I’m not usually a pu erh tea drinker but I saw the lovely label from Kelly Puissegur on the Yiwu Spring 2016 blend from Bitterleaf Teas and had to give it a go. This is a limited run of tea, so you won’t be able to get this exact blend anymore, but the same tea harvest for 2017 can be found in the year of the rooster blend.
This tea starts off like many of my past pu erh tea sessions. The scents are intense and fermented, and off-putting to me as a prelude for something I’m about to taste. The aroma isn’t bad exactly, in fact with smells like old books or leather or wet grass, I find the flavors to be nostalgic and dreamy; they just aren’t something I’d personally want to smell right before I take a sip.
I steeped this tea over the course of a session, brewing several times. Before I even tasted it, I stepped for 1 minute in 200F water to rinse and let the leaves open up. After that I steeped for increasing 5 second intervals.
The first brew had the typical hay barn scent I expect, but less fermented and much more fresh. Almost like green grapes or wet peony flowers. The brightness in the first steep was a pleasant surprise.
In the second steep there was more white tea buttery earthiness, but still the green grapes and peony came through on the aftertaste. The tea is very smooth on the tongue.
In the third steep the hay scent was more gentle and the overall flavors were more relaxed. The brew was sweeter almost like cacao earth tones and smooth honey floral flavors, paired with a very pleasant caramelly mouthfeel.
On the fourth steep and beyond, the tea still holds up the fresh grape and peony tones, but eventually the earthy cacao flavors end up taking over.
I’m not a pu erh expect but this tea took me by surprise and contained pleasantly complex flavors that I wasn’t expecting. Be bold and try one of Bitterleaf Teas’ pu erh harvests for your next brew.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Bitter Leaf Teas
This Yiwu raw puer is one of our two Year of the Monkey puers. The material for this tea comes from a recently transitioned fang yang (literally meaning “left to grow”) garden that receives minimal human interference, to the extent that all weeding is done once a year by hand (taking up to one month) and is harvested only in the Spring. The tea itself has an initial and surprising honey-like sweetness at the front, which yields to some slight roughness and unique lasting aroma. With good cha qi/tea energy and a solid mineral fragrance that lingers, this is a strong candidate for storage.
Typical of Yiwu teas, this one is on the softer side of things for now, but still maintains a solid backbone with plenty to offer. This also makes it a very drinkable young raw puer, and well suited for beginners and experienced drinkers alike. Don’t be fooled though, Yiwu teas tend to age well, even if they seem lighter in their early years.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
You may have already gathered that I’m a fan of Lochan’s straight-up black teas. They almost always provide that heft I’m looking for to get my day going! Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited isn’t one of their most sturdy teas but it’s still one of their very scrumptious teas!
If you are looking for that stereotypical darjeeling taste with a twist try Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited. It offers that muscatel yet sweet and sour woodsy taste with twists of citrus possible leaning more towards natural lime. The after taste – especially as it cools naturally at room temperature – seems to have a grape-skin or raisin-like comparison to it, as well. I tried sipping this a bit quicker – something I don’t usually do – but when I did I was able to detect some crusty flavors, too! Now that I have discovered this I might try it more in the future.
If you are new to darjeelings Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited is a good place to start. If you are a darjeeling guru you will appreciate this as well. After all, Darjeelings are considered the ‘champagne of teas’. I’m really enjoying Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited. Let us know if you’ve tried this flush and year!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: Lochan Tea Limited
Oaks SFTGFOP 1 CL SPL 2nd Flush 2016 Darjeeling Organic from Lochan Tea Limited
One never knows what goes thru my mind while choosing my tea-of-the-moment. Today it happened to be me thinking SPRING and hoping for a dancing leaves show in the infuser! Mountain Oolong Spring 2016 from Mountain Tea fulfilled both of those!
Mountain Oolong Spring 2016 from Mountain Tea smells and tastes like…well…SPRING! This has a mellow, creamy, sweet, floral flavor combo going on with the taste on the tongue. It’s also very crisp and clean! I can imagine a breath of fresh air and a cup of this crisp tea at just about anytime! It seems somewhat energizing but then again that could just be me in my own dream world while enjoying this cup! Mountain Oolong Spring 2016 from Mountain Tea is just one of those LOVELY teas!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong Tea
Where to Buy: Mountain Tea
The character of a pot of tea tells a story about the leaf it originated from. Good tea is a mixed blessing for tea farmers; in general, the harder the tea plant struggles to grow, the more flavorful and tempered the finished brew becomes. For this reason higher elevation with colder temperatures and thinner air produces outstanding leaf.
The 2016 spring harvest of Mountain Oolong withstands high temperature water longer without introducing dryness to the flavor, producing a forgiving and well-behaved pot of tea for the busy brewer. The steeped cup reflects a beautifully clear yet deep honey gold color; the nose is creamy sweet over a faint, nostalgic scent of rice flower bud. Notes for this crop are sharp and floral, paired with a robust body. Expect flavors of citrus blossom mostly, nasal and high in the mouth. Properly brewed we found that this tea has even greater re-steep potential than past flushes, up to six or seven.
Leaf Type: Oolong Tea
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha
This batch of tea comes from Yong Long Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yong Long is known for a rich red soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of the most skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.
(2015)Flavor: Grilled sweet corn aroma. Rich, foresty, roasted flavor. Complex, fruity finish.
Garden: This batch of tea comes from Yonglong Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yonglong is known for its rich soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan. This farm is managed by a father and son team who inherited their family tradition as artisans of Dong Ding Oolong. Their tea has been awarded first prize in the world’s largest Oolong tea competition, and they consistently achieve top awards in their local competition of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong.
Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. November 2015. Yonglong, Nantou. Available Winter 2016
Learn more about this tea here.
The Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha I know and LOVE is from 2013 but today I found out they have a 2015 harvest that will be available in Winter of 2016. I’m looking forward to comparing the two. The review of this Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha is from the 2013 harvest eventho I inserted both harvest descriptions above.
Once I infused Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha and it was ready to go in my cup I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful golden amber tone…it was beautiful! The aroma was roasted – that is for sure. The roasted notes followed suit when you sipped it as well. I could taste some plum notes underneath in the middle of the sip, too, but they were very subtle.
The roasty and toasty aftertaste lingered but in a good way. I’m looking forward to the new harvest of Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha coming in winter 2016…in the meantime I will finish what I have…and what I have is very good! Two thumbs up!