Now I’ll be honest: I wasn’t interested in this tea, but it came as part of the oolong sampler so I figured I’d at least give it a try. Then I read the reviews here and I’ve decided it will be the tea to christen the new tiny glass teapot from my second Teavivre order that just arrived this morning!
I’m using 3.5g (half the sample pack)—that’s the same as my 1.5tsp tea scoop—for 200ml of boiling water. Steeps are 1, 2, and 3 minutes.
1st steep: Dry it is blue-green pellets with yellow flecks and more resembles small powder-coated rocks than it does tea. It has a sugary wet scent paired with straw. The wet leaf looks more crumpled than anything else after this first steep and smells of toast and well-cooked vegetables (spinach and green beans) with the same sweetness as when dry. Poured out it’s a light golden color. On the first sip I notice an acidity then astringency. On the second sip a sweet taste is added. I can taste toast, seaweed, and a sweetness like sugar cane. Then something remarkable happens: the sweetness starts moving around. It starts by feeling like a vapor that fills my mouth and then it dives to coat my mouth under my tongue! Does any of this sound bad to you? I can’t believe my first prejudiced thoughts about this tea were so wrong!
2nd steep: The leaves look like they could still handle a good bit more; they’re not fully opened for the most part, and the ones that have opened more are still very wrinkly. I don’t notice the toast scent in the wet leaf this time, but I get plenty of sweet well-cooked/roasted vegetables. This cup is more honey coloured, and I also don’t think I’m getting the toast here either. The acidity and astringency is the same, but then the sweetness takes away from that and is actually thicker! After each sip the sweetness becomes thick and honestly juicy right on the tip of my tongue! I’m going to run to the kitchen now to make the third steep….
3rd steep: I may have just been able to detect the toast scent in the wet leaf this time. Now I’m noticing that the acidity and astringency are stronger, but then they’re cut by that delicious, juicy sweetness. All three keep returning, taking turns almost for the attention, but the sugar cane flavor (and the thick feel it gives) wins out, lasting long after each sip.
I’m so glad I got to try this, and also that I can steep all of the oolongs in my new glass teapot where there is more than enough room for them to open out. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite oolong so far, not just because of how it dashed my prejudices for the better, but also because the flavor and sensation of drinking this tea are just so good. If you’re not sure about this one, then trust me: forget about not knowing if you’ll like ginseng… just try this tea!