All hail the Queen! The queen of teas that is. Everything about this tea shouts royalty. Unfortunately, the dry smell isn’t coming through due to cross contamination from another tea but the wet smell more then makes up for the loss. In the first 30 seconds of steeping an aroma blossoms from the leaves that is borderline heavenly. One would think they infused rose oil into the leaves. It’s so floral it almost hides the earthy tones.
The essence extracted from the leaves in the water, aka the flavor is truly unique. Floral and fruity notes with a honey finish. Considering that it’s 70% oxidized, I’m surprised that the earthy tones are so mellow. The surprises keep hitting with this tea. I’ve tried it hot, luke-warm, and cold and find the flavor notes do best right in the middle.
Oolongs are truly one of those tea types that are not well known enough the USA. If you are a first time tea drinker you generally start off with something that isn’t even tea [to be considered tea it has to have the camellia sinensis leaf in it]. These are generally called herbals or tisanes. They then will most likely try blacks like English breakfast or scented greens like Jasmine. It’s not until you really dive deeper into the world of tea that you discover oolongs. Even the world of oolong is intense. The type of oolong you get depends on how much it is oxidized. As I said before this tea (Bai Hao) is 70% oxidized and thus is closer to the black tea spectrum. If you truly want to branch out into the tea world or just want to discover more about oolongs and you don’t know where to start, this is a good tea to begin with.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tillerman Tea
One of the few high grade teas to be harvested in the summer, this tea, first known as “Bai Hao” in Taiwan, reminds us a bit of a superior first flush Darjeeling. We are not the only ones to think so; the story (certainly apocryphal) goes that Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, enjoyed this tea so much that, when she ran out of her Darjeeling, she dubbed this the “Oriental Beauty.” This was subsequently translated back into Chinese as “Dong Fang Mei Ren” Multi-colored twisted leaves mixed with an abundance of silver furry tips gives this tea its visual appeal. The unique flavor profile results from the way this plant develops. The tea green leaf hopper attacks the young developing bud in the spring causing it to wither on the branch. The lower leaves are harvested in the summer with the withered “white tip” attached. This tea is organically grown in Hsinchu County in Taiwan. For anyone who likes a fruity malty tea like Darjeeling with an intriguing honey note, this is a great alternative. After all, if it was good enough for the Queen. . .
Grower: Hsu Sheng Fu Dashi
Cultivar: Qing Xin Da Pan
Region: Emei, Hsinchu
Harvest: Summer 2016
Use between 3-5 grams of tea. This is a wiry leaf so practice is required. Pour 195°F (90° C) over the leaves and steep for 1 minute. Always remember to adjust steeping time depending on water temperature, amount of tea you have and personal flavor preference. Increase time and temperature slightly with each infusion.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: The Mountain Tea Company
It’s no wonder this tea is also called Champagne Oolong. This Oriental Beauty in compressed cake form tastes of apricots, thick with honeyed spice. Simply break off a piece and enjoy. 3.8 oz
Other names: Champagne Oolong, Formosa Fancy Oolong, Braggart’s Tea – Peng Feng Cha – 椪風茶, White Tip Oolong – Bai Hao Oolong – 白毫乌龙, Dong Fang Mei Ren – 东方美人
Learn more about this tea here.
Oriental Beauty Cake from The Mountain Tea Company is one of the prettiest teas I have ever seen, let alone the pretties cake I have ever seen! There is also a lovely story about this tea’s creation and discovery here.
Well to begin this is an organic tea so points for that! Furthermore it is a pressed oolong yet has a distinctive pu’er flavor profile. Perhaps the pressing of this tea into a cake is only for presentation and novelty but I swear that in doing so it has manifested itself into a more earthy tea like a pu’er. Whatever the case may be – my imagination or reality, this is such a wonderful cup.
I will confess, I am getting a bit of a tea high while sipping on it. Either that or I just need a nap but I am feeling quite laid back and cozy in this sipping moment.
The aroma is a sensory explosion! Sweetly floral, and fruity, peppery notes, and the aroma of a wooded place. The aftertaste is so very familiar – what IS that flavor? Savory, vegetal, something buttered perhaps, GAH what is it? … Squash, Zucchini perhaps. I will come back to that another time it may drive me batty. It is delicious regardless!
I am surprised at just how bold this cup is. There is only a slight touch of astringency to it, but I like it as it has this slight bite then changes into that mystery flavor I was trying to pin point above.
I do also pick out notes of fruits, honey, and spices. It is in a way reminiscent of spending a day at the farmers market or maybe something a little more extravagant like a Moroccan market perhaps.
Ah the second infusion really brings forth the fruit notes! Now I get that raisin note that another reviewer had mentioned on Steepster!
I had got distracted while doing this review and came back to a very cold cup of tea and you know what. Its really good!
This really is not what I generally gravitate toward in an oolong but when I don’t think of it as an oolong I love it. Okay I love it even when trying to see it as an oolong. I think the point I am trying to make is, is that if someone handed me a cup of this I would think it either a black tea with some excellent layers in the flavor notes or perhaps a pu’er. I would be very confused.
I am also pretty sure this is the type of oolong served at a couple of the local Asian buffets here local to me. Now granted I do not think they are near this level of quality of an Oriental Beauty Oolong but hey at least its not Liptons!
So in closing I must say I am excited, surprised, confused, intoxicated, and wooed by this tea. I look forward to many many more steepings and sessions to come with this beautiful cake!
Kudos to The Mountain Tea Company for always having some of the best teas!
Oh and if you order from The Mountain Tea Company be sure to look for the button on their item pages that says “Tweet for Discount” if you have a twitter account you can get a code for 5% off your purchase.
Where To Buy: In Nature
Floral Oolong (Dong Fang Mei Ren)
Dong Fang Mei Ren translates as ‘Eastern Beauty’ and is also known by the alternative name of Bai Hao Oolong, known to make women even prettier.
A very mild oolong from the High Mountains of Taiwan. Elegant taste with a unique palate and colour, very pleasing to the eye and the mind.
Pack size: 50g
Servings: 50 cups or more. Full instructions on how to prepare the perfect cup of tea inside each box
Some teas just seem to take you to a different place! Sweet blossoms is what this reminds me of at first sniff! Just like in a tree and/or fruit orchard with the most PERFECT weather – both in temperature and breeze. The clouds are fluffy and there is a glowing haze that makes it feel just like a dream. You can help but spin around in circles (like when you were a little girl) as you stroll thru the rows and rows of blossoms and trees!
The taste is gentle, sweet, yet floral at times…this is a very PRETTY tea. Towards the end of the sip you get a little bit of the woodsy taste but oh-so-slightly and the after taste is a tad nutty but pleasant.
This is a very laid back and go-with-the-flow type tea! Quite enjoyable!