Review: Grand Tea Traditional Tikuanyin

Grand Tea, Oolong Tea, Ti Kuan Yin Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Not at all in the same vein as the flowery unroasted Taiwanese Tikuanyins, this tea is enjoyable for it's more rugged, savoury qualities. Those who like their oolongs on the toasty side would do well to give it a try."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.2/10
Other Teaviews: Christopher gave it 7.9/10
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This roasted oolong originates from the Chinese province of Fujian. Traditionally Tikuanyins have been roasted, as opposed to the more floral, unroasted versions that have become popular of late. My sample is vacuum-packed in a foil pouch – always a good indicator of a retailer's commitment to freshness. The leaves have been rolled in to small, irregularly-shaped pellets. Their aroma is predominantly toasted and tannic, pretty much the template for a roasted oolong.

I brewed this tea Western style (a.k.a. “the lazy way”). I used 3 grams of leaf in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 4 minutes. The bright yellow cup is scented with a toasted grain aroma. This tea's roasted barley notes – similar to the taste of Sugar Crisp cereal to me, and grilled peach finish are what stand out most. Smokey, roasted green vegetable are featured as well. Robust and round in mouth, it's a little drying but mostly smooth in feel. Not at all in the same vein as the flowery unroasted Taiwanese Tikuanyins, this tea is enjoyable for it's more rugged, savoury qualities.

I infused the leaves two more times for 5 and 6 and a half minute-long brews. Both steeps were lighter and fruitier than the first. Peaches, apricots and lychees mingle among the dominant smokey, toasted barley notes. My final cup is still flavourful but more mineral and thinner in feel. I suspect that a fourth cup would not be all that successful so I decide to call it a day.

This tea is a little pricey but those who like their oolongs on the toasty side would do well to give it a try. It's less sweet than most roasted oolongs but it features an enjoyable toasted grain and roasted green vegetable combination. Those looking for an unroasted, flowery Tikuanyin will be likely disappointed however.

— To purchase Grand Tea Traditional Tikuanyin, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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