There are so many teas to write about, but to mark my return, I decided to write about a relatively new company that I found on etsy. Although I’ve got a few tumblers to plow through the insane amounts of loose leaf at my disposal, I’ve been missing the convenience of a sachet, especially for the long hours lesson planning, grading, or vegetating at the television. So I stared at this company for nearly a year before deciding to make a purchase. $18 dollars for fifteen sachets was steep, but considering that Tea Ave used to price their sachets higher, it was not a bad bet with high quality teas like Lishan or Sun Moon Lake black. The reception of this company’s customer service was also high, so I went ahead and got this box of sachets along with a few samples.
All of the teas are incredibly clean tasting so far, and while the bag material does add a little bit of a cotton note to the teas themselves, they are still well rounded. I will break it down by each tea.
First off, the Lishan is the greener tea of the set. It is definitely an oolong with a light roast and a very light to medium oxidation. I was not expecting anything major since my luck with greener oolongs in sachet is not great, but I was very pleased with how this turned out. The company describes this tea having an orchid, osmanthus aroma, and a sweet aftertaste. So, it was going to be floral. When I opened up the package, it indeed have a soft, but heady aroma of orchids and osmanthus flowers and a hint of fruitiness. Brewing the tea up, it does take some time to develop a flavor. The aroma is more pronounced than the actual taste, and I found that 175-185 Fahrenheit work best after 2.5-3 minutes in a mug. It can endure grandpa style, but the flavor can be muddled by the heat of the water, or even the air density. Anyway, the tea itself takes a little bit to catch up to its aroma and becomes sweeter as it cools down. It’s got a mostly orchid based flavor with osmanthus and peachy hints. The tea can range from a crisp light yellow to almost an amber color if you brew it long enough. The mouthfeel is thinner than doing it loose leaf, but it is viscous and very clean. Surprisingly, it’s not that vegetal. You can tell it’s green, yet it’s not nuclearly green and herbaceaous like other Lishans. I’m not totally addicted to this one, but it kicks quite a few bagged oolong’s butts because it maintains a subtle flavor while keeping its unique Lishan qualities.
Now, the Roast Lishan was something I should have gotten more of. It is more sophisticated than its greener counterpart, and it shifts in notes like all good roasted oolongs. It does indeed have a nutty roasted aroma and a bit of a ripe fruit note popping up in the smell, but the flavor is the right balance of nutty roast, florals, char, cooked fruit, caramel, and something edging on cocoa. It resembles a traditional muzha in its fruitiness and a Dong Ding in its caramel-toffee character amidst all its deep roast. I could probably replace my coffee with this tea, although the profile is doubtlessly oolong through and through. It’s especially awesome to wake me up on cold mornings. I may just get more of this one.
Now, the Sun Moon Lake surprised me the most. I expected a robust assam, but apparently, this was a bug bitten tea with the profile of some black small leaf varietals. The company describes this tea as being very sweet, with caramel notes and sugar honey flavors. Drinking it is much the same, with some cocoa in the hints, but no astringency or bitterness. Although it only brews up twice, it does have enough complexity to keep me entertained. It’s immensely sweet, viscous, and again, caramel comes to mind the most with this one-again, something you rarely get with a bagged tea. I’d be interested to see someone else’s opinion on this one, and I do wish I ordered more because I’ve been going through it quicker than the other two.
So as you guys can tell, I enjoy these sachets. The Sun Moon Lake is my favorite, and then the Roast Lishan is second, and the greener Lishan is third…although I’ve drank the green Lishan almost daily with deep satisfaction. The price is a bit steep, but you are getting high quality tea that is hardly in a bag. You are basically paying $18 for 45 grams of Lishan or Sun Moon Lake, which is actually decent. So if you want to try a good quality sachet with solid Taiwan tea, I’d say this company could become a go to.