Teavana has created the illusion of super high quality by comparing this mid-quality tea with their other super-low quality teas. The illusion is partly due to the blindness of the majority of customers who have tasted nothing better. I am here to tell you that if you enjoy this tea, then fine, but if you are willing to pay the price that they ask for it, then you are being ripped off and lied to. Let me explain.
A good tieguanyin (what Teavana calls their “Monkey Picked”) will yield no bitterness after the first brew. Rather, its buttery mouth feel and floral aroma would be backed up by almost umami flavors. Furthermore, over subsequent steepings, the umami flavors will be enhanced up until about the fourth steeping.
Teavana’s version of this tea, although it has the buttery and floral qualities, does not have the complex umami flavors. Rather, the tannins are out of balance, and the carefully discerning palate will notice a thin bitterness in the back of the mouth. This bitterness increases over several steepings. A truly high quality tieguanyin would not have this characteristic. The fourth steeping was simply flat, and this is how I know that Teavana’s Monkey Picked oolong is not worth the price that it fetches. At the same price, a tieguanyin could be found that yields 10-15 steepings if brewed properly.