Looking for smooth non-astringent teas
Greetings! Just found this community and am looking for some suggestions.
I went through a major tea phase some years ago and had quite a collection, and tasted hundreds of varieties. At the time, I recall my favorite black being Yunnan Gold from Adagio. I also really liked some oolongs. Greens were always hit or miss for me. Lu’An Melon Seeds was my favorite.
I went off caffeine to have a baby, and after he was born I got into a nasty coffee habit. Now, one year later, I’ve come back to tea, thank goodness. Coffee leaves me with a bitter, acidic taste in my mouth now, and I really just can’t take it.
OK, so I’ve been getting back into tea with some samples from Upton and Harney & Sons. Only problem is that even using very careful brewing techniques, I’m finding practically every tea I try to have too much of an astringent aftertaste for my liking. Perhaps my palate has changed, or perhaps I just haven’t gotten around to the right teas for me yet. (Haven’t picked up the Yunnan Gold from Adagio again yet.) But, it seems I am very sensitive to astringency, and too much of it really turns me off from teas I would otherwise really love.
Sorry for the long-winded preamble! The question is…
Can you recommend any teas for smooth mouth feel and low to zero astringency? I’d like suggestions for black, oolong, and green.
how long are you brewing the tea?
It depends on the tea. I follow the brewing instructions, and if I find it too astringent, I try lowering the temperature and/or decreasing the time. So far not having much luck finding anything really smooth. Of course, adding a bit of soy or almond milk (no dairy for me) helps, but I’d like to find teas I can enjoy without any additions.
I rarely follow directions. For flavored black tea I tend to brew for 3 minutes with boiling water.
One thing that can change taste is hormone levels. Your taste might have changed due to pregnancy hormones. If you are breastfeeding, there are still increased hormones in your system. It can take a number of months after delivery and after stopping breastfeeding before the hormone levels go back to non pregnant levels.
Della Terra’s creme de la creme was super smooth to me and exceptionally delicious. by the way
I am fairly sensitive to astringency/bitterness but also am a big fan of black tea. I steep all of mine for about 2.5 – 3 minutes and only add more time if they really need it. Another tip (for blacks at least) is to lower the temp a bit to 95 rather than boiling.
I have found the unflavoured blacks from Teavivre to be very good, most of them are fairly bold in flavour without being bitter. I particularly like Bailin Gongfu, Dragon Pearls and Golden Monkey.
I don’t drink many whites, greens or oolongs so I’ll leave that to others.
Black: Tippy Yunnan from Tealuxe or the Yun Nan Dian Hong from Teavivre. Both are kind of malty. They both get a bit astringent if you steep them for too long, but they never get bitter. If you steep them ~2 mins, I find that both of them are wonderfully sweet (especially the Tealuxe).
Green: Dragonwell has to be my all time favorite. The Dragonwell style Laoshan Green from Verdant is expensive, but soo worth it. Amazingly creamy.
Oolongs: My favorite at the moment is either the Vanilla Orchid from David’s or the Heritage Honey Oolong from Mountain Tea Co. Hope this helps! :)
Mandarin Silk from The Persimmon Tree Tea Co. is a really nice, smooth oolong tea. :)
I’ve also had issues with overly astringent teas. The best thing is to avoid black teas. I seldom have issues with oolongs, and never with green. I’d also second the advice of Uniquity and lower the water temperature. My worst experiences have come using bags of English Breakfast tea with boiling water (I think the bag-makers assume you may use cooler water).
personally, I’d go for a bilochun.
It rarely goes bitter, steep it for a short time, and it will be yummy and delicate.
For green dragonwell is usually pretty smooth!
If you’re looking for a black, my suggestions are Verdant’s Laoshan Black or Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam. As for greens, I’d agree that dragonwell is pretty good; many of Butiki’s greens are also quite smooth. The Creamy Eggnog is flavoured, but delicious. As for oolongs, I’d go with a milk oolong if you’re looking for a green one, or perhaps an aged tieguanyin. Don’t really have any recommendations for smooth darker oolongs off the top of my head :) Good luck!