Tea ID or recommendation: floral green oolong?
Hi everybody, what a lovely site, I can’t believe I haven’t come across it earlier.
I’ve been questing for the perfect green oolong (for my tastes). I’ve found something fairly good but in limited quantities from a Chinese friend, directly from China. If you have any way to identify this or recommend something similar, I would really appreciate it! It’s labeled as a Tieguanyin, completely unroasted. Very green, but not vegetal at all. Floral and almost vanillic, slightly sweet with a full body and mouthfeel. Brews a light grey-gold, mellow cup. Some pics of it here, sorry for the low pic quality, http://bit.ly/asRJJj
The closest I’ve actually come to perfect is The Tao of Tea’s Bamboo Mountain Oolong, which was similar to the description above but even cleaner and brighter, floral to the point of almost being soapy (but not quite), less vanillic, more fruity (pear, white grape). Unfortunately what I assume to be the new harvest year is completely vegetal :( and lacks everything I love. Any rec’s are appreciated, thanks ahead of time for any responses!
I strongly suggest Adagio Teas’s Ti Kuan Yin and Pouchong. They’re AMAZING hot and cold.
Well, as far as Ti Guan Yins go, I would recommend the Jade Teapot if not for the fact they’ve closed down. However! Life in a Teacup (another equally good source, from what I understand!) has a whole SECTION devoted to this particular oolong.
Both roasted and unroasted, tradition, modern green style, etc. The owner’s gone away for the summer it seems, and has taken down the cart-style ordering until he gets back. Which is… or should be soon… I think, hopefully. Still, contact information is given for manual ordering.
You may also want to try some Taiwanese high mountain green oolongs. One of the best sources for this tea in the US is Floating Leaves Tea in Seattle. www.floatingleaves.com is the website. Try one of her samplers. You would also probably enjoy Baozhong teas, which are the greenest oolongs.
I’m in love with Norbu Tea’s Ali Shans. The one I have now is High Moutain from last fall, and it is wonderful. From what you’ve described, this sounds similar. It’s a greener tea with a wonderful smell and an even better taste. And I don’t ever steep it to any kind of real instruction anymore – it’s so easy to do and not mess it up. I know, I know, you’re supposed to take real care with steeping instructions but! This one is just so forgiving.
You really sould check Norbu out. (: I highly suggest them.
Some people have the gift for winging parameters w/ food and tea… I do not. Hence I am very anal. lol!
Actually, I’m a recipe winger, too. So I suppose this makes sense? I’ve found that I honestly make my best cups of tea when I’m not timing it minute per minute. Now, it does take a little experimenting on my part. Generally I make my first couple cups of a new tea per the instructions and then I start playing with tea amount and temperature based on what I want to bring out in the tea. It’s how I fell in love with jasmine pearl. If I follow the instructions, the jasmine is way too strong for my liking.
You probably should check out some high end oolong. I would agree that Norbu is a good source—-as is Seven Cups. You might also look at picking up a sample of the Chicago Tea Garden’s Tie Guan Yin. I also really love milk oolong aka Jin Xuan and Four Seasons. Ali Shan is also an excellent oolong—-depending on the source, of course.
Because you described this as vanillac. It makes me wonder if this isn’t what I call an enhanced milk oolong. Some excellent sources of these are American Tea Room or Merkaba Tea.
Thank you all so much for the recommendations, I now have a list of things to try! As soon as I’m done moving I’ll try a bunch of these and see how things go and update!
I would also simply look at the Steepster list of Oolongs. Click “Teas” in the top left, then on the column on the right side of the screen, select “Oolong” and you will get a list of oolongs, and maybe some ideas as to what you’re looking for.
This could be something you were thinking of:
I have never bought from this company (Life in Teacup) but they have 2 very high rated Oolongs here, so perhaps they have a good selection and you might find what you’re looking for….