Your best teas of the year, and our best teas of the year are ?…

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It’s that time of the year again!… How time flies, doesn’t it! A year ago, when we sat down and devised a Top 10 list of our 2012 tea selection, Taiwan Tea Crafts was barely 1 month old and we had to articulate a selection all by ourselves. Now, the picture is quite different: we have a community of followers and fantastic customers that span the 5 continents of this small planet, and we know that each one of you is articulate and opinionated about the teas you received from us. Many of you have voiced your reactions and feedback to us by email or via our Facebook page and we sincerely appreciate hearing from you by any means. But now, in the true sharing spirit that tea instills in all of us, as well as the seasonal festive spirit that inhabits some parts of the world (and because we selfishly admit to loving top 10 lists…), we launch an appeal to hear from you here, on this page, right down there in the Reply Box! Let us know what was your tea of the year, or top 3, or top 10… We’d love to hear from you! Any impressions and justifications to substantiate your choice will be further appreciated by all, I am sure. On Jan. 6, 2014, we will take in consideration all of your comments to devise a definitive Top 10 List to be published here. Now this is all good fun, but it also requires a bit of work, doesn’t it? Well, we thought of that. The good news is that we’re making worthwhile for you to participate by making this a contest as well! 

The contest is very simple. We will draw a prize consisting of a $50.00 voucher redeemable on Taiwan Tea Crafts from all the contributors who will have left their impressions before midnight Jan. 6, 2014 (PST). The winner will be announced on our Facebook page as well as on this page. We will also notify the winner by email and award him, or her, the $50.00 voucher on Jan. 7, 2014.

While you peruse our selection again to refresh your memory, you can also consider putting a few items in a shopping cart to take advantage of our BYE BYE 2013 Sale that is on until Jan. 6, 2014 (ends at midnight PST). This is  by far our biggest sale of the Year where every single item is reduced by at least 20%. Some are reduced even further in the Tea Ware Gifts Section. Every single Tea (in any format), and every regular priced item in our Tea Ware and Accessories selection (yes, that also includes Yixing Teapots!) can be purchased at a 20% reduced price. All that is required is to enter the coupon code: BYEBYE2013 in the Apply Coupon Box on the shopping cart page before confirming your purchases. Be advised that you cannot use this coupon in conjunction with other coupons. This means that the FREESHIP25 and FREESHIP50 coupons do not work if you wish to obtain the 20% rebate. Purchases of $75.00 or more will still benefit from our standard free freight policy. Don’t delay until the last minute! Many items as well as many teas are very low in quantity.

Finally, for all those who will take advantage of our Sale, be advised that orders placed between Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 3rd, 2014 will not ship out before Jan. 6th. We will take a few days off from the office, but closer to tea gardens and Artist’s workshops and get back to you refreshed on the other side of the calendar with more of the best of Taiwan’s Living Tea Culture to share with you.

All the best!

14 replies
  1. Ashley s.
    Ashley s. says:

    My faves this year:
    1. Dong ding ( great hot brewed or cold brewed)
    2. Baohzong ( I used it alot to make cold brewed tea for work, it made my water delicious!)
    3. Finest Formosa ( It’s a great Sunday morning tea. It goes well with alot of breakfasts foods)

    [email protected] says:

    One of my favourite teas from this year – Yuchi Wild Mountain Black Tea.

    I was blown away by the freshness of the tea and the sweet delicious juiciness that it had. It was also one of the first taiwanese teas that led to me falling in love with a bunch more.

      [email protected] says:

      So many amazing teas to choose from, but from the ones I’ve tried this year, these are my top 5:

      1. 1994 Aged Oriental Beauty (Lot 234) – I don’t imagine this will make the top 10, as it was just added to the TTC site recently, but if this is the same Aged Oriental Beauty TTC generously provided me a sample of earlier this year, it’s difficult to adequately express just how spectacular it is. Exceptionally distinctive and truly exquisite, this is one of those rare teas that can change one’s entire conception of what tea can be.

      2. Fushoushan High Mountain (Spring, Lot 221) – Amazingly well crafted, with a depth and complexity that is second to none. Without exaggeration, not just the best high mountain oolong I’ve ever tasted, but one of the best oolongs, period.

      3. Spring Competition Wenshan Bao Zhong (Lot 231) – Competition grade teas don’t often disappoint, and this one certainly didn’t, surpassing even the high expectations I had for it. Smooth, delicate, and refined; great umami; an incredibly versatile tea that’s been a beautiful addition to my life this year.

      4. Alishan Mi Xian Black (Lot 229) – Not inexpensive, but worth every single penny. Light bodied (for a black tea), fruity, and complex, it’s a genuine pleasure to drink.

      5. Mingjian Charcoal Roasted (Lot 112) – Out of stock now, sadly, but I’m cherishing the few tens of grams I have left. As someone who loves traditional charcoal roasted oolongs even more than those fired with more modern methods, this tea was perfectly up my alley. The first tea I ever truly fell in love with, when I was 9 years old ((‘m 32 now) was a heavily roasted Taiwanese oolong, and tasting this beautiful tea instantly brought me back to the comfortable, warm feeling that first roasted oolong gave me so long ago.

      …So those are my top 5. That said, I have never received a single tea from TTC that I didn’t absolutely enjoy. The quality is superlative, and I’ll be a customer for life. Congratulations TTC on a wonderful 2013, and here’s to a 2014 that’s even better still!

    [email protected] says:

    Since I started to order teas and stuff from TTC I have tried many different oolongs. Aged ones and newly picked as well. But one stands head and shoulders above the others IMHO, and it is Alishan Jin Xuan High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 251. I just cannot help but praise its excellence and very good quality at its price. So that is my choice, the task is not easy because all TTC teas are the best there is!

    [email protected] says:

    Well, I really loved most of the teas that were sold to me by TTC, but this five showed me the true essence of this amazing terroir .. that is Taiwan.

    1. First of all, Dong Ding High Mountain Heritage Oolong Tea, Lot 264, which I discovered only recently, being on sale from a few weeks.
    From the first session with this tea I was amazed by the perfect level of roasting, and how this is perfectly in harmony with the taste / aroma bequeathed by the altitude at which this tea is grown.
    It has everything I look for in a tea, very complex and mellow character, excellent resistance during infusions, aromas and flavors well balanced without predominant notes.
    This is a tea that I think will age well, and for those of us who will have it in about 20/30 years, will be well rewarded.

    2. Golden Dragon Tippy Black Tea, Lot 240, that I discovered thanks to a sample sent to me by TTC along with an order a few months ago.
    I am in love with this tea since the first time I tried it, warm character, mellow, fruity, sweet and spicy, it radically changes during the various sessions.
    This is a tea that needs time to be fully discovered .. In my opinion, in 5/10 years, It will become even more mellow and complex.

    3. Baguashan Gui Fei Oolong Tea, Lot 262, which has been one of the first tea that I bought from TTC a few months ago.
    Since then I have always thought that this tea has at its core, the soul of Taiwan and the uniqueness of that island.
    Sweet, mellow, deep character and amazing aroma are just some of the characteristics that make this tea so special .. after months it is still able to amaze me with its special primordial type of sweetness, that it is impossible not to love once tasted.
    This batch (Lot 262) is still better than the last (Lot 160), which was, in my opinion, unbeatable, when I tasted it the first time, and instead TTC, has succeeded in procuring a lot which is even better. Even this tea, in my opinion, will age beautifully over the years.

    4. Red Jade Black Tea, Lot 268.
    This is an amazing tea! It offers flavors and aromas so exotic that is almost impossible to believe that they come from tea leaves. This tea is able to convey amazing feelings that are difficult to describe in words, and in this the description given to us by TTC is quite true ..
    Aromas and flavors that are very exotic, in which you can feel with some attention some spices, including cinnamon, and fruits, including mango .. and let’s not forget another characteristic, that is a fresh and minty aftertaste that lasts so long in the back of the nose and throat. I can not imagine how this tea will age, a bet for the future!

    5. Family Heritage Charcoal Fired Oolong Tea, Lot 265. Among the many teas that I liked, this is one of the most enigmatic. I’m not a lover of teas with high level of roasting, but this was brought to a perfect level, that allows me to enjoy it without notes excessively dry or with roasted flavours/aromas too much pronounced.
    I have to say that the traditional method of roasting (Traditional Charcoal Roasting) that has been used on this tea, has created a mellow and sugary flavours roasty/sugary aromas , that it’s hard to describe, but that differ from those roasted with other methods.
    Another characteristic that I noticed about this tea is its energy, which is given off from the very beginning and during the whole session.
    In my opinion this is a tea that needs a few months to refine, despite being already delicious, and if aged, could develop into a spectacular tea .. but in this case, only time will tell us.

    Thank you all.

  5. David
    David says:

    The best ones I’ve tried (and I’ve only gotten 2 packages so far as I’m a newcomer here) are (Organic Lishan High Mountain Oolong Tea, Lot 232), (Meishan Jin Xuan High Mountain Winter Oolong tea, Lot 256), and Dong Ding Lot 263. There were a couple oolongs that weren’t my thing, but they were the cheapest offerings on the site. Overall, I’m very impressed, especially by the High Mountain oolongs. I look forward to my next package that’s in the mail right now (all High Mt.!) I can’t wait to review them all!

    [email protected] says:

    Some teas I only ordered 25 grams, so this impression won’t be perfect. Further, I’m not going to contemplate too much, but just give my thoughts as they are now, quickly.

    1. Alishan Jin Xuan High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 251: So much right about this tea. Super smooth, a lingering taste, and not boring… a pleasure for the senses. I could easily buy 300 grams of this tea.

    2. Organic Jade Oolong Tea, Lot 226: I tend to like the jade strain, and this is just a good straight forward tea even while being low elevation.

    3. Taiwan Style Organic Green Tea, Lot 215: Cing Xin strain made into a green tea is a really nice combination.

    Alishan Cing Xin High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 258: I’d need to drink more of this to reach a clearer conclusion. I was intrigued by the accentuated oxidation which I think works really well with Cing Xin strain. I believe I had a stuffed nose for a bit while I was consuming this tea. It needs more experimentation. But I do recall finding it rather good. Just am not sure it ranks in the top 3 because my time with it was too brief.

  7. Timo
    Timo says:

    Thanks for a great year! Everything from you has been excellent. Here are some gaoshans that stood out:

    1. Organic Lishan High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 248. There is no doubt that the organic Lishan is in a league of its own. More than any other tea, this one has the high mountain character that I’ve been looking for ever since I first got my first taste of Taiwanese tea. It’s difficult to put into words, but it consists of a subtle creaminess and sweetness in all parts of the mouth.

    2. Sancengping High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 259. I have just one word for you: orchids. Whether or not this tea is really representative of orchids, as per the common usage in describing tea, I don’t know. In any case, this tea has plenty of flowery, clean fruit. There are a lot of flavors going on, complimented with the nai xiang of high mountain tea.

    3. Longfengxia High Mountain Winter Oolong tea, Lot 250. On first trying the longfengxia, I was blown away. I was also blown away on all consecutive times I had it. A creamy, mellow, balsam-noted yet smooth liquid.

    [email protected] says:

    It’s really hard to choose the best teas of the year, as each tea has its own unique character, and I don’t feel like there is an objective way to compare teas that come from different categories and let them compete with each other.
    But, if I have to mention 3 teas from all the teas I’ve tried so far, I would choose:
    1. High Mountain Hong Shui Oolong Tea, Lot 121:
    When I try to recall the flavour of this tea, the first thing that comes to my mind is sweet caramel. The first infusions of this tea had a tasty roasted taste that transformed into a sweet caramelized liquid. Though this tea is from 2012, I think in 2013 it tastes better than ever.
    2. Sun Moon Lake Assam Black Tea, Lot 267:
    This tea is like drinking sweet candies and toffees. Easy to drink and so sweet and delicious, with good body.
    3. Alishan Cing Xin High Mountain Winter Oolong Tea, Lot 258:
    I haven’t tasted many high mountain oolongs, but for my limited experience so far, this is an outstanding gao shan. This oolong is so creamy that the texture of it reminds me of butter, and the flavour could be best described as fresh sweet corn.

    [email protected] says:

    My favorites for this year are:

    1. 1991 Legacy Aged Oolong Tea, Lot 119. This tea is just amazing and I’m happy to still have a good quantity of it since it is sold out.

    2. Organic Red Jade GABA Oolong Tea, Lot 204. Very delicious and gives a very beautiful sensation in the mouth.

    3. Yuchi Wild Mountain Black Tea, Lot 242. I’m not but not at all someone who drinks or loves black teas. But this year, all that changed when I discovered that tea. This tea is just wonderful and I never thought that I could like such a black tea. That tea and the other one below made me changes my mind about black tea. Thank so much for doing it.
    4. Baguashan Four Seasons Black Tea, Lot 216. Very delicous and well done black tea. The flavors are soft and very gentle in the mouth.

  10. Taiwan Tea Crafts
    Taiwan Tea Crafts says:

    Hello all,

    Many many thanks for all your thoughts and detailed contributions in the process of selecting our Top 10 teas of 2013. You’ve given us valuable feedback that we are considering very seriously as we prepare our definitive list to be published shortly. Without further delay, the winner is: Jacques Paquin from Quebec. Félicitations Jacques! All your comments are great testimonies to the wonderful enjoyment Taiwanese teas can bring to all!

    • Timo
      Timo says:

      Thank you for your nice message, and congratulations to Jacques! I wonder if your young assistant also has a very own top 10 list of tea!


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