I decided at the last second to throw this on my Art of Tea order and I’m really very glad that I did.
From dry leaf to steeping liquid to final product, this tea’s scents remained rather consistent for me, excepting a variance in intensities. That, and the wet leaf took on an unsurprising vegetal quality. What I smell is, also unsurprisingly, mandarin orange. It mingles somewhere between actual mandarin oranges and those mandarin orange gummy slices, but as I enjoy both of them it’s not an issue for me. The warmly fresh and sweet citrus scent combines with the scent of some kind of baked good. This tea uses pouchong, which I am beginning to identify as one of my favorite types of oolong, and I’m pretty sure that’s where the bake-y portion of today’s tasting is originating.
How many people have had fruit tart? Raise your hand.
Sorry, that was very Blue’s Clues of me [though, if you actually raised your hand, then please wave it around like you just don’t care]. The reason I ask is because the taste of this tea made me think very much of the base pastry that has been used in fruit tarts that I have had. If you haven’t fruit tart, then imagine, perhaps, a sugar cookie with about half the sugar. If you haven’t had either of these, may I suggest that you expand your dessert repertoire immediately.
Mandarin oranges have always had a bit of softness around them in the taste as opposed to navel oranges, which aren’t biting in flavor but read as sharper to me in flavor and acidity. The orange taste in this definitely treads solidly in mandarin orange territory, and the rounded flavor of that meshes very nicely with the warm, buttery, doughy qualities of the pouchong.
I went two steeps deep on this one, and the flavor had noticeably faded on the second steep. When I have more time, I may try lengthening the steep time on the second steep even further to see what that does, but the tasty first steep is reason enough for me to keep this tea around and perhaps even re-order once it’s gone.
I haven’t been impressed with some of their other offerings, but with mandarin silk and caramelized pear on my tea shelf, I don’t really need anything else from Art of Tea to wow me. I’m pretty happy here.