Tea Star is a pesticide free, direct trade oolong that is a hand tied, world’s first bag-less tea bag. This really cool oolong is from Justea – Vancouver, BC based tea seller of direct trade Kenyan Teas.
I’ve reviewed Justea in the past during their crowd funding campaign. Since then they have cooperatively built a tea processing kitchen with the tea farmers and have a couple new teas out.
The Tea Star is described as the world’s first bag-less tea bag, however it is very close to a blooming tea in a way. Oolong blooming teas aren’t as common, but also blooming teas tend to need high water temperature with long steep times, equaling a more visually appealing tea than a tasty one.
The Tea Star also make interesting tea ornaments.
I purchased 15 Tea Stars! Mostly for my own tea drinking pleasure, haha! If you haven’t guessed it yet, this’ll be a picture heavy review.
The Tea Star comes packaged individually with a hand made bag. The bag is too small for a Tea Owl sleeping bag, but holds a passport quite nicely.
Tea Star has a light dry scent. The appearance of the Tea Star is really cool – like a flattened blooming tea. The entire bundle of tea is tightly bundled together, with only a little debris in the package. The Tea Star does feel a little brittle, so handle with care!
I really like the bag-less tea idea – especially with those popular pyramid nylon tea bags being questionable in adding plastics to your tea, as well as not compostable. With the Tea Star design, you are also getting whole leaf, not smashed up leaves.
Each Tea Star is 2 grams, so enough for 1 cup / 8oz / 250ml. I totally bought this small, 1 serving glass tea pot for this tea, but I think a glass mug would work just as well if you would like to watch the Tea Star in action.
I failed at following the steeping instructions, looking at the card for that came with the tea, instead of on the actual teabag package.
I steeped my Tea Star with 190F water for 1.5 minutes. So photogenic!
The tea has a beautiful bronze colour with a lightly roasty scent.
Tasting of Justea’s Tea Star Oolong
First and Second Infusion, 1.5 and 2.5 minutes: I did too quick of a first infusion, however the Tea Star has a nice moderate level of flavor. The Tea Star sips in with a thick creamy texture. I found this tea hard to describe its flavor – it is kind of woodsy hardwood and close to a golden tipped yunnan black, but not as rich. The sip gets sweeter at the end with a strong toffee sweet finish. Tea Star leaves a silky mouth feel after each sip.
Tea Star has no bitter or dryness making it very easy to drink.
Second Infusion gorgeousness!
Empty Tea pot. You know, this tea reminds me of those plasticy pompom things people used to (or still do? I haven’t seen it in years) stick to their cars for weddings.
Third and Fourth Infusion, 4 and 6 minutes: The Tea Star got MASSIVE!
With each steeping, the Tea Star got more sweet but keeping the thick creamy texture. The flavor also had notes that I’d describe as the crust off an asian milk bread – sweet, creamy with a lightly baked goods flavor. I think I could maybe squeeze another steeping out of this tea, but it’ll be a long 10 minute + kind of steep.
With the final steeping, the Tea Star was poking out of the tea pot! ITS ALIVE!
Justea‘s Tea Star is an easy to drink oolong that is flavorful and looks great! I think black tea and light roast oolong drinkers will love this tea. I also think Tea Star would be a great tea to serve to others who are new to teas – a perfect tea party tea!
Also, the bag-less tea bag design, besides being really fun, gives you full leaf tea, while cutting down on the tea bag waste with no restrictions for the tea to expand. I would take extra care to store this tea. I’ve been known to just toss blooming teas in a baggie in my purse (ie, Mandala Flowering tea cones), but for the Tea Star I’d keep the “bags” in a petite tin for travelling so they don’t get smashed.
Bonus: More photos of the Tea Star!