Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuaXiangTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Mineral, slightly roasted, with clear floral hints. Hua Xiang Rougui is a well-balanced tea with a brisk, full and clean flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm … this Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is so nice!  It’s one of those Oolong teas that I just want to curl up to and enjoy.  It’s one of those types of teas that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and cozy when you drink it.

I brewed this the way I’d brew most Oolongs:  in my gaiwan.  I heat the kettle to 180°F and let the tea steep for 15 seconds.  Then I strained the liquid and discarded it – this is called the rinse.  Need to awaken those leaves!  I resteeped the leaves, this time for 45 seconds and strained the liquid into my teacup.  For each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds.  My first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2, while my second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … you get the idea, right?

This first cup is warm and wonderful.  I taste notes of mineral and a sweet, roasted fruit note, reminiscent of what a roasted peach might taste like.  Notes of flower weave their way throughout the sip.  I taste a very subtle note of what I want to call cinnamon, although it’s not as warm/spicy as a cinnamon note would be.  This is a subdued cinnamon flavor that i’m tasting.

The second cup was even nicer than the first – with intense, sweet fruit notes that taste like the aforementioned roasted peach along with the sweetness of dried fruit.  Like the sweetness of a dried apricot and raisins.  The spice notes are still there – still warm yet subdued.  The mineral notes have softened somewhat.  This cup seems more intently focused on the delectable sweetness of the fruit.  The flavors were more intense but the overall cup was smoother.

With my third cup, I noticed the flavors starting to wane a little bit so I decided that I’d make this my last cup.  I’m tasting the mineral notes again, almost to the same level that I tasted them in the first cup.  It was kind of odd to me that I barely noticed them at all with the second cup but now they seem to be as pronounced as they were in the first cup.  Still sweet, still fruity, but with a little less of the dried fruit notes.  This time, I’m picking up on more floral flavors, notes of what I want to describe as gardenia with hints of orchid.  I’m even picking up on notes of honey!

A truly remarkable tea – this is one that you definitely want to take through the different infusions – because there are so many layers of flavor to be discovered.

Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong Tea from Teavivre

anxi_qingxiang_tieguanyinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

This year, the tea is made of fresh tea leaves in higher quality, and is produced in better place with better crafting method.

When mentioned Anxi County, people will spontaneously think of Anxi Tie Guan Yin, “Iron Goddess”. It is well-known both inland and abroad. This Tie Guan Yin is close to forest green in color, has a pure aroma. Meanwhile the liquid of this Oolong tea is transparent and bright, which truly is a feast to the eyes. In taste, this Tie Guan Yin has sweet flavor, long-last fragrance and comfortable sweet aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know that I’ve said it before, but it’s something that bears repeating:  Teavivre has some of the very finest teas that I’ve ever tasted!  There’s a simple reason why it’s one of my favorite tea companies:  their teas are top-notch!

And this Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong is no exception!  This is lovely.

Having tried their Nonpareil Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong a couple of months ago, I found myself wondering how this tea would differ.  I was able to spot one big difference immediately upon opening the package and examining the leaves.  The dry leaf for this tea is bright, emerald green while the Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin were darker in color:  greenish brown!

That’s because the Anxi Yun Xian is a roasted Oolong and this hasn’t been roasted.  The roasting process seems to cut some of the floral notes and they become more of a roasty-toasty, nutty flavor.  I like both teas.

To brew this tea, I used my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of leaves into the bowl of the gaiwan.  Then I added enough water (heated to 180°F) to cover the leaves.  I let them steep for 15 seconds and discarded the water (this is the rinse).  Then I filled the gaiwan and let the tea steep for 45 seconds for the first infusion.  I strained the tea into my cup and then repeated the process, adding 15 seconds onto the next steep.  I combine the brewed liquid of two infusions for each cup – so my first cup was infusions 1 and 2.  My second cup was infusions 3 and 4.  You get the picture, right?

The sweet floral notes here are really nice.  They aren’t sharp, they’re soft and sweet.  Orchid with notes of vanilla!  That’s how I’d describe this first cup.  It’s sweet and creamy, but not creamy like a milky type of creamy or a buttery type of creamy.  This is distinctly vanilla!  So smooth and sweet and yummy!

The second cup has stronger, more defined orchid notes with less of a creamy, vanilla tone.  The flavors are a more focused.  The description on the Teavivre website says:

Tastes fresh and lovely. The fragrance of orchid will be tasted from first sip. It feels clean and mellow in mouth, has sweet aftertastes and long-lasting flavor.

I think that this is especially true of this second cup.  The orchid was immediately identifiable.  With the first cup, I noticed the strong, creamy characteristics first.  Now, the creaminess has tapered somewhat and I’m tasting the fresh, beautiful flavor of orchid.  It’s a strong and forward flavor, but I like that it’s not too sharp tasting.

The third cup was almost identical to the second cup, with a beautifully perfumed cup with notes of orchid, light creamy notes in the background.  Sweet and mellow!  I am loving the orchid notes in this tea because they never get particularly sharp, they stay mild and lovely.  A real pleasure to sip.

This is a really lovely TieGuanYin.  If you’re a lover of Oolong teas that is looking for a top notch TieGuanYin – you really should try this one.  It’s truly a remarkable tea.

Nonpareil Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin Oolong Tea from Teavivre


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Yun Xiang (韵香) means roasted. Roasting is the key for Yunxiang Tie Guan Yin’s feature: sweet and mellow flavor, very bright liquid. Usually, people who want to drink Tie Guan Yin will start with Qingxiang Tie Guan Yin, which is the base of Yunxiang tea. By roasting the Qingxiang tea, we can get the Yunxiang tea. Yunxiang tea has long-lasting aroma, but requires 120% more skill and patience for the makers, especially hand-made tea. During the roasting process, the tea will be roasted for 3 or 4 times, for over 8 hours of each time. The maker must control the temperature carefully, and judge the tea’s quality with his experience. We may say that fine roasted oolong tea is made under a strict “fire” trial.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I enjoy a good TieGuanYin Oolong.  And I think I like them even better when they’ve been roasted like this Nonpareil Anxi Yun Xiang TieGuanYin from Teavivre!

The tea becomes sweeter with the roasting process.  The vegetal notes become morph into a nutty flavor.  The floral notes become sweeter.  Sometimes, I notice a “sharp edge” to the floral notes in a TieGuanYin, but with a roasted TieGuanYin, the flavor is soft and toasty and the texture is smooth and creamy without feeling heavy on the palate.

AnxiYunXiangTo brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and “eyeballed” about a bamboo scoop’s worth of the tea into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I heated the water to 180°F and I performed a 15 second rinse.  Then I strained the liquid and discarded it.  The first steep was 45 seconds, and with each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds.  My cute little ceramic “Oolong” teacup holds 2 infusions, so I combined the first two infusions for the first cup of tea.

And the first cup has a really lovely, full flavor.  The roasty-toasty flavor is delightful.  Warm and comforting, this is just the kind of tea you want to enjoy on a chilly autumn afternoon.  The flavor that the roasting imparts evokes thoughts of falling leaves.  I taste a strong, roasted nutty flavor with hints of orchid in the background.  TieGuanYin Oolong teas can sometimes taste (and feel) buttery, this has more of a toasty, browned butter type of flavor.  Notes of honey are also presence as well as a hint of orchid.

My second cup was even lovelier than the first, I think, because I started to pick up on some caramel-y notes this time.  Sweet, luscious caramel mingling with the honeyed notes to create a delightful taste.  The nutty flavors are starting to meld with these sweet honey caramel notes, the flavors are becoming seamless.  I’m noticing a slight astringency toward the tail, but it’s very slight and only really obvious when I am trying to find it.  The aftertaste is sweet with hints of fruit.  Roasted peach, anyone?

Later infusions became smoother and more unified.  The third cup was deliciously toasty and caramel-ish.  Delicious nutty tones.  The creamy notes have subsided, but the flavor is so smooth and mellow.

A really wonderful Oolong – a perfect autumn drink.


PLEASE NOTE:  Sorry, this giveaway is now over.  Please keep watching our blog for more giveaways to come!

Teavivre has been so kind to offer us a number of $5. gift cards to give away to readers of our blog!  Yay!  And I’m going to give away FIVE $5.00 gift cards right now!  Well, not right now, as in right now as I type this, but right now as you read this, you can register to add your name to the pot and be part of the drawing for one of the $5.00 gift cards from Teavivre.  Here’s the fine print on the gift cards:  

  • It can be used to purchase any teas or teawares on the Teavivre website
  • By using this particular gift card, the customer can also get an extra sampler pack which includes 2 kinds of our premium grade flower teas.
  • The card can also be used to pay the shipping fee.
  • One gift card per order, please.
  • It can be applied on international. 
  • No minimum purchase required.

By now you’re wondering, COOL!  What do I have to do to enter?  Am I right?

Well, we like to make things easy around here, so, you can earn your first entry by simply commenting on this review/contest announcement post.  Just post a comment and be sure to include a way to contact you if you’ve won.  If you’re already registered with – cool!  I can contact you via PM on  If you prefer a Steepster PM, that’s fine too, just tell me who you are on Steepster.  If you prefer a private email contact, then you need to register when you comment and be sure to include your email with the registration and tell us that’s how you want us to contact you.  

Well, that’s the first entry, but, how about bonus entries?  You can earn them too!  Here are a few easy ways to earn more entries:

  • Like Teavivre on Facebook.  
  • Follow Teavivre on Twitter.
  • Post the contest information on Facebook *Be sure to give us a link!*
  • Tweet about this contest!  *Be sure to give us the link of the tweet!*

See that?  That’s five easy ways to get a cool five bucks off your next purchase from Teavivre!  How awesome is that?  

This contest will run through November 19th.  I’ll be contacting the winner on November 20th.  And another contest will be starting shortly thereafter!  Woo hoo!

2014 Zhi Lan Xiang Dan Cong Oolong Tea from Grand Tea

Lan Xiang OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Grand Tea

Tea Description:

Zhi Lan Xiang Dan Cong Limited Stock Dan Cong is family of stripe-style oolong teas from Guangdong Province. Dancong teas are noted for their ability to naturally imitate the flavors and fragrances of various flowers and fruits, such as orange blossom, orchid, grapefruit, almond, ginger flower, etc. This particular Zhi Lan Xiang Dan Cong oolong has a lovely aroma and a sweetness reminds of honey.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s Oolong time!  Oh, happy day, today I’m drinking this delightful Zhi Lan Xiang Dan Cong Oolong Tea from Grand Tea that was harvested in 2014.  It’s fresh and it is really good.

Really good!

It’s sweet!  And just as the description above suggests, it is very reminiscent of a honey-like sweetness.  I taste notes of fruit – a slightly under-ripe plum that’s both sweet and just a little sour.  There’s a hint of grapefruit, I taste that tangy note from grapefruit as well as just a hint of the bitterness that I’d taste from the citrus fruit.  I am also noticing a woodsy tone that continues to develop as I sip this first cup (infusions 1 and 2 following a 15 second rinse.)

The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) offered stronger fruit notes – I can really taste the grapefruit note this time!  It’s a bright note, complex with notes that are tart and sweet.  I find that the aforementioned plum note is maybe less prominent, allowing for the notes of the grapefruit to shine through.  Lots of sweet honey taste and I taste less of the woodsy tone that I noticed with the last cup.  This cup is all about sweet honey and fruit!

Later infusions produced a more unified taste.  The honey notes became smoother and softer, while the tangy notes of fruit became more subdued, allowing for the sweetness of the fruit and some notes of flower to emerge.

I really enjoyed this tea.  Yes, this Dan Cong Oolong would be welcome in my teacup anytime!

Spring Keemun Limited Edition Tea from Damn Fine Tea

springKeemun_leavesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Damn Fine Tea

Tea Description:

We’ve noticed spring is struggling to get off the ground this year in our little corner of the USA. March came in like a lion but its fur got stuck to the permafrost so the lion continues to sit outside our door, calmly licking its paws and giving us the stare down. Fine. We’ll stare right back. Should be no problem as long as our supply of this great Keemun holds out. Good thing we have 150 2.5 ounce tins of the… Wait. We only have 150 tins? Whose idea was that?

Despite a strong desire to keep all these tins of Spring Keemun for ourselves, we offer them to you. This is a spring crop of Keemun Xiang Luo (Fragrant Spirals), so while this tea has all the usual, unmistakable tawny richness of Keemun, it is more delicate than you might expect. Lion and lamb, all at once. The leaves are so beautiful — elegant, dark, and shiny — it’s almost a shame to pour water on them! When you do, make sure the water is boiling hot and allow it to steep for at least 5 minutes. Or longer. This is a very patient tea.

Learn more about this limited-edition tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yeah … so shortly after I purchased the Yunnan Gold Tips on Canada Day, Andrews & Dunham announce that they’re offering free shipping to the USA on the 4th of July.  As it turned out, I would have been safe in waiting until the 4th to get free shipping for my Yunnan tea, but, I didn’t want to take that chance that I’d miss out on the tea because at the time that I ordered, there were only 6 tins left of it.  There are now – as I write this review – 2 tins left of the Yunnan.

And while I am enjoying having the Yunnan in my cupboard (it makes for a seriously tasty cuppa!) I’m even happier that I now have this Spring Keemun in my cupboard!  OH YUM!

I think I’m in love with the tea that is in my teacup right now.  Seriously.  I have tried a lot of Keemun in my years as a tea reviewer, but I do believe that this Xiang Luo is the best Keemun I’ve tried to date.  It’s delightful.  So good, in fact, that I’m contemplating picking up another tin or two so that I have it on hand for many more months to come.

It is rich and smooth and delicious.  There is very little astringency to this, although there is just a slight twinge of dryness toward the end of the sip.  The texture is thick and almost creamy, evoking thoughts of a warm, comforting soup.  But this is sweeter than a soup!

It tastes of honeyed caramel.  I can almost taste the light notes of flowery pollen.  There are fruit notes to this as well.  Sweet, juicy plum – just the sweetness of the plum, no tartness from the fruit.  Sun-ripened plums drizzled with honey and then cooked down to caramelize it.  Mmm!

There is a tantalizing, cake-y, freshly baked sort of goodness to this tea too, like a cake that had just come out of the oven.  You know those browned, caramelized edges of a freshly baked cake?  Yeah … that’s what I taste.  Again, let me say:  Mmm!

Delicious!  This tea is best served hot.  Sure, it’s really good when it cools off, but, something is lost with the chill.  The flavors mute a little and you really want to experience this tea to its fullest flavor, which means drinking ti while its still hot.  Give it a few minutes to cool after you’ve poured yourself a cup, and then begin to enjoy every sip.  Not that you need me to tell you to enjoy … because trust me, you will!

There are only 24 tins left of this tea – this is one you don’t want to miss out on.  The only disappointing thing about this tea is the “prize” that comes with it … it’s an A&D Damn Fine Tea button.  Like the kind you pin on your jacket or hat.  It’s OK, I guess, but seeing as this tea is to be a celebration of Spring, I thought that they could have been a little more creative.  A little toy bird like the one on the label of the tea?  That would have been fun!

But it should say something to you that my only complaint about this tea is the freebie that came with it.  (Well, that and the tea disappears too fast after I’ve poured a cup!)  What the Spring Keemun lacks in free prize it more than makes up for in amazing flavor!