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  • A 'Oolong Drunk' Expose: The Authenticity of the Social Media Tea Farmer

    You can’t necessarily believe everything you read on the internet, and when it comes to tea, there is no exception to this rule. This became true when I got presented evidence from ‘Machine Gun Kelly’. For the purpose of this article, MGK requested that his real identity be kept anonymous. “You know, these tea-farmer accounts on Instagram that has thousands of followers. They present their profile in a way that makes you believe that they’re actual tea farmers, when actually, they’re reselling from TaoBao,” according to MGK. With these allegations, MGK showed me exact listings from several prominent tea farmer influencer Instagram accounts, along with one tea vendor. When showing me comparisons from TaoBao listings to their own, it proved that the product photos at hand are copied from Taobao. For reference, ‘TaoBao’ is a China-exclusive online retailer, and is the eighth most visited website globally according to the Alexa Rank. The four accounts that have evidence against them are @TeaFarmerLin, @TeaFarmerBruce, @TeaFarmerGirl, and Crafted Leaf Teas. I was then shown where ‘Crafted-Leaf Teas’ copied a product photo from TaoBao, which is a tea listed for around $6.00 USD for a pound. This particularly hit home, as I had bought 50 grams of this tea from for $20.00 UDS. If they really got their tea from this TaoBao vendor, this means I bought this tea from Crafted-Leaf Teas at 3,900% mark-up. When reaching out to the accused for comment, only Tea Farmer Girl responded. “Some Taobao are ours, and some TaoBao good come from the same factory as ours — all of which are product information provided by the factory,” she stated. However, when looking, the TaoBao accounts come from a Chinese tea warehouse. This is damning. Tea Farmer Girl's admission to this means two things: These accounts are price-gouging the same product for their Western-Facing audience. This also means that they’re not really tea farmers. Lets put this in perspective: China has their own internet that’s specific to them. To be able to run a Western-facing shop, you would have to use a VPN to bypass the Chinese government's restrictions. Given that a lot of Chinese farmers do not live in cities, the likelihood of a farmer owning advanced enough technology to operate a western-facing online retail shop on a larger scale while bypassing the Chinese government is not likely. However, most vendors rely on wholesalers to some extent or another. Not one person or one entity can do everything. However, most vendors don’t copy-and-paste the exact same photo and price their tea at 3,900% mark-up. That still leaves the question: Are these ‘tea farmer’ accounts authentic, or are they just fantasy? That’s for you to decide…. Posts regarding tea from Crafted Leaf Teas has since been removed from my social media, as I no longer associate with them for allegedly selling me tea at 3,900% mark-up. @TeaFarmerLin, @TeaFarmerBruce, and Crafted Leaf Teas have yet to respond for comment. ~The Oolong Drunk

  • Crimson Lotus Tea goes Intergalactic.... with Black Tea

    Hello hello! About a month ago, Crimson Lotus Tea released their new line-up of black tea. Although they've sourced black tea for others before, this is the first time they've released a tea that wasn't sheng our shou, in eight years! For this line-up of Dian Hong Black Tea (which is a Yunnan-grown bud-heavy black tea), they released three different variations -- all ranging from being light to heavy with tea buds. After buying a cake of Intergalactic, the most bud-heavy of the three in their line-up, I opened my tea-mail to find samples of the other two in the line-up -- Roam and Big Red. How did Crimson Lotus Tea do with sourcing a tea that's outside of their normal range? Is Intergalactic out of this world? Let's find out! Tea: Intergalactic Dimensions: 3.3g of white tea in a 50ml gaiwan (1g per 15ml) Infusions: 14 Price: $34.99 USD for a 200g tea cake Water Temperature: 200ºf Infusions 1 - 6 When smelling this tea, I first noticed heavy aromas of malt and honeydew. With the first infusion, the tea's slick texture slid its way past my tongue, leaving behind woodsy notes of sweet malt. With a few more infusions, the light notes of sweet notes of tree-bark and tree sap became sharp and sweet. By the seventh infusion, there was a hint of brandy lingering in the mouth, which was overshadowed by a fluffy malt echo that filled the air in my mouth. Infusions 7 - 12 The notes of malt and rum were balancing well with the notes of tree bark, with a texture that was equal parts light and smooth. As the session continued, this tea's notes held a consistency in notes and texture for at least four infusions, before beginning to ease up. However, by the fourteenth infusion, this tea was looking pale in color and was ready to be concluded... Tea: Big Red and Roam Dimensions: 3.3g of white tea in a 50ml gaiwan (1g per 15ml) Infusions: 14 Price: Roam: $24.99 USD for a 200g tea cake Big Red: $29.99 USD for a 200g tea cake Water Temperature: 200ºf Infusions 1 - 12 At first, Roam started out with soft notes of malt and light stone-fruit. With just a few infusions, this tea's body was noticeably balanced with sweetness, fruitiness, and woodiness. This tea's texture also jumped out at me because it was fluffy, yet defined. When trying Big Red, I first noticed a strong woodsy-like maltiness that immediately blanket the entire palate. While having less defined fruit-like sweetness to Roam, this tea's texture was substantially more defined in regards to being smooth. However, just like Big Red, roam was very well defined and held a strong consistency throughout the session. Conclusion: To start, I wanted to commend Crimson Lotus Tea for going outside of their comfort zone with releasing their first line-up of Crimson Lotus Tea-brand black tea. One thing I really enjoyed about Intergalactic was how radiant and pleasant its aroma was. This was carried over to this tea's tasting notes, which at one point, was energizing and room-filling. Another aspect about this tea I liked was its ability to continually change and alter throughout the session. As far as Big Red and Roam goes, they were more consistent with their notes throughout the session. However, one thing to keep in mind with Intergalactic is that this tea still felt very fresh. Due to being so bud-heavy, this tea could benefit from aging for a month or two for its notes to really shine. Due to personal experience with other Dian hong, Intergalactic will continue to grow and become even more incredible after a bit of time. Overall, I believe that Crimson Lotus Tea did a phenomenal job with sourcing Dian Hong. Out of the three, they are all delightful on their own merit. Despite that Crimson Lotus Tea being known for carrying some of the best shou-puer in the industry, who know what else they can master if they continue to explore other avenues in tea? We can only daydream of amazing things... ~The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk"

  • Mississippi White Tea!

    Hello hello! Longleaf Tea is a tea company that produces Mississippi-Grown tea, right in the US! Despite producing green and black tea since their launch, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a couple of samples of their white tea. While only producing less than a pound of white tea for experimenting with tea production methods, Longleaf Tea sent me samples of two different kinds -- one from this Summer (2021) and one from the Fall of 2020. This makes it one of the worlds-first North American produced white teas -- ever. Note: For today's write-up, I'll primarily be going over the most recent harvest in white tea Just like how other teas from different regions are reflective of its surroundings, can the same be said for Mississippi-grown white tea? Is Mississippi-grown white tea worth getting hyped over, or will it soon be a Louisiana/Mississippi bayou front porch myth? Let's find out! (Photo: Fall 2020 Harvest) Dimensions: 5g of white tea in a 75ml teapot Infusions: 14 Price: n/a Water Temperature: 200ºf (Photo: Summer 2021 Harvest) Infusions 1 - 7: My initial reaction upon seeing this tea was the wide range of color the dry leaf was. Alongside the wide array of colors, the dry leaf also smelled line pine-wood. The first infusion of this tea brought a smooth and savory texture of grass, along with a faint mouthwatering aftertaste of an autumn leaf pile. As the tea kept opening up, its texture continued to refine a consistent energizing sharpness that brought on heavy notes of tree bark, more green grass, and a radiating humid-mouth feeling that reminded me of what the woods that surrounded the Red River smelled like when fishing with my father. However, by the seventh infusion, the green grass started to resemble tall weeds in a cool and humid summer afternoon. (Photo: Summer 2021 Harvest) Infusions 8 - 14: Halfway through the session, I noticed that a faint pine sap-like sweetness tried to echo in the corners of my mouth, but was still being covered by the tall brown grass and fresh forest smell. By the tenth infusion, this tea was already showing signs of slowing down and by the fourteenth infusion, this tea was showing signs that it had no more to give... (Photo: Summer 2021 Harvest) Conclusion: To start, one of the main aspects about this tea that I enjoyed was in regards to its profile. Despite being harvested from young tea trees on a new farm, this white tea was ready to make itself known. I also enjoyed how the woodsy and grassy notes of this tea were refreshing -- something I don't often associate with woodsy tasting notes. While most white teas are often either floral or fruity, it was lovely to taste a white tea that was strong in carrying an identity of its own. However, one of the main differences between this white tea, and the other sample of white tea from 2020, was that the production of the tea was a little different. The fall 2020 white tea had more tea buds and had better consistency regarding its appearance. Despite how it looked there was something ornately different about how the 2021 version of this tea was made, and was much more appealing to me. Overall, I was a fan of the 2021 Mississippi-grown white tea. One thing that rarely happens to me in tea, that happened to me with this session, is to be brought back to a memory that I had long forgotten. My dad was from Mississippi, and when I was a kid, we'd use to go to the Red River and go fishing during the summer. Now when I drank this tea, and when I closed my eyes, the tasting notes took me back to the Mississippi woods in the summer with my dad. Despite that my dad has long-left this earth, it was surprising to be taken back to another visit with him :') If one was to ask the question: Is Mississippi-grown white tea reflective of its environment? I'd answer with a strong yes. While this tea may not be talked about among the native-Cajun in the Louisiana and Mississippi bayou as a myth, it will actually be enjoyed under the stars that shine on the US-South at night instead... ~ The Oolong Drunk "Blissfully Tea Drunk" (Photo: Summer 2021 Harvest)

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