Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaful: Taste of Taiwan Chapter 3, A Tea Reivew

I have really sad news, my camera, my dear Fujifilm S8630 managed to get a scratch on the lens, right on the corner. Luckily it is not messing up my photos, but bah, this annoys me...well I was planning on getting a new camera for birthday/Christmas, if I can manage to save the money. The camera I want is a whopping $699 the Nikon D3400, granted I am getting a bundle because I want the lenses, flash, remote, and all that stuff and it is a bit cheaper to get a bundle. This is kinda a big deal, I have wanted an SLR since I was in high school, but could never justify it, but more and more I am getting irritated by the limitations my camera imposes on me, like not having an external flash so I had to cobble a really ghetto flash difuser...and no remote so all my droplet photos are taken by holding super still...and no macro lens for showing off how beautiful the leaves can be! Don't even get me started on how it limits my nature photography, I am tired of making due, I am worth it and getting that camera!! If you are curious, the scratch came from my attempt at using a desk tripod failing a bit, I was tired of crooked photos.

Oh yeah! One of my favorite tea companies has done it again, made a box of intriguing teas packaged in really smart looking packaging. I know I have said it in the previous chapters, but I really like their packaging. Taste of Taiwan Chapter 3 contains Rhythm 21 Black Tea, Shan Lin Xi Oolong, Four Seasons Oolong, and Muzha Iron Goddess Oolong, long time readers will recognize a few great tea loves of mine in this box, so yeah I was excited to dig in.

First up is the Four Seasons Oolong, an excellent beginner, daily drinker, grandpa steeper, all around good Oolong. The aroma of the green tightly rolled leaves is wonderfully sweet, it blends classic green oolong floral sweetness with (also) classic notes of crushed vegetation and growing things. Notes of spicebush flowers, gardenia, chestnut, honeysuckle, and a bit magnolia nectar blend with crisp and refreshing crushed leaves. It reminds me of walking in an overgrown garden and the smell of all the flowers and leaves as you brush past them. Some Oolongs smell of spring, Four Seasons often reminds me of summer. Once I steep the leaves, the aroma reminds me so much of a poplar, from the leaves to the nectar-filled flowers, it is very nostalgic as I no longer live in an area where this tree grows.

One this I really love about Four Seasons Oolong is how approachable it is, I have on several occasions, introduced people to the glory of Taiwanese Oolongs using this type of tea. It is easy to get and easy to brew, and I am pretty sure it is impossible to mess it up while brewing...and believe me, I have tried, which is why it became a staple for having tea on the go in my travel steeper (aka it is grandpa style.) This particular Four Seasons Oolong is pretty fantastic, possibly one of the sweetest, very strong notes of poplar blossoms and magnolia, with undertones of lilies and tulips. Later steeps bring out the green notes of crushed vegetation and a slightly nutty edamame note, though green it does maintain its sweetness til the very end many steeps later.

SHAN LIN XI!!!! Be still my heart, ah one of my great Oolong loves, one that I pretty much never have around because it gets consumed pretty instantaneously. The aroma is fantastic, blending iris, honey, lilacs, tulips, and chestnuts with undertones of fresh alpine air and misty cloudy mountains. I think that is why SLX is such a favorite of mine, it always reminds me of being in the mountains during spring, calling to mind some of my fondest memories. Brewing the tea fills my tea area up with a heady sweet aroma of flowers and crisp mountain air, I am in a happy place sniffing this tea.

Ughh, that mouthfeel has me seeing stars! Thick and creamy with a velvety finish, this tea is not one you taste it is one you feel in every part of your mouth. The taste from the start is pretty intense, flower nectar dances with crisp green vegetation (more coniferous than deciduous this time) and a lingering sweetness that sticks around forever. Iris, tulips, lilac, and sugarcane notes make me happy, this tea makes me happy!! I admit this is not the most nuanced description I have ever given, but SLX is like that, definitely a tea you need to just experience, trust me.

Next up is a real classic, Muzha Iron Goddess Oolong, aka Tie Kuan Yin (or Tie Guan Yin, or TGY, TKY....the tea that introduced me to tea being an art and not just a drink as a has a lot of names) I adore this stuff, it is a MUST, especially when it is chilly or when I am wishing it was autumn. Roasty toasty notes of chestnuts, roasted sesame seeds, toasted grains, freshly toasted bread, and a bit of woodiness mix for a really comforting and sweet aroma. Brewing the tea brings even more toasty-sweet goodness, like honey drizzled grain heavy bread fresh from the oven!

The taste of this tea is like honey drizzled grain heavy bread straight from the oven, with a side of a gently smoldering campfire, toasted sesame candy, and a pile of freshly raked autumn leaves. Seriously it is like a cup full of autumn, but with a better mouthfeel than falling face first into autumn leaves. It is smooth in the beginning steeps, middle steeps have a tiny bit of a sharpness that I usually associate with roasted teas, and the finish is buttery smooth. It has staying power too, lasting for many steeps (I lost count, but it is in the 10-12 range) with a long lasting sweet aftertaste.

Last from the box is Rhythm 21, a black tea made from a hybrid of Kyang and Keemun cultivars, I have only had this style of tea once and it was fascinating, so I was happy to try it from Teaful! The aroma is light but very nuanced, with notes of saffron, malt, peony flowers, dried tomato, cherries, and a touch of sassafras. It blends savory and sweet really well and the aroma is quite complex, I found myself sniffing it for a while enjoying all the layers. After the leaves steep the aroma leans more towards sweet and fruity with a nutty undertone of hazelnuts that was not present in the dry leaves.

So this one is really fun, it has a gentle taste with a powerful brisk yet smooth mouthfeel, I really liked how it was brisk without being dry or astringent, it was almost effervescent in its mouthfeel, really waking up my mouth. When the cup is first poured the taste is nutty, mixing hazelnuts and a bit of woodiness with an underlying tomato savory quality, but if you let it cool a bit the taste becomes really sweet, it is like drinking a different tea! Strong notes of cocoa, cherries, and caramelized yams take over as the dominant notes and that transition was really cool, caught me off guard but I liked it! Later steeps eventually just take over as sweet from the get-go, but those first couple steeps are a trip! Once again Teaful has given me a grand time with their tea and I keep on loving the teas they have...I keep looking forward to whittling my stash down a bit more so I can justify buying more of my favorites...and speaking of, I am going to go get lost in my remaining SLX now!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing amazing experience! It's was nice read for tea lover like me!