Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 205 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold
Teance is a tea shop in Berkeley, CA. Although I’ve never been there I have been a fan of what they do for a long time. Their co-owner, Winnie Wu, writes a Tumblr blog called Tea Adventures that I highly recommend checking out during tea sourcing season. Her honesty and insights into the tea world are truly valuable for an avid tea-head like me.
Let me start this review by saying that I have a love/hate relationship with Tie Guan Yin. It can be so wonderful, truly the prime example of a Chinese oolong. A lot of what floods the market these days is just the opposite though. Mass produced, low oxidation, low roast; I tend to call these nuclear green because that is what I think they look and taste like. I am relieved to report that this tea is the very antithesis of that. 60% oxidation with 10+ hours of tradition charcoal roasting? Count me in!
The first thing that struck me about this tea wasn’t the taste but the mouthfeel. It was thick, almost to the point of being syrupy, with no astringency. I couldn’t focus on that for long because my mouth was bursting with the notes of dark stone fruit that this tea is named for. It was positively juicy! Hints of orchid wove their way in as well, especially in the aftertaste.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience drinking this tea. It can take the heat but I liked the slight softness that came with Teance’s recommendation of 205 degrees. Once the leaves were steeped out I put them into a pitcher of water in the refrigerator in order to cold brew. The result was light (since I already had at least 10 infusions) but refreshing and very tasty. It still had those delicious peachy notes too.
I also received a sample of an intriguing black tea named Burnt Sugar Red. I’ll be sure to share that one on the blog too. Have you ever tried any of the teas offered by Teance? I’d love to see your recommendations in the comments!
Tieguanyin Dark Stonefruit sample provided for review by Teance.