Category Archives: oolong
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.
From the website: ginger is added to a peachy Formosa oolong.
Ginger’s Oolong is available in a variety of sizes: sample for $2.00, 3oz for $6.75, 5oz for $12.00 and lb for $20.00.
When I opened the package I smelled tangy ginger and the oolong tea underneath. While I was brewing it I got a really earthy smell. The tea itself was a mild peachy ginger. I think this would be great as an afternoon tea, and also useful if you wanted to settle your stomach.
The final tea that I ordered from Teavana a few weeks ago was Spiced Mandarin Oolong. I have a soft spot for orange teas. One of my favorite bagged teas was Tazo’s Wild Sweet Orange before they changed the blend.
This blend contains dark Oolong tea, cinnamon, hibiscus flowers, apple bits, carob bits, ginger, orange juice bits, citrus slices, pepper, tangerine pieces, ginger slices, candied tangerine, cardamom, star anise, cardamom seeds, cloves and allspice.
It is available in a variety of sizes: 2oz for $9.98, 4oz for $19.96, 8oz for $39.92, 16oz for $79.84, 3lbs for $239.52 and 5lbs for $399.20.
When I opened the bag the first thing I smelled was orange and a collection of spices. Once brewed I got more sweet orange and hibiscus smell. The tea tasted delicious. I got a nice sense of the orange and hibiscus, which made it sweet. But there was also the tang of the spices adding a more savory complex note. I’m not sure it’s as good as my Wild Sweet Orange, but it’s not a bad second!
From the label, the blend includes: apple pieces, white tea, oolong tea, pear pieces, rosehip peels, peach, jackfruit, papaya, orange slices and peels, pear pieces, orange petals, elderflowers, grapefruit, passionfruit pieces, passionfruit juice and lychee pieces.
It is available in a variety of sizes: 2oz for $14.98, 4oz for $29.96, 8oz for $59.92, 16oz for $119.84, 3lb for $359.52, and 5lb for 599.20.
When I first opened the package all I could smell was the tangy pear. As it brewed I got more of the sweet apple and peach aromas, as well as a little bit of a floral undertone (perhaps the elderflowers?). The taste was crisp and clean; a little sweet and a little tangy. I enjoyed it hot although it might be delicious cold as well. It was perfect for this chilly fall day!
With the arrival of decorative gourd season* it is time for all things pumpkin. I was tempted last week when I saw a friend of mine gushing about Teavana‘s Pumpkin Spice Brulée and knew it was time to place an order.
Pumpkin Spice Brulée contains cinnamon, white chocolate pieces, pumpkin pieces, chocolate flakes, carob pieces, oolong tea, ginger, chicory root, pumpkin seeds, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and coconut blossom sugar.
It is available in the following sizes: 2oz for $12.98, 4oz for $25.96, 8oz for $51.95 and 16oz for $103.84, 3lb for $311.52 and 5lb for $519.20. While I’m not springing for the largest size, I assume this is a seasonal variety so you’d best get some while you can.
When I first opened the package I could smell the chicory root and the chocolate. As the tea was brewing more of the spiciness came through: the ginger, the nutmeg, the cloves. I will say that the tea tasted more like spice tea to me, than pumpkin or chocolate. It reminded me of fall days and holidays and I would definitely recommend it if you like all things seasonal.
For my birthday this year my sister got me a selection of teas from TeaGschwendner in Chicago, where she lives.
I decided to try the Windy City Blend first. From the packaging, the Windy City Blend is a blend of seven sweet teas: black, green, oolong, osmanthus blossoms, sunflower, jasmine, rose blossoms, strawberry leaves, strawberry, caramel and vanilla bits.
The Windy City Blend is available in a variety of sizes: 100g for $11.74, 250g for $28.37, 500g for $50.77 and 1000g for $101.55.
When I opened the bag the tea smelled DELICIOUS. I could smell strawberries and vanilla. After it was brewed it still had a sweet fruit smell. In this case I was so pleased – the tea tasted just as good, if not better than it smelled. It’s light and fruity, and sweet. It’s a great dessert tea or mid-afternoon pick me up and I think it might even be good iced. This is going on the short list for teas to keep in stock all the time!
Last time I went to the Tea Market, my friend and co-worker tried some of the Lemon Basil Oolong. She let me try a bit too, and I really liked it. So the second time back I purchased an ounce for myself.
From her menu, the Lemon Basil Oolong is a blend of dark leaf oolong, with the fruit and zest of lemon and a hint of savory basil. She sells it for $4.55 per oz.
When I smelled the blend in the store, it smelled very light, and almost savory with the tang of the lemon rind and a bit of the basil. Once brewed it definitely smelled lemony, with less of the basil scent. I really like this one hot – it’s a great refreshing afternoon blend – but I also think I’d like to try it iced, particularly on a hot summer day. I’d definitely recommend it!