I’m not a huge fan of oolongs. I usually get suckered into buying them at my local tea shops but rarely, if ever, end up drinking them. I’m taken initially with their dry aroma & then, if sampling in-store, I’ll enjoy the overall flavor. When I get them home, I just don’t find myself ever craving them. This one though? Wow.
I went to Wing Hop Fung to pick up another of my new favorite 5oz Finum brand double wall glasses with filter & hat. They’re just about perfect in my opinion; great for decanting to or brewing directly in. Anyway, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy any tea, but the ladies of Wing Hop Fung got me again.
They had an oolong on the counter for sale, but I wasn’t really impressed. As I turned away to leave the sales lady says, "You try this?” I look back reluctantly and she points to a container on the back wall. “This gooood.” It’s an oolong, that much I can tell, but otherwise the label doesn’t give me much more insight. I grunt… she’s got me.
“Sure, I’ll give it a try…”
A lovely sample cup and $78/lb later, this tea isn’t cheap. I didn’t want to get stuck with a large quantity that would sit on my shelf, but I wasn’t leaving without at least a little bit. In this case, just over 2oz for about $11. Yikes…
I was sold on the first taste. What was most obvious was the difference between the oolong they were giving samples of at the counter and this one. Like 2-D versus String Theory. The mouth feel was long, clean and lingering with a light tingle. Overall buttery in feel, taste and smell, without being overwhelming or overt like some oolongs. This tea is an exercise in subtlety that reminds you to slow down and pay attention. It forced me into the moment, demanding I be present.
The liqueur is a lovely light golden hue after a short 20-30 sec steep. Sweet tones dance about the palate from sip to savor. A juiciness prompts the salivary glands to flush and a brightness is left in the mouth. This is my idea of an oolong! It could very well convert me from my primary green tea ways.
And what’s brilliant is this goes on for steep after steep after steep, retaining color and flavor. I’m not really one for these 10-20+ steepings I read about on VerdanTea, usually maybe getting 3 or 4 if I’m lucky. But this tea is going strong well into the 5th steeping, and all for a fraction of the tea I’m use to putting into a cup. My 5oz cup was easily served with less then a teaspoon of this fine tea. Rolled tight, it expands to full leaves on the stem. I’m not use to seeing so much stem, in this case it’s pretty much uniformly 3 leaves to the stem. Kinda odd, but still kinda delicious.
As for caffeine, I’d put this on par with some of my favorite greens, alert but not edgy. OK, maybe a little bit more pep than the balance I look for with greens, but you’ll get no complaints from me. I’d say this would be a great after dinner tea, a digestive to stimulate conversation and lull its drinkers into savoring the present moment.
I’ve read some describe tea of this name as a “milk” oolong. I could see how this might be referred to as such, but I’m not sure it is. Overall this is just a brilliant tea and I look forward to enjoying it over time. Anyone else have any insight into this tea? Love to hear more about it.