Nuvola supplied this wonderful tea as a free sample, no cost to me! Much appreciated.
One of two teas they sent, the other their Taiwan Green, this appealed to me the most. Usually I prefer greens over other teas, but this striking oolong satisfied.
Not knowing anything about Oriental Beauty Oolongs I was impressed by the multicolor leaves, noticing immediately the dry delicate white, green, yellow, red and brown tea. Even the packaging was first class for a sample, white vacuum sealed plastic that could be resealed with a built in zip-lock. I appreciated the attention to detail, though there was just enough tea for my Finum, and no need to reseal the package.
After a quick rinse, the 1st steeping was pleasant, yielding a lovely hue the color of red clover honey. Sweet notes were immediate, a light dry mouthfeel with the sent of wood and earth.
A 2nd steeping brought the color a bit deeper with pink tones and developed the sweetness, reminding me what a sin it would be to add anything to this tea. And how that sweet aftertaste lingers… exceptional. What a gift.
A 3rd steep (a bit longer) and I’d say none of the comments about floral and fruit notes are lost to me, but I would far from call this a “flowery” or “fruity” tea. It’s there, but a compliment if anything, nothing overwhelming. Such a nice balance. This tea keeps giving.
4th steep and onward. I give my wife a sip. “Is there sugar in this?” She asks. That gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. Maybe that’s why this tea gets such a positive response. But it’s not that simple. There’s more dimension here. I don’t pretend to be any descriptive genius, if anything I tend to be more at a loss for words, but what it comes down to is this tea satisfies me and I’m tempted to order more.
I’m reading about this tea online now, learning about the insect pests that are responsible for it’s qualities. I’m seeing pictures of how this tea should look, the characteristic small one bud and two leaves, the tiny insect bites, the ratio of colors and the preponderance of the fragile white leaves. From what I can tell with my untrained eye, it’s a win here. And damn if the 5th steep isn’t still giving.
6th steeping and I’m marveling how the color holds true, the slightly dry mouthfeel, the initial sweet taste and aftertaste. Significantly consistent. A hint of bitterness as I left it to steep for probably 3-4 minutes this time.
I’m still getting over a cold, so I’m afraid this tasting note is somewhat handicapped, but damn if I’m not having a full experience. Surprisingly enough, something about this illness has turned me off to greens. I’m gravitating to oolongs and blacks, maybe it’s the cooling nature of greens or the fact that my tastebuds are just to dialed-out to be able to appreciate the subtleties that greens offer. But then again darker teas also offer their own world of complexities. I’d be curious to know from a Chinese Medicine standpoint why I might crave darker teas while dealing with cold/flu symptoms.
A 7th steep and I’m leaving it in for quite a while, gauging everything on color. I’m now experiencing a pretty orange/red sunset of a glow from this late steep. Intriguing. The earth and wood is still there in smell. The sweet notes still playing. Honestly I’m not used to a tea giving so much this late into steeping. I’ve always thought that when people get 8-15 steeps out of a tea they’re really splitting hairs, but I’m not being subtle with my times here. These are good solid soakings.
I’m going to keep steeping until this thing gives up, but honestly my writing is tapped out. But as an afterthought, this has been a nice late afternoon, early evening tea leaving me neutral from a caffeine standpoint, neither jacked up, terribly alert or anything. What’s been most noticeable about this tea has been the wonderful olfactory, visual and incredibly palatable experience it’s offered, reminiscent in a way of blacks like Verdant’s Golden Fleece or Summit’s Yunnan Golden Buds.
Good on ya Nuvola.