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!

Muzha Tikuanyin Oolong Tea from T-Oolong Tea

MuzhaOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  T-Oolong Tea

Tea Description:

This Premium Muzha Tikuanyin tea is competition grade. The tea is handpicked, handcrafted and produced from Tikuanyin varietal. The production method of Taiwan TKY is complicated as the tea leaves must be repeatedly rolled and cloth twisted and then charcoal roasted for several days. The aroma and taste is this tea is fruity and sweet with this attractive and lovely Tikuanyin fragrance. It is rich and complex, and stands up very well to multiple infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

My first cup (the first two infusions after a quick rinse) of this Muzha Tikuanyin Oolong Tea from T-Oolong Tea was lighter than the subsequent cups, but it was still very flavorful.  I could taste the charcoal roast, nutty notes, and a sweet, fruity tone come through.

But the second cup (infusions 3 & 4) is where the taste really came alive with this tea.  It is so delicious and roasty-toasty.  The nutty flavors and the fruity notes are coming through stronger now.  There is a creamy, buttery taste to this, but instead of a typical cream/milk/butter type of taste, this is more reminiscent of browned butter.  Sweet and toasty!  The creamy notes accentuate the nutty tones, and the fruit flavors evoke thoughts of sweet stone fruit.  This cup started out really smooth, and as I neared the end of the cup, I started to notice a mineral-y sort of taste and texture toward the finish.

With my third cup (infusions 5 & 6), I noticed more of the mineral notes begin to emerge, although I wouldn’t say that this was an overly “mineral-y” cup at all.  It was deliciously sweet with notes of fruit and nut.  It was less creamy than the second cup, though, and I noticed more astringency with this cup.  The flavor was still deliciously toasted.

I was hesitant to actually publish this review since this tea is currently sold out on the T-Oolong Tea website, however, I decided to still offer the review in case my readers might be interested in watching T-Oolong Tea for when this tea might be back in stock … it’s definitely worth checking for because this is a really delightful tea!

Taiwan Muzha Ti Kuan Yin from Nuvola Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Nuvola Tea

Tea Description:

The saffron-coloured Muzha Ti Kuan Yin Tea has a light fruity aroma and a melting creamy mouth-feel. The flavors are strong and long-lasting even after several infusions, which leaves a sweet lingering sensation in the mouth.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What a lovely Ti Kuan Yin.  This Ti Kuan Yin is a bit different than what I typically envision when it comes to Ti Kuan Yin Oolong, usually, I expect a very green tea with more of a floral/vegetative tone.  And while I to taste hints of flower and vegetable within this cup, this tea has a stronger toasted nutty kind of taste, which suggests to me that these leaves were roasted.

But my first hint was the dry leaves themselves.  Instead of the deep, forest green color that many Ti Kuan Yin teas possess, this one is darker in color, a shade that is more brown than it is green.  And then, the aroma also offered a toasty scent, a scent that filled the kitchen as I brewed the tea and enchanted my senses. 

The flavor, as I mentioned, is that of toasty nut.  But there are hints of flower in the distance, as well as hints of vegetation.  Sweet, caramel-like tones please the palate.  A really wonderful flavor.  In this first cup, which is the results of my first two infusions, I find the flavor overall to be somewhat delicate, light and uplifting.  However, even though there is a softer flavor to this cup, it tells of stronger flavors to come … begging me to infuse these leaves again … and again!  So, that is what I shall do.

This second cup (infusions 3 and 4) is indeed more flavorful than the first cup, with notes of charcoal peeking out from the roasty-toasty taste.  It has one of those “warm and welcome” kind of tastes to it, evoking thoughts of home and hearth and autumn.  (Autumn is my favorite month and always speaks of home and time for family to me.)  With these increased toasted flavors emerges a flavor that was very subtle in the first cup – a sweetness that tastes of caramel and honey.

My third and final cup (infusions 5 and 6) was not quite as strongly flavored as the second cup, but, even so, I think that this third cup is my favorite.  The roasty-toasty notes seem to have softened somewhat, allowing for some of the floral notes to emerge … these floral tones that seemed somewhat hidden or obscured in the first few infusions.  I love how the floral notes meld with the toasted flavor:  it is savory and yet sweet.  A beautiful contrast.

This tea has taken me on such a fantastic journey – one that is definitely well worth the trip!  In other words:  YOU should try this tea!