2017 Autumn Tea Round Up

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It’s been remarkably warm around here earlier this week, but I’m ready for autumn full on with the crisp leaves underfoot and it being the perfect weather for hot cups of tea and hand knits. Last year around this time, I shared of my favourite teas for the autumn and while I still love all of those, I thought I’d share five different teas that I’m heavily relying on this autumn as the weather gets cooler and I’m more in the mood for snuggling up under a quilt than going for a stroll along the water.

Out of DavidsTea’s Chai collection for the early autumn, I’m crushing on their S’mores Chai and love it at a latte over plain. A lot of stores have sold out of this one, so if you’re wanting to get your hands on some S’mores Chai, I’d recommend visiting your local shop earlier rather than later.

Grand Tea’s Premium Pearl Jasmine makes the list because I love jasmine green teas and this is one that I’ve found myself reaching for repeatedly the last few weeks. It makes such a great cup of tea and when I (accidentally!) leave it a bit too long, it’s still great cold.

For a more ‘normal’ Chai, I’ve been drinking Chai from The Virginia Tea Company and loving every moment of it. It makes for a nice cozy cup of tea with the lovely warming properties of cinnamon and ginger – delicious!

I caved and bought a tin of DavidsTea’s Cardamom French Toast lately and have been greatly enjoying it as a latte. When I take it to work, I’ve been steeping it at home and then adding milk later at work. It helps cool it down (since my travel mug keeps tea way too hot!) and I can instantly enjoy it.

For the days that I’ve actually been at home, I’ve been enjoying Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong. A delight for my taste buds, for sure! It makes for a great at-home tea because of how many times I can manage to resteep this tea and still enjoy it. It’s been a joy to have when I’m at home and just to have throughout the day.

What has been some of your favourite teas to have so far this autumn? (And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, what are you having during your spring?) Share with me below in the comments!

Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong

Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong by Oollo Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.00 for 25g

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This is my 150th tea review on One More Steep! Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong is also called Pear Mountain High Mountain Oolong on Oollo Tea’s website.

First Impressions

I bought Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong from Oollo Tea’s booth at the 2016 Vancouver Tea Festival based off of the recommendation from one of the lovely ladies there. I just love the classy look of the white and silver packaging, it’s just very nice to look at. Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong is described as have “peony and lily” notes, while having a “refreshing long aftertaste”. This tea is grown at 2000m elevation in Cuiruan, located on Pear Mountain.

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The dry leaf of Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong has a very light floral aroma to it, the tightly rolled pearls of tea are beautiful to look at.  This specific type of oolong is called qingxing oolong (or green heart oolong).

Preparation

Oollo Tea recommends steeping this oolong tea for 2-5 minutes in 95°C (203°F) water. My initial steep was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong steeps to a pale yellow for the initial. The tea itself has a great floral aroma to it that wafts up to you when you pour it into a tea cup. On first sip, I found that there was a light sweetness to that mingles well with the floral flavours. The taste of the tea does linger for a while in the mouth after it’s gone. It’s a very smooth tea, there’s zero bitterness, no astringency, and has a great mouthfeel to it because the tea just coats the entire mouth with the beautiful floral flavours.

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A Second Cup?

I always resteep my oolongs, and Oollo Tea suggests that the tea can be steeped up to 5 times so I had to give it a go. The first resteep, I noted that the liquor of the tea was a more golden, darker yellow than the first steep. There was a mix of floral with some nutty notes to it. There’s still the light sweetness, and the long lingering aftertaste. I continued to resteep Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong until I reached seven resteeps (eight steeps total with the same leaves). I found that the flavour profile of the tea reached a nice balance of floral and nutty by steep three, and the intensity was fairly well retained until the sixth overall steep. The seventh and eighth steep were lacking in flavour intensity, but the flavours were still there. For each sequential steep, I add an extra 30 seconds to the steeping time.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong. The flavour profile is complex, and I love how the tea tastes and changes with increasing steeps. This tea holds up well with an amazing number of resteeps, and I could have continued past the eighth steep since the flavour was still there, albeit not as strong. I think this tea could easily be paired with a savoury meal with the nutty flavours or with sweets, since it has those floral notes. It’s a delicious tea and I would definitely recommend resteeping this one throughout the day to experience all the changes with each steep.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Oollo Tea’s Maliba High Mountain Oolong

Maliba High Mountain Oolong by Oollo Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$10.00 for 25g

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Oollo Tea has provided me with Maliba High Mountain Oolong for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Oollo Tea’s Maliba High Mountain Oolong is a 2015 spring harvest, and from the Maliba area of Nantou, Taiwan. I quite like the fact that they provide information of various teas. I ripped open the package of Maliba High Mountain Oolong and it kind of slipped out onto the table – graceful, I was not. Maliba High Mountain Oolong has this very light floral fragrance, mixed with something that reminds me of the ocean – just the salt water smell that you can experience when you’re by the ocean.

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Maliba High Mountain Oolong is dark, tightly rolled, and I’m very curious about how it will unfurl when steeped. This is a straight oolong tea from Taiwan that was grown at an elevation of 2000m.

Preparation

Oollo Tea recommends steeping Maliba High Mountain Oolong at 90-95°C (194-203°F) for 1.5-5 minutes. I steeped 2.5g of Maliba High Mountain Oolong in 195°F water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Maliba High Mountain Oolong steeps incredibly pale in the first steep, a very pale yellow. There aroma of the tea has strong floral notes. When I sipped the oolong for the first time, Maliba High Mountain Oolong has a nice sweet floral note, with just a touch of saltiness. The salty notes of the tea adds a bit of umami quality to the tea, the savoury notes mingles well with the sweet floral notes. The complexity of the flavour profile in Maliba High Mountain Oolong is a delight on the tongue.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Maliba High Mountain Oolong a grand total of seven times, adding an additional 30 seconds per steep. The floral becomes a bit more subdued throughout the steepings, and the savoury notes become more prominent. I found that the flavour was most intense for the first resteep, and it remained fairly strong until the very end.

Maliba High Mountain Oolong unfurls and opens up an amazing amount. The unsteeped tea is 2.5g and the steeped side is also 2.5g – look at how much it opens up! I’m always amazed at how much the tea leaves will open up when it’s steeped.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Maliba High Mountain Oolong. I love the sweet-savoury aspect of the initial steep of this oolong, and also how the tea gets more savoury with each additional steep. The oolong has a great flavour, and I love the fact that it can be resteeped so much. The umami flavour is great, and I love that it’s affordably priced, especially considering how well it resteeps.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Oollo Tea’s Red Jade Black Tea

Red Jade Black Tea by Oollo Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$10.00 for 25g

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Oollo Tea has provided me with Red Jade Black Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

One of the sample packets I got from Oollo Tea back in November 2016, this their Red Jade Black Tea. The tea leaves are long and wiry with how they are twisted together. The leaves themselves are dark, and when I opened up the bag the first thing I smelled was plums. There’s the sweet smell of plums mixed in with raisins. It’s an intriguing mix of fruit flavours, and it’s got my interest piqued.

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Red Jade Black Tea is a straight black tea, consisting of tea from Yuchi, Nantou, Taiwan.

Preparation

Oollo Tea recommends steeping in 90-95°C (194-203°F) water for 1-4 minutes. For those who’ve read my previous reviews before, you know how much I rely on my Breville IQ Kettle for the perfect temperature water – I used the Oolong setting (91°C/195°F) and did an initial steep of 2 minutes.

First Taste

Red Jade Black Tea steeps to a really pretty light golden orange – it reminds me a lot of the orange found in sunsets (which then makes me think of summer and how we’ve been having a lot of snow here…). There’s a nice plum and raisin aroma that comes from the tea when I smell it after it has steeped. On first sip, the first thing I taste is the taste of the plums and raisins. Then comes just a slight astringency at the end of sip that is met with a cool minty taste. As I continue to sip this tea, I find notes of warming cinnamon spice flavour, that really balances well with the sweetness of the plums. The minty flavour isn’t as prominent as the cinnamon, but it does make for quite the variation in flavour in the same cup of tea. Overall, I really like that this is a full-bodied tea, it has a great mouthfeel to it without being oily, and there’s a complex blend of flavours that makes it really fun to drink.

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A Second Cup?

The packaging suggested that I could steep this tea three times, so of course I did just that. I added an additional 30 seconds per subsequent resteep. I found that the tea has very similar flavours in steeps 2 and 3, but found that the plum flavour is far more pronounced in steeps 2 and 3 than the flavour of raisins.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Red Jade Black Tea. What I thought was going to be a fairly straightforward black tea ended up being this delicious roller coaster of flavour. From the beginning to the end, each sip takes you on this crazy journey that starts off with the warming flavour of cinnamon and ends off with a cool bit of mint. It might be the most complex and interesting black tea that I’ve ever had the pleasure of steeping. And all the while, the notes of plum and raisin hang in there to balance out the warming and cooling flavours. It’s just plain delicious.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Oollo Tea’s Oriental Beauty

Oriental Beauty by Oollo Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$10.00 for 25g

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First Impressions

I bought Oriental Beauty at Oollo Tea’s booth at the 2016 Vancouver Tea Festival, back in November. This was one of the teas that they were sampling at their booth and I pretty much fell in love with it. The packaging that Oollo Tea uses is simple and effective – a textured card stock box with information on either end about the company is printed in metallic silver.

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The front has basic information about the tea, along with a circular sticker that lets me know that it is a dark oolong, direct trade and single origin from Pinglin, New Taipei, Taiwan. The back of the box has a sticker that tells me the name of the grower (the Zhen family), as well as when it was harvested (May 2016) and steeping instructions. The tea itself is contained in a resealable white, foil lined bag. The packaging overall from Oollo Tea is nothing short of beautiful – I quite like it as it is simple, pretty and (most importantly) functional.

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Oriental Beauty has dark wiry leaves, I love that I can see the soft downy feathers on the leaves. This is always a sign to me that there’s a lovely cup of tea waiting for me. There’s very subtle fruity fragrances in the dry leaf. It reminds me a lot of stone fruit – plums, apricots, with just a smidgen that reminds me of peaches.

Preparation

Oollo Tea recommends steeping Oriental Beauty for 2-4 minutes in 95°C (203°F) water, and suggests that it can be steeped five times. My initial steep of Oriental Beauty was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

After the two minute steep, Oriental Beauty is a nice light yellow. It has a fruity smell to it, which was expected based on the dry leaf smell. My first taste of this tea and I note the stone fruit flavours in it – plums, apricots, peaches. There’s a sweet vanilla taste to the tea that I wasn’t expecting, but it’s quite welcome. The vanilla flavour adds a nice creaminess to the tea. The tea itself is quite smooth and easy to drink, with zero bitterness when steeped for two minutes. I found that the leaves opened up a little bit, but not quite all the way.

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A Second Cup?

The second steep (2 mins, 30 secs) had the addition of floral notes, the same stone fruits, and apple. The packaging suggests that there are grape flavours, but I don’t taste them in the second steep. Overall, I did a total of 7 steeps (6 resteeps) of Oriental Beauty. I found the third steep had the richest, deepest flavours with the apple and stone fruits, the sweetness of the vanilla flavours mingles well with the floral. After the third steep, I lost the apple flavours first (in the fifth steep), and by the seventh steep I was left with primarily flavours of vanilla and plum in my mouth.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Oriental Beauty. I really enjoyed steeping the leaves again and again to discover changes in the flavour profile. From the unexpected creaminess of vanilla to the addition of apple and floral notes, I think this tea does incredibly well with being resteeped and it is definitely a tea to sit down and savour each sip because of the complexity and ever-changing flavours with each steep.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.