Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review of Tong Cheng Small Orchid from Life in Teacup

I recently wrote about orchids and tea. It seems natural to follow up with a review. I normally keep reviews out of this blog, instead choosing to put them on RateTea, but this review is of a special tea that is not available for sale, so I am posting this review here:

The tea is Tong Cheng Small Orchid (桐城小蘭花), provided by Life in Teacup, which has a selection of other outstanding Chinese green teas available for purchase.

As Gingko explains in her post about the tea, this is not a commercially produced tea, but rather, it is harvested from the wild, by retired tea farmers, in areas that used to be tea plantations but have been allowed to return to wild forest. This tea is a symbol of the importance of leaving land as wild ecosystems. The land in China, as in many countries, is over-cultivated, and a majority of the original forest cover has been destroyed, replaced by commercial cultivation of plants. But wild forests support a myriad of plants, and some tea can still be harvested in these wild areas from the remaining plants in the forest, without sacrificing the ecological value or integrity of the forests.

The Review:

I am fascinated by the aroma of this tea: it is fresh, highly fruity, and floral. But I do not see this as being very orchid-like. To me, it's more like berries, or even slightly like candy, but more natural. It reminds me a lot of early summer. The flavor is very smooth, with not even a hint of bitterness even drinking the whole cup. Only a very faint bitter aftertaste. Mild-flavored and primarily aromatic.

The aroma of this tea is absolutely delightful.

I experimented with brewing and this tea seemed to come out nearly exactly the same way no matter how I brewed it. The only thing that varied was the strength. I preferred the stronger cups as they had a hint of pleasing astringency and were slightly more full-bodied.

Other green teas from Life in Teacup:

You may not be able to obtain this tea, but there are many outstanding green teas that you can buy from Life in Teacup. If you are interested in reading more reviews of green teas from life in Teacup, you can browse my reviews of green teas from Life in Teacup on RateTea.


  1. It's too bad that you don't post more reviews here. I am a member of but I never seem to make it there whereas I really do try to keep up with my blogs. And I love seeing tea reviews.

  2. I just posted a reply to this, but I decided to make it a full blog post istead of just a comment reply: RSS Feeds of Tea Reviews -- this feature has been around for a while but I wanted to draw attention to it because I think a lot of people still don't know about it.

    It can be just as easy to read reviews, and there are a lot of options, if you want to read just mine, or those of just a few users you know personally or whose reviews you enjoy reading, or ones of specific types of tea, brands, etc.