Review: Tea Adventure Halfway to the Sky Ban Tian Yao

Oolong Tea, Tea Adventure, Wu Yi Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Interesting for its mix of berry and malt flavours, it’s definitely worth a try for those interested in traditional Wuyi rock oolongs."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.3/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.7/10
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teaadventhalfskyThis is my first time trying this variety of Wuyi rock oolong. Grown in a protected and pristine area on the slopes of Wuyi Mountain, this tea has a long tradition behind it. The loosely folded leaves are impressively large and fluffy. They bear the typical maroon hue of Wuyi rock oolongs. Their scent is complex and hard to pin down. There is some lily of the valley, some pipe tobacco and something peppery I can’t quite put my finger on. Whatever it is, it’s intriguing.

Following Tea Adventure’s recommendations, I steeped 4 grams of leaf (about two heaping teaspoonfuls) in 250ml of boiling water for 3 minutes. The pale, tan-coloured cup seems quite light for a rock oolong. Again the aroma is complex and gently floral. The sip starts off with tannic, yet smooth top notes. A somewhat mineral hint of malt and oak follows. The finish features sweet and juicy blackberry notes. It’s an enjoyable cup but it seems a bit restrained overall.

I brew the leaves again for 4 minutes. The tea now has a rounder, fuller profile, with lemon and tangerine notes accenting the finish. Otherwise it’s quite similar to the previous cup with lots of oak, malt and berry flavours. I find this cup more satisfying, having a little more depth and complexity.

Surprisingly, after 5 minutes, my third cup is very mild and closer to warm water than to tea. No unpleasant element emerges, the profile remaining smooth and slightly sweet to the end. However I wouldn’t bother with a third brew again.

I found this oolong interesting for its mix of berry and malt flavours. My second cup was particularly satisfying and refreshing, with its citrus overtones. The leaves are reasonably priced, considering their quality, although they fall a bit short in terms of their longevity. It’s definitely worth a try for those interested in traditional Wuyi rock oolongs. Personally I’m not sure I loved it enough to add it to my own collection.

— To purchase Tea Adventure Halfway to the Sky Ban Tian Yao, 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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