Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea from Ocean of Tea

ti-kuan-yinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Ocean of Tea

Tea Description:

Ti Kuan Yin is the most famous Chinese Oolong tea with a great orchid aroma and finish. This tea is nice, light and has a hint of dried apricot. 

Our tea is hand-harvested from the Wu-Yi tea bush and made by using traditional crafting techniques developed in China’s Fujian province. The leaves are tightly rolled and you can get 3-4 good infusions out of the same leaves. Affordably priced, this is a great tea to drink with company.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to receive my package from Ocean of Tea which included this Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea.  A new to me tea company!  Yay!  I’m always eager to try teas from a company whose teas I’ve not yet sampled.

This Ti Kuan Yin is very much like what I’d expect from a high quality Oolong of this type.  The leaves are tightly wound and smell lightly vegetal and floral.  The liquid produced is a pale yellow-green.  And it tastes so good!

I brewed this Oolong the way I’d normally approach an Oolong:  using my gaiwan, I steep using short steeps, starting with 45 seconds following a 15 second rinse.  Each subsequent infusion had an additional 15 seconds added on to the steep time.  I combine the results of the first two infusions to create my first cup, and my second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … and so on!

The first cup usually offers the softest flavor, but, given the flavors in this cup, I find myself greatly anticipating the cups that will follow.  There is a lot of flavor to what should be a “delicate” tasting cup of tea.  This is delightfully floral with subtle notes of stone fruit.  The description above suggests hints of apricot, and that’s what I’m tasting.  I’m surprised to taste it this soon into the tea experience, though, usually the fruit notes of a Ti Kuan Yin are slow to emerge.  This one is ready to greet you with all it’s complex flavors!

My second cup of this tea was the most flavorful of the three cups I enjoyed of this tea.  It was creamy and I could taste notes of orchid and vanilla.  It had a really pleasant smoothness to it.  The floral tones were not sharp, they were soft and silky.  The aforementioned apricot notes are sweet and add a really nice dimension to this Ti Kuan Yin.

With my third and final cup of this tea, I noticed the flavors beginning to wane slightly.  The flavors have become unified and smooth.  The vanilla notes are there but they aren’t as creamy and the floral tones are somewhat subdued.  This is a very enjoyable cup and I’m enjoying the seamless flavors.

A really good Ti Kuan Yin and a very happy tea experience with this new-to-me tea company!  I’m glad I got to try this!

Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea

Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea
Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea 

Tea Description:

A truly superb robust Oolong from the Fujian Province with a honeyed sweetness.

Delicate floral Oolongs are between a black and green tea. This long leafed organic tea comes from the Wu Yi gardens of the Fujian Province. It is stronger than most Oolong tea due to higher roasting and longer fermentation. The dark smoky taste of the tea balances perfectly with sweet honey notes. Served after a rich meal, traditionally one would exhale after each sip, savouring the ‘Hui Gan’; the teas lingering sweetness.

Great Taste Awards judges love it too – “This tea produces a liquor of good color and great clarity.”

Packed in an environment where nuts are handled.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yes, this is an oolong after my heart! Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea has every bit of that smokiness I adore in a dark oolong and a berry sweet note that drives me wild! The aroma alone is intoxicating, I would wear this as perfume, not that it tastes like perfume at all but it smells so dreamy!

The notes of woods, deep smokiness, sweet honeyed tones like caramelized berries, I could go on and on but I want to get to the way this tea tastes!

I have to say I am so pleased by SororiTea Sister LiberTeas sent me a nice baggie full of this stuff! Thank you Anne!

The cup steeps into an amber vision of beauty with a clear view to the bottom of the cup. The first note I pick up is a light honey note, with a backdrop of maple, and wood. This is a very sweet cup considering its dark smoked nature.

There is not much of a rock mineral note in this, some but not as much as I have experienced in other Wuyi tea, but there is a slight saltiness, which reminds me of salted caramel which I love.

Don’t think of the smoked note as you would a Lapsang Souchong though, its not smoky like that, its just a deep woodsy richness you would get from a toasted marshmallow, far sweeter than any smokiness from a Lapsang Souchong tea.

I also get a brandied candied flavor in the tea, a brothy sensation in the mouthfeel that is welcoming and warming.

This tea does not really conjure up feelings of sitting by a campfire as much as it does feelings of walking in the deep woods sipping a hardy grog from a chalice or a canteen perhaps. It makes me feel more like Robin Hood than Roy Rodgers!

This one goes on my shopping wish list but for now I have a generous sampling from my sister Anne!


Wu Yi Oolong from Jennifer’s Tea Garden

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Jennifer’s Tea Garden

Product Description:

This tea from China’s Fujian province is known for its light, sweet cup with a fragrant orchid finish. When steeped, mature semi-fermented leaves expand to a full, lively cup with a little bit more body than a green tea but less body than a black tea. Rich in antioxidants, Wu Yi has been shown to promote healthy teeth, skin and bones, to lower cholesterol and to aid in digestion and weight loss.

Taster’s Review:

There is something about sipping on Oolong that makes me feel so pampered.  Is it the taste?  The mouthfeel?  The aroma?  It’s probably a combination of the three.

The aroma of this Wu Yi Oolong is toasty with notes of fruit in the distance.  This fragrance translates well into the flavor, because there is a toasty quality to the flavor with a hint of fruit in the background.  It tastes a bit like grilled or roasted fruit that has been caramelized to bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness.  It tastes a bit like a combination between peach and plum.

There is a soft, silky mouthfeel to this tea that is similar to a green Oolong, however, this Oolong doesn’t have the same buttery taste to it.  Where the buttery taste would normally be experienced, I taste the sweet, toasty caramel notes.  It would be difficult to choose which I like better – the butter or the caramel – because both are remarkable in their own way!

Just before I reach the finish, I am noticing a bright floral note that is sweet.  The light astringency of this tea cuts through that flowery taste just at the finish, leaving the palate feeling as though it has been gently patted dry.  The sweet taste of caramelized fruit with a barely-there whisper of flower lingers beautifully in the aftertaste.

I highly recommend brewing this tea in a covered gaiwan.  This will encourage the tightly wound tea leaves to open and release their fragrance and flavor.  The process provides for six very flavorful infusions.  I prefer to enjoy my Oolong tea hot – it offers the most flavor when served hot – although this would also make a delicious iced tea… perhaps with a thin slice of lemon to bring out the fruit notes?

A spectacular tea experience!  Thank you, Jennifer’s Tea Garden!

Elixir of Immortality from Cloudwalker Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Cloudwalker Teas

Company Description:

This truly is a beautiful tea… The ‘Elixir of Immortality’ or Bu Lao Dan is very special. This tea is produced on Wu Yi Mountain according to the traditional formula of an ancient Taoist sect. These Taoist renunciates believed that this tea would help to prolong their lives and aid in their practice of austerities. The processing of this tea is overseen by a Taoist master and takes between two to three years to complete. Basically it involves exposing the leaves to the sun and moonshine in certain places, for set periods of time, and then storing the leaves in large earthenware containers. This process of exposing and “resting” the leaves is repeated many times over the period of years, and the results are nothing short of remarkable. Those who have been to Wu Yi know that this is a very special place – the long time stronghold of Taoist and Buddhist sects. The experience of drinking this tea is something akin to drinking in the wisdom of this sacred Mountain. Much like the the nine peaks of Wu Yi, this tea is strong, enduring, and suffused with a subtle yet forceful power (subtle for some – not so subtle for others).

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  This tea brews up exceptionally dark.  Surprisingly dark for an Oolong tea – heck, it is even dark for a black tea!  It looks more like a Shu Pu-erh, rather than an Oolong.  In addition, the aroma of the brewed liquor has an earthy quality to it that reminds me of Pu-erh.

This is a very interesting tea.  I am tasting characteristics in this cup that remind me of an Oolong, a black tea, and a Pu-erh all in one.  I can taste a slightly earthy quality to it that gives it a Pu-erh kind of taste.  I can taste a light buttery flavor that makes way to a very smooth, silky mouthfeel – very Oolong-ish!  Then I taste a malty, almost smoky, baked kind of flavor to it too – that is very much like a black Assam (with maybe just a leaf or two of Lapsang Souchong!)

This is truly one of the most rewarding teas I’ve encountered in a long time.  I love the complexity.  It is so very different from any single tea that I’ve ever tried, and yet at the same time, it is very much like many different teas that I’ve tried!

On the Cloudwalker Teas website, this is listed as a “Cliff Tea“.  Here is some additional information about the Cliff Teas that are available from Cloudwalker Teas:

Cloudwalker Teas is pleased to be able to offer this selection of cliff teas by one of the most well known and regarded tea masters of Asia. Unfortunately we can’t tell you who he is. The master in question is a private man and says that he does not want to attract any more attention to himself, but simply hopes that more people outside his circle of students may be able to experience what constitutes a truly fine rock tea. A labour of love for this tea master, each year he personally travels to Wu Yi Mountain national park in China to oversee the harvesting, processing and packaging of these legendary teas. He works closely with a group of local producers at Wu Yi mountain, who hand roast the leaves. Hand roasted cliff teas are very rare, and Cloudwalker is very pleased to be the first western tea company to be able to offer teas of such high quality. This introductory selection of his rock teas is offered on a trial basis and under certain conditions, one being that they only be sold in small quantities to ensure that these rare and exquisite teas may be shared by as many people as possible. In drinking them one comes to realize very quickly why this love affair exists between this master and these teas, a love that all who taste them will certainly share.

This tea is a MUST TRY for all tea enthusiasts!