Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao) Oolong from Oollo Tea

OrientalBeauty2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Oollo Tea

Tea Description:

Renowned for its beautiful five colour dancing leaves. This traditional beauty exudes apricot and peach scents followed by indulging orchid, muscat grape, and apple flavours.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oollo Tea offers some outstanding teas and this Oriental Beauty Oolong is a perfect example.  It’s one of the nicest Bai Hao Oolong teas that I’ve tasted in a quite some time!

The aroma is lovely – it reminds me of warm peaches – like the filling in a peach cobbler.  Warm and bubbly and sweet!  That’s what I think of when I smell this tea!

The tea has a wonderful fruit flavor – I taste stone fruit and flower.  The above description suggests orchid and when I focus on the floral notes, yes, I would say that the flower I taste is indeed orchid.  I taste notes of peach and apricot and hints of a honeyed sweetness.

OrientalBeauty1I don’t taste muscat grape or apple yet, but perhaps those flavors will reveal themselves in later infusions.  For now, I’m quite happy with the notes of honey, orchid and peach-y apricot!

With my second cup (infusions 3 and 4) I am picking up some of those aforementioned notes of grape and apple.  Really nice!  I taste less of the peach and apricot flavors – those seemed to have disappeared – but I still taste a lovely orchid note and a lovely sweetness that I’d describe as more of a sugary sweetness now rather than a honey-like sweetness.  This tastes a bit like the sugar notes I’d experience if I were to eat a handful of raisins.

This cup is really smooth with just a hint of astringency toward the tail.  I taste a light, hay-like note to this too, similar to what I’d taste from a Bai Mu Dan (white tea).  Every once in a while, I’ll also taste the slightest whisper of vanilla.

I started to notice the flavor waning with my third cup (infusions 5 and 6), so I decided it would be my last of this tea.  But I had three marvelous cups of tea!  The third cup still had plenty of flavor – lovely notes of apple and grape and almost a melon-like background note that I hadn’t noticed in the previous infusions!  Still sweet, still lovely.

A really wonderful tea – this Oriental Beauty from Oollo Tea!  If you haven’t checked out their website yet, you should stop in and check them out!

Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

anjibaichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Anji Bai Cha owns a delicate, soft and relaxing taste, with a light sweet aftertaste.

Characteristic of this green tee variety is the colour of the leaves, rather white than green; in Chinese, baimeans white. The lack of pigment is due to the low chlorophyll content of the plant.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf of this Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is so beautiful!  It looks almost like pine needles – but it doesn’t smell like it!  It has a delicate aroma, smelling lightly sweet and slightly vegetal.

To brew this, I suppose I could have reached for my Gaiwan (they are very similar to a silver needle, after all) but I decided to grab my Kati Tumbler instead.  I couldn’t measure this leaf with my bamboo scoop because the leaves just didn’t really work very well for it, so I simply used my fingers to pinch some tea out of the packet and into the basket of my Kati and eyeballed it when it looked to me to be about a bamboo scoop’s worth.

Then I added hot water (175°F) and let the tea steep for 1 1/2 minutes.  The brewed tea is so light in color – a pale, yellowish green.  The aroma is also quite light and gave me the initial impression that the overall flavor would be equally as light.

But it isn’t!  This is a very flavorful tea despite it’s rather delicate appearance and fragrance.

Sweet!  I taste notes of sweet grass and hints of flower in the distance.  It’s a very smooth and relaxing flavor.  There is some dry astringency toward the finish, it’s almost as if the tea is gently patting my palate dry to ready it for the next sip.

There is a light ‘airiness’ to this tea, like the flavor of the air in a meadow.  The grassy notes and whispers of flower that mingle in the air as a gentle breeze filters through.  As I continue to sip, I taste notes of melon – a sweet, juicy melon!

A delight to sip, this sweet tea that calms me with each sip.  This is de-stress at it’s best!

Top Grade Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea from Fong Mong Tea

orientalbeautyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Tea Description:

Taiwan characteristic Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea, a long narrow strip like of various colors, is also called Bai Hao Oolong Tea. Bright white-tipped leaves, a symbol of high level Oriental Beauty Tea, can only be cultivated irreplaceable strong fragrance in organic ecological tea plantation. This tea, with very limited quantity, can only be produced by a senior experienced tea master at one harvest each year.

Learn more about this tea here.


Taster’s Review:

This is not the first time that I’ve sampled and reviewed Fong Mong Tea’s Top Grade Oriental Beauty Oolong, but with every new year comes a new harvest and this is a top notch Oriental Beauty!  It’s definitely worthy of another examination because it’s one of the best Oriental Beauty Oolong teas that I’ve encountered.

To brew this tea, I reached for my gaiwan.  I measured 1 bamboo scoop of leaves into the bowl of the gaiwan and then I heated the water to 180°F.  After a 15 second rinse, I steeped the leaves for 45 seconds and strained the tea into a small teacup.  The teacup holds 2 infusions, so I went ahead and infused the leaves a second time, adding 15 seconds onto the steep time (1 minute) and then combined the two infusions into the cup before I started sipping.

The first cup was delightfully sweet with notes of fruit that are peach-like.  There is a honey-like sweetness to the cup as well.  The liquid is very smooth and has a soft, rich mouthfeel.  It has a barely there astringency.  By the time I reach mid-cup, I start to pick up on a light floral tone and subtle woodsy tones.

I noticed the flavors became more developed with the second cup (infusions 3 and 4).  The fruit and honey notes remain the strongest flavors of the cup and these flavors have intensified.  The peach notes are like a soft, ripe peach.  I can almost feel the soft, luscious texture of the peach as I sip this tea.

There is a little more astringency with this cup than in the first cup, but it is still quite a light, barely noticeable astringency.  The floral notes and woodsy tones I started to notice at mid-cup are a little stronger with this cup.  A pleasantly sweet and beautiful cup to sip.

Later infusions offered an even stronger sweetness.  In the third cup, I noticed the floral notes emerging a little more and I found these to be sweet and as they melded with the honey notes and the sweet peach notes it intensified the sweetness of the overall cup.  I also started to pick up on some earthier qualities.

A very intriguing tea, I highly recommend this one to all Oolong enthusiasts!

No. 6 – Bai Lin Congfu Black Tea from Joseph Wesley Black Tea

Bai Lin CongfuTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Joseph Wesley Black Tea

Tea Description:

Made strictly from the early, fresh, tender, and young buds of the Da-Bai tea cultivar, Joseph Wesley’s Black Tea No. 6 showcases the sweet, smooth and slightly toasty characteristics of China’s famous Bai Lin Congfu black tea. This tea is sweet in taste and beautiful in construction with a delicate array of golden-orange buds and a distinct fuzz showcasing the skill used in the complicated hand-crafting of this tea. With notes of caramel and cream, Joseph Wesley’s Black Tea No. 6 is an enduring way to reenergize in the morning, afternoon, or before a night out on the town.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmmmmmmmm!   Yes, this tea:  No. 6 – Bai Lin Congfu Black Tea from Joseph Wesley Black Tea warrants nine m’s.  It’s that good.

The dry leaf is beautiful.  The leaves are dark brown with lots of golden tips.  The aroma of the dry leaf is earthy, and the fragrance of the brewed tea is also what I would describe as earthy.  There is relatively little here in the fragrance that hints at the flavors that will be experienced with the first sip.

It is incredibly smooth.  No bitterness whatsoever.  Just smooth from start to finish, and it finishes with a slight dryness that intensifies slightly in the aftertaste.  And it’s sweet, and the thought that comes to mind when I think of the sweetness is a warm, silky caramel.  So smooth and rich and sweet.  It almost tastes like I’m drinking something that I shouldn’t be drinking because it tastes that good, you know?  Kind of like licking the mixer blades after you’ve made a chocolate cake, you know you shouldn’t eat that raw cake batter, but, it tastes so good that you just can’t stop.

There are hints of sweet fruit in the distant, with notes of wood, leather and earth that are a little less distant, with a haze of smoke that sort of films over these flavors just a little bit.  Further obscuring these notes are the incredibly decadent sweetness of the cup.  As the tea begins to cool, I pick up on some creamy notes as mentioned in the above description.

A truly remarkable tea.  Put simply … I think I died and went to tea heaven.  If you like black tea – you’ll love this.  And if you love black tea, I caution you:  you may become obsessed with this one.

Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Butiki Teas

Anji Bai ChaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Our premium Anji Bai Cha originates from Anji County in Zhejian Province in China and is grown at an elevation of approximately 2,900 feet. One bud and one tender leaf are utilized from the Bai Ye Yi Hao (white leaf #1) varietal to create this truly beautiful jade green tea. Anji Bai Cha translates to “Anji White Tea”. This tea is classified as green tea by process; the name refers to the color of the unprocessed tea leaves which are white and somewhat translucent in the sun. This rare tea has a short harvesting season of one month in the early spring season. Our Anji Bai Cha is sweet and buttery with vegetal notes and has a silky mouth feel. Sweet white corn and green pea notes are prominent with a gentle floral finish. The sweetness remains and lingers long after each sip. Subtle tart cherry notes can also be detected. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Anji Bai Cha Green Tea from Butiki Teas brews up so LIGHT in color.  It’s so pale, in fact, that I questioned whether or not I had put tea in the teapot!  The brewed tea is almost as clear and colorless as the water that I poured into the tea kettle.

The flavor is almost as delicate as the color is … but it is beautifully sweet with notes of butter and mild vegetables.  The above description suggests corn and green peas … I don’t know if I taste green peas or not (I’m not a fan of peas!) but, I definitely get hints of sweet corn.

I’m also getting the delicate floral finish that is mentioned in the description.  I like the way that this starts off sweet, with a smooth texture and a buttered vegetable taste and then as the sip heads into the finish, I notice notes of flower that linger into the aftertaste.

As the tea cools slightly, the flavors begin to emerge a little more.  I notice the cherry notes now.  It is a sharp, tart note and when it finally did emerge … it took me by surprise.  I was like … whoa!  What was that?  This tea definitely benefits from a couple of minutes cooling time to allow the flavors to come in to focus.

Now I am starting to notice a little more of a green vegetable kind of taste – again, I don’t know if I”d call it green pea because this is not something I eat on any kind of basis – but, I do taste a “green” kind of taste here.  It’s crisp and a refreshing contrast to the sweet note of corn.  I also note just a hint of a nutty kind of flavor to this.

A very enjoyable cup of tea!  I would recommend this one to someone who tends to shy away from green teas because of the strong grassy notes … this is much more subtle in it’s approach.  It’s a pleasant, complex cuppa – I like contemplating the complexity of this one.   A nice way to spend a chilly evening!