Tea Ave Preview

(Tea provided for review along with a tasting cup, an aroma cup and a $15 gift card to Tea Ave’s store when it opens)

I was lucky enough to receive three samples of Tea Ave’s stock. I first heard about Tea Ave from Reddit and it looks like they are finally going to launch their store soon. I decided to review all three samples in one post rather than three like I originally was planning to do. I decided to not space my reviews out like I normally do when I receive teas to review since there are a couple of teas from Tea Ave I’d like to look at after they launch their site.

Tie Kwan Yin Oolong
Origin: Muzha District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Cultivar: Tie Kwan Yin
Elevation: 350-400m

Dry Leaves: I love how much info Tea Ave has on their teas on each individual sample package. Although it might be a little overwhelming to someone new to tea, I was rather interested in what they decided to list. The origin and elevation is pretty standard for Taiwanese oolong. The roasting level, oxidation level and cultivar are pretty rare and I love that they included it; and then three separate brewing recommendations (tea bag, tea pot and cold brewing), although the tea bag recommendation wasn’t really necessary. Unfortunately I lost all my photos of this particular tea, but the leaves were closer to a green oolong then a darker one.   

First Steeping
Temperature: 195oF
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Roasted and Fruity
Flavor: Roast, Fruity and Burnt Wood
Tasting Notes:
This was my least favorite of the three (not surprising). I am not really fond of roasted oolongs; I have trouble distinguishing darker oolongs apart. Most roasted TKY taste nearly the same to me. So I wasn’t surprised to taste mostly the roast and some fruity notes, but I was startled to be able to taste burnt wood. The burnt wood flavor was the best part of this tea for me; it distinguished it enough from others that made it stand out for me. As to would I buy this tea, maybe. I generally prefer aged tea over new roasted teas, but if the price is right I may buy this once Tea Ave launches their site.

Lishan Oolong
Origin: Lishan Mountain Region, Taichung City, Taiwan
Cultivar: Qinxin Oolong
Elevation: 1700m

Dry Leaves: The leaves were the most underwhelming of the three; this had a light floral scent. The leaves had a lot of yellow and green and not a lot of blues.

First Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Floral and Fruity
Flavor: Floral and Sugarcane
Tasting Notes: This has a nice thin-ish mouthfeel, not as thick as teas grown at higher elevations, but not what I normally expect for teas grown at 1700m. Regardless it was nice. It is a little vanilla for my taste. I could taste honeysuckle, hyacinth and lilies, other than that I could taste sugarcane. It was very mellow. I imagine it would brew a lot better for longer times.

Depending on the price I might buy this again. I tend to prefer more complex oolongs.

Cape Jasmine Oolong
Origin: Alishan Mountain Region, Nantou, Taiwan
Cultivar: Jin Xuan
Elevation: 1200m

Dry Leaves: The leaves were the most striking of the three samples, mostly green, but with a fair bit of yellow and blues running through it. Otherwise it has a strong Gardenia aroma as well as some minor floral ones more towards orchid than anything else, but it was a little murky.

First Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Gardenia and Floral
Flavor: Gardenia, Jasmine and Milk
Tasting Notes: This was my favorite of the three samples I received. Initially I wasn’t getting much besides jasmine, but after a few seconds I began to distinguish the gardenia notes. I wonder if this is scented with gardenia blossoms. The gardenia is very powerful and intoxicating. I didn’t notice the milk taste till I tried this for the second time, although if I read the entirety of the sample I would have known this has a Jin Xuan base. I don’t think this had a very strong Jin Xuan, it’s not that creamy and the milk notes are the weakest, but if this was scented with gardenias it would not be surprising if it overpowered some of the base tea’s characteristics. It was a little buttery, not too much though. I tend to find Taiwanese teas grown below 1000m or those grown above 2000m (especially winter harvests) tend to be rather buttery, but everything inbetween in my experience has thinner mouthfeels.

Overall I preferred the Cape Jasmine over anything else and the tea I’d most likely purchase again. I am a little on the fence about the Lishan, but I’m willing to give it another chance. Besides that I loved the amount of detail on Tea Ave’s packaging, I know a lot of tea companies tend to favor simpler packaging, but they often lack information like origin or recommended brewing times. I am looking forward to trying more of Tea Ave’s teas once they launched. The only thing I thought was really missing from Tea Ave’s packaging is the harvest date, but the teas tasted quite fresh. Hopefully next time I try one of Tea Ave’s teas my camera won’t delete the majority of my pictures.  


Just a guy who likes tea.