Tea: Monkey Picked Oolong Tea

A Tie Guan Yin from Teavana

This tea has been retired/discontinued.

Picture of Monkey Picked Oolong Tea
Style:Tie Guan Yin
# Ratings:9 View All

Review of Monkey Picked Oolong Tea

7 of 104 of 52 of 567 of 100
Very GoodGoodOverpriced

I got some of this tea in a trade from a friend, and it was enough that I have been able to experiment with brewing it a bit. I've been enjoying it quite a lot; this tea is versatile and pleasing to drink.

This is a greener oolong, but not among the greenest. I think this might place it in the zone where it is more accessible to western tea drinkers than some of the greenest oolongs. The aroma is strongly floral, but with woody tones as well. Compared to Foojoy's Monkey Picked Ti Kuan Yin, this one was much greener and had a much lighter roast.

My main complaint on this one is the price: it's absolutely astronomical: $25 for 2 ounces, with no discount for buying larger quantities. A second complaint related to this tea is oriented towards Teavana's sales practices--in one store I had the Teavana staff get more than a little bit pushy about recommending this tea, which was, not coincidentally, the most expensive tea in the store at the time. I don't appreciate that, and it was one of my first impressions with the Teavana chain, and left a marked negative impression on me that has been reinforced by reading of other's experiences with pushy salespeople.

I sampled this tea side-by-side with Life in Teacup's Bai Ya Qi Lan, from a different varietal of oolong, in a greener style, but side-by-side the teas were similar, and I slightly preferred the one from Life in Teacup...but here's the kicker. That tea was $4 an ounce.

I do think this is a very good tea. But it's not up to the level of the competition-winning teas that I've sampled, it's just a solidly high quality oolong. And, for teas in this price range, you can buy top-notch teas, including competition-winning teas from Taiwan and China, in a similar style, which really blow this one away. Or, you can find teas of similar quality for much cheaper (read $8 or less for 2 ounces).

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Cat wrote:
on October 25th, 2014

As an illustrator, tea themes are my favorite. I have been drinking tea for a long time in a very casual way, but I only just began to really study and appreciate tea. Accordingly, I am truly enjoying your thorough reviews. Anyway, I just purchased this tea from Teavana in Atlanta last week. I was curious about oolongs in general and this one was recommended by the Teavana sales clerk. I had no idea that it was their most expensive, but I was charmed by the Monkey Picked name. When she was scooping it into a bag for me without first asking me how much I wanted to purchase, I told her I wanted to sample it. I was told that 2 ounces was the minimum purchase required. Yes, $25 later I had a very small bag of Oolong. I like the tea a lot but I am pleased to learn that I can buy something comparable for a lot less $.

Alex Zorach wrote:
on October 25th, 2014

Thank you, and welcome to the site! I'm always glad to know that someone appreciates my reviews!

I've had some fantastic oolongs over the past year, many a lot cheaper than this one. Even other high-end ones like TeaVivre's Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea, which I recently sampled, are cheaper...with that tea you get 3.5 ounces for about $25. I like that TeaVivre sells small sample sizes too. Eco-cha is another company that has top-notch oolongs, again, still cheaper than this one.

Most of my favorite tea companies offer small sample sizes (like $1-4 for enough tea for a few cups worth)...I think it's one of the things I dislike most about Teavana that they don't. Upton Tea Imports is a great company for getting into tea, because they have great small samples. They also have some inexpensive oolongs that I rather like (their higher-priced oolongs I'm a little less a fan of--I think their strongest suit is in black teas).

I'd encourage you to try out different companies, especially ones that offer samples, because that's where you start really discovering the teas you like most!

Cat wrote:
on October 27th, 2014

I placed an order with Upton over the weekend and look forward to trying some of their black teas. I have also been experimenting with some other companies and will be sure to report back and share my experiences.

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