I’ve found myself drowning in an endless ocean of black tea these days. Not as if that’s an entirely terrible thing, but something about the bleakness of northern winters makes me reach for a deep, malty honey black brew time and time again. After doing a bit of rummaging around in my stash to find something that wasn’t black tea, I was pleasantly surprised to find this pristine packet of Tea From Vietnam’s Ta Oolong Tea nestled in the back of my shelf. A beautiful image of an orchid gracefully adorns the sachet; the tea promises the luscious scent of the exotic flower, and a mellow, creamy taste. Dearest Ta, please take me away to springtime and sweet garden blossoms!! My body is ready!!
The tiny emerald spheres carry a toasty, sweet, and nutty scent- I’m not quite getting the floral notes yet, but I am perfectly happy with what I can smell!
Brewing Guidelines: 85 C – 1 tsp per 250 mL – 3-4 minutes
Ohhh my gosh I wish I had a glass gaiwan to watch these little guys unfurl. As I type this, I’m allowing the tea to steep with the teapot lid off because I just love to watch the way tightly rolled leaves toss and turn as they return to life. After the first steeping, the leaves are still rather curled and compact, so I know this tea has a lot more to give in future infusions.
My first whiff of the brew is quite similar to the scent of the dried leaves, nutty goodness, and I still can’t get any of that flowery scent I was promised. Darn! The tea brews up a lovely gentle amber color, with a subtleness I did not entirely expect from such densely compacted, dark leaves. Oolong teas never cease to surprise me!
WOW. Speaking of surprising! The brew is an endless bounty of flavors to be enjoyed: upon my first sip, I could taste that strong nutty note I was anticipating, though I also tasted a potent earthy, cinnamon flavor and finally got a glimpse of some floral sweetness as a mellow aftertaste accompanied by the faintest hint of astringency. Subsequent steeps really emphasize that cinnamon flavor that I am now officially obsessed with. I don’t think I’ve ever brewed a tea, even a flavored one, with such a rich and authentic cinnamon taste. Haha! It seems like no matter what tea I brew, I can’t seem to stray far from winter flavors 😉 Not that I’m complaining!
After the second infusion, the leaves have expanded to the point they’re bursting out of the top of the infuser basket! That incredible cinnamon flavor of the first steeping has diminished, though the floral notes of the brew have strengthened with a sweeter, slightly licorice aftertaste. The leaves clearly have quite a lot more to give, but for the sake of leaving this review short and sweet, I’ll leave the remaining steeps to your imagination. 😛
Ta Oolong is actually a bit more expensive than most teas I review (but is certainly still VERY affordable, I’m just a bit of an ol’ miser!), but the incredible bouquet of flavors and high quality, whole leaves that allow for multiple infusions are well worth the price tag. I’d say this tea perfectly embodies the transition period we’re in as we finish winter and eagerly await the spring- the cinnamon flavor might remind one of happy Christmas memories, while the sweet floral notes that emerge with further infusions bring the happy promise of April showers and May flowers.
Ta for now!!
..you know I’ve wanted to write that since I first sat down to write this blog.
Love you all 😉
Many thanks to Tea From Vietnam for providing this sample for review!