Estea Tea is a small tea business that prides itself on providing hand-picked, artisanally crafted tea from Guangdong, China. Estee is a first-generation Chinese-American who found that tea was a tradition that connected her to culture, family, and heritage. She kindly sent me a sample of Honey Orchard Oolong for me to try and report back on. Here are my thoughts:
First Steeping: The color of the tea was a beautiful golden color, with an aroma that reminded me of Hojicha and roasted rice. From the color, I realized that this tea must have been a slight bit more oxidized than other oolongs I had tried before (I was super excited that my brain made that connection automatically). The taste was quite unique – slightly roasted and grassy – and had a warming and refreshing feeling go through my body. I could sense a lingering sweetness in my mouth after each sip. According to my boyfriend, the aroma reminds him of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal and the taste seemed both sweet and slightly bitter at the same time.
Second Steeping: The second steeping looked to be a little bit less golden (but the camera did not really pick it up). The aroma was a bit sharper, more pronounced than before. The taste was also quite different than I was expecting, with a bit lighter edge than the first. There was still a bit of char taste to this tea, with some nice roasted elements to it. However, I was noticing that this steeping had more floral notes in it, which I could not pin down what I was tasting in the beginning. There was still a refreshing feeling with the tea, but it did have a tiny bit more astringency to it (compared to the first which had absolutely none).
Third Steeping: With each brew, there were definitely new flavors coming out. But I also felt as if the tea was getting a bit more light than I normally would go for. This steeping brought more floral notes and the roasted notes were almost completely gone from my palate. The aroma seemed to stay the same but just faded with each steeping. The first steeping will be my favorite for sure, but I did enjoy the following steepings as they brought the same lovely feeling that tea always provides.
Cold Brew: With the used tea leaves, I decided to test out how this tea cold-brewed and get one more use out of the tea leaves! I had always heard that one can use tea leaves again after initial use, but never had the time (or patience) to truly test it out. The result was a refreshing brew that was still quite light and delicate tasting, with a slight hint of floralness and possibly fruity undertones. I did not spend much time analyzing it as I gulped half of it down in mere seconds.
Producers: Wei Family
Variety: Dan Cong (Single Bush) Oolong
Location: Pheonix Mountian, Guangdong
Date of Picking: April 2019
Analyzation of the Price:
I just had a small sample of this tea. They actually changed their sample process and now you can purchase all four varieties of their teas for $9.99 (currently on sale for $7.99). But for a full size of Honey Orchard Oolong, the price is $27.99 (on sale for $22.99) for 50 grams of tea. They say that this has about 20 servings in it, which each serving can be steeped many, many times. I think based on the quality of leaves that you get, this price is justified. For more luxury teas, the price usually resembled the work put in behind it (as it really should).
Analyzation of the Packaging:
So, Estea Teas does a small vlog about starting a tea company, and on one episode they mentioned that a customer was unhappy about the state that their sample arrived in. The sample arrived in an envelope and the leaves were squished, changing the taste of the tea. The person was upset and left a negative review. This greatly upset me. Once the tea leaves the hands of a company, any damage done to the tea is at no fault of the companies. However, Estea Teas decided to change up their transportation packaging for their samples and improved based on the decision. I really love the look of the packaging for this sample, I cannot comment on the large quantities due to me not actually seeing them in person.
I hope you enjoyed this review, I definitely did. I find myself loving oolongs more and more, and this different variety helps solidify my love for them. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week! Happy Brewing!