Eastern Beauty Oolong Tea from Green Terrace Teas

EasternBeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Green Terrace Teas

Tea Description:

Eastern Beauty, also know as Oriental Beauty, Bai Hao Oolong, and Champagne Formosa, is one of the most famous and unique Asian teas.  During the growing process, green cicadas or “leafhoppers” bite the leaves, stimulating a hormonal reaction in the tea tree that develops its natural honey flavor.  This also means that the tea is organic, as no pesticides are used during production.  Eastern Beauty is more oxidized than other oolongs and has a very distinctive taste.  It is delightfully smooth and fruity, with naturally sweet honey and floral undertones.  Thanks to its lack of astringency, this selection is also very forgiving to oversteeping and its savory flavor persists through many infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m loving this Eastern Beauty Oolong from Green Terrace Teas.  It represents the first of the teas that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company, and I’m very happy with what I’m tasting thus far!

I brewed this in my gaiwan using 180°F water, and after a 15 second “awakening” of the tea leaves, I steeped the first infusion for 1 minute and the second infusion at 1 minute 15 seconds.  I combined the first two infusions in one cup.  For each subsequent infusion, I would add 15 seconds to the infusion time, and I would combine two infusions in one cup.  (The second cup = infusions 3 and 4 … and so on.)

The first cup was lighter in flavor and texture than the subsequent cups, but even though it was lighter in flavor – it was still very flavorful!  There were sweet, peach-like notes with a sharp floral tone.  Beautifully sweet!  The mouthfeel was soft and pleasant.  There were some earthy notes to the cup as well as hints of wood-like notes.  I detected no bitterness or astringency to the cup unless I really focused on it, and then I picked up on a slight dry note toward the finish.  It’s barely there!

And even though I mentioned the sharp floral note, this is not an overly floral tasting tea.  There is just a bit of flower there that cuts through some of the fruity sweetness – it’s enough to offer contrast without becoming a flowery tea.

The second cup had a more developed set of flavors than the first.  I could really taste the peach-y notes!  The sharp floral tone that I picked up on in the first cup is somewhat subdued now.  It is not so sharp, and instead, it is more like a whisper of flower in the distance.  This cup was more about the peach, the notes of earth and wood, and a lovely, sweet nutty tone that began to reveal itself.  I like the way the peach and the nutty flavors work together.

The third cup was the sweetest of the three!  The peach notes are profound, and the woodsy/earthy notes are softened, making way for more sweetness that is reminiscent of honey.  This is where the honey notes really come into focus, so it’s definitely worth the effort to keep on steepin’ when it comes to this tea.  The honey notes are BEAUTIFUL!

A really enjoyable tea … if it’s any indication of what I have to look forward to from Green Terrace Teas, then I’m really happy to have found this company!

Bai Hao Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) from Life in Teacup


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Life in Teacup

Tea Description:

Production Year – 2012
Production Season – Spring, first day havest
Production Region – Fujian, Fuding County

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I can always count on Life in Teacup to offer some of the very best teas … and this Bai Hao Silver Needle – also known as Yin Zhen – is a perfect example of what I mean by that.  The dry leaves are so beautiful with the coloration ranging from pale green to silvery white, and each needle is soft and covered with fluffy fuzz.  The aroma of the dry leaf is soft, with notes of flower and hay.

The flavor is delightful.  On the Life in Teacup website, there is a short discussion on brewing this tea using boiling water … this is something I’ve not tried (or if I have, I don’t recall having tried it!)  I’ve always used a lower temperature, but today I was feeling a little rebellious and while I wasn’t feeling quite so courageous to try boiling water, I did turn up the heat just a little, using water brought to 185° instead of the customary 160° that I usually would use for a silver needle.  The flavor is stronger … but not too strong.  But … it certainly is no longer the “delicate” flavor that I’d expect from a silver needle.

And while I have a great appreciation for the delicateness of a white tea, I like the slightly bolder flavor of this cup using a higher temperature.  Maybe next time, I might even try boiling water on my white tea!

As it is, though, I’m finding this to be quite delightful.  The flavor is sweet and vegetative … but not a green tea vegetative taste.  It’s more like the flavor of sweet flowers and hay … similar to the fragrance I enjoyed from the dry leaf.  There is an earthiness to this as well … and I find that the earthiness here is where I notice the biggest difference between the lower temperature and higher temperature brewing water.  The earthiness really comes out with the hotter water.

There are subtle notes of fruit to this cup as well, and I notice that as I continue to sip, the fruit notes become more distinguished.  Overall, the cup is sweet, refreshing and light … but with a fullness to it that I find really satisfying.

If you are one who generally finds white teas to be too soft or delicate in flavor, I recommend trying a slightly higher temperature … this really brings out the flavor, and I am not noticing any bitterness or scalded tea taste from the higher temperature.

A really enjoyable tea experience – thanks to Life in Teacup!

Oriental Beauty from Zi Chun Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Zi Chun Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This exotic “Champagne of Tea” is probably the most fascinating of all the oolong teas. Its rich taste & sweet, smooth honey aroma gives it a unique flavor, not unlike a fine mellow, black tea.Its processing is characterized by heavy oxidation (60% to 70%) and heavy withering (13% to 25%). The oxidation process is initiated before the leaves are plucked by nature’s assistance in the form of small insects biting the tender leaves. See this article in T Ching for more information on this amazing tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m really enjoying this Oriental Beauty from Zi Chun Tea Company.  Of course, that comes as no surprise to me, because I love Oriental Beauty Oolong teas!

What never ceases to amaze me though, is just how amazing the flavor is of an Oriental Beauty.  It’s so different from other Oolong teas.  It has a bright fruit taste, rather than a floral one (although there are some floral tones), and this particular Oriental Beauty offers not just a sweet fruit note, but also a compelling and contrasting sour note, providing a very savory tea experience.

I brewed this the way I typically brew an Oolong – in my gaiwan! – using short steeping times.  I start with a quick rinse (10 – 15 seconds), discarding the liquid, and then I steep the first infusion for 45 seconds.  I pour this into my cup, and then I add the water to my gaiwan for the second infusion.  I add 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion, so this second infusion is steeped for a minute.  After a minute has lapsed, I pour the liquid into the same cup as my first infusion, combining the two infusions.  I like to combine the infusions, as it makes for a very satisfying tea flavor.  Each infusion of an Oolong tends to have slightly different qualities, and when I combine the two infusions this way, it provides a rich, lovely flavor.

Subsequent infusions of this Oolong reveal slightly more floral notes, but these are slight.  I find that the fruit tone remains strong here, and by the third and fourth infusions, I start to notice a honey-esque note emerge.  This gets stronger with the third cup (infusions five and six).   By this time, the flavors have become more seamless, and the sour tones have softened significantly.  It is a very soothing tea to drink.

I really enjoyed this Oolong – it truly is a beauty!

Silver Needle Bai Hao (Wu Yi Qu Hao) From In Nature

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  In Nature

Tea Description:

Silver Needle Bai Hao white tea is possibly the most natural form of tea. It is only made from the buds, picked when they are at their most tender.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf doesn’t really look like any Silver Needle that I’ve ever seen before.  I see Silver Needles in there, but, then I also see larger leaves in there, darker leaves that look a bit like Bai Mu Dan, and perhaps even some Shou Mei.  Like a blend of at least the two, and possibly all three of these types of white tea.  The aroma is soft and reminiscent of fresh air and hay.  The brewed tea has a slight vegetative scent to it, and is a pale golden color – a bit darker than I’d expect from a typical Silver Needle.

The flavor is very nice – but again, it doesn’t taste to me like other Silver Needle teas that I’ve tasted.  Silver Needle tea is usually quite delicate.  And while this does have a certain delicate quality to it, it has a fuller, rounder taste.  It really doesn’t taste like a Silver Needle, but then again, it doesn’t taste like the Bai Mu Dan or Shou Mei teas that I’ve tried in the past either.  This has a unique and wonderful flavor all it’s own.

It is a very crisp flavor with a fair amount of astringency.  The layers of flavor reveal vegetative notes, nutty tones and hints of flower and fruit – almost an apple-like taste with a hint of honeysuckle.  There is even a hint of malt to this – almost like the flavor of infused hops.

I enjoyed this hot, but I think I liked it even better as it cooled.  It was very refreshing, and the tang of astringency toward the tail was very uplifting.  Not quite what I expected from a Silver Needle tea, but, I am enjoying it nonetheless.

Taiwan Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao) from Teavivre

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

  • Grown and produced in Xinzhu (Hsinchu), Taiwan
  • Tea buds covered in white tips, with one or two leaves
  • Bright-reddish orange tea liquor
  • A mellow, sweet taste

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

True to its name, this is definitely a beauty!

Using my gaiwan, I steeped this tea using short steeps:  following a quick 10 second rinse, I steeped it for about 45 seconds for the first infusion, and a full minute for the second infusion, and combined these two infusions in one cup.  Each subsequent cup was poured in the same fashion, adding 15 seconds to each steep, and combining the brewed tea of two infusions.  This produced a beautiful golden, honey-colored tea with a delicious honey-esque flavor to match its color.

There are delicate peach notes in the background which add to the sweetness but not in a way that renders it cloying.  There is an earthiness to this cup as well, which offers the palate some balance to the sweet flavors of honey and peach.

The flavor seems to get better and better with each cup!  The first cup was light and crisp in flavor and quite delicious, but with the second cup, the tea brewed a darker color and produced a deeper, richer flavor.  The honey tones are now quite distinct.

The third cup was a little lighter than the second, but richer than the first.  As I noticed that the tea was beginning to taper, I decided to stop at three cups … six very delicious infusions from one measurement of leaves!

Another delightful tea from Teavivre.  If you tend to prefer your Oolongs to taste more of honey-fruit rather than floral, this would be an excellent choice!