Posts Tagged ‘Oolong Tea’
Tea Company: The East India Company (website)
Ingredients: green tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
It has been a long time since my last review, but I am finally back in the country and yearning to try a new tea and share my experience with all of you! For this first review, we have “Cannon Ball” by The East India Company. While I would love to tell you exactly what this tea is, I am not quite sure. Their website lists it as a green tea, and the description suggests it is a green tea, yet the label on the container specifically says “It is a lightly fermented oolong tea.”
Well….okay then! This tea basically looks like an oversized version of gunpowder green tea, thus the naming fits, cleverly. The smell of the dry leaves is faintly reminiscent of that smokiness present in gunpowder green tea. Yet the slight floral taste brings to mind…shockingly…light oolongs. This tea becomes more and more mysterious, and I grow more and more curious!
Unsure as to the water temperature, I opt to use 1 cup of water prepared for green tea (to be on the safe side), coupled with 1 teaspoon of leaves. What works for gunpowder greens and oolongs should work for this too, right?
Three minutes of steep time, says the packaging. I can do that! (My time overseas has not taken from my tea-making skills.) The resulting brew is a pale yellow-green and smells like…hmmm…very light, floral oolong. Not overly floral, as one might encounter in the tasting of a jasmine oolong. At the same time, it carries the gunpowder green tea flavor, but with a little extra, as though one took a pouchong and mixed it with a gunpowder. This is definitely different, in a pleasant way. Overall, however, the brew seems a bit weak, and perhaps a longer steep time is required.
I love the smokiness of gunpowder green tea, and the fact that such a quality carried over in a new way to this tea definitely caught my attention. While this is an interesting and decent tea, it might be better to order a small sample to try initially. I thought I would love this tea, yet I now can only see myself drinking it occasionally, not every day. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate it a 73/100.
You can purchase the Cannon Ball directly from the The East India Company website.
Tea Company: Boston Tea Company (website)
Ingredients: Chinese Sechung Oolong Tea, Almonds, Calendula Petals, Natural Vanilla and Almond Flavors
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1 teaspoon per cup, water just before boiling, 2-5 minutes
If one doesn’t have the proper word to describe something, inventing one is always an option. Therefore and herewith, I christen this tea nuggety.
Dry, the rolled oolong leaves are nearly as big as granola bits; the almond slivers fully as big as your fingernail. The scent is all almond–the vanilla is just along for the ride. Nice apricot-colored calendula leaves add a little contrast, both visually and flavorfully.
A three-minute window of opportunity seemed a little generous (prep instructions suggested anywhere from 2-5 minutes), so I tried to hit the steep time right in the center. Doing so resulted in a beautifully pale cup that was sweet and subtly nutty. The variety of oolong chosen for this blend is so close and complementary to the almond flavor, it’s hard to separate them as you sip.
The tea label suggests that milk, lemon, or sweetening is appropriate. A splash of milk didn’t completely overwhelm the tea’s delicacy, but Vanilla Almond Oolong is best enjoyed on its own.
You can purchase the Vanilla Almond Oolong directly from the Boston Tea Company website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Green Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use 1tsp to 1 tbs per cup (200ml); water temperature around 80 deg C (176 deg F): and infuse 2-4 mins. A forgiving, easy-to-brew tea – even if the leaves steep for a very long time it still tastes bright and smooth.
I felt that this tea was going to be a very unique experience. After all, pouchong is not a very common type of tea. The people who grow it refer to it as a green tea, yet in reality, pouchong is actually a type of oolong. The oxidisation process is such that the tea is supposed to be very light in flavour.
For preparing pouchong, water of a temperature akin to that which is used for green tea should be used. According to Canton Tea Co’s website, the tea is very forgiving, and they recommend using anywhere from one teaspoon to one table spoon of tea per cup of water. As I was making this tea in a 150ml gaiwan, I chose to just go with their recommendation and use 1 teaspoon of leaves. In keeping with their description of it being a very forgiving tea, they recommend 2-4 minutes for steep time. I went with three, just to be safe.
The dry leaves and the wet leaves smell much the same. A hint of fruitiness and a lot of fresh, light, oolong scent. Even after three minutes, the brew looks incredibly pale, but has a wonderfully light, floral aroma. The initial flavour, when the tea first touches the tongue, is light, too. While it may seem ridiculous, it is almost feathery in how soft the flavour is. One is then surprised when the finishing taste is bolder than expected. In fact, it seems that the finish is bolder than the foretaste.
I can see why this tea wins awards. It really is good. Canton Tea Co’s website says nothing regarding resteeping, but I decide to try anyway, increasing the steep time to four minutes. I cannot say that the resteeping has improved or changed the flavour. If anything, it is a bit weaker than before. However, this tea still maintains its soft mouthfeel and light flavours. An indefinite steep is probably called for in order to get all the vestiges of flavour from these leaves.
I enjoyed drinking this tea, and it is certainly one of Canton Tea Co’s very nice offerings. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 77/100.
You can purchase the Pouchong directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: East Pacific Tea Co (website)
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: steep 3-5 min in 195 deg F water
As I learn more and more about tea, I find so many types and varieties I would have never dreamed existed, and I love trying as many of them as possible. So, tea from Portugal, how could I pass this opportunity up?
And I’m so glad I got to try this. Wow. This is a great solid, delicious tea. The aroma of the dried leaf has definite dark chocolate overtones. And the leaves are HUGE for your average black tea. While the dark chocolate tones disappear once brewed, they’re replaced with the pure essence of camellia sinensis.
The tea is smooth. Not overly astringent, nor overly bold. And from a few mistakes on my part, I discovered that it’s a very forgiving tea as well – it won’t turn tannic on you if you oversteep for a few moments. This is not a very strong tea; this would not replace your morning coffee. But that is not to say in any way that it is lacking – it’s flavorful and rich. It just doesn’t yell about it, or get your attention with a bull horn. It gets your attention with a gentle touch and a kind word.
This tea is an exemplar of what a simple yet elegant tea should be.
You can purchase the Emerald Envy directly from the East Pacific Tea Co website.
Tea Company: Tula Teas (website)
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
I did a bit of background research on this tea, revealing that it was indeed grown in New Zealand and that this is one of three different varieties being produced there at the moment (the others are Zealong Dark and Zealong Aromatic). Unlike the other two, this Zealong Pure features “sweet, fresh-tasting leaves” that are “unroasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavour of the tea” (zealong.com). Their website suggests 1 tsp of leaves per cup of water, infused for a minute (at least at first).
Opening the package, I take in the aroma of the dry leaves. Sweet, very clean-smelling. They are rolled into balls, reminiscent of a ti kawn yin oolong. I prepare the water, freshly boiled, but not still boiling. The first minute of infusion goes by. The steeped liquor smells fresh and slightly floral. The leaves have a very vegetal aroma and still smell quite sweet. Sipping this first cup is a joy. From the smell of the liquor, I expected a much weaker brew than what now dances around on my tongue. While not strong, this oolong does have a full body – floral, fresh, and with just a touch of that natural sweetness.
Eagerly, I go ahead and steep the leaves again, for the suggested one minute. The leaves now have taken on a fuller aroma, more “juicy,” but in a floral sense. The smell of the brewed tea is still subdued, but after the first cup, I know this subdued aroma could hold great flavour. I can tell that the flavour has gone, somewhat, from the leaves, in comparison to the first steeping. It is, however, still there with the sweetness becoming a bit more prominent and equal with the other flavours.
The third steep is for two minutes (as per the suggestions from zealong.com). The longer steep-time has brought the flavours and aromas back in line with the first steeping. Full bodied, perhaps even a bit stronger flavour-wise than the first infusion. Ah, it is still delicious, regardless. I go ahead and put this tea through several more steepings. The zealong.com website makes the claim that it will last six to eight infusions. I am satisfied, and gladly would rate this tea a 92/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Zealong Pure directly from the Tula Teas website.