Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teaful: Taste Of Taiwan Chapter 1, A Tea Box Review

So, it is that time of day where I sit down to blog, and I admit I have been staring derp-filled at my screen for longer than I am comfortable with trying to think of a way to start out today's blog. Some interesting little bit about my day...and my day has been kinda dull. I have played Minecraft, there was a glitch that made me use a back-up save, I have been grinding resources. I had a really good cheese bread for breakfast, and I discovered a cup I found at the thrift store recently looks really good with a gaiwan. My day hasn't been boring, but it has certainly been uninspiring!
So let me inspire with tea! Today I am looking at a set of four teas from Teaful, their Taste of Taiwan Chapter 1 box, filled with Biluo Chun Green, Jade Oolong, Alishan Oolong, and High Mountain Black. The box is beautifully packaged, sealed bags inside elegant boxes inside an elegant package, sadly I was sick when it arrived and forgot to take a decent picture, and of course by the time I realized that I had already made a mess of the box.

The first tea I looked at was the Biluo Chun, a Taiwanese take on a classic Chinese green tea, and I am going to let you all in on a secret, I like the Taiwanese version more. The large curly green leaves smell so fresh and gree, with strong notes of chestnuts, sweet peas, zucchini, okra, and soy beans, but with a gentle underlying floral sweetness. The leaves smell of spring time, it is hard to believe that it is the heart of winter when sniffing them.

I was able to go many steeps with this tea, it started fading at steep five, which I find is unusual for a green, usually, I am lucky if I can get a full three out of a Biluo Chun from China. The mouthfeel for this tea is very viscous and thick, coating my mouth with green goodness. Starting with flavor notes of buttery cooked zucchini and peas, crisp snap peas and lettuce, and finishing off with sweet hyacinth blossoms. Later steeps are greener with a much longer lingering floral note that seems to stick around forever.

The next tea on my little journey is the Jade Oolong and wow, this one might be my favorite from the set, mostly because the aroma and taste is strongly of daffodils. I don't think I have ever run into an oolong that has that note before, tons of other spring flowers, sure, but this one is new and intoxicating!

Sure there are other notes going on, but they are hard to focus on because DAFFODIL!! It is very floral, notes of honeysuckle and hyacinth give the already nectar-like tea a more heady quality, making me feel like a hummingbird while drinking it. It is perfectly balanced between green and floral, with the daffodil notes lasting long into the aftertaste. I fell so hard for this tea and very much so intend on getting more!

Next up is the Alishan Oolong, and of course, it is no secret that Alishan is one of my favorite tea mountains, though it is a constant internal debate as to which one is a favorite at what time. The aroma of this tea is very sweet and heady, honeysuckles and lilac blend with sugar cane and a touch of chestnut, it smells like a classic Alishan...and hilariously in my notebook I drew a little heart while describing it because I am a dork.

I think one of the reasons Alishan steals my heart is its thick and buttery mouthfeel, it is supple and lovely, filling my mouth with smooth floral goodness. The taste is very sweet, like honeysuckle nectar and sugar cane juice with undertones of chestnuts and lilac. Middle steeps bring in a bit of cooked spinach and crushed vegetation, but for the most part this is a sweet Oolong. It lasts for many steeps, I got a total of ten before it faded to nothingness.

So the other big contender for favorite from the box is the High Mountain Black, because it is a Taiwanese Hongcha and you all know I am massively addicted to them. The aroma of this tea is something else, there is a lot going on, with notes of sassafras, papaya, lychee, honey, and cocoa dancing out of the leaves into my nose. It is no lie that I spent a LOT of time sniffing this tea.

So if you have ever wanted a hongcha that tastes like a blend of chocolate, dried papayas, honey, rice milk, orange blossoms, oregano flowers, and sassafrass...then do I have the tea for you! There were so many notes, no taste staying for long, it is a frenetic dance in my mouth as it transitions from note to note. Poor Ben said there was so much going on that it was a little too much for his 'tea barbarian brain' (his wording, not mine) but for me it was perfection. The right amount of richness mixed with intense sweetness that sticks around for quite a while! I loved all the teas in this box, two of them absolutely HAVE to end up as permanent staples in my stash and the other two, well, I wouldn't be sad if I had them on hand at all times.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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