Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Nan Nuo Shan

AnxiTieGuanYinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

This tea is produced in Gande, a village famous for the complexity of its Tie Guan Yin tea.  Clear and fragrant, it possesses a mild flowery taste and a milky texture.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  In an effort to get all the reviews finished that I want to get finished before May 31st, I’ll be writing about a lot more Oolongs!  No complaints from me!  I love Oolong!

And this Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Nan Nuo Shan is so delightful.  Sweet and floral with a beautifully silky texture!  It’s smooth from start to finish.

My first cup (infusions 1 – 3 … smaller gaiwan!) has very little astringency.  I do notice a slight drying sensation toward the tail.  Mostly what I notice is the sweet honey-like flavor that is accentuated with the soft, creamy texture and the lovely floral notes that evoke thoughts of orchid.  No sharpness with this first cup – it has an almost vanilla-y flavor to it.  Sweet, creamy and luscious!

And that cup was GONE before I could finish writing about it – that’s how delightful it tastes!

My second cup was stronger in flavor than the first.  The creamy notes have waned and I’m not picking up on as much of the vanilla flavors that I noticed in the first cup.  It’s still quite delicious but definitely different than the first cup.  The floral notes are more pronounced now.  I still get that lovely honey-like sweetness.  The texture isn’t as silky as the first cup but I’m still noticing very little astringency here.

This cup seems to be more rounded – it’s not as sweet as the first – it’s more balanced between sweet and savory elements.

My third cup (infusions 7 – 9) was still really flavorful, even after so many infusions!  That’s one thing you’ve got to love about Oolong tea – they deliver on the flavor and on mileage!  They keep on steeping!

The cup was not quite as strong as the second cup.  The floral notes were softer than the second cup, but stronger than the first.  I still get that delicious honeyed note and I’m starting to pick up on the faintest notes of fruit now.  Apple!  Sweet and even hints of tart that provide a palate-pleasing roundness of flavor.

A really nice Tie Guan Yin, one of the nicest I’ve ever had!  I have been so impressed with the teas that I’ve tried from Nan Nuo Shan these teas are of exceptional quality … seriously, if you haven’t tried anything from them yet, I recommend them highly!

Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

anjibaichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Anji Bai Cha owns a delicate, soft and relaxing taste, with a light sweet aftertaste.

Characteristic of this green tee variety is the colour of the leaves, rather white than green; in Chinese, baimeans white. The lack of pigment is due to the low chlorophyll content of the plant.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf of this Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is so beautiful!  It looks almost like pine needles – but it doesn’t smell like it!  It has a delicate aroma, smelling lightly sweet and slightly vegetal.

To brew this, I suppose I could have reached for my Gaiwan (they are very similar to a silver needle, after all) but I decided to grab my Kati Tumbler instead.  I couldn’t measure this leaf with my bamboo scoop because the leaves just didn’t really work very well for it, so I simply used my fingers to pinch some tea out of the packet and into the basket of my Kati and eyeballed it when it looked to me to be about a bamboo scoop’s worth.

Then I added hot water (175°F) and let the tea steep for 1 1/2 minutes.  The brewed tea is so light in color – a pale, yellowish green.  The aroma is also quite light and gave me the initial impression that the overall flavor would be equally as light.

But it isn’t!  This is a very flavorful tea despite it’s rather delicate appearance and fragrance.

Sweet!  I taste notes of sweet grass and hints of flower in the distance.  It’s a very smooth and relaxing flavor.  There is some dry astringency toward the finish, it’s almost as if the tea is gently patting my palate dry to ready it for the next sip.

There is a light ‘airiness’ to this tea, like the flavor of the air in a meadow.  The grassy notes and whispers of flower that mingle in the air as a gentle breeze filters through.  As I continue to sip, I taste notes of melon – a sweet, juicy melon!

A delight to sip, this sweet tea that calms me with each sip.  This is de-stress at it’s best!

Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuaXiangTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Mineral, slightly roasted, with clear floral hints. Hua Xiang Rougui is a well-balanced tea with a brisk, full and clean flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm … this Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is so nice!  It’s one of those Oolong teas that I just want to curl up to and enjoy.  It’s one of those types of teas that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and cozy when you drink it.

I brewed this the way I’d brew most Oolongs:  in my gaiwan.  I heat the kettle to 180°F and let the tea steep for 15 seconds.  Then I strained the liquid and discarded it – this is called the rinse.  Need to awaken those leaves!  I resteeped the leaves, this time for 45 seconds and strained the liquid into my teacup.  For each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds.  My first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2, while my second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … you get the idea, right?

This first cup is warm and wonderful.  I taste notes of mineral and a sweet, roasted fruit note, reminiscent of what a roasted peach might taste like.  Notes of flower weave their way throughout the sip.  I taste a very subtle note of what I want to call cinnamon, although it’s not as warm/spicy as a cinnamon note would be.  This is a subdued cinnamon flavor that i’m tasting.

The second cup was even nicer than the first – with intense, sweet fruit notes that taste like the aforementioned roasted peach along with the sweetness of dried fruit.  Like the sweetness of a dried apricot and raisins.  The spice notes are still there – still warm yet subdued.  The mineral notes have softened somewhat.  This cup seems more intently focused on the delectable sweetness of the fruit.  The flavors were more intense but the overall cup was smoother.

With my third cup, I noticed the flavors starting to wane a little bit so I decided that I’d make this my last cup.  I’m tasting the mineral notes again, almost to the same level that I tasted them in the first cup.  It was kind of odd to me that I barely noticed them at all with the second cup but now they seem to be as pronounced as they were in the first cup.  Still sweet, still fruity, but with a little less of the dried fruit notes.  This time, I’m picking up on more floral flavors, notes of what I want to describe as gardenia with hints of orchid.  I’m even picking up on notes of honey!

A truly remarkable tea – this is one that you definitely want to take through the different infusions – because there are so many layers of flavor to be discovered.

Yixing Hong Cha Black Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

Yixing Hong ChaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Yixing Hong Cha −also called Yangxian Hong Cha− is a famous black tea. The dry leaves are straight, tender and dark in color. Usually two leaves and a bud or one leaf and one bud are picked.

The infusion is characterized by an intense smell. Fresh Yixing Hong Cha is yellow-red in color, and brighter than other famous Chinese black teas like Qi Hong (Qimen) and Dian Hong (Yunnan). It feels a little bit sour on the root of one’s teeth, but mellow, smooth and refreshing at the same time. It has an indescribable smell, very natural, and a lingering finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yes!  I love this tea!  This Yixing Hong Cha Black Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is absolutely exquisite!

Sweet with remarkable cacao notes and hints of caramel undertones.  Fruit notes that offer a sweet note with a hint of sour, like you might experience after you’ve taken a bite of a fresh plum.

It’s a full-bodied tea, strong yet mild.  It’s not aggressive.  It’s not bitter or overly astringent.  It’s smooth and rich.  I get an almost dry cacao note toward the end of the sip, almost like the flavor of a top quality cocoa powder but not quite as bitter as the cocoa powder would be.  This has all that wonderful flavor of chocolate but without a strong bitterness, almost like dark chocolate.

To brew this tea, I used my Kati tumbler and measured out a bamboo scoop of the tea into the basket.  I added 12 ounces of boiling water and let it steep for 3 minutes.

For those of you who are missing Dawn from Simple Leaf – I highly suggest trying this tea.  THIS is AMAZING!

Huang Ya Yellow Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuangYaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

A truly original yellow tea produced according to a traditional recipe in an ancient Chinese tea region. The sprouts are picked when still tiny and tender to be carefully processed in small batches.

The taste is very clear and rich, refreshing but not fresh. Warm, brisk and mineral with hints of hay and a pleasant, slightly sweet, aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

For those of you who are familiar with my love of tea, you are probably aware that yellow tea is my favorite variety of tea.  So when Nan Nuo Shan offered to send me their new harvest of Huang Ya Yellow Tea, I leaped at the opportunity.  Yes PLEASE!

To brew this, I got out my gaiwan.  They sent me 6 grams of the tea and since I have a fairly large gaiwan, I poured the whole 6 grams of tea into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I gave the tea a 15 second rinse and followed it with six infusions (1 minute for the first infusion with 15 seconds additional steep time for each subsequent infusion).  All six infusions fit quite nicely in my YiXing mug designated for yellow teas.

And how I love this tea.  It’s so lovely!

Before I proceed with the review, I wanted to highlight some information on the Nan Nuo Shan website about yellow tea that I found rather interesting:

The production of yellow tea is not only difficult but also risky. During yellowing the tea might turn moldy, causing the lost of precious raw leaves. So former yellow tea producers decided to focus on more popular and risk-free green teas or at least to shorten the yellowing phase to few hours instead of days, thus producing yellow tea undistinguishable from green tea.

That is something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing yellow tea in the future.  It’s important to communicate with your tea purveyor to find out what you can about production of your teas!

This tea!  It is pure loveliness and joy in liquid form.

Sweet!  The tea is sweet with a lovely contrasting note of bitter toward the end of the sip.  This is not the “oh no, I steeped the tea incorrectly” kind of bitter.  This is not an off-putting kind of bitter.  It’s a delicate, savory note that contrasts with the sweetness and adds complexity to every sip.  It hints at the layers of flavor that are waiting to be explored by the sipper.

It has a soft, creamy texture that is similar to a Chinese green tea but without the strong, grassy/vegetative and/or kelp-y taste that you might notice with a typical green.  Hints of butter with a light, tangy quality that reminded me a little of the tangy note that I might experience from buttermilk.

It’s lightly earthy as opposed to what I’d call vegetal, but the earthy tones are vegetal tasting.  It doesn’t taste like earth as in loam or peat, it tastes like an earthy green taste.  Like kale that has been cooked to perfection:  earthy with a little bit of bitter and and a hint of tangy.  Only this is better because it also has that delightful sweetness!  I’d take a cup of this over a plate of kale anytime!

It’s so smooth.  There’s no astringency.  Even the tangy quality here – it’s a flavor without the sensation that accompanies an astringent tea.  This is one of the very best yellow teas I’ve yet to encounter.  I highly recommend this to all who are looking to expand their experience with yellow tea!  (All of you, right?)  It’s an incredibly beautiful tea!