Organic Rose Ginger Oolong Tea from Aftelier Perfumed Teas

RoseGingerTieGuanYinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Product Description:

Organic Muzha Tieguanyin oolong tea, from Taiwan, is a rare tea that is oxidized and roasted for two days by a traditional tea master. This full-bodied oolong opens with ripe fruit notes and finishes with a smooth aftertaste, blending beautifully with the spicy rose flavor that Mandy creates with our Aftelier Chef’s Essences: Fresh Ginger and Turkish Rose. These tightly rolled leaves unfurl during the first steeping, and may be re-infused up to 4 times, retaining their fragrance.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I reviewed this tea previously – well, no, not exactly.  I reviewed a tea that is similar, but since writing that review, Mandy from Aftelier Perfumes changed her recipe for the tea blend slightly to use an organic Muzha Tieguanyin Oolong tea rather than the Tieguanyin she used for the tea that I sampled for that first review.

And I’ve come to learn (and greatly appreciate!) that organic definitely DOES make a difference.  It is especially noticeable (by taste) with tea bases (tisane bases) like rooibos, but I have also noticed differences between conventionally grown Oolong teas versus organically grown Oolong teas.  Yes, the possibility exists that the differences are only mentally imposed differences – that is to say, I think, “Oh, this is organic and therefore it is better,” but even with that mentally imposed difference, I still taste something better.

Hey, let’s face it, organic IS better.  It’s better for the earth and I believe it’s better for the tea drinker as well.

But really, I don’t need to justify revisiting this tea, because it’s a remarkable tea and I love the teas that are crafted by Aftelier.

I steeped this the way I typically steep an Oolong – in my gaiwan – performing a 15 second rinse and then I steeped the first infusion for 1 minute and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  I combine two infusions in each cup, so therefore the first cup was composed of the first two infusions and the second cup was composed of the third and fourth infusion, and so on.

I love the way the rose and ginger play together on the palate.  It is sweet, floral and just a little zesty from the peppery notes of the ginger.  The ginger does not bring a strong, heavily spiced presence to the sip, just a gentle, peppery warmth.  However, after sip is gone, the ginger lingers in the aftertaste and I can taste (and feel!) the ginger on my palate.  It’s still a fairly mild heat.  I really like it because I generally think of rose to be a summery type of tea essence, it seems to bring a sense of summer to the cup, but the ginger gives this a cozy sort of flavor that is distinctly autumnal.

As does the Tieguanyin, which has a delicate earthiness and wisps of smoke in the background.  The Tieguanyin has a light creaminess to it and a slight buttery taste that with the roasted notes offers more of a sweet, browned butter flavor rather than a fresh cream buttery type of taste.  I also like how the roasted notes seem to diminish the presence of a strong floral and vegetal tone to the Tieguanyin, because it allows the rose to really shine through without competing with other strong floral notes.  This roasting process also allows the natural fruit tones of the tea to develop and intermingle with the essences of Turkish Rose and Fresh Ginger!

The slightly smoky, roasty-toasty notes emerged a little more prominently in the second cup (infusions 3 and 4), and I was very pleased to find that the rose and ginger notes remained for these infusions.  The rose notes are softening somewhat in this cup and is more reminiscent of the taste of the air that surrounds while strolling through a garden of roses.  The smell and flavor of the rose is distinct and definitely there.  aftelier

The ginger is warming on the palate, especially in the aftertaste.  The Tieguanyin is sweet, not quite as creamy as the first cup, but still quite toasty tasting with wonderful notes of stone fruit.  Warm and sweet and beautifully fragrant, just like summer, but also cozy and comforting like autumn.  A really beautiful cup.

I was surprised to find that those wonderful rose and ginger notes were still present in the third cup (infusions 5 and 6)!  With many flavored Oolong teas, the flavoring tends to be indistinguishable by the time I’ve reached the fifth and sixth infusion.  The tea is still delicious, of course, because the Oolong is still flavorful on its own, but usually the flavors have softened to the point of barely noticeable.  That is definitely NOT the case with this tea, though.

The rose is still lovely and the ginger still warm and peppery.  Sure, these flavors are softer now than they were with the first cup, but, that’s alright, because I am getting plenty of flavor from the Tieguanyin – sweet, fruity, toasty, nutty flavors – but I can also still taste sweet floral notes from the rose and zesty notes of ginger.

This is a really lovely and unique flavored Oolong – you’re not going to find another one like this anywhere!

Organic Turkish Delight from The Rabbit Hole

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  The Rabbit Hole

Tisane Description:

Exotic rose and luscious chocolate mingle to create a decadent herbal brew worthy of your harem. Go on, treat yourself to a little luxury and for a completely decadent hit, add honey.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This is really good!

This seems to be a fairly simple blend of cacao nibs and rose.  But out of such simplicity comes a true delight.  Upon opening the pouch, my olfactory sense was greeted with a heady fragrance of rose and the tempting aroma of chocolate.  The brewed tisane offers mere hints of the rose but a very delicious chocolate scent.

I recommend steeping this for at least ten minutes – and longer would probably be even better.  Since there are no tea leaves in this blend, there is no threat of bitterness by over-steeping, the flavors will just intensify with the longer steep time.  I would also recommend adding a little more than the recommended 1 teaspoon of leaf per cup, and I will explain why.

After steeping according to the recommended parameters, I found the tisane to be a bit thin in flavor.  Yes, the chocolate and rose flavors were there, and they were INCREDIBLE; however, I – being the chocoholic that I am – happen to think that more chocolate = better.  And I think that a richer chocolate flavor here would have been much more satisfying, and this can be easily remedied by simply adding an extra teaspoon of leaf before infusing, and be sure to infuse it a minimum of ten minutes, and fifteen would be even better, if you can wait that long!

As it is, it is still very delicious.  The cacao nibs give the cup a tasty bittersweet, dark chocolate kind of flavor.  The rose adds a touch of exotic flavor to the cup, tasting floral but without tasting like perfume.  The finish has a dry cocoa powder kind of taste, with lingering notes of rose.

This combination of flavors reminds me very much of a decadent chocolate truffle that I might find in a high-end chocolate shop … even though the flavor is thinner than I would like, I still consider this to be a highly enjoyable cup.

Ti Quan Yin Oolong with Fresh Ginger and Turkish Rose from Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Product Description:

Monkey-picked Tie Guan Yin oolong tea starts with a roasted-rice aroma and finishes with a fruity taste, blending beautifully with the refined Turkish rose and warm fresh ginger. These rolled leaves provide up to 4 infusions.

Taster’s Review:

Oh … WOW!  This tea is absolutely dreamy!  Like some sort of euphoric dream that’s been scented with roses and ginger and even a hint of smoke.  That’s not only what it smells like, it’s what it tastes like too!

It’s amazing!  The sip begins with an introduction from the rose.  It is a sweet and almost intoxicating rose flavor that is not bitter, it’s not even what I would consider to be sharp.  It is a distinct rose flavor, but, at the same time, it is unlike the rose flavors that I’ve experienced in teas before.

Shortly after your palate has become acquainted with the rose, a smooth yet smoky note from the Ti Quan Yin Oolong comes through and imparts its silky texture.  The smoky flavor is not at all off-putting, rather, it seems to unite perfectly with the rose and the ginger to create a complete flavor experience.

The ginger comes in next, and this is not a strong, peppery kind of ginger, but rather, an almost sweet note of warm spice.  It doesn’t taste hot or spicy, just mildly warm and enchanting.  The sip finishes with a slightly drying astringency, and the aftertaste lingers with the perfumed flavor of rose and whispers of ginger.

This tea is absolutely lovely.  Words cannot even begin to adequately describe just how lovely it truly is!  It is a tea that must be experienced to appreciate fully.  What a delight!

Turkish Green Apple Organic Tea from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Product Description:

This Turkish version of green tea, though delicate, features cured apple pieces and safflowers into a delicious tea blend. Our organic growers are able to customize the curing of their harvests and add a wide variety of flavors to their stronger blends. For tea lovers, blends such as Turkish Green Apple Organic Tea is full of great tea taste from the first sip to the very last.

Taster’s Review:

Back when I was actively blending and flavoring teas, I came up with a Green Apple blend that I was really loved.  It is one of the blends that I miss most now that I am not blending any more.  So it is very nice to be able to try other green apple blends.  This one from Red Leaf Tea is very tasty!

The green tea base is smooth and delicious.  No astringency or bitterness, just a fresh, clean taste that supports the apple flavor very well.  There is also an almost creamy note to it – buttery sweet!

The apple flavor is sweet with hints of tart.  Even though this is called “green apple” I am not finding it to be like a tart green apple, it is more like a sweeter red apple, although it is not overly sweet.  Crisp, juicy and delicious!

This is a delightful apple tea.  As a hot tea, it is very comforting on a chilly evening, but it is also quite good when iced!  Very refreshing!