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Dry Leaves (or buds, to be more accurate)

The dry leaves have a uniform pale light green color to the buds, with a fine silver downy-like fuzz covering them, and dark brown to black stems. The buds are long and thin, with no additional shaping given during production. The more mature buds have a younger bud enveloped inside. There are no leaves, and no bare stems in the mix, only buds. The mix consists mostly of unbroken, fully intact buds, with some medium to large bud fragments. The appearance of these buds is definitely similar to those found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kenya (to name a few). They are noticeably thinner than the plump Silver Needle teas found in the Fujian province of China, which uses the Fuding Da Bai tea bush (among others), known for producing large, plump buds. Getting back on track, these buds are dried naturally, and simply processed. The aroma has scents of dry rosebuds and dandelions, fresh hay, and light touches of vanilla and honey.

Five grams of dry buds were placed in a six ounce (180 ml) porcelain gaiwan, and infused with 185°F (85°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a full golden yellow color. The aroma has scents of rosebuds, dandelion, hay, and lighter scents of vanilla and honey. The body is light-medium, with a pillowy, airy texture. That is not a description I use often (or maybe ever), but this liquid feels like it levitates off the tongue, and just hovers in the mouth. Admittedly, I spent a lot more time than usual just observing the mouthfeel of this tea, trying to think of an appropriate description to record. There is no bitterness or astringency. The taste has notes of rosebuds, dandelions, hay, lighter touches of vanilla and honey, and a barely noticeable hint of licorice. The aftertaste carries the notes of sweet hay and vanilla, and leaves a pleasantly light floral essence on the breath.

As a quick sidenote, the third and fourth infusions are easily the most aromatic and flavorful infusions.

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Infused Buds

The majority of the infused buds have a light forest green color, with some being brown-red, with dark brown stems. The majority of the buds are unbroken and fully intact, with a bud only pluck, and some larger buds enveloping younger buds. There are some medium to large bud fragments. There are no leaves or bare stems in the mix. The buds are long and narrow. The aroma, especially as the buds get cooler, is intoxicating with strong scents of honey, vanilla, licorice, rosebuds, and a touch of hay.

The Silver Yeti White Tea from Nepal Tea is a beautiful reminder of the high quality products hailing from the Nepalese foothills of the Himalayas. And these products are not just Darjeeling style black teas, but teas of all styles. This white tea boasts a subtle yet sophisticated character, with a great combination of floral, sweet, spicy, and earthy scents and flavors. The texture of the liquid was a true highlight for me, just observing a texture that I do not recall experiencing before. My best description was pillowy, as the liquid felt soft and gentle on the tongue and roof of the mouth, and more dense in between. These buds have many infusions of pleasure to offer, so considering the cost, be sure to pull every last drop of goodness out of these buds before disposing of them.

Many thanks to Nepal Tea for their generosity in providing this sample of Silver Yeti White Tea. There will be plenty of other reviews, and more information about the good works being done by the good people at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, in the near future. Cheers!

Organic Green Tea From Harendong Organic Tea Estate

Today’s review will focus on the Organic Green Tea from Harendong Organic Tea Estate. Harendong Organic Tea Estate currently offers two types of green tea. This review is covering the twisted leaf, or long leaf, form sample. The other sample is a rolled leaf form, which is shaped more like a ball. It will be interesting to compare notes between the two forms.

I provided more details about Harendong Organic Tea Estate earlier this week in my review of the Rolled Organic Black Tea.

Let’s get to the review…

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Organic Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in shades of green, from pale yellow green to dark forest green. There are signs of some very slight oxidation occurring within a few of the leaves. The leaves all appear to be single, detached, medium to large fragments, with the possibility of a few unbroken leaves in the mix. There are a few bare stems, and no obvious buds. The leaves are lightly rolled length-wise, giving them a fairly light, fluffy feel. The aroma has scents of brown sugar, cinnamon, toasted oats, and dried apple.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in an eight ounce (240 mL) bizen-ware kyusu teapot, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 2:00 minutes.

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Organic Green Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a light golden yellow color. The aroma has scents of light brown sugar, orchid, light vanilla, and a touch of sweet cream. The body is medium, with a buttery, smooth texture. The taste has notes of light brown sugar, orchid, oats, and a touch of wet stones. There is a very mild astringency, just strong enough to feel on the tongue. The aftertaste is quite floral, and that floral quality lingers on the breath nicely.

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Organic Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary slightly in the shades of green, from pale forest green to dark forest green. Some of the leaves exhibit reddish edges, indicating a slight level of oxidation. The leaves consist almost entirely of medium to large fragments, with one or two unbroken leaves in the mix. There are a few bare stems and no buds. The leaves vary from fresh, smaller, more tender leaves to larger, heartier, and more robust leaves. The aroma of the wet leaves is quite different than the liquid and dry leaves, having scents of mineral, wet forest floor, wet oats, and a touch of orchid.

This Organic Green Tea from Harendong Organic Tea Estate, much like its Rolled Organic Black Tea counterpart from Harendong, is a nicely balanced green tea that can please a wide variety of tea drinkers, from those just beginning their exploration of green teas to the seasoned green tea enthusiast. The aroma and taste do not boast strong vegetal or grassy tones, rather a sweeter, more floral and mineral character, with a smooth, comforting texture, and just enough astringency to remind you that it is a green tea. The large, hearty leaves easily provide four or five infusions of quality liquid, offering you more tea for your dollar. Not surprisingly, another excellent quality tea from Harendong Organic Tea Estate.

Thanks again to the management at Harendong Organic Tea Estate for providing these samples! I am definitely enjoying getting reacquainted with the products from this estate, and am looking forward to reviewing their oolong teas in the coming days. Cheers!

Rolled Organic Black Tea From Harendong Organic Tea Estate

Thanks to the generosity of management at Harendong Organic Tea Estate, I have an opportunity to reacquaint myself (and my readers) with the excellent oolong, black, and green teas being produced at this beautiful estate. Today, I will be focusing on the Rolled Organic Black Tea.

Harendong Organic Tea Estate is located near the Mount Halimun Salak National Park in Lebak, Banten, Indonesia. See the map below for the general location of Lebak.

This estate was founded in 2006. The elevation ranges from 2,656 feet (800 meters) to 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. This estate is certified organic by the USDA, JAS, IMO, Canada, and Indonesia.

Let’s get to the review…

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Rolled Organic Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary slightly in color from pale light brown to dark charcoal brown. The leaves are rolled into large pellets, not quite as compact as Taiwanese style oolongs, but resemble that appearance somewhat. There are no clear signs of the presence of buds, and there are a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with the possibility of some nearly unbroken leaves. I expect a two leaf and no bud pluck, along with detached individual leaves. There are also other unidentified fibers in the mix. I assume they are stem or shoot fibers. The leaves are fully oxidized. The aroma has scents of molasses, cassia bark, and dry marigolds.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in an eight ounce (240 mL) bizenware kyusu teapot, and infused with 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Rolled Organic Black Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, golden color. The aroma has scents of molasses, cassia bark, marigolds, and a light touch of vanilla. The body is medium, with a clean, gentle texture. There is no bitterness or astringency, and the liquid has an uplifting, refreshing energy. The taste has notes of molasses, marigolds, cassia bark, and a light touch of vanilla. The aftertaste begins as sweet, and slowly evolves into the marigold taste that hangs in the mouth for a respectable amount of time.

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Rolled Organic Black Tea – Infused Leaves
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Rolled Organic Black Tea – Large Single Infused Leaf

The infused leaves have a uniform dark brown-black color. The leaves consist mostly large leaf fragments, and a nice amount of large, fully intact leaves with a few attached to the stem. The pluck is mostly two leaves and no bud, with a few three leaves and no bud, and many single detached leaves. There are a few bare stems in the mix, and no buds. The previously unverified fibers do appear to be stem and leaf fibers, as many of them are still attached to stems or leaves. Many of the leaves measure between two and three inches long (5 cm to 7.5 cm). The aroma is very sweet, floral, and attractive, with scents of molasses, caramel, marigold, and light scents of cassia bark and vanilla.

The Rolled Organic Black Tea from Harendong Organic Tea Estate offers a very unique, pleasurable black tea experience. It is very nicely balanced, being neither overwhelming or weak in aroma and taste. It is perfect for being enjoyed with no additives. The natural sweet and floral qualities of this tea, combined with the gentle, clean texture, truly gives this a tea an uplifting energy that refreshes the mind and body almost instantly. The aftertaste is also a highlight of this tea, with an evolving taste from sweet to floral before fading away. The large, rolled leaves provide at least three quality infusions. Those who like a lighter black tea will absolutely love this Rolled Organic Black Tea from Harendong Organic Tea Estate. And who doesn’t feel better enjoying the benefits of an organic tea?!

Thanks again to the management at Harendong Organic Tea Estate for providing this sample of Rolled Organic Black Tea. I look forward to reviewing the other black, green, and oolong samples! Cheers!

Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea From TeaVivre

Today, I will reviewing the Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from TeaVivre. You can purchase 100 grams of this tea for USD $18.90 through the TeaVivre website.

This Long Jing Green Tea was grown and harvested in April of 2017 in the famous district of XiHu (West Lake), Zhejiang province of China. Below is a map showing the general location of XiHu.

Although Long Jing green teas are among the most famous and beloved green teas from China, it is (admittedly) historically not one of my preferred green teas. I decided to request this sample from TeaVivre, and give it another chance since it has been a year or two since I last had a Long Jing green tea. My tastes and preferences do change and evolve, so it is always interesting to circle back to a tea that I did not care for a few years ago, and see how I interpret it now.

Let’s get to the review…

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Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from pale light green to pale dark green. There are also some yellow-brown leaves in the mix. The blend consists of medium to large leaf and bud fragments, with a few unbroken leafs and buds. There is also a bare stem or two in the mix. The stems show a two young leaf and bud pluck. The leaves have the standard flattened appearance, with the few fully intact plucks coming to a point where the bud ends. The abundance of medium sized fragments indicates that this is, with all due respect, a fairly standard grade of Long Jing green tea. The aroma has scents of roasted peanuts, chocolate, dry grass, and a touch of dry orchid.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in an eight ounce (240 mL) bizen-ware kyusu, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 30 seconds. Each subsequent infusion had another 30 seconds of time added.

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Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a pale, light green-yellow color. The aroma has scents of fresh grass, boiled peanuts, cooked spinach and chard, and orchids. The body is medium-full, with a rich, velvety smooth texture. There is a pleasant, balanced astringency. The taste has notes of fresh grass, cooked spinach, chard, orchids, a light touch of floral bitterness, like lavender or jasmine, and a light touch of boiled peanuts. The aftertaste strongly carries the floral character, and lingers on the breath.

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Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color, with a few leaves having a brown spot of two. The blend consists mostly of medium to large leaf and bud fragments. There are a few unbroken leaves, and a few leaves and buds still attached to the shoot. The vast majority of leaves are fragments, though. There is a bare stem or two in the mix. The leaves are young, fairly small, and tender. The buds are also rather young and tender. The aroma carries the scents of fresh grash, spinach, chard, and light orchid.

I have enjoyed this experience with the Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from TeaVivre more so than I did in the past. Most notably, I really enjoyed the texture of this tea, and the strong and lingering floral aftertaste. This experience is encouraging me to try the higher grades of Long Jing from TeaVivre and other vendors. I can imagine that a much more refined, higher quality of this style of green tea could certainly live up to its reputation as one of the best and most famous styles of Chinese green tea. Not to take anything away from the grade of this sample, which provided an excellent aroma and taste experience. This product is an excellent and affordable option for exploring the Long Jing style of green tea.

Thank you again to TeaVivre for providing this sample of Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea. Cheers!

Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang Dancong Oolong Tea From Chaozhou Tea Grower

Here it is, the last sample I have of the Dancong oolongs from Chaozhou Tea Grower. I saved this sample for last, since it a style of Dancong oolong that I have heard about repeatedly, yet never had an opportunity to try.

The English translation of the name “Ya Shi Xiang” is a cause for most peoples’ curiosity, and even some caution. That translation is “duck shit fragrance”. However, the story behind this name is rather entertaining, and don’t worry, there is no real use of or connection to duck feces.

Basically, the story goes that the name originates from a tea farmer who wanted to keep some special bushes he had a secret from outsiders. In order to dissuade the outsiders from asking too many questions or showing interest in the bushes, the farmer told them that the dark color of the soil around the bushes was because of the presence of duck feces. Naturally disgusted, the outsiders’ curiosity ended there, at least for the time being.

Thankfully, there is absolutely no resemblance in the aroma or taste of this tea to duck feces. In fact, the aroma and taste are quite the opposite, as you will see in the descriptions below.

You can purchase 25 grams of the Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang (Duck Shit) Oolong Tea from Chaozhou Tea Grower for USD $25.00.

Let’s get to the review…

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Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang Oolong Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a mostly uniform dark charcoal gray color, with a few spots of light brown and green-brown. The blend consists mostly of detached, individual large leaf fragments. There are a few mostly bare stems in the blend, which show a two to three leaf pluck. There are no buds in the mix. The leaves are tightly twisted, causing the larger leaves to appear quite long and wiry. The oxidation level appears to be in the low-medium range (25% – 40%), with a strong roast level applied. The aroma has scents of light roast coffee, toasted almonds, dried gardenia, dried lychee, with slight touches of anise and charcoal.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 5 ounce (150 mL) porcelain gaiwan, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 10 seconds. Each subsequent infusion was given an additional 10 seconds of time.

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Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang Oolong Tea – Liquid

The tea liquid has a bright, pale light yellow color. The aroma has scents of gardenia, honey, lychee, and lighter touches of charcoal and almonds. The body is light-medium, with a balanced, clean texture. There is no astringency. The taste has notes of gardenia, honey, lychee, mineral notes of charcoal and wet stones, and a light note of almonds. The floral gardenia note carries into the aftertaste, and lingers on the breath. The tea has a refreshing, cleansing effect on the palate, and a slight mentholated effect can be felt in the  first couple infusions. Overall, a very refreshing, uplifting energy can be felt from this tea.

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Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang Oolong Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from dark forest green pale dark green to red-brown, an indication of the light-medium oxidation level permitted. The blend consists mostly of large leaf fragments, with some unbroken leaves, some medium sized fragments, and a few nearly bare stems. There are no buds in the mix. The leaves are quite broad in width, with a leathery texture. The aroma carries the scents of gardenia, honey, wet stones, and lychee.

So, it’s official, the aroma, taste, texture, and appearance at no point of this review reminded me of duck feces. It seems that the origin story is true! So don’t let the interesting name of this tea stop you from trying it, or else you will be missing out on a very good Dancong oolong tea experience. This tea is full of floral, fruity, and mineral character, with a very balanced proportion of each, making this a truly excellent oolong. The leaves will give you a seemingly endless supply of worthy infusions, making the price tag a little easier to accept. And, who doesn’t want to have the opportunity to serve their friends and family something called “Duck Shit Fragrance” oolong tea?! Just wait until you see their faces when you make the suggestion.

Quick side story, there is a very good tea grower in Indonesia named Harendong Organic Tea Estate. To pronounce this name quickly can give it a rather peculiar sound. My family, who were my guinea pigs as non-tea enthusiasts trying different types of tea that I was sourcing back in the day of the Tea Journeyman Shop, still remember when I offered them tea from a farm named Harendong. In fact, my older brother still pulls out the occasional innuendo.

Anyway, thank you to Chaozhou Tea Grower for providing this sample of Old Bush Ya Shi Xiang Oolong Tea. It was definitely worth the wait. Another great Dancong oolong experience! Cheers!

Spring 2017 Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea From TeaVivre

Today, I will be focusing on the Spring 2017 harvest of Huang Shan Green Tea provided by TeaVivre.

The TeaVivre website is among my favorite tea vendor sites because it provides so much interesting content on each of its products, including harvest information, garden information, history, etc. A website with this amount of information on each product is a great credit to the owner of the business, proving that they care about the quality of products they are offering, and actually know and want to teach about the products they are offering. They are not just sourcing cheap teas and selling at retail price to make the most profit. They are proud of where their products are sourced from. Cheers to TeaVivre for their care and efforts!

True Huang Shan Mao Feng green teas are sourced from the Yellow Mountain (HuangShan) in the Anhui province of China. The tea bush used to make this style of tea is of the HuangShan large-leaf type. This type of tea bush is known for the number of buds it produces, and the abundance of downy-like fuzz on those buds. It is also quite cold-tolerant, which is important since it is grown in the mountains.

This particular Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea is sourced from the Dailing Tea Garden, which is owned and operated by Mr. Ke, in Da Guyun Village. Mr. Ke has been working with his family in tea growing since the age of 15.

You can purchase 50 grams of this Spring 2017 Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea for USD $10.90 from the TeaVivre website.

The map below shows the general location of HuangShan.

Let’s get to the review.

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Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a bright, fresh forest green color, with the buds having silver downy-like fuzz on them. The stems have a green-yellow color. The pluck is mostly two leaves and a tender bud intact on the shoot, and a few detached leaf fragments. There are no totally bare stems in the mix. There are no obvious signs of oxidation on the leaves, indicating that the leaves were properly processed to stop the oxidation process very shortly after being harvested. The leaves are very lightly rolled, and have a light, fluffy density. The aroma has scents of fresh hay, light brown sugar, light vanilla, and a touch of pecan and dried chrysanthemum. The aroma is gently sweet and very attractive.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 5 ounce (150 mL) porcelain gaiwan, and infused with 175°F (80°C) water for 30 seconds. Each subsequent infusion added another 30 seconds.

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Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a light, green-yellow color. The aroma has scents of chrysanthemums, fresh hay, and lighter scents of steamed asparagus and baby spinach. The body is medium, which is more than I expected, with a very smooth, buttery texture. There is a nice astringency in the earlier infusions, which provides an uplifting energy to the tea. The taste has notes of chrysanthemums, hay, steamed asparagus, and a lighter note of baby spinach. The aftertaste carries the floral notes, and leaves a refreshing, lingering floral essence in the mouth.

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Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh, bright forest green color. There is no reddish tint on any of the leaves, confirming that very minimal oxidation had occurred in the leaves prior to processing, as is expected from a green tea. The leaves, buds, and shoots appear to be rather young and tender. There appears to be signs of bug bites on a few of the leaves, perhaps indicating a lack of chemical pesticides being used on the farm, which is definitely a good thing. The aroma carries the scents of chrysanthemum, hay, grass, and lighter notes of steamed asparagus and baby spinach.

The Spring 2017 Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from TeaVivre is an excellent example of a classic, world-renowned Chinese green tea. Neither overpowering or underwhelming, this green tea is a perfect way for black tea drinkers to begin their expansion into other styles of tea. The fresh, floral character of this tea provides an uplifting, refreshing experience. The body is fuller than expected, and provides a nice depth of texture that serves as an excellent first impression of the tea liquid as it passes the lips. Tea drinkers who want and prefer that grassy, vegetal punch from a green tea may find this style to be underwhelming and generally unimpressive. But for those who can appreciate the varying styles of green tea, this one will be a highly satisfying experience.

Thank you to TeaVivre for providing this sample of Spring 2017 Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea! I am looking forward to reviewing the other products included with this sample packet. Cheers!

#12 Bai Hao Green Tea From The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership

What’s in my cup today (as the trendy marketing phrase goes)? Something unique and special from my favorite small tea farm in Thailand, The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership.  Their website gives some interesting information on the history of this tea farm prior to the cultivation of tea, so check it out! There are also some nice photos in their gallery.

Be sure to check them out on Facebook, also, where they regularly post beautiful photos of their tea fields, and interesting videos of their oolong and green teas being processed.

This #12 Bai Hao Green Tea is a new experimental product for The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership. While they do also make a green tea called Jade Green, which can be purchased here, the Bai Hao product uses only the first young leaf and young bud pluck. The Jade Green uses the two leaf and bud pluck. I reviewed the Jade Green Tea a few years ago. A photo of the canister that the Jade Green Tea comes in is below. With the difference in plucking standard, I expect this Bai Hao to have a more delicate character than the Jade Green. Both products are made using leaves harvested from TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar bushes, so again, it will be interesting to see how something as seemingly simple as a one leaf pluck difference contributes to variances in character.

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#12 Jade Green Tea – Retail Package

As for a little refresher on The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership, it is a small farm consisting of only about five acres (2 hectares) of land, only half of which is under tea cultivation. The farm sits at an altitude about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level. The farm cultivates the TTES#17 (Qing Xin) and TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivars. A Google map showing the general location of The Doi Inthanon Partnership farm is below.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal gray color, with young silver-gold buds. The color indicates that the leaves were permitted a very slight oxidation, and given a heavy roast during production. The pluck appears to be one tender leaf and a bud still attached to the shoot. There are few broken or detached fragments, and no bare stems. The leaves are hand-rolled, as indicated by the “loose” appearance, and variation in the shape of the finished leaves. The aroma is very attractive, with a dominant scent of chocolate that reminds me of chocolate covered strawberries, and a touch of dry cut grass.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 240 ml (about 8 ounces) bizen-ware kyusu teapot. The leaves were infused in 175°F (80°C) water for 30 seconds on the first infusion, with 15 seconds added to each subsequent infusion.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – 1st Infusion Liquid

The liquid has a pale yellow-gold color, which deepens significantly between infusions two through four. The aroma has scents of lotus flower, wet stones, cooked celery and cooked collard greens. The body is medium, with a creamy, smooth texture. The texture evolves into a more broth-like character with subsequent infusions. There is a mild astringency. The taste has notes that perfectly reflect the aroma, consisting of lotus flower, wet stones, cooked celery and collard greens, and a touch of fresh grass. The aftertaste carries the mineral and grassy notes, and evolves into a lingering floral essence in the mouth.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a mostly uniform forest green color, with a slight oxidation showing through on many of the leaves. The pluck consists mostly of one tender leaf and bud, but there are few with a second leaf attached. Almost all of the leaves are fully intact, unbroken, and attached to the shoot along with the bud. There are very few detached, broken leaves in the mix, indicating a high level of care being taken while handling the leaves during the harvesting and processing stages. There are no bare stems. The tender young leaves are rather long and narrow for the TTES#12 cultivar, although the age may explain the lack of broad width. The leaves are quite thin and delicate, again an indication of the young age. The aroma carries the scents of cooked celery and vegetables, wet stones, and lotus flowers.

Below is another photo I took of some individual plucks.

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#12 Bai Hao Green Tea – Infused Individual Leaves

As I have come to expect from the teas produced by The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership, the #12 Bai Hao Green Tea gave me much to appreciate in every stage of the analysis. The incredible aroma of the dry leaves was the first impression, and a very positive first impression it was. The evolution of the aroma, texture, and taste of the tea liquid from infusion to infusion offered generally the same notes with varying levels of strength. Some infusions highlighting the lotus flower notes, others highlighting the mineral notes, and others offering more of the cooked vegetables and greens. The texture evolving from a smooth, creamy texture at first to a more broth-like, savory character from the second infusion on. And, my favorite part of this review, was observing the infused leaves. These leaves truly reflected the hard work and high level of care shown to the leaves at every stage from the bush to the final product. Quality is definitely the focus of The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership.

Thanks again to The Doi Inthanon Tea Partnership for sending this sample of #12 Bai Hao Green Tea! Cheers!