Thanks to Tea from Taiwan for this lovely sample, which I picked up at the post office today after they attempted to deliver it to an empty house yesterday. I decided to start with this tea as I want to compare the two milky oolongs (my other samples), which requires a bit more time.

The balls of tea here are probably the hugest I’ve seen! There’s a sweetish, oolongy aroma to them, which is intensified in the brewed cup.

The flavour is not as sweet as I would have expected, but falls into the category of sweet, vegetal oolongs. I really don’t know how to divide green oolongs up into different categories (i.e. milky, sweet, vegetal, etc.), or what the different names mean, but this is certainly the type of oolong that I enjoy! I feel like it might be a touch oversteeped (somewhat astringent and drying), but I didn’t have any parameters to go by, so just went with my standard 3 minutes for oolongs, which was perhaps a bit too long.

Ok, back to the tea. Trying to be more precise than “sweet and vegetal”… but I’m really not sure. It’s a boiled veggie sort of vegetal, not green and fresh and the sweetness is rather caramelly, although not overwhelming like it is with some teas. Quite a nice combination. I do wish that the astringency wasn’t present, as I’d enjoy this cup more, but overall, I’m pretty happy. However, looking at the price, I have got to say that a tea this expensive is probably wasted on me, as I typically brew western-style and don’t seem to catch nuances that other people do. That said, it was great to get the chance to try it! Thanks again, Tea from Taiwan!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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