Vital Tea Leaf

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38

The Vital Leaf tea store in Seattle will pour many different teas for you. This was one of the first. I didn’t get to smell the dry leaves but I figured they had a very earthy smell to them. Honestly, I don’t taste Champagne. It is very earthy and somewhat bitter. I generally like Oolong’s but i couldn’t get a good feel for this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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43

A friend brought this back for me as a thank-you gift for watching her cats while she was on a brief trip. I’ve been saving it for months, just waiting for the right opportunity to indulge in such a unique tea. While I had entertained the idea of sharing it with the gift-giver, she has officially just moved out of state and I realized, as I was setting up my tea tray and accoutrements, that this was the perfect time to try it.

It came in a well-sealed package which, upon opening, let out a very sweet mandarin aroma. When I say it’s sweet, I mean it practically smells like it was candied or something.

I unwrapped the mandarin and was a little surprised to see it so brown. I knew the peel was dried, but for some reason, it just didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t be a vibrant orange. The tea itself was loosely packed inside the peel and tumbled easily from its container into the gaiwan.

With a quick rinse, it was ready to be attempted.

The first infusion was for about 45 seconds as I got a nice picture in the process. The liquor was a beautiful amber and the mandarin sweetness was much milder overall. The flavor, however, just wasn’t doing it for me. It tasted almost a bit musty and the after-taste lingered unpleasantly.

As one does, I powered through to my second infusion. With a shorter infusion time (closer to 25 seconds), I achieved a similar shade of amber with a much pleasanter flavor. The odd flavors from the first infusion had mellowed and left the tea with a lightly smoky tendency and just an edge of the mandarin sweetness as an after-thought.

Finally (for this note), onto the third infusion. I was slightly distracted during this infusion period by the antics of my roommate’s cat, who was in the throes of her “morning crazies,” as we like to call it. So the infusion time lasted a bit longer than planned (nearly a minute).

By this point, the distinctive mandarin aroma is starting to noticeably fade. Interestingly enough, I find it’s a welcome change. While it wasn’t bad, it also wasn’t really making a super great impression on my senses. The flavor is still there, guiding the earthy pu-erh flavor to a smooth completion.

Overall, this is a pretty decent tea and definitely fun to explore the packaging. But honestly, it just isn’t entirely my cup of tea. It ended fine enough, but didn’t really pull me through with much desire. I’ll probably break it out occasionally when someone is looking for something more exotic or “out-there” in style.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

Backlog:
I really enjoy the Vital Leaf milk oolong, but I tend to shy away from buying much of it, as it is just not a tea that I could see myself drinking on a daily basis without getting tired of it. On the other hand, I love having it every once in a while, as a bit of a special tea.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I feel that way with Milk Oolongs in general, they are great ‘treat’ teas :)

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

Overcast, but not yet raining…and here I had my oolong ready and everything.

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

Sure, it is 80+ degrees outside, yet this is still delicious.

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Milk Oolong by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

A couple cups for a rainy morning.

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

Kill stress! Drink blue tea!

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

Leftover, chilled Blue Tea from last night.

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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drank Blue Tea by Vital Tea Leaf
1788 tasting notes

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Four and done. I need to buy more of this!

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Second steep and going yum…I mean strong.

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First tea at the office: yum.

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