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Tea Review: Nonpareil Handmade Anxi Qing Xiang Tieguanyin Oolong Tea

Tieguanyin tea leaves

First up for review on Ethan Does Tea is an Anxi Tieguanyin by Teavivre! I've had great experiences with Teavivre teas before, so I came in with high expectations for this tea. This tea was a sample buy from my previous purchase with them.

Tea Information

Brewing Parameters

Final Score

This tea is an autumn Tieguanyin, which is definitely much less potent and sharp as its floral spring counterparts. Seeing this, I was expecting a cool, calming session, but in fact, it was quite different from what I expected. First of all, let's take a look at the leaves. The leaves were oddly shaped and slightly inconsistent, which is pretty average for what Tieguanyin should look like, but I've definitely seen better handmade Tieguanyins in my travels to Anxi and the villages in the county. The colour is slightly dull but consistent, and stems are not present in the leaf.

Tieguanyin tea leaves

Moving on to aroma, this tea packed a really big punch. The dry leaf was very pleasant, having floral and green notes emanating from the cup. The aroma was complex and fragrant. The wet leaf on the other hand was pungent and thick, strong and piercing with a very prototypical Tieguanyin aroma coming out. It's a lovely aroma don't get me wrong, but I was not expecting something of this magnitude from an autumn tea. The liquor was clean and vibrant, and had a nice greenish-yellow tinge to it.

Here comes the important part, taste. I brewed this tea with 95°C water for 30 seconds in the first steep, using 7g of leaf to 100ml of water. The taste came out pretty good, maybe not amazingly good but pretty good nonetheless. A piercing citrus note came through which made the tea interesting, along with notes of floral and cream that come with a typical Tieguanyin. This tea is probably leaning towards the Tuo Suan (拖酸) style of Tieguanyin teas with its prominent sweet-sour notes, which is a stark difference from the usual Zheng Wei Tieguanyins. Yummy nonetheless, definitely meeting my expectations thus far.

Tea Setup

This tea had a nice character to boot, a pretty complex tea that really hits home in terms of taste, texture, and finish. It does have a slightly weak body however, tending to a slight watery taste no matter how I brew the tea, so that is a bit of a minus point. It has a drying sensation in the mouth, puckering as I take each sip, which made the tea really interesting and unique to drink. It is pretty much an active tea, making for a bright and compelling session. It also had a cooling, minty mouthfeel that is common with good teas.

This tea had a long emanating finish & aftertaste, with a lingering Tieguanyin taste present long after taking a sip of the tea. It really reminds you of the taste even after the session had ended 15 minutes ago. A* for that.

Tea liquor

Effect wise, this tea didn't have much cha qi. But what was I expecting from a Tieguanyin anyway, it's not like Tieguanyins can match the cha qi of your puerhs. However, the body sensation is still important when it comes to the holistic grading of teas, so I got to mark this tea low on this front. However, this tea when it comes to longevity is pretty good, being drinkable up to steep 7 to 8 before it becomes flavoured water, which is decent for a Tieguanyin.

Brewed tea leaves

The wet leaves look beautiful, the taste is good, and it has a decent longevity as well. What more can you ask for from a Tieguanyin? Well, there are some pointers that this tea is missing, but it pretty much boils down to being a decently above average tea. Not amazing, but decently above average. Anything amazing is an 80+ in my books, but this tea ranks just short of that. Overall, definitely a tea worth buying, especially for beginners to Tieguanyin or tea in general, as it really provides a good starting point into one's foray into the land of low-oxidised oolongs. If you've tried this tea, or have tried teas from Teavivre, let me know how you felt about them in the comments! I'd love to hear your opinion!


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