60

Arrgghhh, I hate to write this review but there are few things more aggravating than opening a brand new packet of tea only to discover that it has gone stale. Shan Lin Xi rarely lets me down and I’m sure this one was good when fresh, but after a few steeps I could tell something about it was off.

The smell was promising enough. Out the bag, it smelled buttery sweet with a touch of vegetation. A rinse brought out fruity aromas of pear and banana along with a hint of marzipan. The brewed tea though was a different story. It tasted vegetal and musty like old books. There was none of the characteristic sweetness or minerality of oolong. The taste was more akin to a green tea. I’ve had two sessions with this tea and both times I gave up and ended up chucking it.

There’s a difference between a tea that doesn’t taste good and one that’s lost freshness. This belongs to the latter category. It’s the second tea from my Taiwan Sourcing order to suffer from this problem leading me to believe there’s a packaging issue. I noticed the pouches I’ve opened so far were missing those oxygen absorbing packets. These little things are critical to removing humidity and preventing spoilage, especially with green oolongs which don’t hold up as well as their roasted counterparts. I can always detect staleness in unroasted oolong that’s not vacuum sealed and/or doesn’t have the oxygen absorber inside.

I seldom throw out tea, especially costly ones, but sadly this one is going to hit the bin because it’s that bad.

Flavors: Musty, Vegetal

derk

I’m curious, have you ever contacted Mountain Stream about their packaging? You seemed to have a similar experience with several of their teas being stale.

LuckyMe

I’ve had this issue with quite a few vendors actually. Either they package the tea in pouches or vacuum seal without removing the oxygen. It’s usually okay if the tea is from the current harvest, but anything older will lose freshness. I was surprised that it happened with Taiwan Sourcing since there’s a lengthy blog post on their own website touting the benefits of oxygen absorbers and vacuum packaging. Thinking of reaching out to Scott to ask about this.

I’m probably going to order from either Eco-Cha or Taiwan Tea Crafts next, two vendors who I know package their tea properly.

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derk

I’m curious, have you ever contacted Mountain Stream about their packaging? You seemed to have a similar experience with several of their teas being stale.

LuckyMe

I’ve had this issue with quite a few vendors actually. Either they package the tea in pouches or vacuum seal without removing the oxygen. It’s usually okay if the tea is from the current harvest, but anything older will lose freshness. I was surprised that it happened with Taiwan Sourcing since there’s a lengthy blog post on their own website touting the benefits of oxygen absorbers and vacuum packaging. Thinking of reaching out to Scott to ask about this.

I’m probably going to order from either Eco-Cha or Taiwan Tea Crafts next, two vendors who I know package their tea properly.

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea years ago, and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and a few flavored teas. My tea epiphany came a few years ago when I discovered jade oolongs. That was the gateway drug to the world of fine tea and teaware.

With the exception of a handful of lightly scented teas, I drink mostly straight tea. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks are beginning to grow on me. I’ve dipped my toe into a few puerhs now but it’s still relatively new territory for me. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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