91
drank Golden Oolong by Peony Tea S.
2606 tasting notes

Thanks to Derek at Peony Tea S. for a free sample of this tea during their shipping times test!

Although the instructions indicated 4g of tea for 100mL of water, I went with 5g of tea for ~200mL water (though I kind of regret it now, so will probably try the recommended infusion method later). I also left the tea in for twice the recommended infusion time, as after 45 seconds, I didn’t think the tea would have much flavour. And sipped it, and burnt my tongue :( Anyways…

The aroma from the tea is of a light sweet oolong, but I have to note that I also took a sniff of the wet leaves, and got this crazy sweet seaweed aroma! Absolutely delicious! Kind of like those sweet, seaweed-wrapped crunchy snacks. Delish. I wish the tea smelled/tasted like that, but I suspect it won’t.

Sure enough, the tea doesn’t taste quite like that, but there is an absolutely delicious, mouth-enveloping sweetness. I want to call it rock sugar, but it’s much more complex than that. It’s a familiar flavour; I assume I’ve tasted it before with other oolongs. It’s one I could sip for days, though (until it got to be too sweet). The sip finishes with a nice oolong aftertaste, which is absolutely divine. There’s a bit of a vegetal flavour interspersed in here, but it’s not prominent, as the sweetness really takes over. I suspect subsequent infusions to become more vegetal and less sweet, however.

This tea is definitely a winner! I think I was quite pleased with all the selections I was sent as part of this testing process, so hopefully I will have the funds to make a purchase from Peony Tea S. sometime in the near future!

ETA: Second infusion (2 min/90C) still smells rather sweet and delicious. The cup’s a bit stronger this time, perhaps a touch oversteeped (it’s a little metallic), but other than that, is still quite sweet and pleasant, and not as vegetal as I was expecting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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