I’ve had this oolong for about a year and am nearing the end of the bag. According to Eco-Cha’s website, this is a combination of the heirloom Tie Guan Yin and Jin Xuan varietals, processed and roasted in the traditional manner. I steeped 6 g of tea in an inexpensive 120 ml clay pot I recently bought in Chinatown, which actually does seem to take the edge off roasted oolongs. I used 200F water for two steeps of 30 seconds, four steeps of 40 seconds, two steeps of 50 seconds, and a couple longer infusions.

The first steep is dominated by Graham crackers, with orchids, smoke, and honey in the background. The tea gets smokier and tangier in the second steep. I can imagine it being roasted over an open flame, although that’s probably not what happened. In spite of the smoke, it’s sweet, substantial, and comforting, with a Graham cracker and honey aftertaste that lasts for minutes.

Steeped at 40 seconds, the Graham crackers morph into wood and caramel, but the smoke, florals, and honey stick around. There’s a bit of a bite to it now at the end of the sip. Steep four is nearly identical. By steep five, the smoke is beginning to dissipate and there’s a grassy note in the aftertaste. (Could this be the Jin Xuan?) The tea gets softer and drier over the next few steeps until it starts losing flavour in the tenth.

This is the ultimate autumn tea. You can tell it was made with care because the roast adds to it rather than making it one-dimensional. I’m not sure how similar it is to the Tie Guan Yin Eco-Cha offers in their regular line-up, but I’ll definitely consider giving it a try.

Flavors: Caramel, Graham Cracker, Grass, Honey, Orchid, Smoke, Tangy, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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