Fire Roasted Oolong / Esteemed Tea Collective

Tea packaged in a plastic bag is a big no-no for me. Wasn’t expecting much from this tea because of that but this is one of those times when one enjoys being wrong. This is a hidden gem. One of those teas that could easily be messed up at any point in the brewing process or ruined by eating while drinking. And yet… it’s such an easy tea to brew as long as you stick by it and savor every minute of it.  My nose is thoroughly perplexed by the dry leaf aroma. It smelled like men’s cologne and it’s really messing with my senses. Maybe I touched something? I have no idea… So the aroma is off for me but the flavor is exceptional. The leaves are exceptional. Tightly wrapped leaves.

So far in this tasting journey it has been tasted every 20-30 seconds after the first minute. The best flavor is experienced within the first 1-2 minutes. The clear and very slightly ambered broth looks as if it would carry no taste but it has this amazing sweetness to it. A slight astringency but it’s almost not worth noting.

The website is impressive. Sleek and stylish but also somewhat Japanese in the way that everything is simple. For a purist like myself I truly love companies like these because they focus on single origin and single batch teas. No blends, just straight up tea, like it’s meant to be.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Esteemed Tea Collective
Description:

Tasting notes: Fresh flavor with a touch of roasted barley, full-bodied with a sweet long aftertaste. This tea has been lightly roasted to preserve the taste and freshness.

Mood/Benefits: A great choice after a meal to clear up your palate and aid digestion, or as a Five o’clock tea to freshen yourself up after the exhausting day. Contains high theine content (tea caffeine), vitamins and minerals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Green Oolong / Verdant

An aroma sweet like passion fruit custard.

Appearance twisted, crocodile skin green. Two leaves and a bud attached to a twig. Unfurl, gently, in water not so hot. The steam rises with bouquets of asparagus. They find your lips, those bouquets, and you wonder if you are not drinking a Camellia Sinensis but a Asparagus officinalis broth.

Minerality follows, slight but rounds the flavor out nicely. Cleansing mouthfeel with a bit of astringency in the aftertaste. This oolong has a much lower oxidation level then most.

Mr. He, tea master, has produced this tea to have almost the same percentage of oxidation that a Bilouchun does according to their special note included with the box.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This tea is the He Family’s answer to the challenge that oolong is only for southern China. Despite Laoshan Village only having fifty years of tea cultivation and oolong being the most technically demanding kind of tea in the world to produce, Mr. He comes through brilliantly. The careful kneading and rolling brings out a beautiful, pure expression of the minerality of the soil and the water. This tea is processed without a roast for a true green flavor of Laoshan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chinese Fenghuang Dancong Oolong Tea Honey Rhyme Mellow Grade One / AprTea

Ready for a tea test?

Have someone pull up this tea before you look at the type and look at a picture -What did you guess?

I chose black. Wrong. This is an oolong.

While a bit confusing in just appearance, it actually makes sense once you take a look at the processing. This is yet another superb tea by AprTea.

No aroma notes to talk about in the dry leaf. Yet it still is a nice tea to look at. Whole leaves, dark chocolate in color. Twisted with care. The best flavor comes between a minute to three and a half minutes.

The aroma cup reveals scents of sweet honeysuckle mixed with other floral hints. Silky mouth-feel with a very slight astringency in the aftertaste if steeped longer than three minutes. If steeped longer then 6 minutes… don’t do that. Just don’t.

Luckily I save a cup from my previous steep the flavor starts sweet with a mix of floral flavors spring floral leads to summer floral the longer you steep it. Longer steeps also lead to introductions with earthy tones.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Apr Tea

Description:

Fenghuang (Phoenix) Dancong Tea:The main origin place of Phoenix Dancong tea is Chaozhou Phoenix Mountain, it is rare high flavor famous tea whose natural floral tea is the most lofty, has most diverse floral types with mellow and sweet taste, special charm in our tea resources.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Li Shan/Harney and Sons. . .

This tea tastes like it was poured out of a very delicate porcelain teapot by an expert. It’s a delicate green pollen, pooling in your cup, soothing you during difficult times. It’s classic; it’s timeless; it’s fancy. It’s exactly what I’d expect to taste at a non-matcha tea ceremony.

When I was in Phildelphia’s Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, I actually accidentally walked into a class where they were teaching tea ceremonies. I didn’t realize it was a class. There was no note. There was just a person speaking to some other people, sitting on a mat. I thought it was a tour guide or something and got — unceremoniously — thrown out.

I think that, if I had stayed, I would have learned the art of distributing this tea to my companions with grace. These leaves deserve fine treatment after, as Harney’s site claims, “battl[ing] cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists,” resulting in a “rare and haunting” quality. I could have poured this pale yellow tea with a delicate wrist motion. People would have sipped it out of clay cups like these.

Alas, I’m drinking it out of a mug I got from Hot Topic for $5. I guess I’ll never be as classy as my tastes.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Harney and Sons

Description

Li Shan, considered to be among the best oolong teas in the world, comes from one of Taiwan’s highest mountain areas. The tea plants must battle cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists. This makes a rare and haunting brew, with echoes of honey and cream.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Qi Lan/Old Ways Tea . . . .

Good morning, Tea-ple! It’s time for another review! Today we’re trying Qi Lan from Old Ways Tea, an oolong from China’s Wuyi mountains.

The first word that springs to mind is “tangy!” (With the exclamation point. Don’t leave that out).

There’s a metallic taste with almost a citrus feel to this tea. It’s almost the equivalent of the sound of rain tapping on a tin roof. It’s pennies and earth and rust, converted into tea form.

I’m not sure that sounds appealing; but I can assure you, this is a pleasing blend. It’s surprising and rusty and homey.

It’s a meditation session in a gazebo in a forest. It’s a wishing fountain. It’s a ceremonial gong being struck. It’s a martial arts scene set in the rain.

It’s my morning choice, and I like it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea

Description

This Qi Lan tea can be described as qing xiang meaning having a gentle fragrance. The fragrance is well rounded leaving a pleasant Wuyi mineral flavor and returning sweetness. I think that our Qi Lan turned out quite good this year.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!