Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tao Tea Leaf
Rou Gui is treasured for its cinnamon flavour as well as its impressive stamina. This tea also has the unique ability to keep its distinct flavours after multiple steepings upwards of 7 times. Rou Gui comes from the historic WuYi mountains in the Chinas Fujian Province. This area is also famous for producing other famous teas like Lapsang Souchong and the famous Da Hong Pao. Rou Gui has a medium and very smooth body with hints of floral orchid with a lovely honey-like finish.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve only tried a few different Rou Gui oolongs before, most of them from Nannuoshan, but so far I haven’t found one I dislike – the wide range of flavours experienced with the different infusions very much appeal to me so this Rou Gui oolong from Tao Tea Leaf is just going to further my exploration of the class. To stay consistent with the other Rui Gui I’ve tried I had a Gong Fu session with this one using my gaiwan.
The leaves for this are very dark, almost charcoal or black, and decently large. The smell of the dry leaf is very roasty with some fruity sweetness layered underneath. It’s perhaps a touch peachy? I did a ten second wash with this one; as the water hit the leaves my kitchen was instantly filled with a very robust, borderline earthy and roasty smell.
Infusion One: 10 Seconds – This is surprisingly sweet right off the bat despite quite strong toasted barley notes. It’s a little nutty and definitely has some stonefruit notes as well; like dried peach drizzled with honey. There’s maybe some cinnamon too, but not much. These notes comprise the start of the sip and the body. The finish tastes of corn chips and flax to me with a very intense presence of raisins in the finish. I’m usually quite anti-raisin but I actually like the way it tastes here. The taste of the raisin lingers in your mouth for a very long time after swallowing; minutes. For the most part it’s very smooth though it did leave my front two teeth feeling very dry. Leaves are barely opened up at all and smell quite roasty with cinnamon notes and something maybe vaguely like coffee grounds?
Infusion Two: 15 Seconds – Still tastes strongly of roasted barley but it a bit more nutty and has woody notes at the start as well as much more defined cinnamon notes. The body is comprised mostly of rich peach and raisin notes. The honey notes have also gotten stronger, and are tightly tying in with the raisin. Some floral notes have begun creeping in as well. I’m almost reminded of a roasted trail mix with dried fruit/raisins mixed in. This subtle transition of flavours is keeping true to what I’ve observed with other Rou Gui. The leaves smell subtly fruitier.
Infusion Three: 30 Seconds – Ooh! This was not a good pour; I spilled tea everywhere. The flavour is really starting to turn. I’m observing a dramatic decrease in roasted flavour. Definitely strong peach/raisin notes; the strongest so far. The peach is less so a dried peach flavour now, and closer to something fresh. Significantly more floral with more defined floral notes like orchid. Almost seems buttery. Leaves are almost completely opened up and smell sweet like honey and quite floral. There’s absolutely no dry feeling on my teeth from this infusion.
Infusion Four: 40 Seconds – There’s essentially no barley, nut or roasted flavour left. The liquor tastes quite floral with strong raisin and honey notes. The peach has faded quite a lot which is actually kind of disappointing; now that the focus is more on the taste of the raisin I’m losing interest. Also, it’s definitely very buttery. This is the lightest and most watery infusion yet. I’m sure I could probably get a decent fifth infusion but for my own personal tastes the leaves may very well be spent. They are, however, fully opened and smell sweet like honey and flowers.
This is definitely similar to the other Rou Gui/Cassia Teas I’ve tried but unique in its own right too – I definitely experience some more unique notes with the first steep like corn chips and flax, and I don’t remember really tasting raisin with the others I’ve tried. It’s definitely something I’d serve to other people and I would totally drink it again myself.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
How about this for unique? Here’s our premium Indian black teas blended with real dried apricot, almond slivers and coconut!
This is really yummy!
The aroma of the dry leaf makes my mouth water. It smells so good. It smells like fresh apricots and almonds. A hint of coconut lingers in the background. After brewing, the fragrance changes a little – now it smells like something freshly baked. A muffin filled with apricots and almonds and coconut, perhaps? It smells delicious and inviting.
With the first couple of sips, I really noticed the black tea. I could taste the other flavors, of course, but, the black tea seemed to be the strongest flavor. And that’s quite alright. This is tea, it’s supposed to taste like tea. It is a strong, crisp black tea taste with a fair amount of astringency. No bitterness (although, I wouldn’t suggest over steeping) – it’s a bold, black tea that provides a solid background of flavor.
The apricot is sweet and it tastes authentic. It tastes so much like apricot that I can almost feel the pulpy texture of it. The almond lends a nutty sweetness to the cup and is a very harmonious flavor with the apricot. The coconut is more of a accent flavor, not particularly strong but, it lends a distinct creaminess to the cup.
Overall, this is a deliciously sweet fruit-and-nut tea. While the flavor combination may seem a little odd, it all works together quite well. I like this both hot and cold, but I think I prefer this one hot … so I will probably be saving the rest of this pouch for the cooler weather that will be here (I hope!) in the next couple of months.
Another uniquely delicious treat from 52Teas!