When I ordered from the American Tea Room, they were kind enough to include a couple samples that I have been dying to try. Since I am really craving an oolong tea today I decided to try the Bao Zhong Royale Oolong. According to their website, this is a lightly fermented oolong which normally means there is a vegetal taste. Now this is great for folks who like green tea but personally I prefer to get my vegetables in other forms.
This is a unique looking oolong in that the leaves look like they have been carefully folded lengthwise. Apparently during processing, the leaves are wrapped into paper to protect them. It has a delightful aroma of jasmine, lilac and amber.
I set up my teamaker using a temperature setting of 200 degrees. According to the instructions on the package, the steep time should be seven minutes but I have never steeped an oolong over 3 minutes for a first steep so I did cut that back. Especially as I tend to resteep oolongs at least a couple times.
This tea brews up a very pale clear gold and the aroma is to die for. When I close my eyes and just take in the scents, I feel as though I am in a garden with jasmine, orchids, and lilacs. I have to admit that it has always amazed me the aromas that a pure tea can give off and I am sure that my husband thinks that I am really loosing it as I am wandering around the house sniffing my tea rather than drinking it.
But I really have to actually taste the tea to give it a fair rating and I have to say that the taste does not disappoint. It has a creamy texture with that slight oiliness on the tongue that you get from the best oolongs. The taste is naturally sweet and you can taste the flowers. I am also able to pick up hints of plums and fresh coconut. There is a slight dryness at the end of each sip that has you reaching for more along with a lingering aftertaste of jasmine.