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Archive for the ‘oolong tea’ Category

Somehow, I have found myself watching Nature on PBS.  Today’s episode “Moment of Impact: Hunters and Herds” focuses on how animals both hunt and protect themselves.  I am quite amazed as I have just learned in a matter of 20 minutes that eagles have eyes that are larger than their brains. Queen ants reproduce constantly – laying over 3 million eggs per day. Jack rabbits have the ability to run at speeds of 40 miles per/hour.  And more than half of all giraffe calfs fall prey to tigers and hyenas. It is amazing how little I know about nature as I sat transfixed before the television enjoying a cup of Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong.

Composition: Oolong tea grown primarily in the foggy and wet mountain regions of China.  There is no milk or milk products contained in this tea.

Dry Visual: Dark green and yellow tightly rolled leaves with brown stems present.  Thanks to Stash Tea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: A blend of nutty, toasty, creamy almost milky with a mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor: Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong is mild yet flavorful. A lover of oolong tea, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a distinctly different feel in the mouth. It has a thick heavy texture that coats the mouth and tongue. Naturally sweet, I found this tea to delicious and thoroughly enjoyed every sip.  Unlike the dry aroma, Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong did not have a vegetal quality, typical of some oolongs.  Instead it was a unique mixture of toasted creaminess.  However, I was amazed by the changes in flavor as the cup cooled – this oolong became sweeter, slightly vegetal with a floral finish floral.

Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong has a mild astringency that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion. However, I would never add a sweetener for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile. There is something quite amazing about the nuances found in an unsweetened cup of tea.

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: Stash recommends steeping Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.  I opted for 4 minutes for the first infusion.

Manufacturer: Stash Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Milk Scented Kinsen Oolong tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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The last two weeks I have felt physically crappy – some days better than other – but today is the worst.  I am in need of some sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine!  It’s funny how, when feeling under the weather, we seek to surround ourselves with things that bring us comfort.  For some that means comfort food, for others comfy pajamas, a favorite blanket, or a childhood pillow.  Depending upon the ailment, there are times when hearing the voice of a spouse, loved-one, or best friend provide the needed level of comfort.  Sometimes it’s a hot steaming cup of tea.  The subject of today’s tea review and comfort of choice – Lavender Oolong.

Composition: Alishan oolong infused with natural lavender

Dry Visual: Light and dark green leaves tightly rolled with stems present.  Thanks to Naivetea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: Delicately floral – the smell of lavender is unmistakable with a hint of oolong.

Flavor: Lavender Oolong is a lovely floral infused oolong.  The oolong is mild with a distinct floral quality – I’m sure you are not surprised – that is present in the cup from the first sip to the last.  Full-bodied, Lavender Oolong creates a heavy feel in the mouth.

There is no astringency, therefore Lavender Oolong can be enjoyed without sweetener.  There is, however, a mild dryness that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion.  Nevertheless, I prefer to drink Lavender Oolong without sweetener.

Liquor: A yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Lavender Oolong in 190 degree water for  one minute during the first infusion and two minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Naivetea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Lavender Oolong tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Naivetea as a sample.

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There is nothing better than enjoying a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day. Okay… so there is nothing better than enjoying a hot cup of tea on any day, especially when it is cold. Tea is even better when you get a chance to share it with someone.  Today, that someone was Ann Weimer Baumgardner, author of Pretend You’re Normal (but only when absolutely necessary).

Ann and I drank a pot of Huang Jin Bolero (the subject of this tea review), while munching on a plate of tasty Lemon Straws. Between drinking, eating, and laughing Ann shared many insights with meabout her life and début novel.  Pretend You’re Normal was one of seven Finalists in the humor category of the 2007 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.  You can purchase a copy at  Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobel.

Now onto the tea review…

Composition: Oolong tea from Anxi, China. Anxi is a county in the municipal region of Quanzhou, Fujian Province. It lies adjacent to and directly north of Xiamen.  Huang Jin Gui means “Golden Flower.”.

Dry Visual: Rich light and dark green loosely rolled or “balled” leaves. Reddish brown stems present.

Dry Aroma: Sweet, nutty and fresh like spring rain.

Flavor: Huang Jin Bolero has a variety of flavors.  A greener oolong, this tea begins with a roasted nutty flavor and finishes  with a slight honey taste.  A lover of oolongs, Huang Jin Bolero was milder than expected, but enjoyable nonetheless.  After three cups, the flavor was consistent from one cup to the next.  There is a subtle vegetal aftertaste, sometimes characteristic with greener oolongs.  Additionally, I found the brew leaves a dry feel in the mouth.  However, Huang Ji Bolero requires no sweetener, nor would I recommend it.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue. The cup is clear.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 5 minutes in 212 degree water. I steeped 5 minutes for the first infusion and 6 minutes for the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Adagio Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Huang Jin Bolero, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Adagio as a sample.

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As the blustery winds of winter roll in, we are not only greeted by cold, grey, and cloudy days, but also the dreaded flu, sinus infection and colds.  No, I don’t have the winter blues, but I do have a dreaded cold.  Coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, tight chest and fatigue. During these times, nothing is better than a hot cup of tea to soothe the throat and ease the mind. I have enjoyed tremendously, multiple cups of Jade Oolong.

Composition: Oolong from Nantou, Taiwan

Dry Visual: Yellow, hints of red (some have described as brown), light and dark green curled leaves with stems present.  Thanks Rishi for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Very sweet and floral yet fresh and clean. Don’t worry, I smelled after being medicated when my olfactory system was operating properly! :-)

Flavor: Jade Oolong is simply wonderful.  Admittedly, I am biased towards Taiwanese oolongs, therefore this tea had a head start in the flavor category.  Jade Oolong is a full-bodied tea. As the dry aroma suggests, this tea is distinctly floral and amazingly sweet, yet not overpowering. I continued to taste the floral flavor in the back of my throat some time after I finished my cup. Rishi describes the floral quality as lilacs – I would certainly agree.  While drinking my cup, I closed my eyes for just a moment and could envision myself strolling through a garden full of lilacs on an early spring morning.

I found Jade Oolong to have no astringency, not even a hint of dryness.  It was very fresh and clean – a palate cleanser. Therefore, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it. I fear that sweetener would mask the subtle flavors of this tea.

Liquor: A pale greenish-yellow hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3-4 minutes in water that is 195 degrees F. I steeped 3 minutes for the first infusion and 4 minutes for the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Rishi Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Jade Oolong, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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48102-alt2After enjoying a late breakfast/early lunch, I decided to brew a small pot of tea and snack on some delicious bread pudding my husband purchased for me a few days ago. I figure, after eating a healthy meal and spending 30 minutes doing a yoga tape, I should be entitled to a sinfully sweet dessert. Shouldn’t I? In my opinion, nothing pairs better with an incredibly rich dessert than a delicious oolong. Of course, I’ll enjoy a cup of tea first, then eat my bread pudding paired with a second cuppa tea. Today’s choice… Oriental Beauty-First Prize also known as Dong Fang Mei Ren or Bai Hao.

Composition: Taiwanese oolong harvested at the end of spring.

Dry Visual: Very dark reddish-brown leaves dominate. Tips are present with a splattering of light green leaves. The leaves are withered, long and somewhat curled.

Dry Aroma: Sweet with a honey scented aroma.

Flavor: Oriental Beauty has a lovely taste. Somewhat full-bodied, this tea is complex. It is very floral yet sweet. The sweetness which I tasted more on the back of the tongue was that of honey and a fruitiness I could not quite discern. Some experts have claimed peach, I would love to hear your thoughts. I have steeped Oriental Beauty on several occasions playing with the steeping time. When steeped for a longer period of time, this tea also presents a toasted flavor. There is even a honey-flavored aftertaste long after the cup is gone.

I found the brew to have little astringency (no bitterness, but a subtle dry feel in the mouth).  Nevertheless, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue with a hint of red. When steeped for longer periods of time the liquor takes on a reddish or amber hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3-5 minutes in water that ranges from 190 to 200 degrees F. I have steeped for 3, 4, and 5 minutes for the first infusion. For this tasting, I steeped for 4 minutes.

Manufacturer: TeaSource

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Oriental Beauty-First Prize, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Medium LiSan OolongClasses have resumed and as usual, I am exhausted. Too much homework, too many late nights, and too much procrastination. Even now, I wish I were in bed sound asleep, yet I could not completely pass out without first posting my latest tea drinking experience. Having enjoyed Lishan Oolong several months ago from Jing Tea , I eagerly anticipated my first sip of Medium LiSan Oolong and I must say, I was not disappointed.

Composition: Light roasted oolong tea from Taiwan. (Country of origin corrected 7/23/09) 

Dry Visual: Light and dark green balled leaves with hints of brown and yellow. Stems are present.

Dry Aroma: Medium LiSan Oolong presents a complexity of aromas: sweet, mildly vegetal, nutty and wet like spring rain.

Flavor:  Flavorful, yet light, I found Medium LiSan Oolong to be delicious. This tea could be described by four key adjectives… refreshing, clean, floral, and mildly “sappy” from start to finish. Even after three infusions, this oolong remained full of flavor. As the brew began to cool, Medium LiSan Oolong presented a buttery quality adding additional complexity. As an aside, I did not find Medium LiSan Oolong to be vegetal, despite the dry aroma. 

I was not surprised by Medium LiSan Oolong’s lack of astringency. Sweetener is not required and non was added for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Medium LiSan Oolong Tea is 3 – 4 minutes in pre-boiling water. If you make the mistake of boiling your water allow it to cool a couple of minutes prior to steeping tea. I steeped the first infusion for 2 minutes, the second infusion for 4 minutes and the third infusion for 6 minutes.

Manufacturer: Fang Gourmet Tea (Special note, Medium LiSan Oolong is currently not listed on Fang Gourmet Tea’s website, but can be ordered.) 

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Medium LiSan Oolong Tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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moon crestOfficially, I’m on vacation – well at least from school for the week (not work).  The fourth of July is hastily approaching,  of course, the holiday does not occur without a family cookout with all the fixin’s.  Traditionally, on every holiday, my mother plans a big dinner during the Fall and Winter months and a cookout during the Spring and Summer. This year is no exception. Lately, I have added tea to the menu. While not everyone enjoys a cup, my family acknowledges my passion and is starting to expect me to bring a variety of teas for them to sample. Most have never heard of oolong or white tea or what they perceive as exotic blends like chai. It has been such a treat sharing what little I know about tea with my family.

Since all of our dinners and cookouts include potluck, this year, I think I’m going to make a variety of iced teas to share.  That, in conjunction with the store bought Amish Potato Saled my mother loves. Until then… I’m drinking Moon Crest a.k.a. Feng Huang Dan Cong.

Composition: Oolong tea leaves handpicked from bushes that grow on the Wudong peak of Phoenix Mountain in the Guangdong Province in China.

Dry Visual: Dark brown and dark green with a spattering of  light green curled tea leaves. Some stems are present.  Thanks Earthbound Tea for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Distinctly oolong – the leaves smell fresh. A slight vegetal aroma.

Flavor:  A very clean and light tasting oolong, the flavor is consistent from start to finish. Moon Crest has a slightly vegetal quality,  characteristic of some “green oolongs”, but not enough that the flavor could be compared to a green tea. Definitely refreshing and flavorful, I found Moon Crest to be a palate cleanser. The finish contains fruity notes.

As I often prefer, I enjoyed this cuppa tea with no sweetener.  Naturally sweet, there is almost no astringency (just a hint) thus no sweetener is needed. With such a mild tea, I fear the flavor profile would be compromised.

Liquor: A rich golden hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Moon Crest is 3 minutes in 180 degree water.  I steeped for 3 minutes as recommended.

Manufacturer: Earthbound Tea

Caffeine: Yes.

Moon Crest Tea a.k.a Feng Huang Dan Cong is processed via a technique called “rattling”. As I am not familiar with this technique, it will be the subject of another post. If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Moon Crest, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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