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Recent Tasting Notes
This was the final Red Robe oolong I tasted in my side-by-side(-by-side) comparison this morning.
The wet leaves had a nice spiciness to them, but with a touch of sweetness. The sweetness sort of had that characteristic of something that wasn’t initially sweet being broken down to create the sweetness (like how when you eat a saltine cracker and chew it a while, your saliva breaks it down into sugars and it becomes sweet in your mouth.) I’m not sure how else to describe it, unfortunately.
The first infusion had a very light scent, but the aroma I could pick up was clearly spicy and peppery. The flavor of the tea was nice and strong with a somewhat peppery flavor on the outside.
The second infusion elicited a more directly spicy aroma, but the tea itself was much milder compared to the first infusion. It was lovely and roasty, like a roast pumpkin that was lightly spiced.
Totally a fan of this tea!
I wasn’t quite sure what my brother meant when he noted “spicy red flavor” regarding this tea. I smelled the dry leaf and it was very nice, like a well dark oolong, but it didn’t exactly have a bite or spiciness to it.
Despite my uncertainty as to what to expect, I snagged a friend and we retreated to the break room in our office to enjoy a miniature tea party. Fortunately, our office provides a filtered water supply with a choice of chilled or instant hot water, at around 200F (give or take). As the first infusion was completed, we admired the gorgeous amber-orange color of the liquor. It looked like the color of a baked pumpkin.
With the first infusion, the aroma was surprisingly mild. It was definitely earthy and lightly vegetal, but I didn’t detect strong hints of much. Upon my first sip, I suddenly understood what my brother meant by “spicy red flavor”. It has the initial kick of a Chinese red tea with a mildly biting aftertaste. This infusion, the spiciness was more like the affect of something with cloves in it.
The second infusion, however, everything changed. The aroma was more powerful, the flavors of the tea were more distinctive, and the biting aftertaste began to distinctly remind me of the final cool-down after accidentally eating something with a jalapeno in it. I don’t do well with spicy hot things, but this had the lingering characteristics of that without any of the pain, discomfort, or even the flavors I disliked. It was like it took everything I hated about spicy hot foods and removed it, leaving only the pleasant tingling as it sat in your mouth and the slowly fading after-bite.
I’ve tried both lengthening and shortening the steeping time, and nothing seems to help. The base of black tea is positively blunt. This is labelled as an “aromatic black tea”, which I suppose is accurate – you can detect by smell that there must be other ingredients, but your taste buds are helpless to find them. Since I recently found a chocolate mint blend that I really enjoyed, I was looking for that same warmth, and was interested to see how it would combine with the lighter floral ingredients. But both chocolate and flowers seem to be present mainly on the label.
“Tea in the Sahara” has some lovely blends and a nice gimmick, but “Vivaldi” needs serious revision.