Thanks to my family who gifted this to me!
The instruction said to set aside an hour to enjoy this tea (which I did). I set aside my whole morning! (I recommend at least that much time)
This tea swept me off my feet. Not only did the cosmos shift but I felt it physically. Bravo!
I kept my steep time short (8-10 sec.) after one test which was just on the verge of becoming bitter.
Having time to properly enjoy tea feeds my spirit.
We tea people have learned to step back from the World and relax.
No frenzy. It’s why the people here on Steepster are so nice!
I remembered learning from someone here to warm my Gaiwan first, place in the dry Oolong leaves then put on the lid and smell the aroma.
The feeling is like hugging fresh warm linen plucked from a clothes line on a Summer day. When I smelled the tea, it was soft and floral with a hint of forest under the covers. There were very long, brown leaves like fingers of tea.
One quick rinse and the leaves smelled like light smoke and buttery gardenia.
The liquor was light champagne yellow, glistening in my glass cup.
This color never changed.
I sipped the tea and there was a strong floral aroma. My first flavor impression wasn’t flowers at all, but pineapple. The taste was clean, lightly sweet and not astringent or dry but still, pineapple was what I thought of and nothing else.
I continued to enjoy the scent of gardenia and brown sugar in the wet leaves, and the flavor began to taste like that aroma with a texture that was smooth but not buttery.
As the steeps continued, a background savory taste appeared…not associated with any vegetable in particular, just savory.
There was soon a complete Umami flavor. Sweet, sour, savory, and bitter in all the right proportions, that came together and caused a puckery feeling in my nose.
Sometimes, certain really good tea’s hit me hard. I get a very intense feeling in my sinus between my eyes…BAM!
I think this happens because we taste flavor with our nose not just with our mouths.
When the mouth gets hit with Umami and the L-Theanine hits the brain too…oh my goodness…it’s wonderful, but later on, I need a NAP!
What I thought of when I was drinking this tea was my parents home in the Sierra foothills. (I took care of them for several years)
The house was nestled in a forest of Pine trees with flowering pink Dogwood in the front yard. The property had a hedge of Camellia around the front that bloomed in Winter, and a Gardenia bush that did it’s best to produce fragrant flowers under the dappled shade of the trees.
When you’ve lived in a forest community, you don’t forget the sound of leaf blowers and chainsaws, the smell of wood-smoke and rain on leafy soil, the sweetness of pine and bark or flowering jasmine and gardenia wafting powdery perfume on a sunny day.
It was our Summer garden that I remembered when I was drinking this Oolong.
I’d sit at the old redwood picnic table with my dad Bill, under a tall pine tree with the warm sun at my back. My friend the chipmunk chattered at me from the fence to give him walnuts (I had trained the little thing to take them from my hand).
At noon I would bring my mother Pat’s wheelchair out the front door of the house and down the wheelchair ramp first, then dad’s wheelchair came next. Both were brought through the garage and into the backyard so that we could have our lunch in the fresh air. Dad would read the paper and mom would nod off to sleep.
It smelled wonderful out there, like life and hope.
Sometimes I can’t describe the flavor of a tea very well, but I say instead where it took me in my heart or memory.
This has been a memorable tea for me and for all those who drink it, take your time.