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So I was curious about Asha’s teas after reading some of the high praise its Pure Heart Alishan Oolong has received here recently. When I found out they were doing a Fall promotion and free shipping, I went to have a look at the offerings. I was definitely curious to try a sample of the Alishan, and also saw that they had this honey scent Phoenix Mountain oolong. The samples were pretty minimal in terms of cost, so I decided it couldn’t hurt to try out some of Asha’s teas.

I made a half ounce order of the Alishan and a one ounce order of their Phoenix Mountain. Order placed on Wednesday and received today (Saturday). Pretty nice for service! And my order included an extra ten gram sample of thier Yunnan Golden Buds tea, which looks and smells quite good. On the service side, my only issue with Asha is that I think their website is not user-friendly and could stand to be improved quite a bit.

So right now, I’m drinking the Phoenix Mountain oolong gongfu style, and am brewing up infusion five or six in my gaiwan at the moment. For this kind of tea, I have the reference point of the sample I recently tried from Goldfish Tea. I was quite impressed with that one, and wanted to gain more perspective on it by trying other Phoenix Mountain oolongs. Overall, I think Asha’s is good, but that I found the one from Goldfish more enjoyable.

Comparing the two, I would say that Asha’s has a richer body, with a mouth-feel that is somewhat syrupy. The fragrance and flavor of this one are stronger, but not necessarily better. There’s definitely a familiarity between the two, as they are basically the same kind of tea; but I somehow feel that this one is lacking a number of the refinements that I experienced in the sample from Goldfish. The one from Goldfish definitely tasted sweeter, and had a softness to it that I found exceedingly pleasant. Asha’s tastes a little blunt by comparison, and doesn’t rise to the high sweet notes that I so much enjoyed in the Goldfish sample. The aftertaste here isn’t as interesting either.

That said, I do like this tea and think that it’s certainly worth drinking. I’ll finish this one before I try ordering yet another Phoenix Mountain oolong to round out my perspective. Though for the time being it’s making me miss and more deeply appreciate the first Phoenix Mountain oolong that I tried. If after a third attempt from a different vendor, the offering from Goldfish Tea still wins out, I may have to revise my rating of that one up.

To be fair, this Phoenix Mountain oolong from Asha Tea is half the price of the one from Goldfish, so I have to imagine a qualitative difference does exist between the two. For the price, Asha’s is good, but it’s not the best I’ve tried.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Tea drinking, tango dancing, rock climbing, and reading are my main activities of interest.

Currently obsessed with Fenghuang Dancong Oolongs and Wuyi Yan Cha. My fascination with Pu’er is steadily growing, and I imagine it will take over one of these days.

I typically don’t feel ready to say anything conclusive about a tea (and thus, say nothing) until I’ve tried it three or four times, which helps prevent both false positives and false negatives, and offers a more comprehensive sense of a tea’s dimension and character.


As of 01/12/2012, I’ve accepted full-time employment as the Business Development Manager at Verdant Tea. From that date forward I’ve decided to stop rating teas on Steepster due to my professional stake in the tea business. I have no interest in manipulating the rating system in our favor or against other tea businesses. All my ratings on Steepster were made before my employment with Verdant Tea, and reflect nothing more than my personal opinions as a tea drinker.

I want to continue writing tasting notes without ratings from time to time, for both our teas and teas that I enjoy from other businesses; but as my life has now become much more busy, my activity on Steepster will be lessened. And in any case, my future contributions here will have to be made on my personal time.

Location

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Website

http://verdanttea.com

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