I was going to have another one of my almondy teas, but I decided that I wanted perhaps a floral or fruity tea, and perhaps a simpler one. Enter Oriental, which is a tea I almost didn’t mean buy. I mean, it was on my list of teas that I wanted, but when I went in to Mariage Freres and found out that I could get only do 100g minimum, and I already had so much tea that I had bought in London and at Dammann Freres, I had decided to get Thé au Tibet instead of this one, not both of them. But in the shop there were a lot of people, and a lot of teas, and I was slightly flustered and ended up asking for them both. C’est la vie, but it fortunately turned out to be a happy accident.
I’ve been intrigued by Jasmine black teas, but haven’t gotten around to trying one until now. Even so, this one isn’t really just a Jasmine black, because it’s got the mandarin orange as well. The dried leaf, which has pink flower petals of unknown affinity, smells very very orangey.
The minute the hot water hit the leaves, they released a wonderful jasmine aroma, and sniffing the tea closely yields notes of faint orange and a slightly malty black tea background. The taste is very much a harmony of jasmine and orange, with citrusy orange notes at the front of the sip blending into a floral (but not quite honeysuckle-sweet) jasmine in the body. The black tea seems to provide a solid, but subdued, background. The tea is just described as having “orange” flavor, seeming to mean the fruit itself, but it very much reminds me of an amazing orange-blossom macaron I had in Paris (which I thought almost had jasmine notes itself). This tea definitely errs on the floral side of things, which is all good to me. A happy accident indeed!