2003 Reserve Four Seasons Oolong Tea from Butiki Teas


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Our aged oolong is sourced from the Dong Ding tea growing region of Nantou County in Taiwan and was harvested in the spring of 2003. The varietal is Si Ji Chuan also known as Four Season. Our aged oolong was crafted by blend master Chen Pei Wen and is re-roasted every 2-3 years to minimize moisture content. 2003 Reserve Four Season Oolong is a rich full-bodied silky tea. The charcoal-colored leaves of this smooth oolong produce notes of honey suckle, bark, and grass and has a natural sweetness with no astringency present. This tea is also low in caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf of this 2003 Reserve Four Seasons Oolong Tea from Butiki Teas surprised me a little.  Normally, when I smell an Oolong, I smell floral notes, or sometimes hints of vegetation or sometimes fruit tones.  I didn’t smell any of these notes … instead, I could detect notes of earth and even a pipe tobacco-y kind of scent.  My SororiTea Sister, Azzrian, described the scent as

reminiscent of a campfire, or an old library, slightly musty, with a hint of leather

and yeah … I get those comparisons as well.  It definitely has an “old” kind of smell … like something I’d associate with a distinguished, elderly, well-read gentleman who smokes a pipe.

Given the hint of earth to the aroma, I expected this tea to have an almost pu-erh-ish kind of flavor to it, even though it’s an Oolong.  And it does have a flavor that is vaguely similar to that of an earthy pu-erh.  But it is also very Oolong-ish in many respects … like a dark, charcoal-roasted Oolong.

It is indeed earthy, but I do not find the earthy tones to be overwhelming or off-putting.  I like the way these earthy tones mingle with the roasted notes, creating an almost “coffee-like” taste to me.  It has a sweetness that reminds me of molasses.  Very distant floral notes in the distance … these are almost overpowered by the strong roasted tones, but, if I focus on the flavors I can taste them.  In the foreground, there are notes of leather, tobacco and oak.  This is definitely a masculine kind of tea … very rugged and yet very distinguished.

I really enjoyed this tea … and I enjoyed taking it through its paces as it delivered many wonderful, delicious infusions.  This is one tea that is definitely worth the time to get to know, especially if you’re one who appreciates a truly unique Oolong!

Prosperity Cube Pu-erh Tea (Year 2003) from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Product Description:

From the ancient halls of Chinese herbal science comes a special tea that is designed to call out to the spiritual world; Prosperity Pu-Erh Tea! When civilization was born, Chinese healers developed the arts of Feng Shui, writing, and herbology, and the Prosperity Cube. The Cube is a compressed block of herbs that have been specially prepared with sticky syrup and a small square mold. A Chinese character is applied to the cube during the molding process, as a spiritual call for a certain quality. When shared with family, the Prosperity Cube can be amazingly effective in lifting the financial burdens of the participants. Packed with just as many health benefits as other tea varities, Pu-Erh tea such as the Prosperity Cube make excellent sipping teas for those looking for a traditional Chinese taste.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve come to realize that not all Pu-erh teas are the same.  Just like with any tea type there are good Pu-erh teas and there are not-so-good Pu-erh.  This Prosperity Cube from Red Leaf Tea happens to be one of the good ones!

This Pu-erh is incredibly flavorful – and very pleasantly sweet!  The aroma of the dry leaf is a little earthy, but in comparison to some other Pu-erh teas I’ve encountered, I would say that the earthiness here is rather mild.

The steeped tea smells a bit more like damp wood than of earth, and there is a sweet kind of aroma to it too that reminds me a bit of caramelized sugar.  That caramel essence translates into the flavor very well, in fact, this is one of the sweetest Pu-erh teas that I’ve yet to try.  It isn’t the “deep undertone of caramel-y sweetness” that I often describe when reviewing Pu-erh, this is a sweet, caramel syrup overtone that is front and center.

It is incredibly smooth and there is no bitterness whatsoever.  I am also having a hard time discerning any hint of astringency to this cup.  It is just smooth and sweet from start to finish, with an oaken undertone and a hint of earth that hits just after the start.

If you’re like me and have had one or more unpleasant Pu-erh experiences in the past, don’t let that stop you from trying more.  If you do, you are only depriving yourself of what is indeed a fascinating journey of discovery.  On my journey, I am discovering so many wonderful Pu-erh teas there are out there to enjoy!

And if you’ve decided that maybe you should give Pu-erh one more try, I recommend starting with this Prosperity Cube from Red Leaf Tea.  One taste of it and you’ll have a hard time remembering what “bad” Pu-erh is like … this one is THAT good!