Hmm…I wonder if having this at work is truly representative. I don’t have my gaiwan or my teapot—I’m just using a mesh ball (which I filled only halfway, when I know oolong expands way more than that). And the water here doesn’t taste great. But surprisingly, this is a friendly little tea that seems to be working within my limitations!
Smell in the bag is pretty average oolong: green-ish, fruit-ish, vegetable-ish. (And rather fresh-smelling, which speaks well of Culinary Teas; this is my first order from them and already I’m impressed.) In the mug, the brew is a dark gold verging on light brown; I have little tea dusty bits in the bottom, which I am a little surprised at because I haven’t noticed that sort of thing with other oolongs. There isn’t enough of them to continue brewing after I remove the mesh ball, anyway, which would have changed the flavor.
There is no bitterness to this at all; it has a nice sweetness that lasts all the way through the cooling of the mug (I am notoriously slow to drink tea). The flavor is smooth, green-y, and unobtrusive. It’s simple enough in flavor, in fact, that I’m wondering if I should have steeped it longer than three minutes. The package said 5-6 min., which (for an oolong) sounded like somebody’s wildly incorrect guess to me, but perhaps I should try this with a little more time and see if I can get more flavor, or at least more complexity, without courting bitterness. I am usually SO careful to avoid bitterness that sometimes I think I am not getting everything I could out of teas in terms of flavor!
At any rate: this seems like a promising tea for those times when I want something fresh and tasty but not demanding of my attention. But it’s hard to tell at this point. I will try it with a longer steeping time and see what happens. I’ll also bring it home so I can try it with my wider range of brewing options (teapot? Teapot? Baby, I miss you…) and see how that changes things. Wouldn’t surprise me if the tap water here at work is just messing the whole brewing process up.