Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Chiang Rai Tea House
To produce oolong tea is a long and delicate process that involves withering, drying, roasting and rubbing the leaves for hours. The result is a leaf that yields a delicate yet flavorful and aromatic tea. Blossoms from organic jasmine trees are added to give its strong characteristic fragrance that makes it the perfect afternoon tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! The jasmine essence in this Jasmine Oolong Tea from Chiang Rai Tea House is really strong. It’s very aromatic and very strong, and the jasmine dominates the flavor too.
But even though it is a strong flavor, it doesn’t taste perfume-y to me. It’s very floral, but I’m not getting ‘perfume’ from it. That said, I must caution you that if you’re one who prefers a subtle jasmine presence in your tea, this isn’t going to be the right jasmine tea for you. However, if you’re someone who finds the average jasmine pearl or jasmine Oolong to be a bit too soft when it comes to the jasmine notes, you should definitely try this.
I steeped this tea in my gaiwan, following the procedure that I usually do for Oolong tea: a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl, heating the kettle to 180°F and pouring just enough hot water into the bowl to cover the leaf pellets and jasmine blossoms. I let this steep for 15 seconds and strain off the liquid, discarding it. Then I fill the gaiwan with more of the hot water and let it steep for 45 seconds. For each subsequent infusion, I increased the steep time by 15 seconds. I combined two steeps into my teacup, so my first cup is infusions 1 & 2, my second cup is infusions 3 & 4 … and so on!
My first cup is very floral, as I said. But it doesn’t really taste ‘perfume-ish’ so much as it tastes jasmine. It tastes as though I brewed straight up jasmine blossoms with some Oolong tea.
The Oolong tea is less discernible and seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the presence of the jasmine in this cup. I do get some lovely buttery notes from the Oolong and a really nice texture from the Oolong (soft and creamy!) but that’s about all that I’m getting from the Oolong in this cup.
My second cup was much more to my liking. I like jasmine, but I think that the first cup might have been a bit too much jasmine. This cup is quite lovely though! The Oolong flavors are starting to emerge and the jasmine notes soften somewhat. Still a very strong floral presence, the softer flavor here allows me to enjoy the exotic flower much more because it tastes lovely with the Oolong notes that are now developing. The Oolong is sweet, creamy and a little nutty. It has notes of peach in the distance.
The third (and final) cup was my favorite of the three. The jasmine notes are softer than they were in either of the previous cups, and this cup is much more like other jasmine Oolong teas I’ve had. I prefer the jasmine to be an accent note to the tea, rather than the tea to be an accent note to the jasmine and really, with the first two cups (the first especially) the tea was an accent to the jasmine.
Throughout my experience with this tea, I experienced no astringency, it was very smooth with a silky, buttery taste and texture. A pleasant tea – a little too heavy on the jasmine, perhaps, but fortunately it wasn’t a jasmine oil kind of taste – and if my time with this tea has taught me anything, it would be that there is really a distinct difference between the way jasmine oil makes a tea taste versus the way jasmine flowers make a tea taste.