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Ali Shan

Rose Oolong Tea from Tea Ave

0000s_0000_teaave-wet-rose_largeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Tea Ave

Tea Description:

Our Rose Oolong is a flower tea prepared using the ancient method, in which the tea absorbs the flower fragrance during the baking progress, producing a scented tea that’s aromatic and flavorful without using any additives or chemicals.

We blend our Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong with fresh Taiwanese roses to create an elegant flower tea that is both full-bodied and mellow, with rose petals lending delicate floral notes to a robust oolong body. Rose Oolong has a floral fragrance and a rich, sweet taste. Smooth and exhilarating. Dare we say a little bit like falling in love.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Rose Oolong from Tea Ave is a very ‘pretty’ oolong tea.  I say PRETTY because it really DOES have rose petals IN the tea not just rose liquid flavoring.  Another reason I’m impressed with the rose in this tea is because it’s incredibly FRESH.  Many rose teas I have had in the past the actual rose petals go stale easily and quickly but Tea Ave must have something up their sleeves to keeping them prim and proper!

On to the leaves themselves, shall we?  I must start off by saying the Tea Ave is very upfront about their tea profiles as it takes up a good amount of the packaging and product page on their online shop.  I really like this about them and appreciate the time and transparency they show by doing so.

The Oolong they use in this rose flavored tea is an Ali Shan Jin Xuan originating from the Ali Shan Mountain Region of Nantou, Taiwan.  These leaves are functional for about 4 sturdy infusions.

I found the flavor to be elegant, sweet, rich, and smooth all at the same time.  The surprising feature was that it was thirst-quenching as opposed to other rose flavored teas.  For this reason I continued with my ‘two thumbs up’ rating.

 

Limited Edition AliShan High Mountain Black Tea from Oollo Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Oollo Tea

Tea Description:

Alishan Mountain is known for its amazing mountain oolong teas however it also produces small limited batches of black teas. This particular 2014 harvest brews a prominent cacao chocolate flavour with wooden musky aroma.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ohhh … lovely!  This Limited Edition AliShan High Mountain Black Tea from Oollo Tea is absolutely wonderful – just exactly the tea that I needed this afternoon!

This isn’t as robust a black tea as an Assam or even a Ceylon might be.  Instead, imagine an AliShan Oolong meets a top-quality Fujian black tea.  That’s what this tastes like to me – like the love child of a marriage between an AliShan Oolong and a Fujian Black.

I get those sweet notes of cacao that I’d taste in a Fujian Black but I get the soft, almost creamy body of an AliShan Oolong.  It’s rich and full-flavored but not as robust and aggressive as a typical black tea.

And it’s smooth!  Oh so smooth.  I am getting very little astringency and no bitterness.  I taste notes of a woodsy flavor and the aforementioned cacao.  Hints of sweet, buttery caramel.  Notes of flower and peach.

A truly remarkable tea.  This is the kind of black tea that I’d recommend for afternoon tea drinking – it isn’t as robust as I would want from a breakfast tea.  But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this tea – because you really should try this tea.  It’s so good!

Jasmine Oolong Tea from Tea Ave.

JasmineOolong2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Tea Avenue (to be opening soon!)

Tea Description:

Jasmine Oolong is a flower tea with an inviting floral scent and a clean, strong taste.  The flavor of jasmine blossoms overlaying earthy Oolong undertones.

Taster’s Review:

TeaAvetoteSo, this review is a little bit unusual because the company – Tea Avenue – hasn’t yet opened it’s online store.  (They should be opening soon!)

A few months ago, I was approached by Tea Ave. about reviewing some of their Oolong teas on our blog.  When the package arrived a couple of days ago, I was astonished by it!  Tucked inside the large box that DHL delivered was this cool tote bag – this is the size that you’d use to tote your groceries home so this bag will be reassigned to grocery duty!TeaAveTeas

Inside the bag were three sample size pouches of tea:  Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong (a favorite of mine!), Magnolia Oolong (yay!) and this Jasmine Oolong!

TeaAveAromaSet
Aroma set – two porcelain cups with a solid oak tray!

Also inside the bag was an introductory letter and a gift card for $15 off the next purchase of $75 dollars or more … and a beautiful, white pearlescent box that opened to reveal a gorgeous aroma cup set with tray!  Wow!

I felt like I won a prize or something!

And because they sent me not one but TWO of these marvelous introductory gifts, I have an extra one to share with one of my lucky readers!  Keep reading for details on how to win!

But in the meantime, let me tell you about this tea!

JasmineOolong1Jasmine Oolong!  I’ve tried a few Jasmine Oolong teas in the past, and I’ve enjoyed most of those that I’ve tried.  To brew this, I grabbed my gaiwan.  Following a quick 15 second rinse, I steeped the first infusion for 1 minute in water heated to 175°F.  I added 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.

My first cup (the combination of infusions 1 and 2) was absolutely delightful to sip.  The flavor is distinctly jasmine, but I love that it isn’t at all perfume-y.  Floral – yes, and quite floral at that.  There is a perfect balance between creamy notes from the Ali Shan Oolong and the sweet floral notes from the Jasmine.

My second cup (the combination of infusions 3 and 4) is stronger in flavor than the first cup was, but there is still a really pleasing balance between the flavor of jasmine and the creamy notes of the AliShan Oolong.  The cup is more floral this time:  the jasmine notes are mingling with the natural floral notes of the Oolong tea, and the AliShan is delightfully creamy and smooth.  The flavors aren’t bitter or sharp.  Just smooth and relaxing and oh-so-delightful.

This seems to be about as perfect as it can get:  my favorite Oolong tea combined with my favorite floral for a tea – jasmine!  It’s such a remarkable tea!

My third cup (infusions 5 and 6) is a little less balanced versus cups one and two.  I still get a pleasant jasmine note and a lovely flavor from the Oolong, but these flavors have become more mellow.  It’s a smoother cup – more creamy while the jasmine is a little less focused.  Still wonderful though – so I highly recommend going for that third cup!

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS CONTEST IS OVER AND A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED.  THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR BLOG AND PLEASE KEEP CHECKING BACK.  WE DO FREQUENT GIVEAWAYS!

Now, as promised, I’m going to offer my second ‘gift set’ from Tea Ave. to one of my readers!  

This contest will run from today (February 15th) through  Saturday, February 21st.  On February 22, I will select a winner by random draw using Random.org.  

The gift set includes:  three samples of Oolong teas from Tea Avenue, along with a gift card for $15 dollars off your next purchase form Tea Ave., a gift boxed porcelain aroma set with oak tray and a durable tote bag suitable for reuse (as a grocery bag, a book bag, or whatever you want to use it for!)

To enter for your chance to win, you just need to comment below.  Be sure to include a way to get in touch with you if you’re the lucky winner!  If I’m unable to contact the winner within three days, I will need to conduct another random draw.

Want extra entries?  Of course!  Who doesn’t?  Here are a few easy peasy ways to earn extra entries:

  1. To earn another entry, follow Tea Avenue and SororiTea Sisters on twitter.
  2. Like Tea Avenue and SororiTea Sisters on Facebook.
  3. Tweet this contest – and be sure to link it – on Twitter.  After you’ve done this, be sure to send us a link to the tweet so that we can check it out!
  4. Mention this contest on Facebook – and be sure to link it!  After you’ve done this, be sure to send us a link to check it out!

That’s it … four simple ways to earn four extra entries to win this amazing gift set!

Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea from Green Terrace Teas

AliShanGTT1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Green Terrace Teas

Tea Description:

Ali Shan is one of Taiwan’s most famous tea growing areas due to its high elevation and rich soil.  The cool and moist climate allows the tea leaves to grow more slowly, developing a higher level of complexity and flavor.  Our premium grade Ali Shan High Mountain Tea, or “gao shan cha” in Chinese, is grown at elevations of 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) and above.  It has a sweet buttery taste with a creamy body and mild floral undertones.  The tea becomes more vegetal after a few steepings, bringing a pleasant variation of tastes among each infusion.  Overall, this is an exquisite and savory oolong that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Love!

No matter how many times I drink Ali Shan Oolong, it seems like my very first reaction after that first amazing sip is “Oh my god!  Oh wow!”   And that’s because Ali Shan is just that good.  There’s a reason why it’s my favorite Oolong teas (and one of my very favorite teas of all).

And this Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong from Green Terrace Teas is one of the best I’ve had.  It is so incredibly sublime that it feels like I’m floating in the clouds when I’m sipping it.  Yep, it’s heavenly.

The leaves look very much the way I’d expect an Ali Shan tea too look.  Vivid green leaves that have been tightly wound into pellets that unfurl slowly in hot water to release their flavor.  The aroma of the dry leaf is floral – an intense floral note.  The brewed tea keeps that floral note, although it is softened significantly.

To brew the tea, I reached for my gaiwan and added a bamboo scoop to the bowl of the gaiwan.  I heated freshly filtered water to 180°F and added enough liquid to cover more than cover the leaves and let this ‘steep’ for 15 seconds.  Then I strained off the liquid and discarded it.  (I rinsed the leaves!)  Then I refilled the gaiwan with the hot water and let the tea steep for 45 seconds.  I strained this first infusion into my special Yi Xing mug that is just for Ali Shan teas.  Then I continued the process, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusions, until the mug was full (4 infusions).

AliShanGTTThe first sip of this first cup (the first 4 infusions), elicited the aforementioned response of:  Oh my god.  Oh wow!  And then my second sip elicited the response:  Oh that’s lovely!  It’s a good thing that my Ali Shan Yi Xing mug holds 4 infusions because I would have finished the whole cup before I was able to get any sort of lucid comments about this tea for the review.

This is sweet and lusciously smooth.  It’s like what I’d imagine drinking liquid silk to be like, only much tastier.  Maybe liquid silk mixed with thinned honey.  Even then, I wouldn’t quite have captured the true flavor of this delightful tea, because it has so much complexity.  So many delicious layers of flavor.  The top layer is floral, reminiscent of orchids but I also want to say that I taste honeysuckle too.

To illustrate what I’m experiencing with this floral note, I’ll use an example that I’ve used many times in the past:  my bedroom in my grandparent’s former house in California.  When I was young, they had a honeysuckle vine that grew just outside the window of the bedroom.  And when the Santa Ana winds would make their way through the area, the breeze would pick up the amazing scent of the honeysuckle and bring it into my bedroom and I’d smell that delightful aroma and even taste the air.  Now, if my grandmother also had an orchid plant or two outside my window … the combined “air” that would filter into my window would be what I’m tasting right now.

Other layers of this tea offer a soft, buttery taste and texture.  Hints of vegetation.  Honey.  Very soft, very silky, very sweet.  And a pleasure to sip.

My second cup (infusions 5 -8) was just as lovely as the first (and perhaps even lovelier!) with it’s sweet, creamy, honeyed notes.  The floral notes are soft, they seem just a tad softer than they were in the first cup.  The sip starts out smooth and silky and it maintains this texture all the way to the finish.  There is very little astringency to this.  And when I say ‘very little’, that is to say that there is only a hint of dryness toward the tail.  That’s it!

A beautiful tea from start to finish and offers so many lovely infusions, making this not just a lovely tea to sip, but a good value too!  If you’re looking for THE one Ali Shan to add to your tea cupboard, I highly recommend trying this one – it’s an excellent Ali Shan.  I’ve had some really amazing experiences with Green Terrace Teas and I think I saved the very best of those experiences for last.

Taiwan AliShan High Mountain Oolong Tea (Premium Grade) from Cameron Tea

AlishanCameronTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Cameron Tea

Tea Description:  

AliShan is one the famous oolong tea growing areas in Taiwan. Located at altitude of 1500m, the mountain has a rich soil and ideal climactic conditions. The cool climate and moist from daily mists make the plants to grow very slowly and produce tender, flavourful tea leaves and buds.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Not too long ago, I reviewed the Competition Grade of Cameron Tea’s AliShan High Mountain Oolong Tea.  According to the website, one notable difference between the two grades is that the Competition Grade has been lightly roasted.  And tasting this Premium Grade AliShan, I can say that the roasting definitely does make a difference in flavor.

That doesn’t mean that this one is better nor does it mean that it’s not as good.  I really enjoy both!  This tea has less of the roasted, nutty flavors that I discovered in the Competition Grade.  But I’m tasting more of a creamy note here as well as a floral tone that melds beautifully with the natural vegetal tones of the green Oolong tea.

As I’ve said many times, AliShan is my very favorite type of Oolong.  I love the creaminess of the tea and how that almost vanilla-esque note softens the somewhat sharp flowery tones.  I love how the two flavors meet on my palate – sweet and sharp – and how they interact with one another.  And I love the soft, silky, lush texture of AliShan.  I love AliShan so much that I bought a special mug just for AliShan tea!

And this AliShan is simply magnificient.

The dry leaves look very much like what you might expect from a greener Oolong type tea:  they’re tightly wound into pellets and they’re a dark, forest green color.  They are very aromatic, smelling of flower and vegetable.

I brew these leaves in my gaiwan using 180°F water and short steeps.  The first infusion – the “rinse” cycle as I sometimes call it – lasts for just 15 seconds and I strain off the liquid and discard it.  This process is often referred to an ‘awakening’ of the tea leaves and it’s something that I think is crucial to ensuring a properly brewed cup of tea.

Then I infused the leaves again, this time for 45 seconds and I strained the liquid into my special Yi Xing “Ali Shan” mug, and I started infusing the leaves again … and again … and again!  I added an extra 15 seconds onto each subsequent brew time, and kept on resteeping until my mug was full (this usually takes 5 steeps).

The combination of the first five infusions (following the rinse cycle) is smooth, sweet, and amazingly good.  There is sweetness from the floral tones as well as the aforementioned vanilla-like flavors.  There is a lightly savory aspect to the flavor from the very faint vegetal tones, although there is definitely more sweet than savory to this cup.  It’s like a blanket of sweetness that envelops the palate.  Like liquid candy, except that it’s not cloying.

Love this tea!

And I got 2 mugs full of tea from the same leaves.  This is a very high quality AliShan, one of the finest I’ve had the opportunity to taste.  I highly recommend it to all you Oolong fans out there … and if you love AliShan the way that I do, then you simply must – I said MUST – try this tea!

Well, what are you waiting for?  Put it on your must try list now!   Once you try it, you’ll be glad you took my advice!