Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: 52Teas
It’s one of the things that kind of sticks in my craw–hearing people say that flavored teas are just a way to dress up inferior quality teas and make them more palatable. We ONLY use quality teas here at 52teas. And occasionally, we do something that makes some of the tea purists a little crazy: we flavor an untouchable tea. Occasionally, like with this blend, we take a VERY high quality tea that most places wouldn’t DREAM of tampering with, and we tweak it, just a bit. This week we are offering another in our series of VIT (Very Important Teas) blends, a Gong Fu Ti Kwan Yin. After sampling it unaltered, I decided the already complex sweet/toasty/floral/slightly vegetal flavor of this amazing Ti Kwan Yin would most benefit from just a little tartness to contrast with the other flavors. So I added some organic cranberry flavor and real freeze-dried cranberries (just a few; I don’t want to be accused of short-changing the amazing tea on this one). The result: well, I guess ultimately it’s for you to judge, but I found it amazing.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Cranberry Ti Kwan Yin was a VIT release (a Very Important Tea!) from 52Teas. What a VIT release from 52Teas means to me is that I actually have to place an order – I guess you could say that as a subscriber, I’ve gotten a wee bit spoiled! I love subscribing to 52Teas Tea of the Week program, because I automatically get the tea of the week from 52Teas … I don’t have to worry about missing the weekly announcement and getting to the website too late, only to find out that the tea has sold out. No sold-out worries for me! But when 52Teas decides to release a VIT, then I have to scramble to the website and hope that I’m not too late.
Fortunately, I got in on this tea. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a cranberry flavored Oolong tea before, so I was excited to try this. I mean, the sweet, toasty, creamy taste of a Ti Kwan Yin combined with the tart and tangy notes of cranberry sounds amazing!
And while I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about it with my first couple of sips, I’m finding myself coming around to this tea and I’m liking it. I think that the tea definitely does benefit from some cooling time – this seems to taste better when it’s warm rather than piping hot … and it’s really delightful iced! When served hot, it has a slight … “off” taste that I can’t quite place. But after it’s had a chance to cool slightly, the cranberry flavors come through as well as the delicious notes of the Ti Kwan Yin, and the two meld together quite nicely.
The flavor of the cranberry is tart and maybe just a tad TOO tart for my taste and maybe that’s why I was getting that slightly off taste I mentioned before. As it cools, some of the sweeter notes of the Ti Kwan Yin come through and soften the tartness of the cranberry just a tad. The Ti Kwan Yin has a charcoal-y roasty-toasty taste to it, and I really like that together with the notes of the cranberry, as this seems to bring out some of the sweeter tones of the berry.
Overall, I find this to be a deliciously toasty, nutty, sweet, creamy cuppa with a lovely tart and tangy finish from the cranberry. This is a tea that definitely evokes the spirit of autumn/early winter for me, and makes me wish for a quick return of my favorite season!
A delightful tea – not my favorite VIT from 52Teas but one I’m definitely glad I managed to get my hands on before it sold out! And A quick visit to the available NOW page at 52Teas (aka Zoomdweebies) tells me that this tea is STILL in stock, so if this tea is of interest to you, you better hurry and get some for yourself!
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!