Tea Ave’s Tie Kwan Yin Oolong

Tie Kwan Yin Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Straight
$14.99 for 25g

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First Impressions

Tie Kwan Yin Oolong from Tea Ave came to me in a sealed (and resealable!) foil pouch. I must say that I really do like Tea Ave’s packaging – it’s minimalistic, has all the information you could want or need about the tea on the label, and it’s functional. Tie Kwan Yin Oolong is described by Tea Ave as being a “distinctive-tasting tea” and uses words like “subtle bitterness”, “mellow, fruity notes” and “sweetness” to describe it. Bitter? Fruity? Sweet? I do love a tea challenge.

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Tie Kwan Yin Oolong has a beautiful colour – all of the leaves are tightly rolled up and they have a dark reddish brown colour to the leaves. The dry leaf has notes of plum, pine needle, and a general earthiness that I find hard to pin point what it reminds me of. Either way, the combination of what I smell is intriguing.

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Preparation

Tea Ave has steeping recommendations for steeping Tie Kwan Yin Oolong in a gaiwan, in a tea bag, a tea pot, or as a cold brew. Because I’m steeping in a teapot, I’ll share those steeping instructions with you. Tea Ave recommends steeping in 90-95°C (194-203°F) water for 3-5 minutes, and suggests resteeping up to 3 times (with an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute for each additional infusion). My initial steep of Tie Kwan Yin Oolong was in 91°C (195°F) water for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Tie Kwan Yin Oolong steeps to a golden orange. The aroma that I found wafting up from the cup, I think I would describe it as “light woodsy” – there was some definite earthy aromas, pine fragrance. I could also smell what reminded me of dried stone fruits (so like dried apricots and plums). The flavour from this oolong was interesting – I could definitely taste some fruity essence (plum flavour!), some deep woody/pine flavour, I did note some honeyed sweetness at the beginning of each sip that really highlighted the plum flavour – and (true to the description) I did note a very mild bitterness at the end of each sip. It wasn’t off-putting, it was just a little bit and it didn’t linger – which I found good. It was a complex cup of tea though – the sweetness is offset by the bitterness, and the fruity flavour gets balanced out by the woodsy notes.

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A Second Cup?

I had to resteep Tie Kwan Yin. Tea Ave suggested resteeping up to three times, so I had to do four times (just for fun). I found that the flavours were strongest for the initial, first, and second resteeps. The third resteep was beginning to get a bit watery, and the fourth was pretty much forgettable – so three resteeps was right on the money for this oolong. I found the bitterness got weaker with each subsequent steep, while the sweetness mellowed. The woody/pine flavours got stronger, but the plum got bolder (without becoming more sweet). It made for a different cup of tea with each steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Tie Kwan Yin Oolong. The complex aromas and flavours of this oolong, and how the flavours change with each subsequent steep makes this oolong both interesting and tasty. I really appreciated how the bitterness subsided with each steep, it make this tea just so much more enjoyable – I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much it had become stronger with each steep. This is a tea that I would definitely recommend resteeping over and over to experience the changes in flavour, and to also savour with each steep because it is a fun experience. I loved the plum and woodsy flavours in this oolong so much.

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Oollo Tea’s Alishan Milky Oolong Tea

Alishan Milky Oolong Tea by Oollo Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight

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First Impressions

I got this Alishan Milky Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea from the Vancouver Tea Festival in 2016. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I can’t imagine that it was greater than $15.00 for the 30g package. It was a limited release, which is why I bought it (and also why I can’t find it on the Oollo Tea website at this time). It got tucked away in my tea stash and I recently came across it again, which is why I haven’t tried it before now (whoops).

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That said… The tea came in a vacuum sealed gold foil packet that came in a simple manila envelope. The tea itself consists of tightly compressed/rolled tea leaves. The colours are primarily a gradient from an olive to a dark green. The floral aroma from this tea is light and there’s a subtle sweetness behind it.

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Preparation

I steeped Alishan Milky Oolong Tea at 85C (185F) for 2 minutes for the initial steep.

First Taste

Alishan Milky Oolong Tea steeps to a light yellow after an initial steep of two minutes. I found that the aroma that came up from the tea was floral, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly perfumed – it’s a subtle floral aroma. I found the tea to be smooth – no bitterness, no astringency. I found it to have a creamy texture, with a very light buttery flavour that lingers at the end of each sip.

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I set aside some of this tea and had it cold and found it to taste a bit sweeter, which was a nice treat.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Alishan Milky Oolong Tea a total of six resteeps (seven steeps total), and I found the colour deepened as I did more steeps, and began to lighten by resteep #4. The buttery flavours got stronger as the tea became more of a golden yellow, and I found that the floral sweetness stayed pretty much the same throughout all of the steeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Alishan Milky Oolong Tea. I wish I had remembered it in my tea stash a bit earlier so I could still find more information about it! That said, this oolong meets all my expectations for a milky oolong. I found it to be tasty, and the flavours got better with each steep as the colour became darker. I really enjoyed drinking this, and I think it would be great to have over a lazy rainy weekend afternoon.

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Tea Ave’s Wenshan Baochong Oolong

Wenshan Baochong Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Straight
$13.75 for 25g

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First Impressions

I have to say, I’m a fan of Tea Ave’s packaging. Simple, clean, sleek. Wenshan Baochong Oolong came to me in a resealable foil bag. The label consists of plenty of information about the tea: where it is from (Ping Ling District, New Taipei City, Taiwan), the altitude at which the tea is harvested (400-800metres), roasting level, cultivar, oxidation levels, and (my favourite part) different brewing methods.

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The tea leaves themselves are long and wiry with slight twists in the leaves. There’s obvious variation in the colour of the tea leaves, ranging from a dark green to an almost spring green. The aroma from this oolong is brightly floral, it’s the first thing that I noticed when I opened the bag because it’s quite strong. This straight oolong tea smells inviting. Tea Ave states on the product page for Wenshan Baochong Oolong that this tea is one of the most fragrant oolongs in the world – I might be inclined to agree.

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Preparation

Tea Ave has steeping instructions for steeping in a gaiwan, tea cup, tea pot, and cold brew. I opted for the steeping instructions for a tea pot because that’s what I used for steeping this oolong. You can find more steeping instructions on the product page.

For the tea pot, Tea Ave suggests using 90°C (194°F) water and to steep for 3-5 minutes. Wenshan Baochong Oolong can be resteeped up for 4 times, with an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute for each additional steep. I steeped Wenshan Baochong Oolong in 85°C (185°F) water for an initial steep of 3 minutes.

First Taste

Wenshan Baochong Oolong steeps to a pale yellow for the initial steep. The aroma from this tea is quite representative of the dry leaf – very floral with a nice sweetness that reminds me a lot of honey. The tea itself is smooth, with a nice mouthfeel to it. I found this tea enjoyable to sip while having breakfast, it just has a nice fragrance to it that wafts up from my cup. The floral notes are quite inviting.

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A Second Cup?

Because Tea Ave suggested that I could resteep this up to 4 times, I had to push my luck and go over that. I found as I resteeped it, Wenshan Baochong Oolong steeped to a darker, more golden yellow colour. The tea had more a honeyed sweetness, and there was a more creamy consistency with the tea by the second resteep. The tea started to wane in colour and flavour by the fourth resteep, but stayed palatable for up to six resteeps (seven steeps total). I imagine that I could have gotten more if I kept the steeping times shorter or had done an initial steep for less than 3 minutes – I added an additional 30 seconds for each additional steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Wenshan Baochong Oolong. This tea is so fragrant and inviting that it was a joy to drink. I really enjoyed the increased honeyed sweetness with each steep, and how the tea had a fantastic mouthfeel – it just added to the tasting experience so well. This is definitely a tea that I would recommend being able to dedicate the time to having a long steeping session, since it holds up so well to being resteeped.

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