Review: Dignitea (ITFA) Siao Syue Winter Jin Syuan

International Tea Farms Alliance, Oolong Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Rich, nourishing, and sweet. Outstanding."
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
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Although this is an age of booming cottage industries,   I was hard pressed to find a small tea grower that packages and sells his/her own tea.  Tea has been big business for so long, it's hard to untangle the growers from the brokers from marketers  from the distributors.  Learning about The International Tea Farm Alliance (ITFA) made me happy.  The tea industry, like the rest of the business world, is changing so the little players can earn what their products are worth.

ITFA is a group of Tea Farmers, united to create sufficient buzz and product volume so they can sell their teas directly to consumers.

I signed up right away to sample their teas.  I  wait with bated breath for the opportunity to join their Global Tea Taster's Club.  For about $25.00 per month, the club would provide me with six shipments of farm fresh tea per year.  Right now, language barriers are making it hard for me to navigate the website.  I don't seem to be getting any response to my requests.  The fact that ITFA is asking for North American press exposure, though, is a good sign.  I also noticed they are asking for volunteers to help with writing and web design.  Since I got my samples, I am hooked. So, I am urging everyone who loves good tea to visit IFTA's website (see below) and volunteer or at least tell them you want to join.

With the commercial out of the way, here's my review of Dignitea Tea Garden's Winter Jin Syan.   Some teas have more of that unique "tea" flavor than others. This lovely oolong, harvested in the Alishan mountain region of Taiwan, has the most.  How could it not? You should see the leaves!

In the canister, they are the size and shape of capers, and they smell like jasmine. When hot water (about 185 degrees-not boiling) is added, they unfurl to huge, full, WHOLE leaves.  Not broken pieces so common in products called "full leaf tea".  These are actually entire leaves, each about 2 inches long and about an inch wide, (the size of a bay-laurel leaf.)  It's the closest I've ever been to seeing an actual tea  plant.  I didn't know the leaves were so big!

As they were brewing, they released a pure and fresh aroma so common with any fine tea. However, this tea set itself apart with  an added layer of richness that reminded me of meat stock or broth. Not that the aroma was anything savory, but it had a nourishing quality that made me really believe all those studies they do on the health benefits of tea! I  felt embraced and sustained by this tea's scent.

The taste, likewise, was as full and rich as a consomme, and as sweet and fresh as your newly-mowed grass in the summer. Plus, it had jasmine moments, malty moments, and grassy moments, all wrapped up in a smooth, astringent ribbon. The aftertaste left my mouth fresh and sparkling. It worked to clean up my Chinese-food breath better than any mint!

It will be hard to drink anything else after tasting Winter Jin Syuan. I rate it an 11, (and 10 is as high as we go.)


— To purchase Dignitea (ITFA) Siao Syue Winter Jin Syuan, 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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