This tea order was not eco friendly…The boxes reserved for parcels at the stand where I get my mail delivered are always full (welcome holiday season!!!)
So I end up getting a notice card, drive 30 min. to go pick it up and therefore ditch I don’t know how much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Not proud of myself.
To my small town, I say this: please invest in more mailboxes, I want «greener» tea supplies!!!! (end of rant)
Zen Tea is not very present here on Steepster but it’s a company I like more and more. They don’t carry the biggest variety, but what they have is good at a very decent price. Plus they send 3 generous samples. I could have asked for my own sample choice, but decided, hey surprise me! I appreciate the fact that they have chosen samples according to the tastes expressed by my orders with them. I got some breakfast blend, earl grey and oolong. Now that shows attention to details, thank you very much for that!
I love Oolongs and I lost count of how many I have tried…It never cease to amaze me, how different they are from one another, in taste and in shape.
Tie guan yin will transport you to a rich and luxuriant garden, invading your senses with the mysterious and attractive floral scent of orchid, coating your mouth with silk and butter. She’s a Seductress.
Roasted aged oolong will take charge of your taste buds in a more assertive fashion, almost assaulting your ability to identify its notes. It’s a chameleon, transforming even before you can grasp its true essence. It’s roasty, it’s nutty, its sweet yet slightly bitter, it feels simultaneously cool and warm. He’s a Player.
There’s Baozhong Pouchong , looking so much different from the previous mentioned. Instead of little rolled nuggets, this beautiful tea is crafted in long twisted strands. Almost considered a green tea, the taste is very delicate, floral and sophisticated, and it’s one the most elegant looking of them all… He’s a polished Dandy.
So where I am going with all this you ask? Wiki-oolong or something?
I think, hey, I have seen oolong in any way, shape or form.
And then there’s this fragrant branch thing and I’m baffled. What is this?
I admit, I don’t know what to do with it, I’m intimidated… No one else has reviewed it, so I have to be the first to experiment here. How do I brew this, heck, how do I measure it? I decide I’m going to spend a lot of time with it cause it deserves a traditional Gongfu brew and I opt for the scale, 5g. For a 8oz Gaiwan. I have a feeling it will expend quite a lot.
First and foremost, it visually is stunning, looks like one of those intricate asian artsy tree paintings. It is obvious that the leaf is rolled while still attached to the little branch and I can’t help thinking how tedious this job must be…
I did not research it, so I have no clue what kind a benefit the branch portion will add to the brew.
First steep and the leaves are already unfurling. It’s light and fresh, the smell is a lot stronger than the taste, floral and woodsy bark aroma.
I get floral sweet notes, but in a lot more subtle way than with a tie guan yin.
I feel there’s a light citrus astringency in the background that is waiting to emerge in the later steeps, and that’s exactly how this tea evolves. At the fifth infusion, the floral notes are almost gone and I get that fresh citrus along with musky and more earthy bark vibe. That’s where the branch portion becomes game changer. They have tripled in size and the gaiwan feels overwhelmed now, not much room to breathe! The twigs are no longer wrinkled, having soaked all the water they needed. The leaves are perfectly shaped, not damaged at all, really a beautifully crafted tea
I will be able to sip on this for at least 4 or 5 more infusions I think.
This oolong is a showstopper and it knows it. It enjoys spreading its splendour before your eyes in all its glory. He’s a Peacock.
Writing about tea is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, isn’t is? Sorry for this way too long review!!!! My curiosity and amazement got carried away…
P.S. I wonder if these guys are on Steepster…I think they are the cutest, I love the way they review together :-)