Hong Shui Oolong from Zi Chun Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Zi Chun Tea Co.

Note:  I was not able to find this tea on the Zi Chun Website, however, I was able to find a “News” post that mentioned that this tea had been harvested in the Summer of 2011 and was available in July 2011.  I assume this means that this tea has since sold out, but I recommend watching for similar news this coming summer!  Trust me when I say this tea is worth it!

Taster’s Review:

Hong Shui is not an Oolong type that is familiar to me, but, now that I’ve tasted it, I’m really glad I had the oportunity to do so!  It’s absolutely delightful!

I tend to prefer greener Oolong teas such as Ali Shan, but, I enjoy expanding my horizons and sampling other types of Oolong, and while this one is quite different from Oolong teas I’ve tried in the past, I really like it.

It starts out slightly smoky, with a strong charcoal-like presence.  Just beneath the overture of charcoal, I notice delicious nutty flavors, reminding me of roasted almonds.  The sweetness of the almond is there too.  After the strong notes begin to subside, a lovely fruit tone emerges, providing not only a sweetness but a slight “juicy” note that washes over the remnants of the charred tones, which acts to refresh and invigorate the palate.  The finish is clean and dry, imparting hints of the deeply roasted flavors that I experienced toward the start.

Truly a lovely tea experience, this is an Oolong I’d highly recommend to all those who love Oolong!

Hong Yu (Red Jade) Taiwanese Black Tea from Zi Chun Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zi Chun Tea

Product Description:

Hong Yu is fast becoming an internationally recognized, premium class, organic black tea. It is grown & harvested in limited quantities in the beautiful Sun Moon lake area of Central Taiwan, where the Taiwan Tea Research & Extension Station, in collaboration with local farmers, have developed one of the most truly unique and finest quality black teas in the world. The tea plant is a cross between an Assam & a local wild tea strain.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is AWESOME!

I enjoy most of the teas that I try.  There are a rare few that I really don’t like, but for the most part, I enjoy the teas I drink, and I express that in my reviews.  I guess that’s one thing that I love about teas the most … I am able to find something to appreciate about almost every tea I taste.

But every once in a while, I come across a rare tea … that tea that is so exceptional in flavor that it makes me want to get up and dance and sing praises to the tea gods for making such a wonderful tea.  A tea that is so good that it makes me forget anything in my life that may not be going my way and it somehow makes everything else melt away except for me and my cup of tea.

This is one of those teas.

My first couple of sips – while it was piping hot – I couldn’t really taste much.  But, after allowing it to cool just a couple of minutes, the flavor exploded!  Now I taste rich, incredible flavors!  All at once, I can taste hints of malt, cocoa and caramel, while a sweet plum flavor lingers in the distance.

The cup is incredibly smooth and rich, and free of any of the bitterness that is normally associated with an Assam.  There is some astringency to it, but it is a very gentle, cleansing astringency.  The finish is sweet.

This tea does not need anything added to it.  I suppose it would be alright if you chose to add milk or honey or something, but please do try it straight first.  If, after allowing it to cool those first couple of minutes, and after taking a sip, the tea doesn’t taste as amazing as I’m describing, then, by all means, add something to it.  But, I really don’t think you’ll want to after that initial sip.