This tea sample came to me in a crisp, red and gold package with simple, symbolic instructions and the tea’s name: Huang Guan Yin or Yellow Goddess of Mercy. With a name like that, it certainly felt special to crack the seal on the red and gold foil and pour the lovely dark tea leaves into my teapot. The dry leaves smelled faintly musky, like newly-turned earth, but were otherwise very mild.
I did a little more research on brewing tips beyond the information on the package and found that this is a wuji oolong, meant to be steeped for a short period of time over a few sessions.
For the first brew, the leaves quickly turned the water dark. The brew smelled toasty and rich, like caramel and burnt sugar. I always tend to associate oolongs with the fruity, floral, green notes, but then I encounter a tea like this, heavily oxidized, and am reminded that some oolongs can be just as bold and dark as black teas.
Upon further steeping, the brew has stronger sweet rice and breakfast cereal tones among all the toasty caramel notes. The mouthfeel gets smoother with each steep, and brings out a oddly fruity note, a bit like raisins. Beneath all these flavors there is a musky depth, slightly sour and reminiscent of tobacco.
This was a delicious bold oolong, rich and full of complex and tasty flavors. Though the tea itself isn’t yellow, I still love the name, Yellow Goddess of Mercy. Have mercy on yourself after a long day and have a tea session with this oolong to help bring you comfort and solace.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Old Ways Tea
Also known as 105 this tea is a cross between Tie Guan Yin and Huang Jin Gui. The name Huang Guan Yin means Yellow Goddess of Mercy. This is the newest Wuyi oolong cultivar, having been introduced in 2003 by the Fujian Tea Research Institute.
Huang Guan Yin is interesting since in many ways it is one of the least traditional of the teas being produced in the Wuyi mountains. It is newly developed, and has genetic origins outside the original mountains. At the same time it is often packaged in a bag reading “Da Hong Pao” and processed in the same manner as the other Wuyi teas. The interplay between new and old provides for an interesting experience. Personally, I greatly enjoy this tea and when I can not decide which to brew will grab a bag of Huang Guan Yin.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Grand Tea
2014 Spring Limited Edition: Green Dan Cong
Green Dan Cong is unusual light oxidized (approx.8%) and incredibly floral. The taste of it reminds of high grade green tea which is refreshing, pure and sweet.
Because Green Dan Cong is so delicate and fresh, the best way to preserve the flowery aroma would be keep it air tight in the refrigerator.
Learn more about this tea here.
Mmm! SO GOOD!
This Green Dan Cong Oolong from Grand Tea is the best Dan Cong Oolong that I can remember ever tasting. It’s so light and flavorful. As the description above suggests, the very light oxidation gives this tea a “high grade green tea” taste but it has a creamy, soft texture that you’d expect from a greener Oolong.
So sweet! The aroma is very floral and the taste has a strong flowery essence but I like that the sharper floral notes are somewhat softened by the aforementioned creamy notes. It has that light freshness of a green tea, vegetal without bitterness. It’s not really “grassy” but more like mild steamed veggies with a drizzle of butter.
This tea reminds me of spring, when everything starts to come to life again. The grass is growing, the leaves on the trees are budding and you can smell that freshness in the air. Flowers are beginning to bloom after a cold winter. The aromatic air of spring is what I smell when I smell the tea and that’s what I taste when I take a sip.
Later infusions were a little less creamy and softly flavored, I found that as I continued to infuse the leaves, more of the floral notes emerged – these are lovely! – and I could taste soft notes of fruit and the vegetal notes coming forward slightly. This never really becomes a strongly “vegetative” tasting Oolong. This is more ‘floral’ than anything, so for those of you who love a delightfully flowery Oolong – you’ve got to try this one!
The dry leaf reminds me of a green tea more than it does an Oolong because when it comes to “green” Oolongs, I have come to expect a tightly wound pellet. These leaves look a little more like a Chinese Sencha leaf, but the leaves are deeper and darker in color. They have a strong floral fragrance with notes of grass.
I brewed this tea in my gaiwan. First I steeped the leaves for about 15 seconds to “rinse” them. Then I strained the liquid and discarded it. Then I steeped for 45 seconds for the first infusion and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion. This tea holds up through multiple infusions quite well, and I got eight very flavorful infusions from one measurement of leaves.
A truly pleasurable experience, this Green Dan Cong. If you love Oolong tea – this one should be on your must try list, if for no other reason than that it’s quite unique from any other Oolong that I’ve tried. Every tea lover should be trying this tea!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Nepali Tea Traders
Our rare tea from Sandakphu has been oxidized longer than many Oolongs, producing a deep caramel color and taste. This is a rich, complex, full-bodied oolong unique to Nepal. Full-leaf, loose tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I received my package from Nepali Tea Traders, this tea in particular really grabbed my attention. I love Oolong teas, and I love it when I find one from Nepal! I’ve had only a handful of Nepalese Oolong teas and I’ve loved every single one of them, so I knew that I was in for a treat with this Wild Yeti Oolong Tea.
My first cup is comprised of a combination of the first and second infusions (following a 15 second rinse). It is sweet with notes of honeyed caramel and fruit. The fruit notes are like a cross between sweet plum and a ripe, juicy peach. Sweet, woodsy tones, and layers of floral tones. A really lovely cuppa!
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) brewed up darker than the first, looking a little bit like a black tea rather than a dark Oolong! The flavors are stronger: this is a full-flavored Oolong! Nicely round with sweet and sour fruit notes, hints of flower in the distance and warm woodsy tones. Even though we’re enjoying spring at the moment, this has such an autumnal taste to it that it is evoking beautiful, cozy memories of autumn.
The third and final cup (infusions five and six) was still very flavorful, but I did notice the flavors begin to soften. The flavors were less distinct, instead of tasting a clear and well-defined note of fruit, I could taste a subtle fruit sweetness. But, don’t let that stop you from going the distance with this tea and infusing it five and six times, because I also noticed a very interesting brown sugar-y note that was quite a surprise. It’s well worth the effort to keep on steepin’!
A really lovely Oolong from Nepal! If you’re a fan of Oolong, you should really expand your Oolong horizons and try this one!
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.
South African Red Bush or Rooibos Tea is a pure and natural herbal blend. Freshly harvested and finely chopped rooibos goes through a process of oxidation with the aid of the oxygen from the atmosphere and subsequently dried int he sun to produce a deep mahogany red cup of which is one of the most popular and healthy herbal drinks today.
“Tea of Life” is proud to introduce five New Naturally Caffeine Free Rooibos Teas combined with Dark Chocolate with delicious natural fruit and mint flavors for your enjoyment – all day and into the evening.
These dark chocolate rooibos blends from Tea of Life are really good. The chocolate is rich and dark and there’s a good amount of chocolate flavor to the blend. I’m really enjoying this Rooibos Chocolate Vanilla blend – LOTS of chocolate flavor with a sweet, creamy vanilla undertone.
I taste hints of honeyed, nutty sweetness from the rooibos, but, I like that the flavor of the rooibos isn’t as pronounced as the dark chocolate notes and the notes of vanilla. Normally, I want the flavor of the “tea” to be the star of the cup, but, since this is rooibos and I’m not particularly a big rooibos fan, I like that I am only getting a little bit of the flavor of the rooibos.
Plus, we’re talking chocolate here, and when it comes to chocolate, more chocolate is always better. I really can’t think of any instance when that isn’t true. And this has a strong chocolate presence. The sweet notes of vanilla give this cup an almost “milk chocolate-y” sort of taste, and I like the way the two – chocolate and vanilla – meld together in this cup.
A really tasty cup.
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Tea Purchased from Mint Tea
Product Available Online at Strand Tea
Rooibos Spice Caffeine Free Herbal Tea. Organic Red Rooibos blended with Natural Cacao Bits, Ginger Pieces, Cinnamon Bark, Chicory Root, Barley Malt, Cardamom Pods, and Black Peppercorns. What a great winter tea! Rich & flavorful, sure to be a favorite treat any time of year.
I bought this tisane when I visited the Mint Tea Shop in Vancouver, Washington some time ago. I knew that they obtained some of their teas from Strand Tea, including this one.
While some of the ingredients in this Rooibos Spice Tisane from Mint Tea appear to be chai-like, and the flavor of the tisane is somewhat chai-esque, there’s some other flavors going on here that I don’t usually find in a chai.
Like chicory and barley malt, for example. The chicory gives the drink a coffee-ish background note, a deep, roasted sort of flavor that accentuates the spices in a really interesting way. I also enjoy the way the chicory and the cacao work together. I also taste the malty tones from the barley malt, giving the cup a “grainy” flavor that adds an intriguing depth.
The spices are well-defined here. I taste the cinnamon throughout the sip, and there is a backdrop of pepper and ginger. The cardamom adds some exotic warmth to this beverage.
This is really tasty, winter-y kind of tisane, something that I can see myself drinking whenever I want something warm and soothing, but something that won’t stimulate me the way a caffeinated tea would.