I’m snowed in this February Sunday due to a snowpocalyse in the Great Lakes. No worries, since I have lots of unopened tea samples waiting for me to try. I’m new to loose leaf teas, and today I’m trying my first loose oolong. The dry leaves smell like apricots, sugar and floral. Almost like you’re walking into a produce store that has also has fruit pies baking. They smell like my blender after I’ve made a frozen fruit smoothie.
First infusion: The color almost perfectly matches my ripe organic bananas. Smells like sugar snap peas tossed with honey and sesame seed oil. Tastes more warm and a bit dry earthier or grainier than the dry leaves smell. It tastes like honey added to the breeze coming off a farm where they grow grain and almonds. My pot makes 3 small cups, so after the first cup, I paired the next two with a breakfast of hot buttered bread and a curious tabby cat companion. The sweet bread and butter let the floral and fruit come out better for me. As it cooled, there came a bit more bitterness, but nothing I found disagreeable.
Second infusion: Paler in color. It’s closer to champagne. Everything’s a bit subtler in smell and taste except the grainy and vegetable tastes, which are coming out a bit more for me. There’s also maybe some lavender or a flowery flavor I didn’t taste before. A sweet, honey flavor still lingers for at least a minute along with some of that flower petal, vegetable and grain. Still lots of subtle hints and ghosts of flavors long after I’ve finished a sip. I even got a bit of that coolness you get from a mint if you let the flavors stay in your mouth for a few minutes after drinking. It stayed sweet with a hint of fruit in my mouth.
I’ve been trending towards seeking citrus in my tea (or adding lemon to ones that don’t have any citrus). I’m surprised I like this so much when it has no citrus flavors I can find, yet I have no urge to add lemon or experiment with this. I like it just how it is. It tastes like a late summer day walking at the park, where the grasses are flowering and drying out but there’s still wildflower blowing in the breeze, and the apples are just beginning to get fleshy on the trees.
Being newer to loose teas, it’s hard for me to know if this is representative of oolong. It’s certainly 3x better than any of the tea bags of oolong I have sampled. If someone likes tea, I’d certainly recommend they try it, since it has a few layers to it and a flavor that lasts in your mouth long after you’ve finished your sip. If you like white tea, but want to try something less delicate, you’d probably enjoy this.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Nuts