Stong Fire Oolong from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Native Name: Dark Tieguanyin

Named after the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Kuan Yin, Tieguanyin is one of the more popular rolled oolongs. Although Tieguanyin varietals are native and to Anxi county in Fujian province, many other areas in China are now also cultivating this varietal. There are apparent differences between the various Tieguanyin varietals, each with its own unique characteristics.

In making Strong Fire only the mature, hardy leaves are plucked. They are then withered in the sun for a few hours to reduce moisture. Once suitable suppleness is achieved in the leaves, traditional rolling techniques (at least 13 different motions) are applied in conjunction with light roasting to achieve the optimum shape and flavor. A final high roast is given to complete the processing.

Taster’s Review:

This one scared me a bit.  The name “Strong Fire” suggests to me that this might be a very smoky tea.  And while it does have well-pronounced smoked tones to it, it certainly is not at all what I expected.  The smoky flavor is so perfectly balanced with a roasty-toasty flavor that it doesn’t come off as liquid smoke.  It’s actually quite pleasant.

The roasting of these leaves imparts a certain wood-like taste to the cup, as well as the aforementioned roasted flavor and smoky undertones.  These bring out the natural sweetness of the Oolong tea, converting what might otherwise be a fruity or floral sweetness to a well-caramelized sweetness.  The high roasting imparts a savory, almost burnt flavor to the leaves, enhancing the burnt sugar quality of the caramel flavor.

I like this so much more than I thought I would, and I am finding that each subsequent infusion (I got six incredible infusions from one measurement of leaves) is equally as lovely.  I guess it just goes to show you not to judge a tea by its name!

Oolong Tea from Rare Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Co.

Company Description:

Winner of a gold star in the 2008 Great Taste Awards.

Rare Tea Oolong is known as the Goddess of Mercy or Tie Guan Yin. It is a lightly oxidised yellow gold.

We have specially selected this oolong for its truly extraordinary flavour. Crafted to an exact point at which the leaves reveal their hidden subtleties it has rich floral aromas leading to a perfectly balanced mineral finish. The second infusion is richer and even more complex than the first. The tea can be infused several times to reveal incredible subtleties of flavour.

Note:  Read more about this Oolong here.

Taster’s Review:

Oolong tea has been a long-time favorite of mine.  My affection for Oolong began with a delightful Fancy Formosa Oolong, and has since grown as I experienced the different varieties of Oolong.

This is one of the very BEST Oolong teas I’ve ever tasted.  The flavor is simply magnificent.  The beautiful golden liquor is rich tasting, with notes of fruit and flower.  It has a creamy buttery essence is so deliciously decadent.  A smooth, silky sensation glides over the palate.  It’s absolutely devine!

It is also an extraordinary value (as are many high quality Oolongs such as this one) because one measurement of leaves can be infused multiple times – for many cups of enjoyment.  In fact, it would seem almost criminal to NOT steep these leaves at least three or four times, as the subsequent infusions produce a tea that is even more flavorful than the first!

This lovely tea is self-drinking – that is to say that it needs no additions to enjoy it.  No milk or sweetener – these might just ruin an otherwise perfect cup of tea!  And while it would be quite delicious served iced, to get the most flavor from it, it really should be enjoyed hot.

This tea is truly delightful – a definite MUST TRY!