Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Pelican Tea
An earthy but delicate habanero-infused Seschung Oolong tea with organic mint and pan-toasted brown rice. This is a favorite when I’m not in the mood for something sweet, but definitely in the mood for… something*.
*Something in this case may be anything. Spooky.
Learn more about this tea here.
Whoa! This one has got some kick to it! When I read the label and it said “Moderately Spicy,” I didn’t expect quite so much heat! Not that I’m unhappy with it, I like the spice level. But, for those of you who tend to be sensitive to spicy things, don’t be fooled by the word moderate. This one is warm.
But after the first two or three sips of WARM … the heat becomes more subdued (or maybe it’s just that the taste buds have adapted to the heat) and now it’s more like a pleasant warmth at the back of the throat. So, don’t let those first two or three sips scare you, once you get past that point, then you can sit back and really enjoy the complexity of this tea.
Because yes, it’s spicy, but, there’s so much more to this tea than just heat from the habanero pepper.
First, we have the roasted flavor of the Se Chung Oolong tea. The delicious roasty-toasty flavor melds beautifully with the pan-toasted rice, and the delicate smoky notes of the Se Chung accentuate the spice of the habanero. I love the way the roasty-toasty, the smoky and the spice taste together. It’s a well-conceived flavor combination.
Then there is the mint. Given how well the other three components – Oolong, rice and habanero – seem to work together, one might think that the mint is a bit out of place in this blend. But, I like the touch of mint. Mint can often become a bit too aggressive in a blend and wind up giving off a toothpaste-y sort of taste, but, that didn’t happen here. The mint is strong enough to be tasted but not so strong that it overpowers the other flavors. Instead, what it does here is come in to offer a cooling, crisp note to the warm, toasty and smokin’ flavors of the other ingredients. It’s an interesting and creative contrast to the warm flavors.
Since this IS an Oolong, I decided to take it for another infusion. The second infusion was – surprisingly – a little spicier than the first. This surprised me; I expected the heat to wane a little with the second infusion. The roasted and smoky notes of the Oolong as well as the toasty rice notes seemed to soften somewhat. I think I preferred the balance of the toasty, smoky and spicy notes of the first cup over this, where it seems that the fiery notes of the habanero are stronger than the flavors of the Oolong and rice. It’s still delicious, just different.
The mint is a little stronger in this second infusion too, so with this cup, there is more balance between the mint and habanero flavors rather than with the warmer notes. It’s more like a balance between the crisp, refreshing notes of mint and the peppery heat. Still a tasty cup of tea, and certainly worth the resteep!
This is a really fascinating blend from Pelican Tea!