I am a big fan of tea, especially when it comes to flavoured black varieties like Earl Grey, as well as the always refreshing green tea. Coffee? Not so much my thing.
So when Iteaworld approached me to review their teas, I was pretty excited. But first, I had to do some background checks—where does this tea come from? I was thrilled to find out it’s sourced from mountainous regions in China, and here’s why that matters.
China, as much as it’s famous for its long history of tea cultivation, is also known for its pollution. Often, low-quality teas come from the more polluted valley regions. But, mountain-grown tea? That’s usually where the good stuff is. So when I found out that Iteaworld gets their tea from these high-altitude areas, it was a green light for me. Unfortunately, you won’t easily find these types of teas in your regular shops and supermarkets; you have to dig a bit deeper online.
Now, Iteaworld sent over their Classic Selection sample box, packed with their top picks of black and oolong teas. Oolong’s a new one for me, so I was extra keen on that. Just like there are endless types of black tea, oolong’s got its own whole range. So, did I like it? Was it all it’s cracked up to be? Stay tuned for my full review, where I’ll spill the tea—figuratively, of course.
Before I share my tea-tasting experiences, let’s talk about iTeaWorld. iTeaWorld has a 15-year history and an impressive inventory that includes over 6,000 mu of wild tea gardens and more than 2,000 century-old tea trees.
iTeaworld’s Tea Benefits:
- Extremely high-quality tea, featuring only whole leaves without tea dust or broken bits.
- Unique flavors due to the high-altitude, wild-grown tea leaves.
- No use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic auxins, making the tea healthier and cleaner.
- Specializes in black and oolong teas, which are rich in antioxidants and offer various health benefits.
Although they don’t have an organic certification, which would have been the cherry on top, they are definitely a brand worth exploring.
Oolong Tea – Minnannarcissus
The first tea I sampled from Iteaworld was Minnannarcissus, an oolong variety. At first sniff, the smoky aroma had me a bit concerned; it brought to mind a gunpowder green tea that didn’t suit my taste before.
Nonetheless, I followed the brewing guidelines carefully—perhaps a few seconds longer on the first go than recommended (10-15 seconds). To my relief, the flavor wasn’t disappointing. The subtle smokiness was there but not overpowering, a marked improvement over my past experience with gunpowder green tea.
Just so you know, oolong is neither black nor green tea; it’s its own unique type. On a second brew—this time, around 20 seconds—the tea darkened a bit, and the smoky notes became more pronounced, but still manageable. This is good tea, and it can be brewed up to 7 times without losing its essence. The lesson here? Stick to the recommended brew times.
Oolong tea – Fenghuang Dancong
Next up on my iTeaWorld tasting journey was another oolong offering called Fenghuang Dancong, and let me tell you, this one’s special. It comes from what they call traditional wild old tree tea gardens—a concept I wasn’t even aware of before. So, imagine the thrill when I opened the package! The aroma is a fascinating blend of woodiness and subtle sweetness.
One thing that immediately stands out: these tea leaves are long, way longer than the previous oolong I tried. I opt for a teaspoon for my small cup.
After a quick rinse, as per the guidelines, I steep the tea for 20 seconds—a tad longer than the advised 15 seconds. The resulting brew is pale, almost deceptively so, because when I take that first sip, the flavor packs a punch. It’s complex, mildly sweet, and nothing like the smoky oolong I had earlier. Now I’m wondering, did I use enough leaves? Should I have been more generous?
For round two, I steep for 40 seconds, stirring and even squeezing the leaves a bit. The color deepens, and the flavor ramps up accordingly.
Oolong Tea – Dahongpao
The standout in my tasting journey was Dahongpao, an oolong tea sourced from high mountain tea gardens. With long leaves that unfurl beautifully, the first brew alone produced a vibrant color in just 15 seconds—pushing the upper limit of the recommended brewing time.
Despite its rich hue, the flavor was milder than I expected. Yet, it was distinctly pleasant—no bitterness, no overpowering smokiness. Just a mild, enjoyable cuppa.
For the second brew, the color remained robust and the flavor consistent. Though some might consider it a weaker tea—I did use a generous teaspoon of leaves—it perfectly aligns with my preference for a mellow drink. Tagged with a fruity aroma, this tea easily tops my list as the favorite from iTeaWorld so far.
Oolong tea – Tie Guanyin
TieGuanyin is unlike any other oolong tea I’ve tried from iTeaWorld. Originating from high mountain tea gardens, its dried leaves are dark green and distinctively rolled into small, compact balls.
The first brew had a unique, pale green hue, a departure from the typical yellow of most oolongs. The aroma caught my attention immediately; it was floral with a touch of grassiness. A little research confirmed that these characteristics are indicative of light oxidation.
As for the taste, this tea didn’t disappoint. It offered a fresh, slightly grassy flavor that was anything but overpowering, and there was no bitterness to speak of. With its unique attributes and enjoyable taste, Tie Guanyin has effortlessly secured a spot among my favorites.
Black tea – Wild Souchong Black Tea
Wild Souchong Black Tea captivates your senses with an unmistakable smoky aroma that persists even after brewing. I followed the recommended brewing time of just over 10 seconds, using roughly a teaspoon of tea leaves. The outcome was a beverage rich in color, aromatic, yet pleasantly mild in flavor—no bitterness detected.
This tea is touted as “the oldest Chinese black tea” on iTeaWorld’s website, an aspect that piqued my interest. Additionally, its wild nature suggests a healthier, more organic profile, which is an important factor for me.
The distinct smoky aroma is achieved through a Traditional Pine Smoke Technique: the tea leaves are initially heated with Chinese Red Pine and subsequently smoked with aged Chinese Red Pine wood during the drying phase. While I generally steer clear of teas with a smoky profile, this one is an exception. It adds a unique dimension to my tea repertoire, even though it may not become a regular choice.
Black tea – Lapsang Souchong
Lapsang Souchong, with its elongated dried tea leaves and unexpectedly sweet aroma, immediately catches my attention. Sourced from Modern High Mountain Tea Gardens, this black tea maintains its inviting, pleasant aroma even post-brewing.
My first sip reveals a subtle sweetness, complemented by a faint floral undertone. I find this profile far more agreeable than the smoky teas I’ve tried; it’s definitely a winner in my book. An absolute delight to sip, this tea swiftly claims a spot among my top favorites from iTeaWorld’s lineup.
Yunnan Black Tea
The dried leaves of Yunnan Black Tea are a captivating mix of dark brown and lighter, yellowish hues—a contrast from the more uniform color I’ve seen in other teas. Although its aroma is on the subtle side, don’t be fooled; the flavor is a different story. iTeaWorld hails this as China’s most robust black tea.
Cultivated at high altitudes from large-leaf tea trees, this tea is worth the steep. While the recommended first brew is 15 seconds, I let it steep a tad longer—20 seconds to be exact. The payoff? A deeper hue compared to other iTeaWorld brews I’ve sampled.
As for the taste, it’s spot-on: a balanced blend of honey-like sweetness with just a whisper of smokiness. The flavor doesn’t just hit and run; it lingers, making each sip a memorable one. A pretty solid tea, if you ask me.
Yindge Black Tea
The Yindge Black Tea presents a visually intriguing blend of dried leaves, where light brown mingles with darker shades.
When it comes to taste, this tea is something special: a subtle blend of fruity sweetness and mellow tones. It’s easy to see why the International Tea Council named it the world’s finest high-aroma black tea in 2019.
When brewed as recommended, the flavor is perfectly balanced—not too strong, and with zero bitterness. A second brew brings out a deeper color and a more robust flavor, while still maintaining its unique characteristics. In a nutshell, it’s a tea that leaves an impression, and one that I thoroughly enjoy sipping.
All in all, sipping through iTeaWorld’s teas has been a real treat. From smoky oolongs to mellow black teas, there’s something here for every taste. Plus, knowing these teas come from the less polluted mountain regions of China? That’s a win in my book.
Fancy giving these teas a try yourself? You can start with their Classic Tea Selection box. It’s got a little bit of everything, making it a perfect starting point. Cheers to finding your next favorite brew!