Tea Ave’s Tie Kwan Yin Oolong

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


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.


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.



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.


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.


My Overall Impression


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.

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

Tea Ave’s Wenshan Baochong Oolong

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


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.


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.



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.


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.


My Overall Impression


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.

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

Teaware: Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set

Aroma Cup Set by Tea Ave
Porcelain and Oak


First Impressions

The Aroma Cup Set comes in beautiful packaging. The box itself is sturdy with a lovely texture feel to the outside with the Tea Ave logo in gold. The box stays close due to magnets in the flap. So nice. The aroma cup (tall cup) and the sipping cup (short cup) are nestled inside of the box in a thick black foam cut out that keeps everything safe inside. When you pull out the cups, you can pull out the foam insert. Underneath is a thick piece of black cardboard with a hole for easy removal. Under that is the smooth oak tray. It’s really quite beautiful. The porcelain feels thick and durable, all with a smooth finish. The oak tray is light but feels durable in my hands.





I washed the porcelain pieces with hot water (from the tap) to warm up the pieces before I used them in my first use with the set. I gave the oak tray a light swipe with a damp towel to get off any nonexistant dust on the surface.


First Use

For my first use of Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set, I used a sample of Oriental Beauty that came in my order. I steeped this in my gaiwan for the recommended steeping time. I have a review of Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty if you’re curious about the oolong that I used.


I poured the oolong from the gaiwan into the aroma cup. I let the tea sit for about 30 seconds before I placed the sipping cup over top (it looks like a mushroom). What you want to do is pick up both of them together and (holding them tightly together!) then flip it over so that the mushroom is upside down and the sipping cup sits on the tray.

You could also pour it directly from the aroma cup to to sipping cup if you’re not confident in your cup-flipping skills. Safety first!



After the flip, I let the cups sit for a little while (maybe about 15-20 seconds) before I gently lifted up the aroma cup at an angle. This allows the tea to fill the sipping cup without being a bubbly mess from the air entering the aroma cup.


Once the tea is in the sipping cup, I alternated sniffing the aroma cup and taking a sip from the sipping cup. As the tea that remains in the aroma cup dries, the smell changes.  For the Oriental Beauty, the smell in the aroma cup got sweeter and more floral as it dried. This adds an extra level of experience to a tea session. Aroma cups are generally used for teas that have complex flavour and aroma profiles, like oolongs.


For an intense steeping session, you can continue to refill the aroma cup (and then transfer to the sipping cup) for as long as you’re steeping your tea. And for some oolongs, that can go for quite a while, especially the ones that hold up for multiple resteeps.

Overall Impression

Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set is darling, useful, and fun. I think it would make a great gift for someone (or to yourself) because it comes in gift-ready packaging. Using the aroma cup helps add an extra layer of experience to tea as you drink it, which I think is so important to exploring the nuances in teas – especially oolongs. I’ve used this set multiple times now and always with oolongs because I find those resteep the best, and if I’m going to pull out extra tea ware, I better be able to resteep my tea. The presentation of the Aroma Cup Set made me feel like I was unboxing something luxurious, and the pieces feel like they’re durable and high quality.