An explanation, first. I have tried a small number of flavoured oolongs but am not overly keen on them. Nothing wrong with them, but never my go-to tea. I have never really given unflavoured oolongs a try, though I did try a sip of the beau’s at Sawadee Tea House once (brewed Western style) but I mostly found it bitter and over-steeped. Tonight I brought out my gaiwan and my tiny cute double walled glass teacups to do “Western style Gong-fu” (I am not using flash rinses, but instead a sightly lower temperature for 1 minute or so). I don’t really know what to call it, but that’s what I think of!
Also, a note for poor Mercuryhime who sent me a couple of lovely looking oolongs to try – I wanted to cut my teeth on the relatively inexpensive and very available DT Tie Kwan Yin so I can (hopefully!) better appreciate the ones you sent. I WILL be trying them soon!
Initially, the dry leaves smell delicious and appealing, lightly sweet and floral, but mild (remember that I’m a dedicated black tea drinker!) First steep got 1 min or so and yielded a light greenish liquor, with a mild floral taste. As I told the beau, it reminds me of a blooming tea but not as strong in flavour. Likely a user error, but really nice nonetheless. The leaves unfolded a lot and are HUGE at this point, lovely full leaves. Stunning to watch.
Steep 2: Similar steep time/temp (I don’t use a thermometer or timer, hah!) Flavour is similar (sweet, lightly floral) but with a bit more strength. The liquor is a bit more yellow, and this too is a satisfying cuppa. I’m definitely not catching any nuances of flavour here, but there is definitely nothing objectionable. I am used to bold flavours, but for a lighter sort of tea, I have no problem drinking this. I know I’ve said it already, but this still reminds me of blooming teas I have tried. I presume it is the floral notes that I am being reminded of here.
Steep 3: Stepped up to boiling water, to see if it would add anything to the mix, really. I’m afraid that if I don’t I will just be drinking hot water. This steep came the closes to a hint of bitterness, but was really the same smooth sweet floral taste I’ve had all along. I’m out of time for today, might try some more tomorrow or might let it rest.
I’m gonna give this a rating of high 70s for now, likely to be adjusted when I have more experience in the field. This was a beautiful tea and experience, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I didn’t experience any bitterness from this tea like I did with my bad experience Western style attempt many moons ago – Yay for potential oolong appreciation!