Category Archives: oolong tea

Tea Vivre- Tie Guan Yin

Brand: Tea Vivre’s Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea
Tea Rating: 93/100
Steep Time: 1-3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 212 Degrees
Price: 
100g (3.5oz) for $10.50 ; 200g (7oz) for $19.90

First off, Tie Guan Yin is one of my absolute favorite teas! So, when I revieved my samples from Tea Vivre, I was elated when they sent me this tea!

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 The flavors of this tea are subtly sweet, a bit drying on the mouth as well as floral. My favorite thing of this tea is the reminder of a bright early spring day, when everything is just starting to thaw off and grow again. It smells like those spring days to me, quite floral on the nose.

the aroma of the tea, to be more specific is floral ,buttery, fresh and ‘green’ or vegetal. The flavor of this tea is not as nutty or buttery as some other Tie Guan Yins I have had, but it is quite floral! The immediate flavor is a florality, that tastes like a mix of magnolia blooms, and jasmine. The floral nature of this particular Tie Guan Yin is probably what reminds me most of springtime, when the magnolia buds are blooming, and it is all you smell if you are by a tree.

Flavor is quite vegetal, like fresh grass or something. I enjoy this tea, and due to its floral nature, I find it very appealing. I made a total of 6 delicious steeps. The beginning steeps were a bit buttery and the tea was just beginning to open up. Through the middle and end of the steeps, the tea really opened up to a delicious slightly minty quality. Combined with a great floral quality and a slight nutty taste, this was a beautiful example of tie guan yin and really reminded me why I love the type of tea so much!

disclaimer: I received this tea from Tea Vivre to sample. Thank you to Tea Vivre for sending such generous samples of their teas!

Naivetea’s Dong Ding Review

Brand: Naivetea’s Dong Ding
Tea Rating: 92/100
Steep Time: 1 minutes
Steep Temperature: 200-205 Degrees
Price: 2oz tin of tea for $28/ 4oz for $50

 

First thing first, the tea originates from Dong Ding, Central Taiwan and is oxidized at 30% and roasted at 30% as well. The dry tea smells nutty and earthy, and is balanced nicely, with neither coming out more than the other.

Now onto steeping, I prepared this tea for steeping with one teaspoon of tea per 6oz of water and got multiple steeps out of the leaves at around 1 minute per steep. Let’s go watch the tea steep together;

The tea turns out to be a beautiful,striking golden yellow liquor. The first flavors in the tea I taste is a lightly roast quality. I also taste some nice sweet, toasted notes, which remind me a lot of a genmaicha’s sweet/ toasted notes. The combination of both of these flavors is very pleasing to my palate.

The tea is light and smooth in my mouth, and is not excessively heavy at all in my mouth. The tea rolls into my mouth and smoothly around my palate, which I like. This tea is toasted, roasted and sweet all at the same time. In my eyes, this tea would be perfect for people trying to get into the wonderful world of Oolong. This tea is a very balanced tea, and is perfect for those who are not into overly roasted or overly floral oolongs. This tea is a balance between the two.


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All videos included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be taken,shared, or used without the artists consent.

Golden Moon Tea Sugar Caramel Oolong

Brand: Golden Moon Tea Sugar Caramel Oolong
Tea Rating: 93/100
Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 180 Degrees
Price:  3.8 oz tin of tea for $15.99

This tea is a flavored oolong. The dry leaf of this tea smells amazing. It smells like butterscotch candy, caramel and fresh birthday cake. That smell made me want to taste this tea immediately! The tea liquor was darker than I was expecting, it was a darker golden color, and smelled sweet and roasted with some very prominent burnt sugar overtones.
The taste of this tea is much milder than I was expecting, especially with such a powerful caramel overtones in both the dry leaf and the tea liquid. The caramel flavor is strongest on the front part of the my palate, as the tea is first entering my mouth for a sip, while I can still smell the caramel streaming up from the cup.  The oolong flavors in this tea pair nicely with the caramel flavors. These oolong flavors I get are some roasted flavors and some floral notes are prominent as well. There was also a hint of vegetal flavor, but I get much more buttery creaminess that I tasted in this oolong, which twists and turns amazingly with the caramel flavors in my mouth.
The second steep of this tea was not nearly as caramel heavy as the first. The caramel flavor was more subdued, there was still a very subtle sweetness to the tea.I really liked this tea, and I really like that it was more of a scented tea than a flavored tea. The flavors of the caramel were not artificial in taste at all, and tasted excellent paired with the oolong! I would definitely consider buying this tea, and it would be great to unwind with on a cold winter night.

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All photographs included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be taken,shared, or used without the artists consent.

Review of Naiveteas’ Wen Shen Bao Zhong

Brand: Naiveteas’ Wen Shen Bao Zhong
Tea Rating: 93/100
Price: $12.00 for 1 oz. *  $21.00 for 2 oz * $39.00 for 4 oz.
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Tea description: “Premium grade Bao Zhong cultivated at the highest altitude tea farm in Ping Lin. Profuse floral aroma with hints of orchid and osmanthus. Soft mouth feel with light and smooth body. Delicate flavors with notes of fresh flowers. Refined fragrant aftertaste.

This tea, Web Shan Bao Zhong is cultivated at the highest altitude tea farm in Ping Lin, Taiwan.  This oolong tea is a lightly oxidized oolong, which has hints of both green and oolong. Oolong tea is more oxidized than green tea but less oxidized than black tea. Wen Shan Bao Zhong is sometimes referred to as a green oolong.  The first thing that I noticed is that the leaves are much larger than the small hand rolled balls of oolong teas that are popular.The dry leaves are a beautiful deep green color with hints of lighter green. The shape of the tea was twisted and long in length.  The dry leaves smell a bit nutty and roasted,and the tea really smells like it has been toasted.

I steeped this tea for about 2 minutes per steep with 195 degree water. Let’s steep the first two steeps of the tea together now….

The liquor was a bright yellow shade and the smell was intoxicatingly floral with a very slight underlying nutty scent. The first steep of the tea tasted very floral, and reminded me so much like orchids. It was amazing how much it tasted like orchids smelled. There are a lot of oolongs out there that are said to embody floral qualities, or to have orchid flavors, but this one was dead on in this description. The steeped tea leaves still smelled nutty as well as orchid-like.

The second steep was not nearly as floral as the first steep. The nutty scent was still identifiable, however it did not come through in the tasting in either steep. The second steep was much more mellow and was more vegetal. I really enjoyed how this tea was not astringent or tannic at all. It was a very pleasant tea to sip on.

The one thing I really enjoy about oolongs, is following the tea as the flavor changes and morphs with each subsequent steep. I have been consistently impressed by Naivetea’s offerings and this selection is no different. I would definitely recommend this tea!

Check out Naiveteas on the web:

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Want this tea right now? Here!

All photographs and videos included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be taken,shared, or used without the artists consent.

Chicago Tea Garden Zealong Dark

Brand: Chicago Tea Garden Zealong Dark
Tea Rating: 95/100

Steep Time: 45 second steeps;adding 15 seconds to each steep time.
Steep Temperature: 190 Degrees
Price: 50 grams for $13.75 / 75 grams for $20.25


I bought all three of New Zealand Oolong Teas from Chicago Tea Garden back in August, when Tony started sourcing the teas to sell! It is always exciting to learn of a new up and coming tea producing region. Chicago Tea Garden is an online tea retailer that was started by Tony Gebely back in early March of this year, after he backpacked in Southeast Asia. Throughout his backpacking trip Tony came across many different teas,tea culture,and tea farmers,and found that when he got home to Chicago, there was no places that served good quality tea like he had encountered on his trip. That was the beginning of Chicago Tea Garden, and now they offer around 20 different types of high quality teas, which are all special in their own way.

The dry tea of this tea smells like a charcoal grill, with some floral tones mixed in. Honestly, the smell of the leaves can be a little intimidating, but I recommend to go ahead and steep! I started with a 45 second steep and tacked on about 15 extra seconds with each steep. Lets steep the first three cups of Zealong Dark together!

This tea smells like roasted peanut butter, and is very nutty, with a hint of sweetness.The liqour color is a light pale yellow, and the leaves are enormous. I steeped this tea 8 times, and the tea leaves were still not completely unfurled! Zealong Dark has a very clean taste, with some really interesting charcoal notes. The charcoal flavor tastes as if I took some tea in aluminum, and let it sit in my charcoal grill over night, or over a few nights and absorbed the charcoal taste. I really enjoy this charcoal flavor accent. This tea is very refreshing, and just makes me want more and more.  There is no astringency, or roasted flavor profile in this oolong. It is mild,creamy and smooth.
Out of the 3 Zealongs, I can’t decide which I like best, I feel like they are all good for different moods and times of the day, as you will learn this week! I will be reviewing Zealong Pure and Zealong Aromatic within the next week, so keep an eye out for both of those reviews!

Check out Chicago Tea Garden on the web:

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Want this tea right now? Here!

All photographs included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be taken,shared, or used without the artists consent. except for the logo, which is property of Tony Gebely and Chicago Tea Garden.

Naiveteas’ Passion fruit Oolong

Brand: Naivetea Passion fruit Oolong
Tea Rating: 90/100
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 190 Degrees
Price: 2 oz. for $20.00 ~ 4 oz. for $35.00

Naivetea was gracious enough to send Expanding Leaves a plethora of their teas to sample and review! There are some flavored, and some traditional oolongs, but I cannot wait to sip them all! Naivetea specializes in offering only premium oolongs from Taiwan, and boy do they offer quite a few teas! They were also awarded the Flavored Oolong World Tea Champion in 2009! I also really like their packaging, it is elegant and simplistic, with a cohesive theme. Their business card, their company information packet, tea packaging and website all have the same theme, which I really like because it makes you remember the company better as a consumer. Onto the tea!

First impressions of this tea is in the smell. The scent of the dry leaves smells a lot like candy, and smell very sweet. After steeping, the dry leaves and the tea liquor smelled a lot like the Acai Emergen-C vitamin C drink packages. I do not know what Passion fruit smells like, but this tea smelled very sweet, like acai, and had hints of crisp apple and peach in the scent as well.

Now, let’s steep the dry tea leaves! I recorded this tea steeping at I steeped it, I really enjoy watching oolong unfurl, and this one was no different! Enjoy! This will not be the last time you see Expanding Leaves videos of Time Lapse Tea steeps!

The liquor of the tea really smelled very sweet, fruity, and slightly floral as I mentioned above. However, this strong scent did not carry through in the flavor as much. The sweet passion fruit scent really mellowed in the tea.The passion fruit flavor is still there, but it is not nearly as intense as while it was steeping. The tea had a slightly drying mouth feel, as well. What I mean by drying is after I swallow the tea, my mouth feels a bit dry and cotton-y. There is a nice oolong flavor hiding behind all that passion fruit too, which is nice. The oolong flavor makes the tea creamy while in my mouth and smooth while i’m swallowing. I like this tea, but I do wish it was just a bit less passion fruit and a bit more oolong.

I steeped this tea 4 times and imagine it might be able to go even longer than 4 steeps! The tea stood up very well to the subsequent steeps! Something that always impresses me with oolongs especially, is how many steeps you can get out of them and how the flavors morph and change throughout each steep! Throughout each subsequent steep, the passion fruit flavor remains part of the flavor profile, however with each passing steep, it did lessen, while a more rounded sweet and fruity flavor appeared in the subsequent steeps.


Check out Naivetea on the web:

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Want this tea right now? Here!

All photographs included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be taken,shared, or used without the artists consent.

Shui Teas’ Four Seasons Oolong

Brand: Shui Tea Four Seasons Oolong
Tea Rating: 86/100
Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 190 Degrees
Price: $5.00 for 1 oz/ $10.00 for 2 oz

This Oolong is sourced from the Ming Jian village, Nantou, Taiwan. This region of Taiwan is very mountainous,with varying elevations and climates, which makes a great tea producing area. This area is also one of the largest tea producing areas in Taiwan.  Four Seasons Oolong is also known as Evergreen Oolong, and is very lightly oxidized (5-15%) and is similar to some green teas.

First and foremost, the rolled oolong  is beautifully rolled, bright green leaves. They smell slightly floral and have a very heavy fresh scent as well. The color of the liquor is a golden yellow-green color. The best part of the tea is the flavor. This tea is pretty light, but its subtle flavors are fantastic. The first thing that hits me is the fresh, buttery mouth feel, which just paints the tea all over your palette.

The floral aroma of the steeped liquor really enhances the floral flavors in this tea, especially after a few infusions. From the third steep and on,  the floral aroma starts to calm down,but the sweet, floral taste is still there with a creamy finish, instead of the buttery flavor found in the first and second infusions. The finish of this tea was a very refreshing flavor, which was menthol like after you swallowed and breathing in. I really enjoyed this tea, and would recommend it to people who are just starting to get into Oolong Teas and are unsure which ones would be best to try. Thank you so much to Jim from Shui Tea for including some samples with my Matcha Bowl Order!

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All photographs included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be used without artist authorization(minus the logo,which is property of Shui Tea)

Fresh Friday!

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea is one of the first high quality teas I tried back in the day. Their dragonwell from series 1 got me hooked on dragonwell for a very long time! I’ve ordered every one of their series since the release of series 1, because they’re customer service is great(not to mention very fast shipping!), their teas are always delicious and the labels on the teas are awesome too! This week’s very first Fresh Friday is Series 5 of Damn Fine Tea, which was released last week, after much anticipation and patience!

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea recently released their 5th series, which features a The Mermaid’s Kiss, a Chinese scented oolong tea, and Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixer, which is an Assam tea from India. Today, I am going to review The Oolong, and a review of the Assam will be up this weekend. Finally, maybe the funnest part of ordering their teas is the added surprise gift, like an autographed postcard, stickers, a patch, or a set of tattoos, which is this series’ fun gift!

Brand: Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea
Tea Rating: 85/100
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Steep Temperature: 180 Degrees
Price: $20.00 for two 2 oz tins of tea + tattoos!

Now onto the tea! I love Oolongs, so I steeped The Mermaid’s Kiss first!  I really like this tea, it is a beautiful medium/dark green color in the dried leaves. The dry tea also smells  very lightly floral, and is not overpowering. I admire this about the tea, because personally, I do not usually enjoy  Jasmine Teas, for they can either be too Floral, or taste fake and flavored. This tea is neither of those things. It smells lightly floral and sweet.  I steeped this tea for  5 minutes in 180 degree water, as suggested.

The smell of the steeped liquor was the first thing to hit me. Mind you this was the first tea I got to enjoy after getting over my cold a few day ago, so my experiences and senses may have been heightened from lack of being able to taste and smell tea for a week ;). The smell of the steeped tea was lightly like jasmine flowers,but was sweet, succulent smelling, and intoxicating to my senses, the smell urged me to take a sip each time I got a sniff! Once I took a sip, I was reminded why I had waited to [im]patiently for this series. This oolong is fantastic. It had a pretty thick mouth-feel, and it is as creamy as it comes. Taking a sip, reminded me of taking a bite of a buttery biscuit, where it is both cream and buttery. The flavor is very lightly floral, and fruity. The fruitiness tastes like peaches, or plums, that kind of sweet astringency that you get from those fruits. I really enjoyed this tea, and hope to hear your thoughts if you have picked up this set as well! Thank you to Erik and Charles for creating yet another enjoyable series!

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Cha Cha Tea’s Iron Goddess of Mercy

Brand: Cha Cha Tea’s Iron Goddess of Mercy
Rating: 88/100
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 180 Degrees
Price: 1 oz.=$7.00; 3 oz.=$16.00

Iron Goddess of Mercy, or Tie Guan Yin is typically a lightly oxidized with a wonderful floral and fruity aroma. Tie Guan Yin is the most famous tea bush in Anxi City, which is found in the Fujian Province of China. Tie is chinese for “iron” which is named for the tightly twist balls of tea that resemble Iron properties of being small, but heavy.

Tie Guan Yin is one of my favorite teas. After having a bad experience with a Tie Guan Yin, Maleah offered to send me a sample of hers to try, which was so sweet of her! This tea is really great. Unlike some other Tie Guan Yin’s I have had that are more ‘green’ , this one is toastier and darker. The liquor color of this tea is a beautiful bright golden-yellow. It smells of buttered toast and slightly fruity, I can’t make the fruit out, but it reminds me a tart,yet sweet fruit. The smell is intoxicating and really lasts over multiple infusions! I love the flavor. It is toasty, with some beautiful floral notes on the end. The toasty flavor is accompanied by a slightly sweet honey note, which reminds me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The honey makes the tea lightly sweet so in my opinion, no sugar would need to be added.I infused this tea for 5 steeps, and the aroma and flavor really lasted! I would  recommend this tea if you are looking for something new to try!

Cha Cha Tea is a small tea company located in Madison, Wisconsin. She almost exclusively sells organic teas, meaning she supports growers and farmers who farm using organic and natural methods. These methods yield a much healthier and tastier cup of tea! Also, Cha Cha Tea is a small tea company, that focuses on providing small amounts of artisan teas to their customers. I’ve had a wonderful experience with Maleah at Cha Cha Tea and would definitely order from them in the future!

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(PHOTO CREDIT COURTESY OF CHA CHA TEA/MALEAH MOSKOFF)

Review of California Tea House’s Big Red Robe

Brand: California Tea House’s Big Red Robe
Tea Rating: 80/100
Steep Time: 3-4 minutes
Steep Temperature: 195 Degrees

This Big Red Robe is a chinese Oolong tea. This tea is beautiful, refined, exotic and complex, not to mention very tasty. The huge, black, wiry leaves produce an amber cup that fills the air with its smell. The aroma is woody, chocolately, fruity, and toasty. Huge dark leaves are uniform and visually striking. The floral notes come out in the aroma after the tea cools off a bit. The floral aspect reminds me of a jasmine scented tea. The liquor is a very smooth oolong, with lots of flavor. There are hints of spice in this cup, mostly nutmeg and cinnamon tones are the ones I get right away. Right before the fruity flavors set in, this tea has a nutty,almost coconut finish.  The fruitiness of the taste resembles apples, pears and peaches. It’s almost hard to believe this is an oolong because the flavor is so rich and full bodied.

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Direct Link to their Big Red Robe
Photo from the author’s personal library.