A first time look at Ginseng oolong

I have never really looked into ginseng oolong before because I had just lumped it into the category of flavored teas, which usually I don't purchase to drink. If someone buys a flavored tea for me I will enjoy it as such, but I never quite wanted this blog to feature flavored teas. I have been lacking in posts due to the limited number of samples I have been receiving, although that will change this month! I have gained quite a collection and wish to show them off to you all!

This tea was interesting from the get go. The pearled leaves, oolong from DongDing mountain in Taiwan, are coated in what almost looks like a ginseng paste. They are a dull, hunter green color and carry the smell of ginseng, strawberry, hibiscus and greenery. The scents aren't all that strong and don't lead me right away to assume the tea was flavored with anything!

The taste really was a delightful surprise! It is lightly flavorful and reminiscent of a roasted oolong with a layer of sweet fruit! It is balanced great and has a delicate mouthfeel.

Brown sugar, peaches, toasted nuts and strawberry come to mind as I sip and savor this first encounter. It struck me afterwards that it reminded me of a sweet, flakey pie crust! I didn't know that the ginseng would be so subtle and yet add so much to a tea.

This tea would be wonderful iced and really appeal to a wide audience! I couldn't drink this every day, but every now and again this tea is really a good treat!

Thank you to Teavivre for the sample! Every time I open one of their teas I am really starting to enjoy the quality and wonderful customer service this company offers! Their prices are nothing to overlook either! Definitely recommend this company for some good teas and good deals!

JinXuan "Milk" Oolong Tea

I have encountered several JinXuan teas, more notably code-named "Milk" or "Silk" or "Creamy" oolongs.
There is little promise of authenticity among this style of tea, as they have been overwhelmingly popular on the global market, and so to keep up with demand, ways of physically altering, flavoring, or scenting the teas has become common practice. I have already had one "Milk" oolong on this blog so far, so let us see how this subject fairs in the tumultuous tasting test.

Gratitude to Teavivre for this sample.

There were several of these red packages inside the large package, basically single serve portions of tea.
I would have liked to see them vacuum sealed, but the other option that this could have went through was a nitro-flush, which would have been acceptable as well. I just know that tea does not stay fresh in small quantities, even when sealed.

The leaves look good, and smell good. They smell just creamy enough, but I can still tell that this is an oolong because of the light, floral notes coming off of it.

The liquor is very clear and the only particles I can see are down from the leaves. No foreign morsels floating around and interfering with my enjoyment of this tea.

The smell and taste of the liquor is sufficient, but a bit plain. There are subtle creamy/buttery notes that are expected with JinXuan teas, but also a very simple "oolong" flavor that green oolongs tend to have. This tea is a bit sweeter than most though, but that is most likely just due to the cultivar.

The leaves, as seen below, are healthy enough and look just as honest. I am in no way disappointed by this tea session, other than the simple fact that this was not a prime, top quality JinXuan. It should have had a much more dynamic in flavor. This tea was flat, but at least it was not lifeless.

In my opinion, this would only be a good buy because of the price, not the taste. This is relatively inexpensive and would probably get you better tea for less money than you could potentially spend elsewhere.

 What I find remarkable is that Teavivre sells both a flavored JinXuan and an unflavored JinXuan. It would be interesting to compare the two to see the difference. Perhaps this is an authentic JinXuan, but just sub-par compared to the province's other productions.


2011 BaXian "Eight Immortals"

Greg of NorbuTea kindly gifted me this sample along with a few teas I purchased.
What I didn't know about this tea was that there was only 4.4kg produced, and Greg had 2kg of it.

Man do I feel privileged!

I must say, this tea was a sight for sore eyes! The leaves are beautiful, both in shape and color. I had been wanting DanCong for a while and this tea definitely sufficed!

The aroma was strong and marvelous!
Very floral with notes of raw honey, melon, and fresh spring water.

This tea smells like it was just harvested and produced! DanCongs have a way with enchanting aromas.

When I put the tea into a warmed clay gaiwan, the aroma of the dry leaves was even stronger, and a nutty almond fragrance appeared.

If I had to stop here with this tea, I would still say it was a successful tea session.
I felt like I had already tasted it.

Fortunately for me and you, I had no restrictions and so I poured the water and watched the leaves swirl.

The resulting liquor was perfectly balanced.

It had the aroma of spring flowers, and a sweet, smooth taste that reminded me of tropical fruits.
Astringency lightly bit the back of my tongue and made me want more...more...more...

I was impressed to say the least!

This tea is stellar.
Its well produced and was obviously cared for at each point in its existence and production.

The leaves make a dancing display like I have never seen.

The flavor is crisp, fresh, and ripe.

I only have a few more precious leaves left and I will brew them with care.