Curiosity has led to what I would describe as the high end teas found in this world.. Much to the same way we have A and then B list actors/actresses, premium tea is rare to find, and in the mass market of today.. especially with flavoured teas, tend to be on the lower end side. I mean certainly, loose leaf is better than tea dust in bags but just because it’s loose, really doesn’t mean all that much.
I think the general conception for most people is that if it comes loose, it’s the good stuff. But that’s far from the truth. Once you really start to realize how much quality differs on how fresh the tea is or really how intact or how “young” the leaves are. By my definition, if you get a tea, and you open it up and find half of it is cut up little pieces, 1/4 of it is just twigs, and then there’s the dust.. well that’s quite simply a crappy tea that’s offset by added flavouring and other stuff.
Welcome to what I would actually call something of quality; not that this is anything high end, but up there, before the point prices become unreasonable. Teamasters (Stephane) has been running his blog for a few years and he sell legitimate tea from Taiwan. Fresh. It even comes with a harvest date, that’s as specific as it can get. He writes up tasting notes and usually photos of all his tea that he sells served of course in its appropriate teaware. I was really enticed to try some of this “good stuff” out and it looked really nice.
I received this long ago but was kind of saving it until i drank down my large collection of rather lower end stuff from all over. My stash is still getting smaller and I’m still pretty unwilling to buy more stuff until most of what I have is done. Needless to say, I finally got to it today. Nice large rolled up balls (for a lack of a better word) and the still really fragrant smell really do look so much better than what I am used to. These happen to be handpicked so, all the more better. As noted, it is a very nice and light and sweet oolong, very appropriate for the price and the low altitude that it is grown at. Also as noted it lacks character of the higher altitude stuff but is great for a beginner like me.