Taiwan Ginseng (Lan Gui Ren) Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Apple, Cucumber, Earth, Fruity, Menthol, Mineral, Vegetal, Medicinal, Sweet, Grass, Lettuce
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Edit tea info Last updated by TeaVivre
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 9 g 9 oz / 260 ml

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86 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Hubby and I drank a whole lot of steeps of this tonight. A single teaspoon in my little glass pot and over a liter of water, and it just kept giving with each resteep. We are drinking this...” Read full tasting note
  • “Revisiting this one after quite some time. For some reason, I have developed a strong liking to Ginseng Oolong. Maybe, it’s because my taste are still developing. It’s possible, this development is...” Read full tasting note
  • “Another Teavivre tea for me! This tea is really great for when I’m not feeling my best. It has a lot of sweet and roasted notes. It is super easy to make, so I can ask my husband to prepare it for...” Read full tasting note
  • “I woke up very bleary this morning, unexpectedly, and actually drank coffee for the first time in a long time. But as late morning begins to drag on towards lunch, it is time to settle into...” Read full tasting note

From Teavivre

Origin: Lugu Township, Nan Tou County, Taiwan

Ingredients: Si Chi Chun (Four Season Oolong)

Taste: Clear and fresh aroma and rich fluid under tongue, sweet and fresh flavor, strong aftertaste

Brew: 1-2 teaspoons for 8oz of water. Brew at 212ºF (100 ºC) for 1 to 2 minutes (exact time depends on your taste – a longer time will give the tea a stronger taste and color)

Health Benefits: The substance in the tea helps to prevent the decaying of teeth and halting the plaque build-up and also reduce the growth of glucosyltransferase. Being lightly fermented, these teas are high amino acids, vitamins, polyphenols and antioxidants. These combine into a tea that reduces cholesterol and helps reduce hardening of the arteries, and so can help reduce risks of heart attacks.

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86 Tasting Notes

63 tasting notes

Now I’ll be honest: I wasn’t interested in this tea, but it came as part of the oolong sampler so I figured I’d at least give it a try. Then I read the reviews here and I’ve decided it will be the tea to christen the new tiny glass teapot from my second Teavivre order that just arrived this morning!

I’m using 3.5g (half the sample pack)—that’s the same as my 1.5tsp tea scoop—for 200ml of boiling water. Steeps are 1, 2, and 3 minutes.
1st steep: Dry it is blue-green pellets with yellow flecks and more resembles small powder-coated rocks than it does tea. It has a sugary wet scent paired with straw. The wet leaf looks more crumpled than anything else after this first steep and smells of toast and well-cooked vegetables (spinach and green beans) with the same sweetness as when dry. Poured out it’s a light golden color. On the first sip I notice an acidity then astringency. On the second sip a sweet taste is added. I can taste toast, seaweed, and a sweetness like sugar cane. Then something remarkable happens: the sweetness starts moving around. It starts by feeling like a vapor that fills my mouth and then it dives to coat my mouth under my tongue! Does any of this sound bad to you? I can’t believe my first prejudiced thoughts about this tea were so wrong!
2nd steep: The leaves look like they could still handle a good bit more; they’re not fully opened for the most part, and the ones that have opened more are still very wrinkly. I don’t notice the toast scent in the wet leaf this time, but I get plenty of sweet well-cooked/roasted vegetables. This cup is more honey coloured, and I also don’t think I’m getting the toast here either. The acidity and astringency is the same, but then the sweetness takes away from that and is actually thicker! After each sip the sweetness becomes thick and honestly juicy right on the tip of my tongue! I’m going to run to the kitchen now to make the third steep….
3rd steep: I may have just been able to detect the toast scent in the wet leaf this time. Now I’m noticing that the acidity and astringency are stronger, but then they’re cut by that delicious, juicy sweetness. All three keep returning, taking turns almost for the attention, but the sugar cane flavor (and the thick feel it gives) wins out, lasting long after each sip.

I’m so glad I got to try this, and also that I can steep all of the oolongs in my new glass teapot where there is more than enough room for them to open out. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite oolong so far, not just because of how it dashed my prejudices for the better, but also because the flavor and sensation of drinking this tea are just so good. If you’re not sure about this one, then trust me: forget about not knowing if you’ll like ginseng… just try this tea!


I do love this one! A friend tried it at my house and told me that she didn’t understand why, but she just had to have me order some more for her! LOL! She was expecting to not like it, but instead is drinking it regularly now.


Yum! I like this a LOT more than I thought I would!

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41 tasting notes

Thank you for the samples, Angel!!!

Last night I had a minor tragedy and lost TWO plants to mealybugs, so I needed the cheering up. I had clipped a few leaves from my purple basil for dinner and discovered dozens of the fluffy white menace. This plant shared space with some cilantro I had been having trouble with and was neighbors to the dendrochilum I had just performed surgery on yesterday. With chemical assistance I could have saved the herbs, maybe, but I wouldn’t want to eat them. I decided to throw them out before they had a chance to infect everyone else.

What a way to be cheered, though! I was fortunate enough to have today off, and the s.o. was working from home as well, so I was able to sign for my long-awaited samples from Teavivre and we both got to try this one! I started with the ginseng oolong because it was the one most likely to attract the curiosity of the non tea-obsessed. This impressed us both. I fixed up a little pot and we shared it.

Day two:
The only reason I am not ordering more already is because there are more teas to sample and I want to make sure I try them. Oh, and combined shipping for the ones I decide I must have. If I order more of this now it might be all I drink till the weather turns. But I really love it. I have never tried anything really ginseng-y before, there is something tingly and clean and healthy feeling about drinking this, like a hot honey cough drop, but wonderful.


I share your frustration, I have lost many a plant to the mealybug. Hopefully the rest of your plants will still do well.

Londo Mollari

Thank you! I was very concerned, and will be for another few weeks, but so far the most likely victim of proximity infection is still rooting. Funny how the food plants were cast aside to save a plant who’s only value is that it is pretty.


It’s funny how it works out that way sometimes. There really aren’t many guaranteed alternatives, especially since getting rid of mealybugs usually requires pesticides, which isn’t something that’s great to spray on a food source. In the past I’ve gotten rid of pests by spraying the plant and soil with a mixture of dishsoap and water and putting it outside, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t be strong enough for mealybugs. Well, hopefully the saved “pretty plant” will be extra pretty :)

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559 tasting notes

This is the last of the teas Teavivre sent for tasting. I still have a few unfinished samples here and there, though, so it’s not completely over.

However, I don’t feel as if I have much to say about this tea as I have about the others. To me, this tastes exactly like their other slightly roasty oolong, Taiwan Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin. I’m not entirely sure what ginseng tastes like, as most things I’ve had with it as an ingredient have also had overpowering ginger. I associate the two, unfortunately.

What I’m trying to say is that I can’t tell the difference between this and the other oolong I received. Am I the only one?

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

The ginseng is very subtle, I think. I did sort of oversteep mine when I had it so that oolong flavor was doubtlessly dominating. I could get a bit of ginseng flavor in the back of my throat though. It’s that lightly bitter cooling sensation. The Chinese are very fond of cooling bitterness.

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553 tasting notes

This tea is interesting. I have never had any ginseng tea before. The only reason I know what ginseng tastes like is because I have had the Arizona green tea with ginseng before. I used what came out to be 2 teaspoons because the first teaspoon and the last teaspoon were half spoons.

I brewed the first steep for 3 minutes. It is a light color and doesn’t smell like much. I had this with some Nature’s Harvest veggie crunchers and I think that is bringing out a more savory element to the tea. The aftertaste is very ginseng. There was a while there where I started to taste some pepper. I let it cool down and that is gone now. Cooler the aftertaste is less sharp and the tea is smooth on the tongue. I think I’ll wait a while before making the second and third steeps on this one.

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464 tasting notes

The dryleaf looks really weird= like rocks made of felt! The dry leaf smells very much like the kind of green tea I don’t like, but it turns out I didn’t have to worry. The taste was mellow, roasty, and slightly sweet. The ginseng aftertaste works its way up the nose and back of the mouth. Overall it was pleasant and refreshing.

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217 tasting notes

Ah. Another day, another Teavivre sample to try. Life is good.

This selection was hand rolled into little balls of green leaves. The pre-brewed smell was fresh and aromatic. I was excited to add hot water and see what developed.

I brewed this blend for two minutes at 212 degrees. I always choose the maximum recommended steeping time to get the strongest tea possible without (hopefully) bitterness.

There was just a light and subtle tea smell wafting from the pot. The color of the liquid was golden amber.

At first taste, the flavor was bright and sweet and very smooth. With each subsequent sip, a sweet, honey-like flavor remained on my tongue. Bitterness does not exist anywhere in this tea.

This brew goes down so pleasantly and smoothly that I had to restrain myself from chugging it. All of the sweet and tea flavors are in perfect balance. I could drink this tea all day.

Thanks to Teavivre, my horizons have been broadened. I am rapidly becoming a big fan of other teas besides basic black. This Oolong tea is nothing short of WONDERFUL!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Great review, sounds lovely! I’ll have to order a sample of this one some day


You won’t be sorry! :-)


Thanks! I’m glad you liked my review!


I checked with Teavivre and they say the ginseng is added during roasting and that there is no sugar solution or licorice root added to this to make it sweet. I love it! It has two personalities…that first floral burst that is super sweet, followed by the roasted good oolong, and I guess some of that strength of character is coming from the ginseng. I don’t know since I have never had ginseng until this.


Very eloquently said, ashmanra! It is very sweet but not in a sickening or overwhelming way!

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95 tasting notes

Free sample fro Teavivre! Haven’t gotten around to reviewing many teas recently, have just been enjoying old favourites on the run.
This tea tasted very gingery to me, an interesting flavour but pleasing none the less. My first steep was very sweet, the leave barely unfurled. After that the colour got darker and the earthy flavour became more dominant over the sweet notes. A very yummy brew, definitely unique!


It was licorice to me. And something faintly minty.

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1812 tasting notes

I discovered ginseng-covered oolongs several years ago, and I have always enjoyed the strange sweetness that comes with their “alterting” properties. As I sit outside, watching the sunrise (sadly over other houses, not over the mountains, I breath in the ginseng powder aroma and wait for the water to boil. As I am at a location other than my home, I do not have an electric kettle here, instead opting for a stovetop, whistling tea kettle to prepare my hot water. Setting out my travel gaiwan set, I glance up as the sun breaches the horizon. Rinsing the leaves, the rinse water is discarded into the lawn, and I briefly smile at how much easier it is to drink tea outside, where anything may be disposed naturally.

My first steeping is for a mere thirty seconds, yet I feel that it captures the essence of this tea quite well, albeit weakly. The flavor of the ginseng has already begun to release itself from the oolong leaves. The smell is sweet, with a touch of the buttery essence of some oolongs. The flavor, too, is sweet, a bit weak, but refreshing, nonetheless.

Steeping number two brings out more oolong flavor, as the initial intensity of the ginseng has been diminished. The flavor is a bit darker, not quite so sweet, yet the leaves have only now begun to fully open, leaving much room for evolution.

In the third steeping (all have been for thirty seconds), I notice now that the ginseng and oolong flavors are blending together well. One can see that the oolong leaves have all but unraveled themselves, releasing their flavors. The diminished sweet taste is reminiscent of light honey or, perhaps, agave nectar. It is quite pleasant.

After the fourth steeping, I place all of the leaves in a large mug and pour hot water over them to leave them for an extended steep. The fourth steeping itself is wonderfully smooth, as though it has at last matured. This was quite tasty, and it seems the sunrise has been overwhelmed by rain clouds. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 87/100.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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335 tasting notes

An interesting tasting.

I quite like the dry leaves – they’re green, rolled up, and really easy to handle. I meant to steep them for 1 minute, but that wound up not quite happening, although I think they’re still under 2. At the beginning of the sip, the aroma is that half-vegetal, half-roasted flavor that I now associate with oolongs (did I mention I’m still fairly new to oolongs?) But then something interesting happens. Now, I’m not familiar with the flavor of ginseng, so I’m probably tasting it without recognizing it as such. But the longer the tea remains in my mouth, the more of a bright citrusy tangent the flavor takes, getting higher and higher in pitch while the vegetal/roasty oolong base remains until I swallow. It’s almost a bitter flavor, but it’s such an unexpected development that, at least for this tasting, I don’t mind it because it’s a cool experience…

Did you know this goes really well with vanilla ice cream? I had absolutely no intention of them being a pairing, but the pointed, morphing quality of the tea makes a great contrast with the vanilla WHOMP. Damn!

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1258 tasting notes

Gah, why am I not a fan of this tea? This tea is from Meeka from our Steepster meetup.

I always wanted to try this tea – the appearance is pretty cool! I used my gaiwan for this tea and it was a treat to watch the dusty lumps expand into large deep green leaves!

Taste? ehhh. I was getting a delicious smooth, savory ginseng medicinal but also with licorice and sweetness. The sweetness hits my tongue similar to stevia and was a big turn off. I’m not really into licorice either. Ah well, I’m happy to of tried it!

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