57 Tasting Notes


This tea was one of the first Ti Kuan Yins I’ve ever tried, so I decided to try it again to see how it compared to the others I’ve recently tried.

I bought this tea at a local Chinese shop called “Wing Hop Fung.” The shop offers a wide selection of Chinese and Taiwanese teas, as well as Chinese goods and delicacies (bird’s nest soup anyone?). While I do not like the way they store their teas (large clear glass jars), their vast selection, cheap prices, and location (one in Chinatown, LA) keeps me coming back.

I bought about 2 oz of tea. The dry leaves had a mostly dark green color with some lighter green in between. The leaves were slightly aromatic, lightly oily to the touch, and with different shapes and sizes.

Since this tea did not have any suggested brewing guidelines (the store does not provide any tips on how to brew your tea unless you ask one of the sales ladies), I steeped each infusion for at least 3 minutes using 195F water and used a gaiwan.

The resulting brew gave me a clear bright green-yellow cup with a light floral aroma. As with my other TKY’s I tried to steep this tea at least 7 times.

My first cup was subtly sweet, lightly floral, with smooth mouth feel and a very nice nutty hint. My second, third, and fourth cup were pretty much more of the same, but with each subsequent steeping, the taste and aroma became weaker. By the fifth cup, the nutty hint was still there, but the floral taste was very faint. The floral aroma was also completely gone by now. The sixth cup was just a hint of everything that once was and after this one, I decided not to re-steep the leaves again.

The wet leaves were mostly well preserved, with different sizes, and some damaged/broken pieces. At least two or three stems were floating around in one teaspoon.

Now this is what I call an everyday Ti Kuan Yin! While the shop’s description makes it sound like this is a high quality tea, you can safely assume it’s not, thanks to its relative cheap price (around $5 per ounce). Overall, This tea has some the flavor, floral notes, and smoothness of a Ti Kuan Yin, but none of the complexities, intense floral aroma and aftertaste that differentiates the regular TKY’s from the extraordinary ones. I enjoyed this tea mostly for what it is, a cheap everyday oolong.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This is the first tea I fully review from halcyon even though it’s not the first tea I’ve bought from them. Their small shop and high quality selection of teas have made them one of my all time favorites.

I bought an ounce of this tea recently and as soon as I opened the bag, I was hit by a very noticeable sweet floral fragrance. Even after I had placed a teaspoon of dry leaves in a small plate for further inspection, the aroma managed to scent my surroundings.

The curled up leaves had a very rich dark jade color with some lighter greens in between. The dry leaves had very different shapes from one another, some were tightly curled up, others were more “open” akin to Pouchong leaves. The dry leaves were also not very oily to the touch compared to other TKY’s I’ve inspected.

I prepared the tea using a gaiwan and following the suggested brewing guidelines of 195F water and 3 min steep time.

The resulting brew gave me a clear deep yellow-green cup with a very aromatic orchid like fragrance. As with my other Ti Kuan Yin’s, I re-steeped this tea at least 7 times.
My first cup had a very aromatic sweet fragrance, the taste was very floral and sweet, with a very smooth texture. After a few sips, I could feel the warm orchid-like fragrance filling my mouth, it was a very pleasant feeling. The second cup was even better than the first. While it remained mostly the same, all the delicious properties of the first cup became intensified. The tea became more floral, more aromatic, smoother tasting, and now with a creamy hint. In the third cup, I noticed a slight fading of the flavors and the tea became “greener” tasting. The 4th and 5th cup remained with a smooth texture but with a less pronounced floral taste and aroma. By the 6th cup, the resulting brew had no aroma at all and only had hints of the first cups. The seventh and final cup still had a yellow-green color, but no aroma and just a hint of flavor.

The wet leaf was a mixed bag, it contained from well preserved leaves to leaf pieces. It had very few stems and contained different sizes in the leaves.

Overall, this TKY is one of the most fragrant I’ve had so far and I really enjoyed the flavor of the first cups. It is a shame it quickly went downhill after those first two wonderful cups.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Monkey-Picked Oolong by Teavana
57 tasting notes

I recently purchased this tea from Teavana to see how well their Ti Kuan Yin stacked up to others in the market. While certainly not a bad tea, I had a few complaints about the quality of this particular one.

The dry leaves had a faint floral aroma, tightly curled up, with a light green/dark green mix with some splotches of brown.

I prepared this tea according to the suggested steep time of 3 min and using 195F water using a gaiwan.

The resulting brew gave me a clear dark yellow-green cup with a faint floral aroma. As with my other TKY’s, I intended to brew the tea at least 7 times.

My first cup was sweet, floral, with a slightly creamy texture and a surprising hint of milky flavor (like those present in the famous “Milk Oolongs”). My second cup retained its sweetness and floral aroma but was much less creamy and with no “milky” hint. In my third steeping, the brew became quite bland, retaining just a hint of the floral taste. In my fourth cup, the tea became just a hint of what it once was and now had a faint bitter taste in the background. From this point forward, I knew this tea wouldn’t make it to the seventh steep. I decided to steep it two more times and the resulting brews in the 5th and 6th cup were pale green cups with no aroma and small hints of flavor. I didn’t bother with a seventh cup because by now, my tea just tasted as slightly flavored hot water.

I checked on the wet leaves and while Teavana claims of “unbroken, evenly sized leaves,” this tea was made of nothing but broken pieces of leaves, a few steams, and two or three well preserved leaves . The leaves also felt quite fragile to the touch.

Overall, My first cup was pretty enjoyable, although not as complex as others I’ve tasted but still quite good. The only problem I have with this tea is that it releases most, if not all, of its flavor in the first cup making the subsequent cups just a far cry of what it once was. I feel this tea would be great as an everyday oolong, but the price ($25 for 2oz) and claims of quality (highest grade of oolong in the world) does not match its value.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This is the second Ti Kuan Yin I’ve ordered online going solely on the reviews posted here on Steepster. I ordered one ounce of the tea packed in the gift box (I was curious to see how it looked) I received the tea inside a very nice carton box while the tea itself was inside a small plastic bag.

As I opened the plastic bag, I could instantly smell the aromatic floral essence of this tea. I grabbed a few leaves to check on the dry leaves. I noticed the that curled up tea “balls” were smaller than any TKY’s I’ve ever seen or have.The tightly rolled leaves were fragrant, slightly oily to the touch, and have a dark green jade color.

I prepared the tea using a gaiwan following the suggested brewing guidelines of 205F water and 3 min steep time.

The resulting brew gave me a clear yellow-green cup with a gentle floral aroma. I brewed this tea 7 times and as I kept brewing it, the flavor profile had subtle but noticeable changes.

My first cup was pretty straight forward. It was floral, sweet, smooth textured, and slightly aromatic aftertaste. The second cup remained pretty much the same. On the third steep, the brew became slightly creamy. I could say the best cups were the fourth and fifth steeps, as the tea became deliciously creamier and smoother tasting while retaining its floral aroma but with a slight seaweedy smell. On the sixth steeping I noticed a loss of the creamy texture and floral aroma/flavor. The seventh steeping gave me a very light green cup with floral hints still there, but almost no creaminess and no aroma.

Upon analizing the wet leaf, I could tell they did indeed use smaller leaves. Perhaps the small size indicates only young leaves were used in the production of this tea? Anyways, I enjoyed this tea especially in later steepings. I found the first cups pretty unintresting but later on, this tea becomes literally mouthwatering (my mouth would salivate few seconds after I had my last sip, this was more noticeable during the 3rd-5th steepings). Flavor-wise I think this is a great tea but found it a bit lacking in the aftertaste I look for in Ti Kuan Yins. I was also a little disappointed that after the fifth cup, the tea began to lose its flavor. Overall this is a great TKY and for the price/service(free shipping) verdant tea offers? hard to beat.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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After checking the top rated Ti Kuan Yin’s in Steepster, I decided to give this one a try. I ordered the tea from the website and received it just a few days later packed in a nice airtight tin.

The dry leaves were tightly curled into big dark jade “balls.” The leaves felt slightly oily to the touch and had a very flowery smell to them.

I prepared the tea using a gaiwan following the suggested brewing guidelines of 30 sec steep time and using 195F water.

The resulting brew gave me a light yellow-green cup with a seaweed-floral aroma. The taste was very light during the first 3 cups with a clean fresh green taste, subtle floral flavor, and a hint of creaminess. I increased the steep time from 30 secs to 2-5 mins for each subsequent steep, this gave me a more flavorful cup and a darker green-yellow brew. The taste remained almost the same but just more pronounced and slightly creamier.

Overall, you can tell this Ti Kuan Yin is of very high quality; the wet leaves are mostly complete with few signs of damage (I would guess about 90% of the leaves are almost intact, while the rest are either broken or contain stems) and the tea gave me many consecutive steepings without losing any flavor (I steeped it 7 times then discarded the leaves, but I’m sure this tea can be infused even more than that). Flavor-wise I wasn’t very convinced with this tea as it was too “green” for my own taste. I also felt this tea was pretty straight forward and could not find any of the complexities others have raved about. On a positive note, I was impressed on how many cups I made with a single teaspoon of leaves and even after all those steepings, the flavor was still there without any signs of fading. I’d recommend steeping this tea longer than the recommended 30 seconds for a more flavorful cup. While not my favorite of the TKY’s I have, it is quite unique and I will give it another chance using longer steep times.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Top Ti Quan Yin by Harney & Sons
57 tasting notes

I am a fan of Oolongs, especially Ti Kuan Yin, and I’m currently in a personal quest trying to taste all Tikuanyins possible to see which one will earn a permanent spot in my cupboard. I came across this particular one after ordering some tea from H&S’s website. The description intrigued me but the steep price ($54 for 2oz) put me off. Luckily, my girlfriend gave me this tea as a gift for Christmas and I was very excited to try it. My first brew was a disappointment. The tea was flavorless and tasted nothing like any other Tikuanyin I’ve had before, but I acknowledge that I brewed it with the incorrect leaf-to-water ratio and in a regular mug. The second brew, this time done correctly in a Gaiwan and correct leaf-to-water ratio, was very interesting.

This tea tastes very different from other Tikuanyin’s I’ve had, different but very good. The tea brewed a pale yellow-green cup. It was sweet, buttery and very floral with a delightful aroma. The taste is subtler than the other Tikuanyin’s I’ve had, but it was the sweet buttery lingering aftertaste in the back of your throat that makes this tea unique.

Overall, this is one of those teas you have to sit down and enjoy it by itself, savoring each sip, otherwise you might not pick up its subtle flavors. I was disappointed a little due to its high price and colorful description, I guess I expected a bit too much.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Grey's Teas

Do try our Ti Kuan Yin Toppest. I think you will find its rich character most captivating. See our catalogue description here http://www.greysteas.co.uk/acatalog/Ti_Kuan_Yin_Toppest_oolong_tea.html

Mike G

Thanks for the info, I’ll check it out as soon as I can :)

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This Oolong impressed me a whole lot. Many roasted oolongs I’ve tasted tend to have a similar flavor but not this one. Was very surprised with the delicious toasted coconut hint at the end. Brewed it according to the directions on the bag using a Gaiwan.

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SoCal native and Tea addict.

Looking to try every single type of tea the world has to offer.

I’m not too fond of flavored tea or blends, but every now and then, there will be one that I like.

I enjoy all types of tea, but my absolute favorites are Japanese Greens and Oolongs.

I am much more familiar with Chinese and Japanese teas. I’m looking to get in to Korean tea next and then Indian/Ceylons. Herbals are good too, but I don’t pay much attention to them (except rooibos).

Ti Kuan Yin (or Tie Guan Yi, whichever you prefer) Is one of my favorite teas. I’m trying to taste many offerings from different vendors to find the absolute best batch I can find.

My “Tea-Dream” is to one day make a cultural-tea trip to China, Taiwan, and Japan.

Ratings Guide

0 – 19 = Bad.
20 – 49 = Meh.
50 – 59 = It’s Ok.
60 – 69 = I like it, but…
70 – 79 = Good.
80 – 89 = Very Good.
90 – 100 = Amazing.


Los Angeles, CA

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