Toronto Tea Festival’s 2020 Oolong Tea Taster Box | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

Tea provided for event rating purposes

The Toronto Tea Festival is this weekend! So, I wanted to share my Tea Taster Box with everyone!

The Tea Taster Box is the Toronto Tea Festival venue for picking the best teas each year! Tasters are given one set of teas and have a month to review them. There are multiple categories: white, green, oolong, puer, black, and herbal. All the teas are tasted blind (no labels, company, etc.) which I think is a great idea because I recall in previous years it was not.

This year I was given the oolong tea taster box to rate which had a total of 7 teas. The teas came in a blue Toronto Tea Festival tote bag. Inside, each tea had a label explaining how to rate the teas as well as brewing parameters. I thought that was useful because it can be tricky and I liked that it gave everyone the same starting point. We were asked to rate the teas based on the leaf appearance, aroma, liquor quality, flavour and the overall tea.

That being said, the Tea Taster Box has been something I have wanted to share for some time however, I wasn’t sure how to. So, I decided to share it as a blind tasting. I will share a picture of the dry and wet leaves, provide short tasting notes and then provide my guess. Finally, I will reveal the real answer! This way everyone can play along.

Let’s go!

Oolong 1

Instructions: 100°C (212°F)| 1 teaspoon to steep 240 ml | 4 minutes

Notes: The long leaves were twisted and were a mixture of green, brown, and black leaves with some fuzzy buds. It had a lovely floral smell interlaced with some nuttiness at the tail end. The reddish-brown liquor tasted earthy, cocoa, sweet, and roasted.

My guess: Oriental Beauty, Taiwan

Answer: Regal Oolong, Darjeeling – Camile Tea

Oolong 2

Instructions: 85°C (185°F)| 1 teaspoon to steep 240 ml | 5 minutes 

Notes: I knew what this tea was because I have had it in the past. It is Ginseng Oolong which is ground tea and ginseng. The dry pebbles had a strong grassy and spiced smell from the ginseng. The liquor was a light yellow colour with a nutty, roasted, and floral smell. It tasted vegetal, herbal, and grassy with some toasted nutty notes and ended off sweet.

My guess: Ginseng Oolong, China

Answer: Ginseng Oolong, China – Genuine Tea

Oolong 3

Instructions: 95°C (204°F)| 6 grams to steep 240 ml | 1 minutes 

Notes:  The dark jade green rolled tea had a sweet fresh cut grass smell. The liquor was pale and clear with a sweet grassiness. There was some drying at the back of the throat.

My guess: High mountain Oolong, Taiwan

Answer: Alishan Oolong, Taiwan – Tea Rebellion

Oolong 4

Instructions: 90°C (195°F)| 3 grams to steep 240 ml | 1 minutes 

Notes: The dry leaves were dark brown, almost black and slightly twisted. It smelled spiced and earthy. The liquor was a reddish-brown colour and tasted flora, cocoa, earthy and woodsy with some drying at the back of the mouth.

My guess: Da Hong Pao, China

Answer: Father Zambezi’s mission, Malawi – Tea Rebellion

Oolong 5

Instructions: 98°C (208°F)| 6 grams to steep 240 ml | 1 minutes  

Notes: The dry leaves were small tightly rolled and olive green. It smelled strongly of spring – fresh cut grass and flowers. The liquor had a light yellowish-green colour. It was roasted, earthy, grassy and sweet.

My guess: Four Seasons, Taiwan

Answer: Forever Spring, Taiwan – Tea Rebellion

Oolong 6

Instructions: 100°C (212°F)| 3 grams to steep 240 ml | 2 minutes  

Notes: The long leaves are dark and slightly twisted and reminded me of like black tea. There is a very strong charcol smell from the leaves. Once infused, the liquor had a charcoal flavour followed by an earthy and baked good taste.

My guess: Da Hong Pao, China

Answer: Da Hong Pao, China – Tao Tea Leaf

Oolong 7

Instructions: 100°C (212°F)| 3 grams to steep 240 ml | 2 minutes  

Notes: The dark jade green leaves have a distinctive milky smell. The liquor was a light in colour. It had a creamy mouthfeel with a sweet milky taste and underlying grassy notes.

My guess: Milk Oolong, Taiwan

Answer: Milk Oolong, blend – Tao Tea Leaf


When I was originally planning this post, I had no idea that the winners would already be announced! So, I thought it would be fun to share it.

Final Thoughts

I am always excited to try these boxes! This year was very fun because there were some teas I wasn’t able to guess! If you would like to learn more, you can find out more information on the Toronto Tea Festival website!

I think that what I love most about tea, is that it can be a lifelong journey with all the types of teas around the world.  I decided not to rate the teas because some teas samples only came with enough to brew it once and I like trying a tea multiple times when I rate something to ensure I rate it fairly.

That being said, I am excited about the Toronto Tea Festival this weekend!

The question of the post: Which ones did you get right? Will you be attending the Toronto Tea Festival?

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!