The summer weather is starting to hit, and with the 32C (ETA: 90F) day came the stormy afternoon so typical of this part of the country in the summer, and so I’ve been on the edge of a migraine since, which is typical of me when trying to endure this sort of weather pattern. Because of being headachy, I wanted a reliable, unflavoured tea heavy on the anti-oxidants to give my system a boost and (hopefully) knock the headache on the head. I really should have gone for pai mu tan, but instead I decided on this one.
This is one of my oolong staples that I always have on hand in the tea cupboard. It’s a Chinese oolong, so it’s not heavy on the floral notes and silkiness in the way that my favourite Taiwan oolongs are, but I like this one for different reasons. It’s usually smooth and subtly complex – one of those teas that you spend time just savouring and trying to work out what’s going on just underneath the surface of the flavour.
It wasn’t as good as usual this time. It was still smooth, but those complexities in the flavour that I enjoy so much weren’t really there. This could have been my fault – with the second steeping, which is usually my favourite, I wasn’t paying close attention to what I was doing because of the headache-fog, and I let the water cool for a lot longer than I intended to before adding it to the leaves. It could also just be that I’ve had these leaves in the cupboard for a few months now and they’re past their best.
The issue with the tea getting old before I can finish it is related to the only real gripe I have with Ten Ren: their standard package sizes are on the large side. This tea comes in a 100g (4oz) bottle only, which is really a bit more than what I can get through quickly. I still haven’t tried their Alishan Oolong, though I’ve been eyeing it for ages, because it only comes in a 300g tin! $80.00 is a lot to pay for 300g of tea that I don’t have a hope in hell of getting through while it’s still fresh. If they sold it in 50g packets I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
I haven’t had this tea for a while, and when I tasted the first steeping I wondered why I’d ever liked it at all. But the second steeping was exponentially better, and I remembered just how good this tea can be – and that’s pretty damned good. Now I’m on the third steeping. Great procrastination fuel. g
I left the first brew steeping for longer than intended, but even after seven minutes it was only a little more astringent than usual. Currently on the second brew, which I didn’t leave as long, and everything has smoothed out nicely. A really good, forgiving tea.
One of my favourite oolongs, delicate, complex and subtle. I was really looking forward to the second steeping, but when I went to make it I found that OH had thrown out the leaves. Woe! He now knows not to do that again.
I’ve been drinking this throughout the weekend. Still a fabulous tea, and great for the first three steepings. The flavour really starts to taper off on the fourth steeping. I could probably coax a few more brews out of it given time and testing to get the right steeping time for each successive brew – but it’s easier just to get some fresh leaves!