Aroma Tea House’s Formosa Oolong

Formosa Oolong by Aroma Tea House
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.00 for 100g   

First Impressions

I bought Formosa Oolong from Aroma Tea House’s booth at the Vancouver Tea Festival (I can’t remember which year, isn’t that terrible?!), and it came as part of a sampler of oolongs so I could try out four different types. Each cardboard tube had a snug-fitting lid, and the tea was poured into each one.

Formosa Oolong is one of their Taiwanese oolongs, and I was pretty happy to try it out. Formosa Oolong has these lovely green to brown leaves, the leaves all squished up together. The aroma from the dry leaf was that of a light fruity aroma with a mix of freshly cut grass, which I find quite inviting.

Preparation

As part of the sampler packaging, there were no steeping instructions on the cardboard tube. On the product page online, Aroma Tea House recommended steeping Formosa Oolong in a small teapot for 15 to 30 seconds, with no suggestions for water temperature. I used my Breville IQ Kettle‘s green tea temperature setting of 175°F (79°C) and steeped it for 30 seconds.

First Taste

Formosa Oolong steeps to what seems like an impossibly pale yellow when the leaves are only steeped for 30 seconds. The aroma from the tea is light sweetness, and fresh fruit – I get a mix of melon and plum. The tea is pleasantly smooth, no bitterness or astringency. I found the sweetness noted in the aroma of the tea carried over well into the flavour. It’s a smooth, creamy tea that certainly goes down easy.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Formosa Oolong seven times (eight steeps total!) and found that the flavours changed quite a bit as I steeped it. The fruity flavours intensified at first, and when that started to wane, there was some sweet floral notes that started to come out. It made for a great tasting adventure because the same leaves just produced such a wide range of flavour.

My Overall Impression

I loved Aroma Tea House’s Formosa Oolong. I really enjoyed how this oolong tasted – from the first steep to the eighth. The flavours were so complimentary to each other and made for a beautifully balanced flavour profile regardless of which steep I was on. This is definitely a tea that I would recommend having many, many cups of because the flavour of the tea just changes so well throughout each steep.

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Teatourist’s Quintessentials Tea Adventure

Quintessentials Tea Adventure (March 2018) by Teatourist
£11-15 for 1 box, plus shipping (+£3-5 per box)

Teatourist has provided me with the Quintessentials Tea Adventure for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

This was the first month where Teatourist had updated packaging! I quite like it – the bright orange goes so well with the teal, and it’s less the sleeve, so there’s less packaging to go into recycling, which I quite like as well. This monthly box came with six different teas, and four of the six are straight teas! The only way I’d be even more excited about trying this box would be if this box contained fudge

The teas in this box are: Morgans Brew Tea by Morgan’s Brew Tea Company (black tea), Ceylon Tea by Cheeky Chai (black tea), Green Tea with Jasmine by Pure Leaf (green tea), Bright Afternoon by Brighteas (black tea), Earl Grey 1833 by CHASH The Fine Tea Co (flavoured black tea), and Safari Oolong by Nothing But Tea (oolong).

Morgans Brew Tea has a strong smell to it that reminds me both of a breakfast tea (think British or Irish), while having some apricot notes in the dry leaf. This straight black tea is a blend of a few East African black teas (from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda). Ceylon Tea (Pekoe Fannings) has a mildly sweet aroma, and has a very familiar black tea aroma to it. Ceylon Tea consists of 100% small leaf ceylon tea (pekoe fannings). Green Tea with Jasmine smells exactly as expected (like green tea and jasmine) and, surprise, consists of Chinese green tea and jasmine flowers.

From left to right: Morgan’s Brew Tea, Ceylon Tea, and Green Tea with Jasmine.

Bright Afternoon has an interesting aroma that reminds me of a fresh after-rain smell, and has some mushroom-earthiness to it. The ingredients in this black tea are Chinese Keemun, Mao Feng, and Yunnan black teas. Earl Grey 1833 has a lovely bergamot/citrusy aroma to it, and smells like most Earl Grey teas that I’ve smelled in that past. Curiously, the ingredients are listed as being the finest Ceylon black tea and pure bergamot oil. However, there’s obviously flower petals in the blend that aren’t listed in the ingredients. Safari Oolong is the most intriguing to me, as it has a very light honey and floral aroma to the dry leaf. Safari Oolong is 100% oolong tea from Tumoi Teas, located in Nandi Hills, Kenya.

From left to right: Bright Afternoon, Earl Grey 1833, and Safari Oolong.

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Harney & Sons’ Paris

Paris by Harney & Sons
Black Tea & Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$8.50USD for 4oz

First Impressions

I bought Paris at Harney & Sons SoHo location in New York City during my visit back in October 2017 and I couldn’t resist getting it after one of the salespeople working in the store told me that it was one of  Harney & Sons’ best selling teas. So of course I had to give it a try. Paris came to me in a metal tin, the tea itself is loose in a tin (not like Bancha where the tea was in a foil package inside of the tin). The aroma of the dry leaf is primarily fruity with a hint of vanilla.

Paris consists of: black tea, oolong tea, black currant flavour, vanilla flavour, bergamot oil, and caramel flavour. If you asked me to pick out the oolong tea in this blend, I’d probably laugh at you. There are some leaves that appear more twisted and long than others, but the aroma of this tea is beautiful. I love the fruity aroma – I’ve actually never eaten black currant before (but I have had black currant candy so I can pick out the flavour), but it smells so good.

Preparation

Harney & Sons recommends steeping Paris in 212°F (100°C) water for 5 minutes, and then to “Remove the tea leaves. Relax and enjoy.” Well, don’t mind if I do! I steeped Paris for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Paris steeps to a beautiful golden orange, the aroma from this tea is nothing short of enticing. There’s the aromas of vanilla, citrus, and black currants. I can’t make out the fragrances of black or oolong tea in the steeped tea. On first sip, I note some sweetness to this tea. The vanilla notes make the tea have more of a cream flavouring to it, as it reminds me of baked goods. The citrus and black currants have great flavour, and there’s a robustness to this tea. It honestly reminds me a lot of an Earl Grey because of the bergamot, with an added lightness with the vanilla and fruitiness from the black currant.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Paris twice. I found that the flavours weren’t as strong as the first steep, but still palatable. I found that there’s still a sweetness to this tea, and the vanilla and bergamot was mostly still present However, the black currant is missing. The second resteep was very watery and not nearly as tasty. I would say that Paris is good for just one more steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Harney & Sons’ Paris. It’s a lovely black tea blend, and has a lovely fruity aroma and flavouring to it. I really enjoy the addition of vanilla, and the bergamot really reminds me of the classic Earl Grey – which is one of my favourites. The creaminess that the vanilla adds to this tea is a welcome change from a classic, and I can see why Paris is one of Harney & Sons’ best selling teas. I think this tea would make an excellent afternoon tea selection with the sweetness and vanilla to compliment the macarons and other desserts.

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