The Tea House’s Phoenix Dan Cong

Phoenix Dan Cong by The Tea House
Oolong Tea / Straight

I received Phoenix Dan Cong as part of my swag bag from the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival. At the time of writing, Phoenix Dan Cong was not available on The Tea House’s website, so I was unable to determine the price of the tea.

First Impressions

Phoenix Dan Cong came to me in sealed, non-sealable, silver packaging – nothing a tight fitting metal tea canister or even just a zip-top plastic bag won’t fix in a pinch. This was part of my swag bag from the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival. I don’t have a lot of information on this tea, as it’s product page was not available when I was writing this review, but I’ll do my best!

The leaves are wiry and very dark brown. There are some deep, stone fruit aromas from the dry leaf, which are really intriguing. Traditionally, Phoenix Dan Cong is an oolong tea and is grown and harvested from Phoenix Mountain in China. This tea looks like a straight tea and I don’t believe that there are any other added ingredients (just the way I prefer my oolong teas…).

Preparation

The Tea House recommends steeping Phoenix Dan Cong in 190°F (88°C) water for 1 minute. I opted to use 185°F (85°C) water and did an initial steep for 1 minute.

First Taste

Phoenix Dan Cong steeps to a pretty light golden yellow colour. It has a remarkably smooth texture, with notes of plums or apricots (both lovely stone fruits), and just a floral finish at the tail end of each sip. The tea does a nice job of just coating the inside of my mouth with flavour, which is quite well balanced. Zero astringency and zero bitterness and just overall quite smooth and easy to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Phoenix Dan Cong a total of seven times (eight times total with the same leaves). The colour of the steeped tea definitely gets darker, a more golden yellow and the flavour deepen as well while staying fairly consistent in terms of the flavour profile. I found that the fruity notes got stronger while the floral notes did back off a little bit. Still an easy tea to drink though, and quite enjoyable.

My Overall Impression

I loved The Tea House’s Phoenix Dan Cong. I thought that the tea was a lovely experience from start to finish. I really appreciated the level of complexity in the flavour profile and how it subtly changed as I drank it. It really made for a delicious cup of tea and I thought it had some great flavour for a tea that doesn’t contain additional ingredients. The floral finish was really one of my favourite parts of the tasting experience with this oolong.

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

Teakan’s Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin

Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin by Teakan
Oolong Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 70g

Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin is one of five teas from Teakan’s Tea Exploration Kit (Volume 2) and makes up 15g of the 70g of loose leaf tea in this curated collection.

First Impressions

Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin came to me as part of Volume 2 of Teakan’s Tea Exploration Kit. This is the fifth/last review I’ll be writing for Volume 2 (and I’m so looking forward to when Volume 3 is released! I’m hoping for an all-oolong kit). Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin came to me in a sealed, resealable kraft paper pouch with a simple printed label. This is a scented oolong tea from Anxi, Fujian, China. The tea itself was harvested in autumn 2019, so a bit over a year old now.

The leaves themselves are lightly bunched, with varying shades of green that are mostly light to medium in depth of colour. The aroma is strongly that of osmanthus flowers and the tea was scented in a manner similar to how they scent jasmine green teas (keeping the flowers with the tea during the production of the tea, and then the flowers are removed). It has a strong floral with a light vanilla aroma to it, it’s very inviting and reminds me a lot of spring time because of the floral notes.

Preparation

Teakan recommends steeping Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin in 90°C (194°F) water for 3 minutes (western steeping style) or for 30 seconds (gongfu steeping style). I opted for western style steeping and used water that was heated to 91°C (195°F).

First Taste

Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin steeps to a pale yellow. It has a very floral aroma with a light vanilla fragrance in the undertones. The flavour is primarily that of sweet floral, with some vanilla flavour that lingers on the tip of the tongue. There’s an almost buttery creaminess to it that kind of coats the mouth when you drink this oolong and it has a nice flavour to it.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin six times (seven steeps total), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The floral quality of the flavour stays throughout and is fairly consistent, while the vanilla notes deepens initially and then begins to fade. The flavour stays very pleasant throughout and I would recommend resteeping this oolong as much as you care to do so.

My Overall Impression

I loved Teakan’s Osmanthus Tie Guan Yin. This made for a really nice steeping experience between admiring the dry leaf, the first taste, and the multiple resteeps. It just has a nice flavour and aroma to it, and is very easy to drink and slurp down. I even allowed a cup or two to cool to room temperature and it also tasted pretty good cold, so I think it’d be a great candidate as iced tea or cold steeped.

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

Tea by C’s Tea Tasting Triad

Tea Tasting Triad by Tea by C
$52.00 USD for 3 Teas (6oz) & Accessories

Tea By C has provided me with the Tea Tasting Triad for the purposes of writing an honest review.

Tea by C’s Tea Tasting Triad is ready for the holidays and I was quite pleased when Claire asked me if I would be interested to take a look at it. This box consists of three teas (more on that soon!), a tea tasting guide and flavour wheel (the rolled up poster at the top), and a tea infuser for any cup of teapot that you might be using. It all fits quite neatly into a sturdy mailing box and makes for a good presentation if you’re going to be having this mailed to someone as a gift – I would be happy to open this up!

Also included with the box are three tasting cards about each tea: Dragonwell Green (green tea), Blue People Oolong (oolong tea), and Rose Buds (herbal tisane). They’re quite nice quality – sturdy cardstock, lots of information about each one, and there’s a bonus card about tea in general – a nice touch for those who are receiving this kit as a gift who are new to tea or don’t know a lot about it yet.

The tins are lovely, and the lids are quite tight on, which is great for maintaining freshness of the tea and preventing the leaves from going stale. I actually had the opportunity to review all three of these teas last year, and wrote full reviews for each Dragonwell Green, Blue People Oolong and Rose Buds. I enjoyed all of them, and I had a nice cup of Blue People Oolong while working on this post.

I used the metal tea strainer that was included in the kit – it’s easy to use and similar to one that I used when I first started exploring tea. The thing about these strainers is to not overfill! Tea leaves need room to expand, so you don’t want to overfill half of the ball because the leaves won’t have room to move and open up their leaves. I would fill the half sphere about half full in order to give it space.

The loveliest part of this kit for a beginner to tea is the Flavour Wheel. A flavour wheel is incredibly useful for those new to trying to decipher how to describe tea. I didn’t want to share the whole wheel, but it’s quite lovely and a full 360° of descriptions for you to consider. For example, for vegetable flavours, it includes things like spinach, bean sprouts, peas, green beans – all with their own distinctive flavours, but also provides you with a reference because if you’re unsure of what your tea tastes like but know it reminds you of something vegetal, the wheel can help you pinpoint a word.

I loved Tea By C’s Tea Tasting Triad. It has a nice combination of teas to start off (green, oolong, tisane), the inclusion of a flavour wheel and an infuser really make this a great starter kit, beginners gift box. The tasting cards are a really nice touch to help someone really learn about each tea thoroughly. I think the flavour wheel and the tasting cards really make this box a wonderful idea, because it helps someone to immerse themselves into the teas, the language, and learn how to think about tea has having the ability to have a myriad of flavours. This would be a wonderful gift for a friend or a gift to yourself if you’re new to tea. All it needs is a cute seasonal or holiday themed mug or cup and saucer set and you’ll be good to go!