Da Hong Pao / Great Tea Road Co. . . .

If pu-erhs don’t suit your taste but you are looking for some of the same unique medicinal characteristics and timelessness (becomes better with age) then you should try out a Da Hong Pao, also known as Big Red Robe.

From the first time I tried it many years ago to now it has remained one of my favorite teas. It is a darker roasted oolong with lovely attributes. When the liquid first hits your tongue roasty and toasty notes flourish. Then subtly sweet plum and floral accents, almost jasmine in essence.

If you are having trouble deciphering these flavors make sure to steep between two to three minutes and swish it in your mouth a few times. I found this tea company while on the prowl for my favorite maple syrup (Faxon Farms, so amazing).

The owners truly know their tea and when I told them what I like to drink they immediately recommended Da Hong Pao. I will be a repeat customer for sure.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Great Tea Road Company

Da Hong Pao still grows in traditional, small-scale tea gardens, and each spring the farmers still climb the hills to implore the tea god to bring new shoots. It’s the combination of rock and water that gives Da Hong Pao its rich flavor. The rain that pours off the sheer rock walls, flowing down narrow streams and pretty waterfalls, becomes imbued with minerals, which then impart their goodness to the tea. A legends has sprung up around the original Da Hong Pao trees, which still perch precariously on a cliff face not far from the monastery.

What Da Hong Pao taste like?  This is a medium charcoal roasting oolong. It gives a flavor of red dates and purple plums and slightly roasted with light floral / fruity aroma. It is clean finished and clear, medium-amber colored liquor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Creamy Toasted Coconut from Simpson & Vail

ToastedCoconutOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail 

Tea Description:

A perfect tea for afternoon enjoyment! This delightfully light tea brews to an ecru color and has the taste of baked goodies with an undertone of an earthy oolong. The rich, exotic aroma is accompanied by the smooth, delicious taste of coconut macaroon with vanilla accents. Great hot or cold.

Ingredients: Oolong tea, cacao nibs organic, vanilla beans, organic coconut pieces, flavorings and blue cornflower petals.

Brew tea at 195º – steep for 4 minutes.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The other day I came home to an incredibly considerate package from Simpson & Vail. I just love this company and recommend them all the time. They have an amazing story, customer service, and a line of tea that just makes you drool.

This oolong has been one that I instantly grabbed out of the box and have been drinking ever since. I had just finished up my a delicious flavored oolong from Handmade Teas and was wanting another one. This one is completely satisfied that craving!

I scooped a few spoonfuls into my tea pot and prepared my water to 195.  The lovely tea blend had a rich bright coconut aroma.  I couldn’t wait to try it. I allowed the tea to steep for about 4 minutes and poured myself a huge cuppa.  Sat down and took my first sip.

You ever have a day where you need a cuppa tea just to soothe your soul after a rough day? This tea is the answer! A lovely dose of roasted toasted coconut and oolong with a sweet creamy vanilla undertone and a very very slight chocolate note. Wow, this tea is one of those teas that reminds me why I drink tea.  I can’t get enough of it.  I’m typically not a fan of tea blends that feature coconut as the spotlight but this one has the perfect amount of coconut that mixes so well with the oolong. The flavors just go together perfectly. I’m literally on my fourth cuppa of the same infusion and I can’t get enough.

If you haven’t tried Simpson & Vail, I highly recommend taking a second and checking out their offerings. You’ll be glad you did! I’m off to brew up another cup!



Nepal Oolong from Simpson & Vail

nepaloolong_medTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail

Tea Description:

Located 6000 feet above sea level, in the misty hills of Pashupatinagar, Ilam, is this family owned Organic (EU) and ISO certified garden. The teas grown here are of some of the most interesting and spectacular teas that will tempt your taste buds into new levels of enjoyment. This garden is the first one in Nepal to use the technology, machinery and expertise available from Japan. The Aarubotay tea bushes are a combination of Japanese, Chinese and clonal varieties that produce the best of Nepalese teas. Try some today and, from the first smell of the dry leaf to the taste of the brewed tea, you will be convinced that this family has achieved success!

An enchanting Oolong experience! The dark brown, twisted, tippy leaves brew into a pale amber cup with mild, mellow, well-balanced flavors and delicate peach/apricot undertones. (Note: This crop was picked earlier in the year and is lighter tasting than the 2014 Oolong.)

Learn more about this tea here. 

Taster’s Review:

I am a huge fan of Simpson & Vail. Their teas are delicious, fresh, and always ones that you can rely on.   I had never tried any oolongs from them so I was excited to check out their oolong offerings.

This oolong was nothing less than exceptional. I brewed this up with fresh water at about 190 degrees or so for about 4 minutes. I sat and watched the gorgeous leaves swirl around in my steeper. I couldn’t wait to for the tea to finish brewing. The dry leaf had such a nice and refreshing note about them with a slight touch of being roasted.

And that is exactly what this tea tasted like! A slightly vegetal amazingly light and refreshing slightly roasted oolong. So many gorgeous flavors in each and every sip.  There was a stonefruit sweetness that I could pick up here and there, but it wasn’t a solid note throughout the tea. So well balanced and such a great tea to keep you company all day. I’m on my third infusion and am devouring this tea like crazy.

Such a great tea from such a great company. If you haven’t checked out Simpson & Vail, I would encourage you too. They are wonderful to shop with. I just love a tea company that provides amazing teas and amazing customer service!


Orchid Oolong from Conundrum Teas

Orchid OrchidOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Conundrum Teas

Tea Description:

This semi-balled oolong was processed with medium oxidation it has a roasted chestnut and honey flavor with a refreshing mint finish.  Balled Oolong’s are best enjoyed over multiple short infusions, as the ball unfurls throughout the steeps, different flavors are released along with the leaves.  The brewed tea has an intense yellow color and it smells like a bamboo forest filled with orchids.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

So far every tea that I have tried from Conundrum has been simply amazing. Their teas are high quality and take you on an tea infused adventure with every sip.  Recently I tried their Orchid Oolong and I have to say, the tea delivered on the flavors promised in the description!

Orchid Oolong is described as having a yellow color and a fragrance similar to a bamboo forest filled with orchids. I can’t say I know exactly what that smells like but it sounds amazing! The fragrance I was getting from this gorgeous dry leaf was one that I would compare to as being a roasted vegetal aroma with a twist of sweetness.

Brewed this up in my GROSCHE steeper  (I just love that steeper!) and prepped my water at 190 degrees or so. I allowed the tea to steep for about 4 minutes before placing the steeper on my mug for the tea to be released. I loved watching the tea leaves uncurl and unfurl while dancing around in the water and steeping. Such a fun sight!

I allowed the tea to cool for a moment and took a huge sip.  Oh my! This tea is just delicious.  Gorgeous and romantic while being a bit mysterious as well.  You have the lovely roasted tones as your backdrop for this tea while there is a sweetness towards the middle of the sip.  Towards the end you almost get a buttery note that reminded me of a green tea and a simply to die for floral note. I could sit here and drink this all day and I think I will.  This is just the first session with this tea. I can’t imagine what the flavor will transform into after a few more sittings.


Quilan Oolong from White Lion Tea

Quilan Oolong from White Lion Tea
Quilan Oolong from White Lion Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: White Lion Tea

Tea Description:

Quilan Oolong Organic Tea is a traditional oolong with a full, round, satisfying finish that connoisseurs will surely appreciate.

Canister, 9oz $37.00Glass Jar, 2oz $15.95 Sample Tin, 0.7oz $4.75

25 Sachets In Bulk $16.80Silver Keepsake Tin with 18 Sachets $15.50Sample Tin with 5 Sachets $4.75

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Quilan Oolong from White Lion Tea is scrumptious, and its organic! I love this oolong! I too am not always fond of Wuyi – I like it but this is the first one I can recall that has really WOWd me!!
The aroma – wow – when I had that first whiff of this tea before sipping I instantly thought of Burnt Marshmallows! Now I indeed do love my marshmallows burnt till they are pitch black as long as there is still yummy melting marshmallow inside. This was the aroma! There was that smokiness to it that really had me.

I have to say, anytime I get a sample sized tin of any White Lion Tea I end up ordering more of it. I have learned my lesson and from now on I will always just go ahead and order a glass jar of their teas! So far I have sampled six White Lion teas and each one of them is above stellar!

This tea truly does hold up to multiple steeps without losing any of its flavor. In addition I experience the same flavor from the first two steeps before I get any change to the notes. Even once the notes begin to change they evolve more than dissipate which is indicative of an excellent tea.

I rated this tea a 100 on Steepster it is so good.

There are notes of caramel, vanilla, burnt sugar, rock mineral, toasty, roasty, and smoke to name a few.

The cup is a dark but clear amber color.

The flavor left on the palate is Wuyi all the way, with that clean rock mineral and fresh water taste, granted I am using good quality water to brew my tea, but this flavor comes more from the tea itself.

The tea is full but not so robust. The mouthfeel more light than heavy, yet its not a thin feel either. This is one of the more difficult to explain mouth-feels for me.

This tea is also perfection iced and I will be sipping a lot of this Quilian Oolong iced this summer!