Thank you so much to Angel for the sample of this tea! I am really impressed by the generosity and social networking/tech savvy of Teavivre. But I won’t let that color my rating and review too much – my first exposure to them was some tea I purchased myself. :)
Anyway – Tie Guan Yin. A quintessential oolong! This example is just lovely, with a balanced flavor and nuanced character. I drank this all day, steeped and re-steeped all kinds of ways, to get a better understanding of it. This tea holds up exceptionally well to multiple steeps, making it a great value.
Early steeps at low temperatures yield a pale celadon-spring green liquor with a dainty aroma, best taken by itself, with no additives or food on the side to muddy the flavor! I got a sweet, floral impression – echoes of orchid and jasmine-like flavors – laid over a pleasantly vegetal green taste that has a pleasantly full-bodied mouthfeel.
Subsequent steeps at higher temperatures and longer brew-times result in a golden colored liquid and a more robust taste. Though the first steeps I prefer to take alone, the next few pair well with a variety of foods, making this a great choice for a tea taken before/during/after a meal or snack. The floral sweetness mostly fades out, and the vegetal green notes, accented with a touch of that cool “mineral” flavor, deepen. The mouthfeel and aftertaste are exactly what I want out of an oolong: it feels somehow round and buttery-smooth. I think this is a great choice if you’d like a green oolong in your cupboard.