My newfound love of oolongs led me to order two samples from Tea District with my recent order. This one is actually new to Tea District’s catalog as of July 2011… I knew there was a reason I put off ordering so long! I love floral teas, but I’m not familiar with magnolia (as a flavor… I’m definitely familiar with the tree) or magnolia oolongs.
Tea District describes it as similar to jasmine, and I can definitely smell the resemblance in the dried leaf. It almost smells like a jasmine green (or oolong, I suppose)! Once again, I have to wonder what TD is smoking saying 1 tbsp of leaves per 8oz, especially this time since I’m pretty sure the leaves would expand to fill the entire space of an 8 oz cup. 2 tsp was almost too much for my Kati cup because the leaves expanded rapidly and greatly. They’re nice big, whole leaves and they look high quality.
Steeped, tea is a nice dark yellow and it has a wonderful aroma. This is one of those teas that you smell immediately upon pouring on hot water, and the aroma kept wafting around during the entire steep time. The jasmine-like aroma takes on a darker character (because it’s not jasmine, it’s magnolia) and the floral aroma is very fresh, like you’re smelling a full-bloom magnolia. The somewhat vegetal aroma of the oolong is hanging out in the background, grounding a very floral cup.
The taste is very floral, and very delicious. It really does remind me of jasmine pearls, but it’s darker, richer, fuller. This is a lightly oxidized oolong, so the flavor is fresh and light. When still pretty hot the oolong doesn’t compete much with the magnolia, but it makes itself known more as the tea cools, providing vegetal teaishness that makes itself known between the magnolia in the initial wave and the aftertaste. There’s a light sweetness, mostly in the aftertaste. The second steep is equally delicious, and actually a bit sweeter! Overall I’m very pleased with this tea, and I can definitely see myself ordering more after my sample runs out!