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!

Thailand ‘Red Tiger’ Oolong Tea/What Cha. . .

Sometimes I just have an oolong sort of day. When I first started drinking teas, oolongs were definitely not high up on my favorites list and still today I prefer other types of tea more often than not. Yet somedays nothing quite satisfies like an oolong and sometimes if I am shopping for teas and having one of those days, I tend to buy all the oolongs. This tea, What Cha’s Thailand ‘Red Tiger’ Oolong, is one that I bought the last time I stocked up on oolong teas.

What Cha claims this tea has a smooth sweet taste with notes of honey and baked cherry. With that in mind, I was pretty surprised when I started drinking this tea and it tasted more like a brisk black tea than an oolong. Maybe not brisk per se but definitely metallic. It is sweet but I am not picking up the cherry notes promised. Perhaps there is a roastiness that combines with a bit of honey. Also, to me, it has a bit of a wet leaf flavor. Not the oolong I was hoping for when I pulled this out of my stash.

Personally, I don’t love this one. I think part of the reason why is when I went on my oolong shopping spree, I was inspired by a tasty milk oolong I recently had. This lacks the flavor qualities that I loved in that and so it falls a bit short of what I hoped for. However, I know many others who have had this tea and loved it so though it is not for everyone, it is by no means a bad oolong and one worth trying.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: What Cha

Description

Another brilliant red oolong from south-east asia with a smooth sweet honey taste coupled with baked cherry notes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Autumn Reserve Tieguanyin/Verdant Tea . . . . . .

Not gonna lie to you, Sisters: these past few weeks have been QUITE STRESSFUL for me. So I’ve been in Treat Yo’self mode: cookies. cheese. trashy pop music. trips to the zoo. leisurely walks on the treadmill instead of strenuous weight lifting.

And tea. ALWAYS TEA.

Today I decided to try one of the samples I’ve been looking forward to: Autumn Tieguanyin from Verdant Tea. Oolongs are my current favorite, and frankly, I deserve fineries.

This tea is a creamy walk through a spring meadow filled with fluttering buttercups. It’s so light and dainty. If it were an garment, it would be a pastel mint-colored tutu. If it were a voice, it’d be Ingrid Michaelson’s.

The tasting notes I’m picking up are mostly flowery, sweet vegetal, and slightly creamy. The description on Verdant Tea’s site says “pound cake,” which I’m not sure I’m getting. This may be, in part, due to my profound unclassiness. I may not have enough fae in my blood to be able to pick up on everything. But I’m getting the idea, and I’m adoring it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

Master Zhang has worked for over four decades continuing his family’s craft growing true Tieguanyin varietal tea high above Daping village in Anxi. He is working to bring back the original habitat of the region by clearing mountainsides and planting trees, bringing back wildlife and biodiversity, for better tea and a better future. He has won awards across China and has been recognized as one of the leading teachers and craftsman in Anxi for his unique approach to grading teas and processing for flavor. Instead of grading solely by elevation or tree age, Master Zhang holds the “Reserve” designation for the few teas that meet his strict criteria of lingering intensive aftertaste, pervasive sweetness, and thick creamy body. This means that only the leaves whose weather, position in the field and processing come together perfectly can be offered as Master Zhang’s reserve. This reserve grade Tieguanyin was hand-picked and hand finished with an exhaustive fluffing and turning process to bring out deep intense florals and creamy texture.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vietnam Gui Fei Oolong from What Cha. . . .

I may have gone a bit overboard this past Black Friday. I was splurging on tea orders right, left, and center. Normally those orders would be for flavored teas but a friend of mine was ordering from websites that have huge selections of straight teas and I decided to join in on her orders. One such site was What-Cha. I have had several of their straight teas thanks to others sharing samples with me and I’ve always been impressed.

More than just straight teas, I decided to go wild when it came to the oolong sections of these sites. In hindsight this was a weird choice for me since up until recently I wouldn’t even try a flavored oolong tea, let alone a straight one. I guess as time goes on, your tastes change and my tastes are moving towards oolongs. What Cha must have sensed that because this tea, Vietnam Gui Fei Oolong Tea, arrived as the sample in our order.

This tea has a really nice honey sweetness. That is what stands out sip after sip. As I continue to drink it does become a bit more nuanced with the honey giving way to a touch of signature oolong toastiness. The more I focus, the more I can taste. In addition to the honey, the sweetness has a slight taste of stonefruit and raisin and a little citrus zip intermingled with the toastiness. Also, floating about is a touch of rose/floral that could be present because I expect that in an oolong more than because its actually there.

What is nice about this tea is that the sweetness gives it some body and that body reads almost like a caramel / malt making this come off like a dessert tea despite it having no dessert flavorings. It is light and rich at the same time which makes it easy to drink again and again.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  What Cha
Description

A highly aromatic oolong with a wonderfully sweet honey aroma and taste accompanied by citrus fruit notes of orange blossoms and peach.

Gui Fei is notable as it requires the leaf to be nibbled by leafhoppers just like Oriental Beauty. The tea plant responds by releasing more polyphenols into the leaves, resulting in added sweetness and complexity in the tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Anxi Gande 2A Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong Tea/ JK Tea Shop. . . . .

Inception tea!

It’s tea within a bag, within a bag! I’m so excited to open this!

First bag opened. Second bag snipped.

Houston we have tea.

Tightly rolled balls of emerald and dark green.

No noticeable smell or at least nothing note worthy.

Tea and water into the gaiwan. I wonder if anyone does water first?

I don’t see that working as well. A very light oolong in both aroma and flavor. Orchid is the highlight for both. With slight, very slight vegetal and grass notes.

The mouth feel is silky. Like most oolongs this one re-steeps quite well.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: JK Tea Shop
Description:

Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea, also called Iron Goddness of Mercy(literally in English).

For this 2A grade Tie Guan Yin, it is light-roasted, enjoying very good light orchid fragrance. After sipping the tea liquid, you can still feel the good orchid fragrance in the whole mouth.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!