Tea & Sympathy
Popular Teas from Tea & SympathySee All 4 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Oh my. I loved this tea. It is very similar to a Pi Lo Chun (in my lowly opinion), which is perhaps why I was as excited when I first smelt this brew as I was when I stumbled across T2’s Pi Lo Chun. I’m surprised by how similar the two teas are given Pi Lo Chun is typically from Fujian province and this is from distant Yunnan province (both in China). I’d love to know more about the similarities/differences of the two teas.
Aroma: Hops and passionfruit with a little waft of seaweed/ iodine. Slightly vegetal. Fresh, balanced and enticing. Unfortunately the aroma fades slightly as the tea cools. A more potent (less water, longer steeping) second steep produced a bolder nose with almost a sharp woodiness and hints of sap and pine needles – I guess that is the ‘sting in the tail’ they mention in the blurb!
Palate: Delightful. Peaches and apricots, with subtle savory vegetal notes. Fresh and ever so slightly grassy, but not in that typical astringent ‘cheap green tea’ way. Lots of flavor but with great balance. Stronger second steeping brings out a slight bitter edge (I probably over did it a little!) but still has great fruit bouquet shining through.
Overall: Move over Pi Lo Chun (T2) – this is my new ‘tea of the moment’. Both pack the same great flavor profile but this T&S Yunnan green is almost half the price! And as much as I love T2 I’ll support a local tea shop over a big company any day of the week. I love this tea for its aroma and flavor, but the added bonus is its unbelievable value (ok, I’ll settle done and stop sounding like an advertisement now!). I would probably brew it for a bit longer than the listed time next time to get even more of a flavor punch. I got this as a sample with a big order from T&S but I will definitely be adding it to the list on my next shop! Yummm.
I cant get enough of ‘green’ Oolongs. Ever since my first sip at a tea house in Shanghai (no, not Taiwan sorry) they have been my favourite tea, and the Jin Xuan (milk oolong) is my pick of the bunch.
Milk Oolongs are a funny thing. Perhaps by dint of their alluring name, Chinese and Taiwanese producers have taken to spraying them with artificial ‘milky’ flavour to mimic and enhance the milky caramel characteristics which they were first renowned for, however the result is now an influx of over flavoured (albeit sometimes delicious) teas that go under the name of Milk Oolong, yet are quite unlike the natural originals. Ironically, I think it was probably the artificial milk oolongs in China that got me hooked on this variety, so imagine my horror in finding out they were spraying-on the delicious ‘dulce de leche’ flavour I found so alluring! Since then, and given my aversion to (most) flavoured teas, I have been on a hunt for the real thing. A natural Milk Oolong is hard to find, but this offering from one of my favourite distributors – Tea & Sympathy – is just such a tea.
So, onto my tasting notes:
Aroma: Surprisingly fresh and vegetal, with notes of zuchinni and subtle dried flowers. This tea is buttery like a milk oolong but much less so than many I’ve tried (somewhat disappointingly, as it is this characteristic that when well balanced is arguably what draws one to a Milk Oolong).
Palate: Asparagus, zucchini, sweet corn and vegetal notes rising up above a typical buttery milk oolong base. Definitely a distinctive and complex taste. Like many oolongs, this tea holds up well on the second and third steepings.
Overall: This tea has real character, but for some reason I’m just not sold on it. Don’t get me wrong, the tea is delicious, but for the price I guess I was expecting something truly amazing. This all natural Jin Xuan is still about the best I have found from an Australian supplier, but I can’t say it is the best I have ever tasted, and as this price there are other green oolongs I enjoy almost as much. I’ll savour every cup of the packet, but doubt I’ll be back for more. The hunt continues…
Aroma: Light and well balanced, if somewhat underwhelming. The creaminess and butter of a Taiwaneese Oolong, combined with the woody, peaty notes of a Nth Thailand tea. Slightly vegetal with grassy notes.
Palate: As with the nose, this tea finds an interesting middle ground between a rich, buttery unfermented/green oolong and a more woody, vegetal and fresh Thai green tea. Nuttiness and a lingering sweetness. The result is easy drinking and pleasant. Very well balanced without the usual ‘forest floor’ palate of many Thai teas. Despite a fresh, grassy undertone the tea has almost no astringency.
Colour: Golden yellow.
Overall: Quintessentially Northern Thai, but with a more restrained nose and palate than any other tea from the region I’ve tried. Both refreshing and comforting. Yet another ‘green’ oolong I’d be happy to drink every day, but loses points for being more expensive than others.
I could smell the blackberry before it even got to my table! SO good with the clotted cream & jam biscuits.