Good greens or oolongs?
I’m not a huge fan of heavily flavored black teas but I love whites and I’m starting to get into greens and oolongs. Does anyone have good recommendations?
I tried a Tung Ting oolong that was fantastic – smoky, floral and slightly sweet, and I really like the Dragonwell and Gyokuro greens I’ve tried… any other suggestions along those lines?
There are literally thousands of greens and oolongs to choose from, not sure where to start but I’ll throw in my 2 cents worth:
If you like Dongding Oolong, you probably like ‘lighter’ (less oxidized oolongs)- so you can try other Taiwanese oolongs like Alishan, Jingxuan, Lishan oolongs.
Alternatively, the Minnan Oolongs like Tieguanyin, Yongchun Foshou and Huangjingui is worth a try.
For a oolongs with a richer and fuller taste- you can try Wuyi oolongs like Rougui, Shuixian.
Guangdong oolongs like Phoenix Dancong might be a good bet as well.
Dragonwell is probably the best known of all Chinese green teas, if not all green teas so you certainly started off at the right place!
Down the line in terms of popularity are Dongting Bilochun, Huangshan Maofeng and Xinyang Maojian.
Looks like there is plenty for you to start from!
I just started my own so I can’t be objective on that, :p
Regardless or where you’re ordering from, don’t let price be the main determinant, teas have a wide range that you could be ripped off paying $10 per 50 g or getting a bargain at $40 per 50 g for the same name.
Make sure that they provide proper brewing instructions for their teas so you can best extricate the virtues of the tea from each infusion.
One good way to start is to order small sample sets, you can taste a few types and determine what works for you.
Personally I extol the virtues of Wuyi Rougui (Cinnamon bark) because of its strong aroma and lingering aftertaste but that may not be for everyone.
By the same token, I am not enamored by Dian Hong (a type of Yunnan black tea) but there are many rabid followers who would lynch me for knocking it.
Im a big fan of Rishi Tea, they have top notch quality, and they ship really fast. You may want to try http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/iron-goddess-of-mercy-oolong-tea.html for oolong and http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/ancient-emerald-lily-organic-fair-trade-green-tea.html for one of the best green teas ive ever tasted
I’ve heard of Rishi but never really checked them out. That Ancient Emerald Lily green tea looks heavenly… I think I’ll order some next time I go on a shopping spree!
Emerald Lily is quite a delight, it’s my go-to green tea, I just about have it daily. They also have nice Silver Needles, and Jasmine Pearls.
You sound a bit like me about a year ago (except I’ve never been big on whites)… I started out with flavored blacks and greens, but then had a revelation when it came to green oolongs. For me, it came at the hands of a generous Steepsterite who sent me samples of several lovely oolongs. My absolute favorite was American Tea Room’s Milk Oolong, and I think you’d probably like that one (but, fair warning, it is very expensive. They do sell samples though).
You have a lot of exploring to do, so it would probably be good to get some samples of them to figure out what you do and don’t like. For green oolongs, I can recommend the samplers from Naivetea and Tea from Taiwan for Taiwanese oolongs. thepuriTea also has samples of a lot of different kinds of oolongs, and they tend to be very high quality. I can recommend the oolongs from Verdant Tea highly, but he doesn’t seem to have an oolong sampler right now (but you can buy just 1 ounce, which is almost a sample).
Finally, a great place to start would be to go to Teavivre’s website and request a sampler… they have a fantastic array of Chinese green teas and several very nice oolongs. You should be able to choose which teas you’d like a sample of (and most of them are reviewed on here as well).
Might I suggest Den’s Tea for a green tea sampler? $3 to cover shipping, and you get a generous sample of a few different greens. I haven’t tried mine yet so can’t comment as to quality, but I hear it’s good. I second Teavivre for samples as well.
I’m guessing you had a traditional Tung Ting, a darker roast. If you like that profile there are a number of other Taiwan Oolongs that are dark roast. Look around though as they can be harder to find because dark roast is less popular in Taiwan. Another type to consider may be dark roast Tie Guan Yin. Less sweet, more smoky and dry. As Derek mentioned, Rou Gui and other Wuyi Oolongs are nice.
If you like Gyokuro and Dragonwell, my guess is that you will also enjoy light roast, lighter oxidation Oolongs. Taiwan has some excellent ones. There’s also the famous green Tie Guan Yin which is much lighter in flavor. Long Jing #43, sometimes called clouds and mist is another very affordable, solid tea.
Hi Michelle! I’m glad that you’re expanding your palate on tea. I second what every tea lover has said so far. Let me give you a few extra pointers so that you know what to look for as far as a good tea.
1. the dry leaves of a good, pure tea should have a fresh aroma that accentuates the flavor of a brewed tea. You mentioned that you like dragonwell. A good pointer to a high quality dragonwell green is that all of the leaves are relatively evenly shaped, long and thin. They should have a yellowish hew to them.
2. The brew of a good green tea should never go bitter, no matter the water temperature or steeping time. It is a myth that big corporations say that ALL green teas will go bitter if you handle them improperly. This is only true for lower quality greens.
3. Take a look at the steeped tea leaves. They should be mostly whole, with very few broken leaves. A broken leaf is generally a bitter leaf. It also indicates poor processing, handling, or distribution.
4. The tea should last for at least 4 steepings if it is of good quality! Please don’t waste the leaves after one steeping, unless that’s all you can get out of it.
I hope this helps, and I look forward to hearing more about your tea experiences!