I’ve been excited for Tea Ave, a new online tea seller based in Vancouver, BC Canada, to launch. Since I am originally from Vancouver, I like rooting for my home town. However, Tea Ave also has something really cool about them –
Yes, I’m down with all oolong!
Anyways, Tea Ave is very new, launching soon! In the upcoming months there will be MORE oolong! Tea Ave will be carrying both tea bags and loose leaf. This special tea blogger got the tea bag sampling of Tea Ave’s first lineup of 12 oolongs. Today is also the new Tea Owl, Zeus’ first day! He is overwhelmed on the amount of work to be done – the unfortunate job of a tea owl on the bottom of the pecking order.
Here is the 12 Tea Ave oolongs:
Cape Jasmine Oolong
Alishan Jin Xuan oolong
Dong Ding oolong
Ginger Lily Oolong
Tie Kwan Yin oolong
Whenshan baochong oolong
Packaging wise, I love the modern sleek look. Each tea also has a unique geometric design on their respective package!
Tea Ave’s tea bags are very well done. Interestingly, the tea within the bag are not ground into dust – they are whole leaf (with exception to 2 oolongs, more on that later). The tea bags are made of PLA materials, all constructed in Germany. Tea Ave bags are also eco friendly and compostable! I’ve had some bad experiences with whole leaf tea bags (tearing open, not fine enough and leaking bits) but spoiler – Tea Ave tea bags are very nice!
Upon inspection the bag is quite large, holding 3 grams of leaf. The material is soft like thin cloth, finely woven. Held up to the light, you can sort of see through the tea bag.
I had these tea bags survive 8 infusions without any oolong getting angry and punching through. Flavor wise there seems little effects and the bags are big enough to let the oolong open up. My only complaint is the tea bag gets heavy so the string may snap, which happened to 2 of my teas. In reality, tea bag string snapping happens often with all over tea bags, plus Tea Ave’s tea bags are big enough that they are easy to pluck out of the cup in the event the string breaks.
Enough of the tea bag design – let’s sample oolong!
Ginger Lily Oolong
Ginger Lily Oolong is a blend of high mountain oolong and alishan jin xuan. I steeped Ginger Lily Oolong in its bag. I used 190f water. At the 2.5 minute mark the tea was light with little ginger flavor. 3.5 minutes I felt had the best flavor.
Ginger Lily Oolong has a lovely sweet ginger scent from a lightly yellow glowing tea.
Ginger Lily Oolong sips in light with the sweet ginger creeping in with layers of floral, butter and sweet notes. The oolong finishes with a light-moderate ginger spice that warms the throat. satisfying for fall winter to feel warm but refreshing too. Second infusion was less ginger and more buttery. The ginger was a fresh after taste. I quite enjoyed Ginger Lily Oolong – the level of ginger is perfect!
Tie Kwan Yin
I decided to hack up the tea bag and steep Tie Kwan Yin gong fu style. Bag surgery showed a nice looking dry leaf.
I’m working with 3 grams of tea here so it’s a little dicey to steep in a gaiwan, I tried my best to keep the water level low. I got about 9 rounds of tea with 30 second infusions.
The early steepings of Tie Kwan Yin had lots of rich flavor. There are roasty nutty notes with an apricot peach aftertaste.
Admittedly, Tie Kwan Yin was hard for me to review. There was lots of sip. “Ahh that’s good”. Sip. “Yum”. Then all the tea is gone. The roasty nutty flavor and tasty peach breath makes this owl so happy! I also got ripping tea drunk. The later infusions of Tie Kwan Tin got quite dry, 5/10 on the Astringency Meter, giving me a dry tongue and gritty feels but ohh the peachy sweet floral of deliciousness after taste!
The steeped leaf of Tie Kwan Yin turned out to be quite impressive too!
Whenshan Baochong Oolong
This is 1 of 2 oolongs that Tea Ave informed me had to be cut in order to fit into the tea bags – the other 10 oolongs are unmodified.
So, I’m a weirdo and did gongfu steeping in a tea bag steeping in a small cup. The oolong is good so why not?
First infusions are flavorful especially for an unroasted green oolong. The flavor is buttery and green pepper flesh. For the second infusion the floral really pops with lots of dancing marigolds and buttercups, 5/10 on the Floral Meter. With each infusion, the tea got less floral and more green bean, green pepper vegetal.
The tea bag held up well after many infusions – 8 total.
This Osmanthus blend has an oolong base of Alishan Jin Xuan. This one I steeped in the tea bag – 200F for 3.5 minutes. I’m thinking 3.5 minutes is the sweet spot for these tea bags.
Tea Ave’s Osmanthus Oolong is pretty good – the Jin Xuan base is sweet, creamy and buttery and the osmanthus floral adds a nice citrus pop end of sip. The osmanthus here is light, a 3/10 on the Floral meter – this is a tea to enjoy the oolong base but with a lightly floral twist. Later infusions bring out the buttery flavor of the Jin Xuan base.
This oolong is blended with fresh Taiwanese roses! Rose oolong is pretty – the petals are pink and red, floating around inside the tea bag. I also steeped this tea at 200F for 3.5 minutes.
The floral flavor is stronger compared to Osmanthus Oolong, a 5/10 on the Floral Meter. The oolong is light, delicate and buttery with a sweet rose finish. Rose oolong also has a fresh vibe too it, like I’m nibbling on rose petals. A very good oolong for floral rose tea lovers! I’d love to have this for afternoon tea!
So far, Tea Ave‘s oolong line up looks awesome, and from what I sampled, is good quality and fresh. My favorite is Tea Ave‘s Tie Kwan Yin and Ginger Lily Oolong, with Rose Oolong being another tasty favorite.
I look forward to trying Tea Ave‘s other oolongs and future developments from this tea seller. Be sure to pop by their site, sign up for news for when their shop is open!
(Tea provided for review)