OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby AdamMY » Aug 20th, '12, 20:15

Met up with FlyedPiper today for a Kzoo tea meetup, todays theme Bai Hao. One of the three we had was the Bai Hao Cake from this OTTI.

While we did not take detailed notes, I will say Seth's brewing of this one was pretty good. We both sort of noticed a slight Sheng like aroma from the leaves after the rinse, so Seth decided to treat it like a Sheng. I will say that must have worked, because based on everyone else's reviews I was expecting it to not be that great. Seth used about 7 grams in my Large Tea Gallery Gaiwan, which is memory serves me right is somewhere between 160 and 180 ml, but then brewed it how he would brew a young Sheng.

It did not turn out bitter at all, though you could tell it definitely had the ability with the slightly drying astringency that was slightly noticeable. Though that being said it was not all that exciting of a tea. A definite easy drinker, and good as something to drink while otherwise busy ( with a nice price to match).


I will post more notes later, as I still have my entire sample.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby debunix » Aug 20th, '12, 22:05

Chip wrote:I think I have refunded partial payments to those of you who had paid for 2X samples for this round but received singles.


Aha. The refund didn't have a note attached, but I guessed that was what it was for. I'd rather have had more of these lovely teas, but at least I know where I can find them, when I'm ready.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby David R. » Aug 21st, '12, 12:34

I am afraid I haven't received anything yet...
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby Chip » Aug 21st, '12, 13:42

David R. wrote:I am afraid I haven't received anything yet...

... oh ohhh. I sent them all out on the same day. Nothing was returned yet, though it took months for an OTTI package to be returned from Germany a few OTTIs ago.

Maybe customs smelled something irresistible?

I doubt if I have enough to put together another set. I will check.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby David R. » Aug 21st, '12, 15:55

Don't bother, it is not the end of the world. Besides, I am now finally beginning to receive all the 2012 teas I have ordered, like an avalanche of teas ! So I really can't complain.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby JakubT » Aug 23rd, '12, 05:01

I haven't received anything either... But our post is notorious for its imbecility...
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby debunix » Aug 25th, '12, 01:09

Just enjoyed the end of the Jade Oolong, brewed rather dilutely in a large shiboridashi, almost 'western style'. The tea did not extend as long as it in previous more concentrated infusions, no surprise, but the first few infusions were still warm, rounded, and full of mild vegetal flavor. Tasty.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby debunix » Aug 25th, '12, 01:47

Another OTTI sample ended: the Dong Ding special reserve. Again, a small quantity of sample was left, and the opened leaves barely fill the shiboridashi about a quarter full. I did not time the first infusion, but simply sniffed and when it seemed right, poured. Honey-cherry-chocolate-spice, very nice! Not many infusions in, however, the kettle is empty, and it's getting late. Will set the leaves aside for more tomorrow.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby Gregg » Aug 26th, '12, 13:14

This as a very nice assignment, but it has taken me a while. For me the clear winner is Imperial Pearl, naturally when I went to the site I was not so surprised to see that I was not alone in liking it. I had several sessions, but I did two waves of tasting, one on vacation, the other at home so all samples were tasted in each environment. The vacation notes are always more positive (with one exception) and more nuanced; confirming, for me, that location and mood is a big part of the experience.

I feel many of the teas are good, but not outstanding - but that is against teas I commonly buy that are twice the price or more. The better way of looking at it is that they are a great bargain. That is the way I’m going to look at it when I place my order.

I always tasted the teas using my tiny gaiwan, and generally starting light and moving to 45 - 60 sec infusions. Flash infusions for all but the green teas.

I am not going to rate the smell or the leaves. Leaf quality was consistently good. For several of the teas I wish they imparted more of their aromatics to the brew, the leaves promised more dimensions than I tasted. Particularly with the greens, I always wanted more depth as well.


Jade Pearl: 3.75 for price
Nice green oolong. It may not be the best candidate for gong fu short infusions. Lemon/citrus cereal taste that is only a shadow of the scent of the brewed leaves.

Still, a good green sense. For me, even at a lower temp, the corn predominates – though if the word was not put in my head I wonder what I would have called it? Not nearly as floral as many green oolongs I have tried recently. Maybe as my experience grows I’ll be able to extract more out of the leaves?

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LiShan 4.0 for price
I have a couple of other LiShan’s at the moment so while the green quality is nice, it does not carry the tea. I did not want to go head to head with the other LiShans since this style is so much “greener” than my others. I wanted to drink the tea for what it was. Actually I am looking for more affordable greens to take to work for casual old man style drinking, but I am looking for depth to carry through rather than a decent taste from a concentrated (gong fu) serving. Lovely color though.

Maybe I am not a green oolong guy, let green be green?

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Medium Roast Taiwan Tie Guan Yin 4.0 (4.5 for price)
Starts with a strong roast taste. The second infusion gives a nice touch of sour (leading to pleasant astringency with later sips). Mid-level apricot/peach note, no overpowering or “flavored” fruit taste - which I do not to like in TGY. Looking forward to the roast lessening. This tea, while not the most robust, has a lot of profiles and benefited from a wide variety of temperatures and timings. I had to temper my curiosity because it tended to taste best after cooling off; the mouth feel was a major improvement as well. With patience I found that it had a well-balanced, slightly astringent, subtle mix of roast and fruit. The world is full of TGY, but it might be worth playing with, particularly at the price.


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Dong Ding Special Reserve 3.75 for price
Another tea that I have had a lot of recently. At first there is the spice, it’s a bit much, I find this in several DD, and an aged oolong I just bought from Floating Leaves, kind of a Raid taste. I don’t know enough to give it a more natural name, sorry. It lessens after the first infusion. The roast makes it different than my other samples, but the balance is one I really ended up liking, still it seems middle of the road.

Smelling the leaves in the gaiwan, the scent turns from that "spice" to soapy floral. Odd?

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Imperial Pearl 4.5 (5 for price)
My favorite of the bunch (by far) I really enjoyed the depth, and feel of this tea. I do wonder if the cocoa might get wearing with extended drinking - buy I’ll be finding out soon enough.

1. Cocoa, nice roast blend. A very nice oolong/green hint in the finish.
2. Dried fruit emerging, a hint of a veg/floral element. Very nice. Wonder if the roast and floral will coalesce.

Before starting the third infusion I examined the leaves and thought that they smelled wonderful. A shorter infusion brought out more of the floral quality and lessened the roast/cocoa/barley. In my two sessions the third had the essence of what I was looking for in the tea, the cocoa lessened and the fruit and roast mingled. Not much left for a forth infusion, by now the leaves had that lemon/citrus smell of the lighter teas. I am very interested in playing with a larger sample since the promise of complexity is very compelling.

The tea stays with you in the best way.

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Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) "Cake" 2.75
My least favorite. It might make a good iced tea. One note. Maybe I was expecting more from the cake aspect?
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby FlyedPiper » Aug 31st, '12, 18:35

Round 2 of reviews for me. As before reviews are taking price vs quality into consideration.

Medium Roast Dong Ding-

Brewed a little light for my taste... sort of had clashing flavors for me... like the roast was an afterthought and wasn't really necessary. Didn't really flow together as well as I thought it would. Not an unpleasant tea, but I actually liked the TGY better.

3.5/5

Bai Hao cake-

When brewed like a sheng puerh (which is what this tea reminded me of) it came out drinkable, but pretty uninteresting. When pushed the tea became bitter and more like a bad sheng. My least favorite of the offerings. *To be fair I was sampling this tea along with a couple of other really decent OB samples, so this may have slanted my ranking a half point or so. Not a bad tea, just not a great Bai Hao.

2/5

Imperial Pearl-

Not normally the type of tea I would select, but I was very pleasantly surprised with this one. Rich and creamy, chocolatey. Very satisfying, wonderful tea that could hold it's own with a lot of teas in a higher price range IMO. I will be ordering this one along with the Lishan.

5/5

I must say I was impressed with the company overall. They will be my "daily" gaoshan provider until (if and when) I find something better for the price (not likely). Great stuff :mrgreen:
Last edited by FlyedPiper on Sep 8th, '12, 12:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby debunix » Sep 5th, '12, 01:05

Brewing the Oriental Beauty up gently brewed and quite dilute, and it is mellow, subtle, fruity, plummy, delicious. I do find a hint of astringency that I think is what leads some tasters to compare it to a young sheng puerh, but I've never tasted a young sheng with this kind of fruitiness. Delicious.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby hopeofdawn » Sep 5th, '12, 11:01

Have tried a couple more rounds of this OTTI--wasn't paying as close attention to water temp/ounces, but here are my thoughts:

Special Reserve Dong Ding--
I really wanted this to live up to its name--but sadly, was not impressed. I brewed this with water just off the boil to about 165 degrees, over several successive steeps, and it always remained fairly one-note and astringent. Not undrinkable, but definitely not to my taste, at least for Chinese-style brewing. I'd give it a 3.

Jade Oolong--
At least I assume this is what it is, since the labels apparently fell off in transit! :D But by process of elimination, I'm pretty sure that's what it was. I decided to put this one to the test with intense brewing--dumped 10 grams into a 300 ml pot, and brewed it with water just off the boil down to 165 degrees or so, over at least 5-6 brews. Unfortunately, my initial impression was that it tasted like a poor quality tie guan yin, and subsequent brews never really changed that. Very green, very harsh, not a whole lot of pleasant sweetness or interesting other notes to offset that flavor profile, at least to my palate. I ended up throwing out the leaves before they were completely exhausted (unusual for me!), just because I couldn't face drinking any more of it. I'd give this one a 2.5.

Overall, I'd have to agree with other reviewers that Imperial Pearl is a lovely tea, a definite keeper (and I've ordered some more, in fact), with the roasted Tie Guan Yin coming in second as a pleasant everyday tea. The Oriental Beauty cake I'm still reserving judgement on--I need to brew it a couple more times, I think, to solidify my opinion. And the Lishan, Jade Oolong, and Dong Ding were not teas I'd go out of my way to buy, sadly. Though I may try brewing my remaining samples Western-style--maybe that would improve my results.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby Math » Sep 7th, '12, 08:16

Oriental beauty cake

My first OB cake, also my first OB.

Shengish harshness on the first few infusions. Nice hongcha taste with a very nice orange zest flavour in later infusions, developing into raspberry flavors. For me the brews started to get really good from 5-6th brew and onwards. Amazing durability and full delivery good into a 15-16th brew, intoxicating cha qi peaking in 8th-10th infusion. This was a really good full flavored tea with good energy. The tea could go on but I had to leave, thus the session came to a close.

Over all very enjoyable tea.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby Remick » Sep 14th, '12, 16:16

Jade -

Well, the last couple of reviews didn't give me much hope of enjoying this one. After two sessions however, it's my favorite of the bunch. I knew it was green oolong, so I brewed it like I would sencha. Why? It was green. Sencha is green. Don't hate me.

Anyway, first infusion was very light in color but flavorful. Leaves stayed closed until the third. Second infusion built on the first, while the third was always the best. Sweet peas, some grass (with just a bit of astringency), a whisper of umami in the aroma, very good. If you keep pushing it longer and hotter with successive steeps, you'll add some sweet corn and finish with honeyed sweetwater. Price adjusted, 4.5, easy.

The Dong Ding was fine.The Imperial pearl was okay.

Yes, Imperial Pearl, just okay. Maybe I am inept with stuff that's not green. While the chocolate was surprising and nice, there was an aroma coming off of the wet leaves that didn't work for me. Maybe it smells like different things to different people. Didn't do a thing for me. :wink:
Last edited by Remick on Sep 22nd, '12, 02:30, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: OTTI 15 MountainTea, Range of Taiwan Oolong

Postby Chip » Sep 14th, '12, 20:42

It is pretty amazing how varied participants have been on this tasting.

I feel I have to comment on the Imperial Pearl posting above by Remick. Maybe your sample has somehow become contaminated or your tasters are out of whack. It is simply unfair to the vendor to make parallels to bug spray and bug repellent when this is simply not the case. OTTI vendors rely on sales of their teas for their livelihoods, and I feel we need to be responsible when we find something drastically wrong to ask questions before posting.

I will go this far, sometimes there is an olfactory memory trigger with some teas. I happen to find many Dan Cong remind me of the smell of a natorium (even though I have not been in one for a couple decades), odd but true. I know this is not the actual case, but aroma memory is likely playing a trick on me, and it is hard to get past as hard and as often as I have tried with many DCs.

However clearly the complex Imperial Pearl which is a worthy award winner is not like bug repellent.
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