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Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Auggy
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195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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36 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I’ve never had a New Zealander before! I didn’t even know they had a tea production to start with, and even less that it was a tea production with export. Interesting. I got this one...” Read full tasting note
    Angrboda 1319 tasting notes
  • “So apparently New Zealand can make some tea. Who knew? But yeah, this is some seriously tasty stuff. Normally I’m not one for using boiling water on greener oolongs. However, the directions...” Read full tasting note
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes
  • “Wow. Just, wow. I tasted the dark version first, then this Pure one and it completely knocked me out. Which isn’t an easy task for an oolong! The flavour is incredibly rich and full, fuller...” Read full tasting note
    amber 221 tasting notes
  • “Steep Information: Amount: ~6g Water: 150ml boiling filtered water Tool: Adagio IngenuiTEA 16 oz Steep Time: a little over 1:30 minutes Served: Hot Tasting...” Read full tasting note
    amazonv 713 tasting notes

From Chicago Tea Garden

Sweet, fresh-tasting leaves are unroasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavor of the tea.

Zealong is grown naturally without chemical sprays, fertilizers, additives and other contaminants. Additionally, a strict quality assurance system has been implemented that meets the ISO22000 standard. It is tended and picked by hand and processed to the world’s most stringent food safety standards.

About Chicago Tea Garden View company

Chicago Tea Garden is an online tea shop committed to providing extraordinary teas and tea education to tea lovers and those new to the leaf. Chicago Tea Garden's co-owner Tony Gebely also runs the World of Tea Blog [http://www.worldoftea.org] and Tweets at @WorldofTea.

36 Tasting Notes

1319 tasting notes

I’ve never had a New Zealander before! I didn’t even know they had a tea production to start with, and even less that it was a tea production with export. Interesting. I got this one from Wombatgirl and I have enough leaves for this pot and another one later on.

I was just in the mood for an oolong, actually, so it was kind of lucky that I just happened to spot this tin in the forest of tins that lives on my kitchen table. I have actually completely dispensed with the idea of a ‘tea cupboard’ and just moved all the tins to the kitchen table. I might as well, since they migrate there anyway. That means I’ve cleared a small cupboard which now holds three retired pots and a gaiwan, thus solving some serious space issues on my various kitchen surfaces. A little rearranging made space for four other retired pots in a different cupboard, so the pots I have out now are the ones I actually use. The rest are hidden behind glass cupboard doors looking nice and decorative. Yay me and my organising skills!

Anyway, these leaves are dark green and rolled into semi-loose little pellets, so they look more or less like your would expect any typical green oolong to look. It’s got a nice yellow-ish colour in the cup and the aroma is also unmistakably green oolong. It’s got that touch of earthyness and a strong note of cooked green vegetables. For me it’s broccoli boiled just so in lightly salted water with a little bit of butter in it.

Lots of flavour here. Again it tastes like a green oolong should taste, with a slightly rough green tea flavour combined with the earthyness of begun oxidation. The green part of the flavour is remarkably hard to pin down though. I’m thinking sort of like a cross between Long Jing and Sencha, if you can imagine that. The strong vegetative flavour of both but without the side note of cat-breath and salt water.

It’s been way too long since the last time I had a green oolong that wasn’t scented so how it holds up to the traditional ones, I can’t be quite sure. But right now I think this tastes like it shouldn’t have too many problems in a competition.

So yes. New Zealand has a tea production. And they’re good at it too.


Mmm, cat-breath.


Cat breath – too funny! Tho gotta say I loved my cat’s breath :’ (

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911 tasting notes

So apparently New Zealand can make some tea. Who knew? But yeah, this is some seriously tasty stuff.

Normally I’m not one for using boiling water on greener oolongs. However, the directions printed inside the tea’s packaging say use boiling water and, given that Zealong’s packaging is pretty serious (a vacuum-sealed bag of tea inside a matte black square tin which sits snugly in the foam bottom of a large, magnetic-close box), I’m going to take their directions seriously, too. Zealong also says you can take this up to 8 steeps. I’m not sure I can make it that long, even if the tea can, but we’ll see.

The dry leaves have a very faint smell to them. Very faint. Even the liquid is fairly lightly scented, but it is a delicious smell anyway.
Steep 1 (1min): Sipping is kind of wow. It’s rich – dark, heavy, sweet, floral at first. Slurping a bit makes the flavor lighten up more and becomes like a fresh lemongrass flavor. As it cools, that almost-lemon-candy note comes up more and more. There’s a little dryness left behind after each sip, along with a lovely sweet, floral/fruity taste.

Steep 2 (1min): The main reason I don’t use boiling water on oolongs is that it seems that the leaves can get easily cooked and that smell and taste is kind of gross to me. After pouring the tea, these leaves now have a bit of that cooked scent about them, but instead of smelling like over-boiled collard greens, it’s like toasted bread… with some lemon preserves smeared on top. The tea, though, doesn’t have any overcooked-ness to it but there is a darker note to it that wasn’t present in the first steep. Also, the fresh lemongrass note has turned into a more lemon preserves note. The astringency is still there and adds a bit of texture at the end of the sip.

Steep 3 (1min): The flavor is darker now. The lemon note is gone and replaced with an almost honey note. Slurping brings out a woody flavor. There might be a hint of something almost spicy, or I might be insane.

Steep 4 (2min): Heavier again with the nuances and light notes of the first steep kind of muddied up a bit but still not overcooked. And is the lemon back some? And maybe something that reminds me of cream… (Though that could have been the sip of half & half I took while making the hubby some EG, but it continues to stick around so maybe it’s the tea.)

Steep 5 (3min): The leaves are smelling pretty done now but the done-ness hasn’t come into the tea. It’s darker, heavier, thicker and a little more one-note tasting than previous steeps but there’s still a faint hint of lemon/lemon preserves.

Steep 6 (4min): Might be tasting a little overcooked now? Still has a lot of the same tastes as steep 5, though.

Okay, I’m done. Seriously, I’ve had a lot of oolong – it might be coming out of my pores at this point. Could the tea take a couple of more steeps? Maybe. Can I? Nope. But I will say that this is seriously good stuff though. Congrats, New Zealand, for making good tea!

PS – Just watched the documentary All in This Tea. Definitely recommend it to any tea lover out there!

205 °F / 96 °C

Ah, I need to try this! Great thorough review, by the way.


Thanks! It’s a tasty one. I probably won’t take it through as many steeps in the future but it’s always fun to see what a new tea can do!


I’m wondering if I was drinking something different…. I didn’t really like it at all when I tried it!

I didn’t use boiling water… maybe that’s why? I didn’t really like ANY of the Zealong teas that I got from Chicago Tea Garden… but it seems like everyone else loves them. Maybe I’ll have to try them again later.


The directions that come in the fancy Zealong box state to use boiling water – I don’t recall if the CTG reference card they include states boiling or not, but since the fancy box said to, I figured they really meant it. And it could be that not using boiling (or near boiling) water is making it not pop for you (I know some oolongs (well, teas in general) can be muddy tasting at lower temps) or it could just be that these types of oolongs aren’t up your alley? Though I’d have to say, having 2 of the 3 so far, if you normally like these types of teas, it’s probably the water temp that is keeping you from liking these specific ones – because they are good! (If that all makes sense.)


It might just be that I don’t really like the smokier Wulongs, like you said… I’ve finished 4 of the 5 teas that I ordered from Tea from Taiwan, and I think all of them are absolutely amazing… but they seem to be more on the smooth/sweet side of Wulong territory.


The Pure isn’t smoky at all though – it’s really green. And normally I’m not a fan of darker roasted oolongs but I still liked the Zealong Dark because it’s not smoky so much as toasted and it’s really sweet (and I like sweet – though it is fairly roasty tasting so that still might be a bad thing for you). I haven’t been super-impressed by most of Tea from Taiwan’s offerings (they haven’t been bad (well, except for the GABA tea, I think it was) just not all that fantastic) but if you like them I’m surprised you don’t like Pure – it’s similarly light in oxidation. I thought maybe you tended to dislike greener oolongs since some folks feel they are too mild tasting (and I could totally see how Pure could get that reaction from someone used to a stronger brew).


Not sure… but it definitely sounds like I need to try it again. It was one of the first teas I tried after about 2 months of being without tea, so my taste buds may have been out of practice.


Maybe it will behave for you next time. ;)

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221 tasting notes

Wow. Just, wow. I tasted the dark version first, then this Pure one and it completely knocked me out. Which isn’t an easy task for an oolong! The flavour is incredibly rich and full, fuller than any oolong I’ve ever tasted. Its like Tung Ting on crack. Seriously. I don’t even want to sully my mouth with Tung Ting after tasting this lush oolong. Wow. Do yourself a favour and try this tea, especially if you are a fan of oolongs. My god.

4 min, 0 sec

By chance do you know how someone in the US can purchase this? I checked out Zealong’s website (which is amazing) and saw nothing about international shipping. Am I just being utterly dense?

Miss Sweet

Contact them and ask – a lot of comapnies I order from overseas don’t specifiy international shipping but can send to me if I ask :)


Thank you so very much!


Rabs – you can buy Zealong from Chicago Tea Garden. They even sell $3 samples that will give you enough for a decent-sized pot of tea. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the directions to use boiling water though…

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713 tasting notes

Steep Information:
Amount: ~6g
Water: 150ml boiling filtered water
Tool: Adagio IngenuiTEA 16 oz
Steep Time: a little over 1:30 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: honey, sweet, floral, vegetal
Flavor: buttery sweet
Body: Light
Aftertaste: vegetal
Liquor: translucent pale yellow-green

Sweet, buttery, delicious – but not as good as the Zealong Aromatic.

An excellent oolong.

Resteep (2) Information: 150ml, boiling, 1:30 – sweet, vegetal, a little nutty

Resteep (3) Information: 200ml, boiling, 2:00, vegetal, a little nutty, a little bitter

Resteep (4) Information: 200ml, boiling, 2:00, vegetal, a little nutty, a little bitter

Resteep (5) Information: 200ml, boiling, 2:00, vegetal, a little nutty, bitter

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/08/chicago-tea-garden-loose-leaf-oolong.html

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

I’ve been so tempted by these Zealongs….


Ok, a question for you – you rated this 94 and the other one a 74, but you mention you think the other is better??


@Wombatgirl – I found a better prep time – i haven’t gone in to update it yet, 1:30 is key last time i understeeped then oversteeped the poor aromatic


Have you tried this at 195 rather than boiling? (since it made such a change to the other one)


no, i only had a sample size – i did just get in my order from Chicago tea garden will a full size of each so i will need to try all 3 at varying temps, i was thinking do 190-200 in 5 degree increments…unless someone else has already tried that

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243 tasting notes

So I’ve been holding onto this for a while, but being such a coveted tea, I wanted to make sure the conditions were perfect: I was feeling fine, I gave myself ample time to enjoy the tea, and most importantly, I brewed it correctly.

I tried to follow the Chicago Tea Garden’s direction for brewing (video number 2: http://www.chicagoteagarden.com/zealong-new-zealand-oolong), but wound up making some minor modifications.

I warmed the pot, using boiling water, drained it, covered the bottom of my pot in the leaves, then added enough water to cover them. Of course, they floated, so let’s say it was about a half cup of boiling water. Let the leaves steep for one minute like this. Drained the water, then filled the pot with boiling water. Allowed to steep for one full minute. Poured all the tea out and enjoyed.

The aroma of this is incredible; it is crisp, clean, sweet and actually smells mouthwatering, it is everything you would hope it to smell like and nothing that you would hope it doesn’t. In one word: pure. The liquor is a pale, golden yellow, not amber, yellow. The experience is cultivated in the drinking vessel, I used a matcha bowl because I wanted to get the full bouquet while drinking it. The flavor matches the aroma, clean, crisp, sweet, yet not overpowering, it tastes like the best of the best oolongs, it really just might be. I know I have had an oolong similar, though I am not sure where, it really doesn’t matter, because this is what I have now.

That was the first infusion. I did not repeat the whole tea ceremony for each infusion, just filled the pot with more water, steeped and drank. I got three full infusions out of the one sample and each was as good as the first.

All brewed hot, no additives:
Infusion 1: one minute
Infusion 2: one minute, 30 seconds
Infusion 3: two minutes

If you get a chance to try this, I highly recommend you do. I still have the other two (aromatic and dark) to give a go. Enjoy everyone!

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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247 tasting notes

This is the third of the New Zealand oolongs that I’ve tried. Of the three, it is my least favorite… and I love it! All of the Zealongs are outstanding. Pure has a light scent in the packet, and, not surprisingly, it is a lighter oolong as well, both in aroma and flavor. I steeped this one longer than I normally do. 195/4 min. It produced a light colored, aromatic brew that has a roasted flavor. The oolong is beautiful and has no astringency or bitterness whatsoever.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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190 tasting notes

love this tea! will do a more thorough review soon :)

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154 tasting notes

Before I drink enough to really get into this tea… did anyone notice that the packaging they got from the steepster select sale was not the listed packaging?
I’m not usually that suspicious… but I was really looking forward to the black box of tasty doom.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Tony Gebely

Hey Madison, sorry for lack of box. The box ended up doubling the cost of the tea :-( so we ordered bulk tea from New Zealand sans-box — now we can offer this tea at a reasonable price. Sorry, hope you are enjoying the tea!
- Tony

Madison Bartholemew

Ahhhhh! That makes sense and I do appreciate saving cash! And yes… it’s pretty fantastic. Actually it’s usually gone before I remember to sit down and write anything about it.
Thanks Again

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596 tasting notes

Very fresh, mineral notes are strongest.


I swear, to me, there was a very faint background flavor that reminded me of cinnamon pears. That is the best I can describe it. It was an incredible tea experience. I am going to buy myself some for my birthday in Sept. because no one in my family would know how to choose a tea for me

Lainie Petersen

It is a delicious tea, no doubt about it!

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658 tasting notes

Ah, I finally get some time with this tea. I wanted to give it a proper treatment and to have time to experience it. I find this tea’s taste to be quite full and complex. It’s floral and it’s sweet, but it’s a little bit earthy and so incredibly fresh and clean tasting in keeping with the name. Very green-tasting. The scent while it was brewing was amazingly floral. Even when I say “floral” to myself, I’m kind of put off but this floral is a beautiful, rich, complex one.


Have you been able to try any other Zealongs from Chicago Tea Garden? The dark is particularly good.


I have a sample of the dark! I’m looking forward to trying it.

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