Another of my free Oolong samples from Teavivre’s fall contest (thanks again Angel!). It always amazes me at how different tea’s can be within a “family” and this Oolong sample pack has just served to further highlight that for me.
Dry this monkey picked oolong is tightly rolled and has a very definitive vegetal scent to it. Underneath that are some darker roasted notes and a few floral (almost nectarine like) highlights; a vey interesting combination.
A quick rinse lead to my first steeping of 50 seconds; I tried 25 but it gave a very weak looking/smelling tea so I put the leaves back in for a bit (I might have under leafed this a bit… Oh well.) This gave me a light orange-gold liquor that had a very fragrant smell consisting of roasted peaches and cashews. The flavor, while soft and somewhat mild, was as distinctive as the aroma; the dark roasted notes came though first (though they didn’t give any bitterness to the brew) followed by some higher peachy floral notes and under it all was just a touch of the vegetal favors that where foreshadowed by the dry leaves. The mouth feel is rich and creamy and there is a slight after taste reminiscent of peaches left in my mouth. It all mixes for a surprisingly refreshing drink.
The second steeping of 1:30minutes gave me a gold liquor which had a slightly more subtle scent profile. The roasted notes were still there, as was the peach but there was a definite thread of warm honey warped throughout. Flavor wise there are more vegetal favors to this steeping; mixed with roasted notes it made for more of a hearty cup compared to other oolongs I’ve had in the past. There are still some peachy highlights to round out the flavor profile as well but they’re not as predominant, nor is the mouth feel as rich, though it is still creamy.
My third and last steeping was 2:30 minutes long, the color of the liquor lightened to a pale gold while the scent profile had also lightened considerably. There are almost no roasted notes mixed into the vegetal scents and the peachy notes from before were almost completely gone. As in the previous steepings, I found the flavor matched the scent profile; mild vegetal notes with just a touch of roasting on the back end of the sip. Every once and a while I would get a hit of peach but not often and the mouth feel was much lighter while still being somewhat creamy.
In the end, though it was a good oolong and the flavor profile was quite different, it’s not my favorite. The mix of roasted notes with peach and the vegetal favors just doesn’t work for me in the long run. That said I was brewing it at 93C rather then the recommended 100C so I will try it again after Christmas and see if that makes a difference (one way or another I’m getting a new kettle, my old one has got to go!)