I got my (ginormous) order from Chicago Tea Garden today! Yay!!!
I was really looking forward to trying this tea. I really wanted something dark in the oolong spectrum and nothing was quite hitting the spot. They were all turning out a bit too sweet to fulfill my ravenous need for roast. I love ALL oolongs, but sometimes a girl craves roasted tea, you know? I must say, the sticky rice tuochas very nearly turned my head, though.
The aroma of roasted nuts hit me as soon as I opened the tin. I’m smelling walnuts and pecans at Christmas. The tea leaves are really tightly rolled up. I had to give it two boiling water rinses before they started to loosen up. The delicious nuttiness was just enormous in the wet leaves. Oh yeah, this was definitely what I was looking for.
So, I went for 1.5 tsp for threeish ounces of water. I kinda faked the gong-fu with a small mug and the tea strainer (to keep the leaves in the mug when I poured, they were under the strainer!). My order for a couple of gaiwans has yet to arrive, and I kinda wanted to try this tea on porcelain before futzing with different clays. I’ve done it before, it’s not that hard. I gave the tea a few seconds at a time and increased the steeps from there – near the tenth steep I was doing a minute and a half. Only issue today is that I pulled a dumb blonde moment and poured the hot water from the kettle on my fingers. Derp. Lucky it wasn’t boiling, huh? :)
The liquor comes out a nice golden tone, with a delicious roasty smell that just made me want to hurry up even more. It tastes like it smells – roasted nuts, a bit like my mother’s walnut and pecan pie, without the sugar. It does have a mellow sweet finish to it, but it’s understated. Just the way I like it. My sister noted a chestnut flavour at the very end of it, which I agree with, though my experience with chestnuts is limited. The roastiness fades as the cup cools, the result being a very odd (though pleasant) nutty mellow quality.
As the steeps progress, there’s a very odd toasted…chamomile?! taste that emerges. I don’t mind chamomile, but I prefer the earlier steeps by far. Or maybe I didn’t steep them enough at the end of it? I was very confused to pick up on it, anyway. It’s the only reason I didn’t rate the tea higher. Maybe I did something wrong. Weird.
Anyway – final judgement on the tea? SO GOOD. Do try. And do drink it hot. The tea really shines.