28 Tasting Notes
After 10 years of drinking this tea regularly, I’m bumping up the rating.
I normally choose loose-leaf, but sometimes a teabag sealed in mylar foil is called for. This has become my go-to bagged Oolong tea in terms of freshness, value, and flavor.
It’s perfect for traveling, camping, a quick-fix when I don’t want to deal with loose leaf, or for keeping the office shelves stocked.
I’m bumping this tea a solid 99/100 based solely on the quality and value for the low price. This is the cheapest enjoyable and desirable tea I’ve ever found.
Be careful: ONLY the individually mylar-bagged tea is this good. They also sell visually similar tea in different packages that are not individually sealed, and that tea is dramatically lower quality and freshness.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Forest Floor, Grass, Hay, Mineral, Roasted, Vegetal
I received this tea as a gift in a fancy box that includes a trio of different Chai teas. I’m sure it was chosen because Oprah selected this tea for her list of “Favorite Things” in 2018.
This is the first tea I’ve tasted from the trio. It tastes like a high-quality Chai tea from India, similar to what I would expect from a fine dining Indian restaurant. The flavors are classic and well balanced, and the tannins and briskness are right-on.
The ingredients list Oolong tea, but I can’t identify anything significantly different from other assam and Darjeeling based black Chai teas I’ve had.
For a tea of this quality and purported freshness, after 2 brewings I expected to see more whole unfurled leaves and a lot less tea-leaf-dust in the bottom of my teapot. It also didn’t come out as strong as I expected, I ended up using more leaves than I normally would.
Considering the gorgeous box, and the fact that Oprah selected this as the best tea for 2018, I maybe had unreasonably high expectations. This tea is a fine and capable Chai tea, but it didn’t wow me any more than other capable Chai teas I’ve had.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Forest Floor, Green Wood, Honey, Musty, Spices
Very subtle white tea with a clean gentle flavor and low astringency.
I like flavorful tea, and will usually brew a large quantity of tea leaves in a relatively small container to maximize flavor.
I dislike overly bitter or astringent tea and am careful not to use water that is too hot or steeping for too long. This is especially true with loose leaf White Tea, which seems more susceptible to poor brewing.
I also like to get 3 or 4 steepings out of the same leaves, and after the 5th steeping, I’m perfectly happy with the fact that I’m drinking lightly colored hot water.
This tea, after the 1st and 2nd steeping, reminds me of a perfect 4th or 5th steep from a high quality Green or Oolong tea.
I like it, but it’s very subtle. Could be a nice daily drinking tea. Tastes a little like dry grass. It even reminds me a little of a Korean buckwheat tea. I’ll experiment more with steeping times and temperatures to see if I can optimize for flavor extraction.
Photos shared from after the 2nd steeping.
I’ll also need to only use filtered water and very clean glassware, as this tea lets any flavor in the water or mug come right through.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Rye, Wheat
The “natural cinnamon flavor” overwhelmed everything else in this tea.
It tastes like the cinnamon scented pine-cones you see at the grocery store around Xmas time.
We have a box of this at work. The best cup I’ve been able to create was with one bag of this, one bag of english breakfast tea, water at a full boil, steep 3-4 minutes, and then a generous helping of half-and-half and brown sugar.
Even then, it tastes more like cinnamon tea than an Indian Chai tea.
Ingredients: Blended black teas, cinnamon, ginger root, allspice, natural cinnamon flavor, clove bud oil, cardamom oil.
This is one of the better powdered and bagged green teas I’ve tasted (low-bar).
This is the green tea we stock at the office. It’s okay in a pinch, like when I’m traveling or in a hurry, but it pales in comparison to a high-quality whole-leaf green tea.
Flavors: Cut grass, Dry Grass, Saffron, Seaweed
From wikipedia: "The name Biluochun literally means “Green Snail Spring”. It is called so because it is a green tea that is rolled into a tight spiral, resembling snail meat, and is cropped early spring."
The dry leaves are beautiful and fuzzy, with pretty white hairs. The appearance of the dry tea is probably my favorite part of this tea. Unfortunately it’s rather downhill from there.
The tea when steeped comes out darker amber than I expected. The flavor is delicate and subtle. There’s a distinct astringency like an under-ripe apple or persimmon.
I have a hard time getting a perfect brew from this tea. It’s sensitive to overly hot water, easily becoming very bitter. On the flip side, if the water’s not hot enough, the tea comes out flavorless. My best results come from longer brewing times and cooler water temperature, combined with a large volume of tea.
This is the only Bi Luo Chun tea I’ve tried. I’d like to try others.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grass
I picked this tea out because it was something I’d never heard of before, and smelled heavenly in the shop. The scent of the dry tea doesn’t translate as well into the taste once brewed.
I believe aug3zimm described this tea perfectly. My tasting experience matches quite closely with what he described. His review is very well written, but if you’ll forgive me for paraphrasing:
It tastes like green tea mixed with something bitter and hard to describe. If you slurp, it tastes like driving through a grass fire on the side of a deserted highway. As it cools off it tastes like stale oregano.
I also found heterodoxia did an excellent job of describing why I don’t love Kusmi teas as much. For green teas especially, I prefer 100% pure tea, without any “flavorings” added.
This one is a little too weird for me. The buffalo grass is too grassy and bitter, somewhat overwhelming.
Flavors: Bitter, Buffalo Grass, Dry Grass, Hay, Herbs, Musty