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Asian Market Tea - found something good?


Richard Kilgore
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Today I decided to start with what I refer to as "Asian Grocery Store Gold."  It is a decent Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolong that cost me a whopping $6.99 for 100 grams vacuum sealed in a metal tin.  The company who packages the tea is "Good Young Co., Ltd." out of Taipei, and is marketed as the Tradition Oolong Tea Series.  The English description on the can promised a "leisurely and carefree mood at any time."  I couldn't resist such marketing, so I bought it and feel like I finally got my money's worth out of a grocery store bought tea.  I'd post a picture, but I haven't figured that out on here yet...

It is a typical Taiwanese ball-shaped oolong with little to no roasting.  I steeped it gongfu style in a Gaiwan, and got three decent steepings out of it.  Moderately sweet, tastes a little flat or not super fresh, but it does have that Taiwanese Oolong flavor that I love.  Not bad for $6.99.

Has anyone else found good values like this in their local markets?

Greg emailed me the name of the market where he found this Ding Dong Oolong. It took me a while to find it -- three aisles of various teas and herbal/medicinal teas and it was tucked back in a hard to reach corner -- but persistance paid off. Now marked $7.99, and still a bargain. I also found one lonely tin of another tea that looked promising, but have not brewed it yet.

Greg is right. This tea is worth looking for.

Greg Glancy recently posted ( see above) in the What tea are you drinking today? topic about finding a drinkable Dong Ding Oolong in an Asian market.

I tried his recommendation and agree it is okay - not a high quality Dong Ding, but okay and worth trying. Given a litle tea exploration courage by Greg's find, I have picked up three other teas that looked like they might have some potential and will report on them here as I can get to them.

Has anyone else found a tea in an Asian market that you can recommend?

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Hello- My favorite Chinese market has an amazing 8 year-old pu'er. They buy it in bulk and you can buy the exact amount that you want.I was not able to find this tea on the website,but I have very limited computer skills.

Edited by Naftal (log)

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Hello- My favorite Chinese market has an amazing 8 year-old pu'er. They buy it in bulk and you can buy the exact amount that you want.I was not able to find this tea on the website,but I have very limited computer skills.

That's great, naftal. I think it is unusual to find bulk teas in an Asian market...or most grocery stores of any type.

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I have tried one of the two teas I picked up and think it goes to show that the exception (Greg's find) proves the rule.

This is a Tikuan Yin in a gold-colored hexagon shape tin container with double lids. It is labeled -

Fujian Oolong Tea

Tikuan

Yin

Fujian Tea Import & Export Corporation

125 grams

After trying it - flat, what flavor there was crashing after a few seconds - I decided to dump the tea.

The great thing about these Asian market teas is that they often come in attractive tins that make for inexpensive containers for other tea. A tin double lidded 1/4 pound tea container from any other source would likely cost at least $6 plus shipping vs $3.99 for this tin full of tea.

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The second of the three teas I picked up at an Asian market is a Pouchong tea (considered to be more or less a green Oolong).This may actually be okay for an everyday tea. Puochong's can be a little tricky to brew to their best advantage, so I'll have to experiement with it.

This is in a round white cardboard canister with a green and gold label with Chinese characters and the English words "Pouchong Tea", the tea sealed in a stiff translucent material.

The container also says:

" Mese Hsin Tung Yang Foods Co.

dba New Horizon

San Francisco"

It was $5 for 60 grams -- quite pricey for an Asian market tea. It was the only tin of this tea left on the shelves, suggesting it is from a 2007 or earlier harvest and not likely to be at its best.

I'll play with it a little more and report back later.

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The second of the three teas I picked up at an Asian market is a Pouchong tea (considered to be more or less a green Oolong).This may actually be okay for an everyday tea. Puochong's can be a little tricky to brew to their best advantage, so I'll have to experiement with it.

This is in a round white cardboard canister with a green and gold label with Chinese characters and the English words "Pouchong Tea", the tea sealed in a stiff translucent material.

The container also says:

" Mese Hsin Tung Yang Foods Co.

dba New Horizon

San Francisco"

It was $5 for 60 grams -- quite pricey for an Asian market tea. It was the only tin of this tea left on the shelves, suggesting it is from a 2007 or earlier harvest and not likely to be at its best.

I'll play with it a little more and report back later.

I tried a second infusion and then looked at the leaves carefully. There is not much hope here after all. The leaves were chopped not just broken a little. Not just astringent, but bitter. On the first brew I did not rinse and also thought maybe the leaves were smallish and just had not opened.

Never mind.

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Three strikes and you're out!

The third tea I picked up at an Asian market is labeled:

Wu-I Ta-Yen

Lao-Chung-Shui-Hsien

It's from Fujian.

Does anyone know what this is? Hard to take for my tea palate. Not much dry aroma, but wet it's a strong earthy, camphor...and not in a good way. I have heard of Puerhs with some of these characteristics, but none I have tried have been anything like this.

I don't think it's just a matter of oversteeping - 3 minutes at 195 F, teaspoon to 8 ounces/240 ml.

Anyone know what tea this may be?

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Today I decided to start with what I refer to as "Asian Grocery Store Gold."  It is a decent Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolong that cost me a whopping $6.99 for 100 grams vacuum sealed in a metal tin.  The company who packages the tea is "Good Young Co., Ltd." out of Taipei, and is marketed as the Tradition Oolong Tea Series.  The English description on the can promised a "leisurely and carefree mood at any time."  I couldn't resist such marketing, so I bought it and feel like I finally got my money's worth out of a grocery store bought tea.  I'd post a picture, but I haven't figured that out on here yet...

It is a typical Taiwanese ball-shaped oolong with little to no roasting.  I steeped it gongfu style in a Gaiwan, and got three decent steepings out of it.  Moderately sweet, tastes a little flat or not super fresh, but it does have that Taiwanese Oolong flavor that I love.  Not bad for $6.99.

Has anyone else found good values like this in their local markets?

Greg emailed me the name of the market where he found this Ding Dong Oolong. It took me a while to find it -- three aisles of various teas and herbal/medicinal teas and it was tucked back in a hard to reach corner -- but persistance paid off. Now marked $7.99, and still a bargain. I also found one lonely tin of another tea that looked promising, but have not brewed it yet.

Greg is right. This tea is worth looking for.

I found this exact tea at the Asian World Market in Plano TX last week. The tea is in a yellow tin with flower decorations, for those looking for it. I'm just starting to learn about quality tea and my palate is still developing, so take this advice with that in mind. However, I have to say I really, really like this tea. I'm also doing a single, basic steep (4-5 min in boiling water with no initial rinse) at my office, and I wonder if a more thoughtful steeping approach would bring out even more from it.

Chris Amirault

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Today I decided to start with what I refer to as "Asian Grocery Store Gold."  It is a decent Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolong that cost me a whopping $6.99 for 100 grams vacuum sealed in a metal tin.  The company who packages the tea is "Good Young Co., Ltd." out of Taipei, and is marketed as the Tradition Oolong Tea Series.  The English description on the can promised a "leisurely and carefree mood at any time."  I couldn't resist such marketing, so I bought it and feel like I finally got my money's worth out of a grocery store bought tea.  I'd post a picture, but I haven't figured that out on here yet...

It is a typical Taiwanese ball-shaped oolong with little to no roasting.  I steeped it gongfu style in a Gaiwan, and got three decent steepings out of it.  Moderately sweet, tastes a little flat or not super fresh, but it does have that Taiwanese Oolong flavor that I love.  Not bad for $6.99.

Has anyone else found good values like this in their local markets?

Greg emailed me the name of the market where he found this Ding Dong Oolong. It took me a while to find it -- three aisles of various teas and herbal/medicinal teas and it was tucked back in a hard to reach corner -- but persistance paid off. Now marked $7.99, and still a bargain. I also found one lonely tin of another tea that looked promising, but have not brewed it yet.

Greg is right. This tea is worth looking for.

I found this exact tea at the Asian World Market in Plano TX last week. The tea is in a yellow tin with flower decorations, for those looking for it. I'm just starting to learn about quality tea and my palate is still developing, so take this advice with that in mind. However, I have to say I really, really like this tea. I'm also doing a single, basic steep (4-5 min in boiling water with no initial rinse) at my office, and I wonder if a more thoughtful steeping approach would bring out even more from it.

If you like this tea Chris, you're really going to like the very good and great ones.

You're doing this in a cup with an infuser, right? My suggestion would be to first try it off-boil (about 195 F) with 2.5 g (about a teaspoon, I'll have to verify that later) per six ounces for 3 minutes. Then 4 minutes for a second steep, and 5 for a third. But use this as a starting point and experiment with the leaf:water ratio (in the direction of more leaf) and the steep time (1.5, 2, 3; 3, 3.5, 4) and see how it changes and how you like it best. (If you can do it in your office, try doing a quick (5 - 10 sec) rinse of the leaves before the first infusion and see what that does.)

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