Still not going to rate teas as my nose is STILL stuffed up from my travel cold, blrm. But my Verdant samplextravaganza arrived today and I was too excited not to at least try something, and I had duplicates for this one (thanks Verdant!).
I went out on a limb with this order—I haven’t had an oolong I reeeally like yet, and the first few I tried (well regarded here, mind) I thought tasted downright strange bordering on gross. I never get the floral and peach elements people always describe. But then I had a tea flight in Portland at the Chinese Garden and it included oolong and pu erh, and I liked both fine, and finally tasted peach in the oolong! When I got back from the trip Verdant had a coupon code going on and I was like, well they’ve been so, so nice to me I want to support them, and if ANYONE has an oolong I might like I bet it’d be them…so here we are. I think I ordered samples of every oolong and pu erh they offer, just about.
This still has that salty thing going on with oolongs that makes me scratch my head, but it is much much gentler, that aspect. And unlike others I’ve had there is a lightly sweet and bready-without-being-yeasty thing I’m digging a lot. There is also a bit of tartness akin to blackberries or raspberries—normally I hate fruity astringency like that in tea (it’s everywhere in cheap supermarket bagged teas, blech), but here it’s light and refreshing, not harsh and puckery. More like actually eating a freshly washed berry than say, a Zinger tea. Clean tasting. I like.
One thing I have noticed as a common element to the few oolongs I’ve tried so far, the good and the weird/gross all, is that unlike black and sometimes green tea it seems unlikely they’d ever go bitter on you. Interesting.
Husband left early this morning to go out of town aaall weekend (won’t be back ‘til late Monday night, playing a show at a festival in Chicago) and I’ve been “good” so I can do pretty much whatever I want every day!! And being the dork I am, you know, all I really want is to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf, nap with the cats, watch Golden Girls, putter over art projects I never seem to find the time for normally, and drink tea the meditative, gaiwan-y way that I find I never have the appropriate time and headspace to devote to properly unless alone. Whee. I suppose I’ll probably hang out with my bestie for girly cocktail and movie night tomorrow, but otherwise just consider me a big reclusive dork n’ loving it, ha.
2nd steep: now it’s butterier, and also plantier but not in a bad way. Kind of like haricots verts cooked in butter, that sweet rich tender cooked green veggie thing. Yummy.
a zillion steeps (well, 6+) later: This is delightful in that way so many Verdant teas are—you can spend an entire half day with it and it transforms, always tasting good but in so many different surprising ways. The salt and whatever that marshy quality is I associate with oolongs was subtle when it was present at all, and disappeared after the 2nd steep, replaced with that fine buttery green vegetable flavor intertwined to varying degrees with light sweetness and a bit of peppery bite slipping in here and there. Often tasted like a delicious veggie saute, cooked bell peppers and fresh peas in their pod all coated with buttery smoothness. This leaves a creamy film feeling in one’s mouth that lingers, and I usually don’t experience that without over-the-top sweet flavoring (think cream earl greys, vanilla dessert teas, etc.), so to have that here with a more vegetal savory profile is novel for me and I really dig it! Didn’t get any cake-y notes until the very end (7th or 8th steep?), and it’s subtle but lovely. Yay my first total success with an oolong! (The one at Lan Su wasn’t bad at all, but it didn’t excite me…it was sweet and light, peachy, which was pleasant but didn’t bowl me over really.)