Many thanks to Oolong Inc. for letting me sample this! Wow, never expected to find beans in my tea! I was very surprised with how the bean flavor came through. It was hearty and earthy and savory, and lent a kind of gravitas to the oolong. Even though I’ve eaten black beans all my life, I don’t think I would have identified this as ‘bean’ flavor in a blind test. It didn’t taste smoky to me, though perhaps it’s because when I think of smoky tea, I’m recalling the knock-out smokiness of a lapsang souchong. The tea has a lot of staying power and was still going strong after 3 steepings. I probably wouldn’t have picked this out for myself, because I tend to go for green oolongs, but I really enjoyed it!
They also had these questions which I’m answering here:
1. If my tea were found on Teavana or Republic of Tea, how much would you pay for it?
This is a little tricky to answer, just because the pricing on Teavana and Republic of Tea has very little to do with the quality of the tea and everything to do with the brands. The base price for loose leaf oolong on their websites seems to be about $13, but may be higher if they feel they can make a case for it being a hard-to-come-by tea. So I guess $13, or maybe a bit more if you feel the tea is in limited supply. That said, I wouldn’t actually buy oolong from Teavana or Republic of Tea, their quality isn’t that great.
2. If my tea were sold in supermarkets, how much would you pay for it?
Hmmm, context is a big factor here. I think the most I’ve ever seen tea go for in the supermarket is $8, so I wouldn’t price it higher than that. But people who buy their tea in supermarkets seem to expect everything to come in a tea bag.
3. Would a connoiseur like yourself steep a cup of our tea alone, after lunch in the office?
Of course! I have no problem drinking tea alone (more for me!) and I always have some tea after lunch.
4. What are its advantages over tea bags and K cups?
A rolled oolong doesn’t have enough room to expand in a tea bag, much less a K cup, so it wouldn’t be very flavorful if the tea was stuffed in those.