Teapro Subscription Box: ‘Oolong-Wulong’ September 2019

I must admit, this was the Teapro subscription box I’ve been looking forward to the most. Oolong teas are so diverse, some being robust and flavoursome, others being floral and subtle. I’m in a different mood every day and I was looking forward to trying a box that could keep up with my tastes.

After the 4 very similar (yet still excellent) mates in the August Teapro subscription box, I was so happy when the ‘Oolong-Wulong’ selection arrived!

Quick Summary – Oolong Tea

A great box from Teapro. If you don’t like one of the oolongs, one of the other 3 will be more to your tastes. I like the mix of classic oolongs (particularly the milk oolong) with more unusual flavours (the queen orchid).

I’d recommend it for: oolong beginners who aren’t sure how dark or light they like their oolongs and want to try a variety of new flavours.

Pros – Great quality teas

  • Excellent selection of oolongs.
  • Decent amount of tea included.
  • Nice leaflet explaining the tea in more detail.

Cons – Somewhat lacking

  • No extra gift (unless it’s your first box).
  • Nothing wowed me.
  • Not as price effective as previous boxes.

What’s in The Box?

oolong tea samples

This month, my box arrived on time with a large rip in the top exposing the tea – I’m sure this was the fault of Royal Mail and not Teapro, but it did worry me a little. If the rain had gotten in there I’d be in trouble. Although the tea is sealed in packets, they are biodegradable… I worry what would happen if they were left damp for a while.

In the box:

  • 20g Da Hong Pao Oolong
  • 20g Jin Xuan Milk Oolong
  • 20g Lan Gui Ren Oolong
  • 20g An’xi Ben Shan Oolong
  • 1x sticker for September subscription
  • Oolong booklet with details about the 4 specific teas included

If this is your first Teapro box, you’ll also receive a tasting wheel, sticker booklet and 3-piece glass infuser included. Read my review for those in the June 2019 teapro subscription review.

Oolong Leaflet

It’s quite similar in layout to the white tea box leaflet. It covers what oolong is, where it’s from, the origins of the name “wulong” and some info about how it’s processed. It goes on to give you the origin and flavour of each oolong tea included in the subscription.

There’s nothing here that you can’t find online with a Google search, but it certainly is helpful having it all in one place. When you buy oolong from an online vendor or even in a tea store, it rarely comes with a detailed explanation of where it’s from and what to expect, so the subscription box route may be better for beginners.

Teapro Oolong Tea Reviews

This month you get 20g of each tea, compared to last time when you received 50g. 1 teaspoon per cup, and at least 3 infusions from that teaspoon (I’ve got 4 from the Da Hong Pao), leaves me to conclude that you have a decent amount of tea in this box.

Of the 4, I fell in love with 3 almost instantly and plan on giving the 4th a good try throughout the month before putting it on the shelf.

Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe)

da hong pao big red robe oolong teapro
  • Amount: 20g
  • Flavour notes: Complex, robust, mineral, roasted nuts
  • Brewing instructions: 1tsp, 100°C, 1 minute
  • Quality: Excellent
Izzy's Rating
4.2/5

This is the one I liked least – not because there’s anything wrong with it but because it just doesn’t suit my palate.

The leaves are long and twisty, unfurling into dark large leaves. The leaves might look like black tea, but the liquor was undeniably lighter and came closer in depth and colour to a Shou Mei.

The aroma is salty and minerally, like wet mineral rocks. There’s also a richness to it that reminds me of salted popcorn and a little bit of spice warmth that’s a hint of cinnamon.

As for the flavour, it’s robust and full-bodied with a muscatel edge. It’s like a Darjeeling tea – subtle and musky and yet complex and flavourful.

It’s the minerals that put me off this tea. If you like that minerally flavour that’s typical of teas from the Wuyi mountains, check out What-Cha China Yunnan Golden Tippy Black Tea.

An'xi Ben Shan (Source Mountain)

anxi ben shan oolong teapro
  • Amount: 20g
  • Flavour notes: Fresh orchids with a sweet, lingering finish
  • Brewing instructions: 1tsp, 100°C, 3 minutes
  • Quality: Great
Izzy's Rating
4.6/5

The aroma was super fresh, but not in the usual grassy way that lightly oxidised and green teas smell. It reminded me of freshly picked green leaves and daisies. Once wet, the aroma transformed into sweet pears and floral jasmine – which I absolutely adore. It’s not too perfumey but still undeniably floral.

The flavour is sweet, light and smooth. Soft notes of jasmine, pear, lilies and a hint of minerals. It goes down a treat, rather like a delicate white tea but without the greenness.

 

I noticed that the leaves in this bag were quite dusty and there’s a fair bit of broken leaf at the bottom – whether this is how the tea was after processing or whether it happened during transit, I don’t know.

Lan Gui Ren (The Queen Orchid)

lan gui ren oolong teapro
  • Amount: 20g
  • Flavour notes: Sweet, orchid, ginseng
  • Brewing instructions: 1tsp, 100°C, 3 minutes
  • Quality: Excellent
Izzy's Rating
3.9/5

Well, this was an odd one! It’s interesting teas like this that are the reason I subscribed to Teapro in the first place. Lan Gui Ren tea is in pellet form – they look like large instant coffee granules but green. Trust me though, when you add water they do unfurl into actual tea leaves.

It’s made from ground ginseng and liquorice grass that are compressed with the lightly oxidised oolong. The aroma was quite sweet in a liquorice way, but it wasn’t overpowering. There was also something sweet and savoury about it, like salted caramel or buttery popcorn.

Once brewed, it had no aroma at all. The flavour was mellow and subtle with a mineral edge. I noted soft and sweet flavours of chamomile and hay.

It was nice but it tasted more like an herbal tea than a traditional tea. I didn’t notice any orchid.

Jin Xian Milk Oolong (Golden Daylily)

jin xuan milk oolong teapro
  • Amount: 20g
  • Flavour notes: Milky, sweet, floral
  • Brewing instructions: 1tsp, 100°C, 3 minutes
  • Quality: Excellent
Izzy's Rating
4.5/5

Mmmm, so good! I love milk oolong, so long as it’s authentic and not flavoured with milk afterwards. This one is authentic and utterly delicious. The dry aroma has notes of sweet butter and milk, it’s rich but not at the custard level.

Brewed, the flavour takes on more floral notes and a slight savoury note that seems to be a theme amongst the teas this week. The flavour is fresh and green with only a slight hint of milk. About halfway down your cup you’ll find the milky slowly turning into delicate floral notes.

This one is the closest to a green tea and the one I’d recommend you start with if you’re completely new to oolong tea. It’s very pleasant, mellow and hard not to like.

Is This Teapro Box Worth the Cost?

Most sample sizes from tea websites are between 10g and 20g – What-Cha stocks samples in 25g. Their sample size Da Hong Pao is £5.40 (at the time of writing, September 2019) so that would be £4.32 for 20g. Multiply that by 4 and you get £17.28.

Your Teapro subscription box is £24, or £29 as a one-off, so in comparison this subscription box is quite overpriced. I don’t believe that shipping plus a small A5 leaflet come to £7.

With Teapro, you’re often paying a slightly higher price to receive a “tea education” and the opportunity to try teas you might not have selected yourself. This month I don’t feel like the price was worth it.

And yet, I’m not going to cancel. Knowing that in most boxes you receive a gift that ranges from acacia honey to a full-blown glass tea infuser makes me want to stay subscribed. I’m confident that in the long run this subscription is good value for money, you just have to stick it out if you happen to subscribe on a month like this one.

Final Verdict – Oolong Tea

A good box with a great selection of oolong tea. If you’re a complete beginner and looking to subscribe to Teapro for the long term, I encourage you to start with this box… but otherwise, it’s far cheaper to find sample sizes of oolong tea elsewhere online. I’d suggest starting with Amazon if you’re unsure about independent tea stores (I have some great recommendations on the blog).

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