Category Archives: oolong
I’m awash in samples from Tea Runners! This week I brought Water Sprite Oolong to work to try.
Water Sprite Oolong is pure oolong tea from a family farm high up in the mountains of Southeast China.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag is how smoky this tea is. The packaging suggests there is some honey sweetness “balanced with strong earthy tones,” but all I got from this one was a smoky smell and taste. In general, I find oolongs very mellow and I enjoy them, but I think this one was too smoky for me. I enjoyed trying it, but I wouldn’t add it to my permanent collection.
My husband knows me so well. He wanted to buy me some tea for Christmas so he checked out Adagio Teas where he found a whole sampler set of 12-teas for fans of Critical Roll. I photographed them all for fun, and I’ll be sampling a few over the next few weeks on the blog.
Each of the teas in Cri-Tea-Cal Role is named for something from the game, and tea creator Stephanie Traylor chose from all the Adagio ingredients to create her own signature blends.
Today I’m reviewing Inspiration which is a blend of black and oolong teas, apple pieces, passionfruit flavor, vanilla, marigold flowers, ginger root and flavor, and finally rainbow sprinkles.
I received the sampler tin as part of the set, but the tea is also available singly as a sample for $5.00, 3oz pouch for $12.00 or 5oz tin for $24.00.
When I first opened the package, aside from being delighted by the sprinkles, I loved the tropical smell of the tea. As it brewed I mostly got the passionfruit aroma. Sipping it I get more of the vanilla, passionfruit and apple. I don’t taste much ginger, but it probably keeps the tea balanced, especially with the sweet sprinkles. I picked this one for today because I like both black and oolong teas quite a bit, and I’m always up for a little tropical tea on a Friday afternoon. I enjoyed this blend and look forward to sampling the others!
From the ingredients list, Lemon Pound Cake contains oolong, lemongrass, lemon peel, sunflower blossoms, white hibiscus and natural and artificial poundcake and lemon flavor.
It comes in multiple increments of 2 oz. for $10.98 per 2 oz.
When I first opened the package I got vanilla pound cake smell, followed by a bit of tangy lemon. It smelled sweet and delicious. Once brewed I got more of a lemon tea smell. Despite the oolong tea in the blend, it tasted light and lemony. This is a delicious dessert-like tea, that I really enjoyed mid-afternoon. I think it would be great with cake, or on a cold winter day for a bit of a lift.
From the website, Guava Gold contains Bai Mu Dan White tea, Silver Needle White tea, Japanese Sencha Kyoto Green tea, Formosa Oolong Choicest tea, blue flowers, rose petals, natural and artificial flavoring.
It is available in a variety of sizes: 1/4 lb for $21.00, 1/2 lb for $32.35 and 1lb for $55.00.
When I opened the bag the first thing I noticed was the sweet and spicy scent of guava. Once brewed I could smell a bit of strawberry as well. (As a side note – I wish tea makers wouldn’t just include “natural and artificial flavoring” but tell me WHAT the flavoring is. For instance, if it smells like guava, tell me there’s guava in there!)
The tea was actually quite a bit milder than I was expecting. I really enjoy Guava Cadabra from David’s Tea and while this definitely had notes of guava, I think I wanted more fruit taste. That said, it was a pretty smooth blend of tea with light, sweet notes. I think it would make a good tropical iced tea.
From the website, Fancy Formosa Oolong contains white-tipped oolong from Taiwan.
It is available in a variety of sizes: 1oz for $6.00, 2oz for $12.00, 4oz for $24.00, 8oz for $48.00 and 1lb for $96.00.
When I opened the package, I got a delicious aroma. I’ve mentioned before that I love oolongs because, in my opinion, they tend to be the smoothest teas. This tea was delightful. It was a strong tea, but not quite as bitter as some black teas. With a bit of sugar, it was sweet and full bodied with just a hint of peach and apricot flavors at the end. This is the perfect morning or afternoon tea, especially with a jam-filled cookie.
Another tea I included in my last order from Simpson & Vail was Creamy Toasted Coconut Oolong. I love coconut, and I’m also partial to oolong teas. I find them much mellower than black tea, and I really enjoy them.
From the website Creamy Toasted Coconut Oolong contains: oolong tea, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, organic coconut pieces, flavorings and blue cornflower petals.
Creamy Toasted Coconut Oolong is available in a variety of sizes: 1oz for $2.45, 4oz for $8.45, 8oz for $16.90 and 1lb for $33.80.
When I opened the tea, I could smell the toasted coconut. Once brewed I could still smell the coconut, but it wasn’t as strong. The tea was really smooth and delicious, with just a hint of the coconut at the end. It was a really delightful mid-afternoon pick-me-up, especially with a cookie I had been hanging onto for tea time. This one will definitely be put into my afternoon rotation!
Late last year I heard about a new tea club that would be starting in 2017, Tea Runners. Tea Runners is the brain child of Jewel Staite and Charlie Ritchie. Each month Tea Runners sends out a box of 4 loose leaf teas along with tasting and brewing instructions.
I was lucky enough to get in for the March box and was delighted when it arrived. The packaging was really nice; it was evident a lot of thought and care went into the presentation.
The teas included in March’s box include: Makalu Mint Green Tea Blend, CTC Black, Annapurna Oolong Tea and Peach Ginger Detox Tea.
I love that the labels are chock full of information including ingredients, brewing and tasting instructions and where the tea came from so that I could find it again in the future.
This week I had a chance to try both the CTC Black and the Peach Detox Tea.
The CTC Black was excellent. It was strong flavored, but extremely smooth. It was a great black tea for a morning cup, and I also enjoyed it in the afternoon with just a touch of sugar.
The Peach Ginger Detox Tea smelled amazing when I opened it – just like ripe juicy peaches. It ended up being a really light tasting white tea with a hint of peach. I got almost no ginger in the flavor. I bet this one would be fabulous iced on a hot day, maybe even with a slice of peach?
If you’re interested in giving Tea Runners a try (and I suggest you do!) head on over to the website to sign up to be notified when subscriptions are open and boxes are available. Do keep an eye on your mailbox as they sell out quickly. There were 300 boxes available in March and they were gone within a few hours! Monthly memberships are $25 per box, or if you want to commit to 3 or 6-month subscriptions they’re available for slightly less.
Last week I decided to place an order with Arbor Teas. I was especially delighted that Arbor Teas offers sample sizes, which means I can buy several small selections to try. The first one I was excited about trying is the Organic Plum Oolong.
From the website, Organic Plum Oolong contains organic Chinese oolong tea, organic Indian black tea, organic schizandra berries, organic rosehips, organic hibiscus, organic currants, organic osthmanthus flowers, and natural plum flavor.
Organic Plum Oolong is available in a variety of sizes: sample for $3.50, 3oz for $12.50 and 9oz for $29.95.
When I first opened the package I got sort of a spicy berry aroma. As the tea brewed I got more of the oolong and black tea aromas. I really like oolong teas because they tend to be very smooth and mellow, but still contain a very full tea flavor. The tea itself was very light and sweet; I tasted the berries and the hibiscus. There was also a smokey overtone which I assume is from the Indian black tea. I enjoyed this blend, although I didn’t get as much of the plum I was wanting.
This blend contains nothing but Tung Ting Oolong tea.
Tung Ting Oolong is available in a sample size for $2.50 and a pack of 15 tea temples for $14.99.
I really like oolong teas in general because they are slightly milder than black teas, but still have that nice tea flavor. This one smelled fairly complex – it definitely had a bit more of the taste like a green tea and a bit of smokiness too. And yet it was very light and refreshing. I added just a bit of sweetener because I like my teas sweet, but I think it would be delightful plain to. It was the perfect complement to my stir fry lunch, but I think it would be wonderful with a mid-afternoon tea and cookie break as well.
One of the teas that I ordered from Harney & Sons that I was excited to try was Pomegranate Oolong. I really like oolong teas because they offer plenty of tea taste but are smoother sometimes than black teas.
From the website, Pomegranate Oolong includes premium Ti Quan Yin oolong leaves with pomegranate.
It is available in a variety of sizes: sample for $2.00, 1 lb for $24.00 and several quantities of sachets ranging from $5.99 to $15.00.
When I opened the package, the first thing I noticed was a sweet and tangy smell. As I brewed the tea it was fun to watch the leaves unfurl. The resulting tea smelled fruity and almost a little perfumed, like a night garden. The taste was smooth and silky, though I wish I had gotten more pomegranate. Instead the pomegranate lingered as an aftertaste. This was definitely an interesting tea, and I’m going to give it a few more tries.