Teaware: Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set

Aroma Cup Set by Tea Ave
Porcelain and Oak
$34.99

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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.

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Preparation

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tea Ave’s Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong

Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.50 for 25g

I received this sample of Tea Ave’s Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong for free, a review of the tea was not requested by the company.

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First Impressions

As with my other reviews so far of Tea Ave‘s oolongs, I greatly appreciate the simple but informative packaging that they package their samples in. Alishan Jin Xuan is, according to the lovely robin’s egg blue packaging, a tea that is “grown on the foggy Alishan Mountains” and it mentions how that oolong teas from this region (and this region alone) “produce the creamy, milky qualities found in the Alishan Jin Xuan”. This tea comes from 1100-1600 metres up the mountains, and the tea itself consists of only Jin Xuan oolong.

This sample came in a tea bag format, but I was curious this time so I ripped the bag open to see the tea inside. There’s a lot of tea in these tea bags, as evidenced by my Perfect Spoon being quite filled. I decided this would be a great opportunity to put the oolong into the steeping basket of my tea pot, which allows it room to expand. The tea itself has this deep grassy and earthy smell to it, with sweet floral notes as well. It is a very intriguing combination that I’m curious to try.

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Preparation

Tea Ave recommends using boiling water (100°C/212°F) and steeping for 1-3 minutes if you’re using it in a tea bag – resteeping up to 3 times. I followed the tea pot instructions, which said to use water that is 95-100°C (203-212°F) for 1 minute and to resteep up to 5 times.

Tea Ave mentions that you should add an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute per resteep, which is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow. Because I was using a tea bag’s quantity of tea in a tea pot, I didn’t fill it up too much as I didn’t want to dilute the tea.

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First Taste

Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong steeps to a nice pale golden yellow which has a lovely light floral scent to it with some grassy undertones. I found the tea itself has an enjoyable buttery cream quality to it – it almost has a pleasant oily mouthfeel to it but without the oil. It has a very smooth texture to the tea. What I found very interesting as I sipped this tea is that it has an almost salty quality to it that isn’t off-putting at all, this is due to this great floral taste that lingers in my mouth after having a sip.

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A Second Cup?

Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong resteeps amazingly well. I resteeped it for a total of five additional times and it had the same complex combination of flavours every single time. It resteeps so well, and it was nice to just have multiple cups of this tea because it’s so enjoyable. The flavours become a little stronger for steeps 2 and 3, and then wanes a little bit and tastes pretty good for steep six.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong. The intriguing smell of the tea before it steeps, coupled with the amazingly complex taste of the tea after it steeps makes this a winner in my book. I think it would be a great oolong to try because it is so complex in terms of the different levels of flavours that the tea has. The intricate nature of the taste makes it an enjoyable cup of tea, I would really recommend resteeping this tea if you have the time to do so, it just makes for a great tasting experience and helps you get more value out of your oolong.

This is the last of my sample reviews for Tea Ave. I’ve greatly enjoyed trying their teas and I’m very grateful that Tea Ave was able to send me some teas to try. If you missed my previous Tea Ave reviews, I reviewed the follow oolong teas previously: Oriental Beauty, Dong Ding Oolong, Osmanthus Oolong, and Magnolia Oolong.

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

Tea Ave’s Magnolia Oolong

Magnolia Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$12.50 for 25g

I received this sample of Tea Ave’s Magnolia Oolong for free, a review of the tea was not requested by the company.

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First Impressions

This little sample of Magnolia Oolong came in tea sachet form, which still has the level of detail that I’ve come to know and love from Tea Ave’s packaging. The origin of this tea is from Alishan Mountain Region, Nantou, Taiwan. The base of this tea is Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong, and it is scented with magnolia flowers. Now, I am not a botanist so I cannot 100% state that this oolong smells like magnolia flowers, but there is a beautiful floral aroma from the tea itself. The floral aroma smells sweet and goes well with the oolong without overwhelming it with the floral fragrance, which I appreciate.

Like other Tea Ave teas that I’ve tried so far, the packaging includes details on brewing in a gaiwan, with a tea bag, tea pot, and cold brew. Because my sample came in a tea bag, that’s the option I went with for brewing methods.

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Preparation

Tea Ave recommends steeping with boiling water (100C) for 1 minute and to resteep up to 3 times (so 4 steeps total). I steeped the first cup for 1 minute.

First Taste

Magnolia Oolong has a very soft floral scent to it, it steeps to a pale golden yellow. On first sip, I’m surprised by the lightness in the tea. The floral taste to it isn’t overwhelming, and there’s just a touch of sweetness that reminds me a lot of honey. It’s a very smooth tea that has a buttery quality over my tongue – the sweetness of it just coats my month and it is such a pleasant cup of tea. No hint of bitterness at all, the recommended steeping time is on point for this tea and it is delicious.

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A Second Cup?

Despite being a scented oolong, I really wanted to resteep Magnolia Oolong to see how well it would do – especially since Tea Ave even said it could be resteeped up to 3 times, so don’t mind if I do. The first resteep, I steeped it for about 90 seconds total. It had a much richer floral taste to it, there was a more pronounced buttery quality to the tea that makes it much more decadent. The colour of Magnolia Oolong is also a deeper golden yellow, the floral aroma is divine. I quite enjoyed my second cup! For resteep #2 (120 seconds) and resteep #3 (150 seconds), the buttery quality remains true with the honey sweetness and floral tones that are much more brighter than a simple jasmine.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Magnolia Oolong. I found the floral tones of the magnolia scent to be more pronounced with each resteeping, which was a delight in itself. I loved the fact that it does so well with being resteeped with even better quality in each sip than the steep before it. Tea Ave was quite good with it’s recommended steeping time and also with the number of resteeps that the tea holds up for. The buttery floral taste to this tea makes it worth resteeping again and again, I would definitely recommend that you give this oolong a try if you can – the honey sweetness that exists without adding any sugar makes this tea so delightful for those who likes sweet things like I do.

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

Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong

Osmanthus Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$14.99 for 25g

I received this sample of Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong for free, a review of the tea was not requested by the company.

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First Impressions

Osmanthus Oolong is described as having a “base of creamy Alishan Jin Xuan oolong, this tea is scented with the fragrant osmanthus flower”. I’m not entirely sure what osmanthus flowers smell like as I’m just not familiar with the flower, but Osmanthus Oolong has a very light scent to it. It’s light with a fruity and floral smell – it smells like apricots and peaches, with a sweet floral scent that I just can’t place (I am assuming that it’s the osmanthus).

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The dry leaf is beautiful, and there’s small orange floral pieces mixed in with the oolong. Like the other labels that the other Tea Ave samples I have reviewed have had, the one for Osmanthus Oolong is also quite detailed. The origin of this tea is Alishan Mountain Region, Nantou, Taiwan with a base of Alishan Jin Xuan oolong. It also has various brewing directions (gaiwan, tea bag, tea pot, and cold brew). There was enough tea in the sample bag for my small pot.

Preparation

Tea Ave recommends steeping in 100°C (212°F) water for 2 minutes. This tea resteeps up to 4 times with an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute for each subsequent resteeping. I steeped my pot of tea for 2 minutes.

First Taste

In a word, yum. Osmanthus Oolong steeps to this beautiful clear golden yellow. It has a bright and fresh aroma to it – very similar to the dry leaf with the apricots and peaches, with floral undertones. There’s a creamy sweetness to the oolong that works well with the apricot and peach taste. I think that Osmanthus Oolong is tasty in that it coats the mouth well, there is no bitterness or astringency and I quite like it. I sipped this pot of tea over the course of an hour, just refilling my cup over and over again and it put a smile on my face every time because I really enjoy the creamy mouthfeel with the bright fruity taste.

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A Second Cup?

Osmanthus Oolong does not disappoint in its ability to resteep! The label on the sample baggie said that it can be resteeped up to four additional times – I did just that! For those that haven’t resteeped teas before, here’s what I did: initial steep – 2 minutes; 1st resteep – 2.5 minutes; 2nd resteep – 3 minutes; 3rd resteep – 3.5 minutes; 4th resteep – 4 minutes. I found that the additional thirty seconds with each steep was just enough to develop the flavours. The first and second resteeps were actually more bright in terms of the sweet apricot and peaches flavour that was present in the tea. It does really well with being resteeped.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong. The fruity smell and taste of apricot and peaches is divine, it really adds a little something to the oolong that makes it enjoyable. I think it’d be a great tea with pastries, it definitely is a tea that you should have when you have the time to have a nice long tea experience. It resteeps very well, so don’t let the cost scare you off from trying the Osmanthus Oolong! Being able to resteep it four times makes the value of the tea worth the cost. It tasty with it’s fruity flavours that don’t overwhelm the palate, and it makes for a great tea to enjoy again and again throughout the day.

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

Tea Ave’s Dong Ding Oolong

Dong Ding Oolong by Tea Ave
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.50 for 25g

I received this sample of Tea Ave’s Dong Ding Oolong for free, a review of the tea was not requested by the company.

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First Impressions

I have another shiny gold sample packet to try and share with you all! Like Oriental Beauty, Dong Ding Oolong from Tea Ave came to me in a shiny gold sample packet that has a lot of information regarding the tea itself. Dong Ding Oolong comes from Dong Ding Mountain, Nantou, Taiwan, and is a form of qing xing oolong – like Oriental Beauty.

The dry tea is little round balls, very solid feeling and is quite fragrant. Dong Ding Oolong has a very rich fruity aroma to it, it reminds me a lot of ripen lychee with that floral-fruity smell that also smells sweetened. Tea Ave’s packaging states that Dong Ding is “an approachable tea – a good choice for oolong newbies”.

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Preparation

Tea Ave gives multiple steeping instructions for if you are using a gaiwan, tea bag, tea pot, or a cold brew method. I opted for the tea pot instructions because I was trying out my Tea For One. The instructions are to use water that is 95-100°C (203-212°F) and to steep for 1 minute. Dong Ding Oolong can be resteeped up to 5 times, they recommend increasing the steeping time by 30 seconds to 1 minute for each additional steep.

I steeped my tea pot of Dong Ding Oolong for 1 minute for the first steep.

First Taste

Dong Ding Oolong steeps to a pale yellow for the first steep. The tea leaves have barely opened up by the time the minute is up. The tea itself has a nice fruity taste to it, still reminding me of lychee. There’s a natural sweetness to Dong Ding that is pleasant. The tea itself is smooth with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. It makes for an enjoyable cup of tea.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Dong Ding Oolong for 5 additional times. Each time the tea got darker in colour to a nice golden yellow. The leaves unfurl a little bit more with each subsequent steeping and you can see how large the leaves really are. The flavour of the tea gets a bit stronger with each cup, with a more pronounced fruity taste to the tea each time. The last steeping (fifth resteep, sixth steep overall), the flavour was beginning to wane.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea Ave’s Dong Ding Oolong. I think this tea is very enjoyable as each steeping gets better. The taste of the oolong is quite good and I think that Tea Ave was right with Dong Ding Oolong being approachable. The flavours get bolder with each cup, which allowed me to get used to the taste and then come back for more. Like Oriental Beauty, there may be a bit of sticker shock involved with the cost per gram, but I think it is worth it. The tea itself resteeps amazingly well and the flavours develop well with each steeping. I think as far as oolongs go, Dong Ding holds its own and makes a fantastic cup of tea. It would be a great tea stash staple for someone who wants a luxurious treat from time to time.

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