I just want to start by thanking the people at Bang Tea for making this review happen. Over the past year I’ve gotten to try some of the best tea from all around the world, and it’s companies like them that make it happen.
This company keeps it simple, which I like. They specialize in Taiwanese Oolong and they have 3 main varieties. There is the green oolong, spring green oolong and the red oolong. The green oolongs are unroasted, and the red oolong is 30% roasted. All of their teas come from the same small organic tea farm in Taiwan’s Shanlinxi, a high mountain tea growing region. At about 1,200 meters above sea level, these tea plants are really able to reach their full potential.
The smell of the dry leaves was actually quite similar to that of the green oolong. I picked up a slight woody note, which must have to do with the roasting.
The leaves began to unfurl during their 60 second steeping, but I could tell they weren’t fully able to release everything in the first steep. The aroma coming off of the tea as it was steeping was similar to the smell of the dried leaves but a little bit less intense.
The first sip of the red oolong was smooth and creamy. I could tell that this tea was roasted because it had a hint of smokiness to it as well. During the 20 hours of roasting, the tea is able to pick up a few additional flavors, so this tea is slightly more complex than the green oolong. I detected a slight hazelnut note in this tea and it had a nice buttery finish. Although the tea has a full body, it is not as bitter or astringent as I would’ve anticipated. I was expecting it to be very bold and have a powerful flavor, but it much lighter than I would’ve thought. This is probably due to the steep time, there’s only so much flavor hot water can pick up in 45-60 seconds. In the second steeping, I’ll be sure to do it longer so the tea is to my liking!
I put the tea in at 200 degrees give or take and I steeped it for 2 minutes. I know you are only supposed to steep for 45 seconds to a minute, but I really don’t intend to do a third steeping and I want to make sure I extract everything from this tea. Plus, I’m known to be quite the rebel when it comes to steep times.
The aroma coming off of this tea was quite pleasant. It was a nice floral fragrance you might expect to find in a Jasmine tea, or something of that nature. The first sip was rich and creamy. A bold, full-bodied flavor stepped into the foreground, and left with a fresh note on the roof of the mouth and a mouth watering astringency on the tongue. I love everything about this tea, except for the recommended steep time (sorry guys). 45 seconds to 60 seconds is probably ideal if you are trying to go for 4-5 steepings, but if you’re a two steeping kind of person like me, I would recommend going for 2 minutes. You’ll thank me later.
With the extra minute of steep time, now I’m really starting to get the cup of tea I was hoping for. It has a powerful flavor with a few light subtleties just to keep it interesting. The first sip of this tea seemed a bit fruity to me, like apricot, while the rest of the tea tasting was purely floral.
The aftertaste however is a bit interesting. There is a fresh breezy note you might find with a fresh mint leaf, as well as a mouth watering astringency you might find with a green tea or a dark oolong. During the first steeping, I was actually starting to get a bit drowsy, but now I am ready to go. This tea makes me want to lean back in my chair for a few seconds, take it all in and then get right back to work. It is really good!
I have to say of the four cups of teas I have tried from these guys (2 steepings of each) my favorite was the seconds steeping of this red oolong. It feels good to complete this tasting on a high note!