Very excited to be able to do my first commissioned tea review (payment in tea, that's all I need)! ITeaworld was nice enough to send me both their Oolong and Black tea samples so look out for that next week! Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with the company so anything I say is complete honesty and my true opinion.
Before I even get to the teas, I want to say that I love their business model. They have very straightforward and educational resources, a nice blog, and use environmentally friendly packaging. These are the kinds of things that can get overlooked but I really suggest you check their site out.
Starting with the Tie Guan Yin, the oolong I've both tried the most varieties of and become the most picky of. The nuggets were the standard beautiful little rocks that this tea is known for, definitely on the good middle ground as far as oxidation goes. I'm not a fan of the new jade oolongs, and this luckily was not one of them. The steeped leaves were aromatic and uniform.
The first infusion had nice jasmine florals. The second and third came through surprisingly really fruity with mango and orange blossom. After that the vegetal aspects became more prominent, mostly toasted notes and luckily not bitter or grassy at all, still wonderful flavor. No roasted or over oxidized flavors either. Nice medium-buttery mouthfeel. Overall a wonderful flavor. This tea could probably withstand some more heat, and I would try it because my only complaint is that I didn't get enough infusions out of this one, which is to be expected with a somewhat greener tea.
The Dahongpao was a wonderful surprise, and one of my favorite tea types of all time. Dark wiry leaves that immediately gave way to a taste and aroma of coconut sugar. A very sweet and robust tea. I got some cocoa notes that complimented the minerality and light astringency, but not really many spice, fruit, or floral notes that many dahongpao's are known for. Not a bad thing at all, if anything it just speaks to the more unique aspect of this tea in it's category.
The Fenghuan Dancong was my favorite of the bunch. Immediately strong scents and tastes of lychee and passionfruit with a light roasted backnote and a juicy mouthfeel. Over time gets an enjoyable touch of astringency and turns a little more towards and orchid flavor. It is simple but strong in the direction it is supposed to be, and a personal favorite flavor profile. I would use this tea as an example for someone who wants to get into tea tasting and discerning tea notes.
The Minnan Narcissis was one I had never had before. Leaves were slightly less than whole compared to all the other teas. Intensely sweet aroma with an interesting fruit I couldn't put my finger on at the time. The taste was more mineral and charcoal with backnotes of honey and orchid. Much more chill than I was expecting but good nonetheless. It had a very "perfect" touch of both thick sweetness and astringency that gave it a good mouthfeel, but in the end I was hoping it would taste more like it's aromas. Still a good tea for both experienced and novice tea drinkers.
The quality of these teas was great and I would drink them all again given the chance. Great, fresh, whole leaves with minimal if any dust. The Tie Guan Yin was definitely a great pick in that category, but the Fenghuang Dancong is the one I will find myself longing for. Like I said I have no affiliation with the company but I would suggest these teas to anyone looking to experience a good variety of oolong profiles!