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Wu Long

Cinnamon Wu-Long Tea from Shang Tea

Cinnamon_Wulong2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Shang Tea

Tea Description:

This release of our cinnamon wu-long is sure to be one of your favorite teas! Comprised of our finest 2010 white tea wu-long and carefully selected, organic cinnamon bark, this tea accentuates the natural cinnamon notes in the wu-long while maintaining the sweet, butternut and acorn squash flavors of the tea leaves.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about the MidWest Tea Fest here.

Taster’s Review:

When I was approached by one of the organizers of the MidWest Tea Fest to review some teas from companies that would be at the festival, I was excited!  Not only was it an opportunity to try some more tea (I’m always eager to do that!) but it was also about the festival itself.  I am so happy when I see events like this happen for tea.  I feel like there is so much misinformation out there about tea, so many people with uninformed views about tea that maybe events like this one can help to better inform and educate people about the greatness of TEA!

So, when I was presented with a list of different teas that I could try and I saw this Cinnamon Wu-Long Tea from Shang Tea on the list, I believe it was the first one that I asked for!  Shang Tea is a company that I haven’t tried teas from in a while but it is a company that stands out in my memory for wonderful teas like their Bai Lin Kung Fu Red and Jasmine Snow Dragon – just to name a couple!  And if memory serves me correctly, I believe it was my experience with Shang Tea’s jasmine white teas that helped me to realize that while I do love a great jasmine green tea – a jasmine white tea is even better!

Even though this Cinnamon Wu-Long is a blend of Oolong and Cinnamon, I decided to go ahead and brew it the way I would a pure Oolong – in my gaiwan!  This is a darker Oolong, looking almost like an Oriental Beauty type of Oolong, even though the description suggests a gentle fermentation process.  The leaves were almost the same color as the cinnamon bark pieces, so much so that I found it a little difficult to distinguish between the two!

After a 15 second rinse, I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds and the second infusion for 1 minute.  I combined both of these infusions into one cup and sat back to enjoy the splendid flavors!

Cinnamon_WulongWhat a lovely combination – the cinnamon is well-defined but not overpowering.  Very often, cinnamon can overwhelm a tea but Shang Tea was careful when blending this tea to make sure that wouldn’t happen.  I get a nice, gentle warmth and touch of spice from the cinnamon and I taste the sweet, fruit-like notes of the Oolong.  I like the way these two flavors taste together.

The Oolong tea has an almost ‘peach-like’ flavor and with the cinnamon, it tastes a little bit like a bowl of fresh peach slices that have been lightly sprinkled with ground cinnamon.  Nice!  By the time I got halfway through the cup, I started to pick up on some more savory notes:  notes of roasted squash and just a hint of pepper, just as the description suggests.  I could even taste the faintest note of a nutty flavor.  Imagine toasted walnuts mixed into that roasted squash with a hint of pepper.  Quite intriguing!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was even nicer than the first.  It is here where the savory notes of squash are really strong.  It tastes a lot like when I roast an acorn squash with a little bit of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and finish it with a dash of cinnamon.  I’m not getting as much of an obvious peach note, but the aftertaste is much more peach-like.

The tea is a compelling taste of sweet and savory with an emphasis on the savory.  This tea reminds me a lot of autumn, specifically of Thanksgiving!  This tastes like my squash side dish but maybe just a little nicer, because a) it’s tea; and b) I didn’t have to bake it for 45 minutes and scoop out the flesh of the squash from the hot outer shell.  That is my least favorite part of squash.  I love to eat the stuff but I don’t like scooping it out of the shell after it’s been baked.

midwestteafestA really lovely and unusual tea experience – this Cinnamon Wu-Long.  This is something I’d recommend to all Oolong enthusiasts – it’s different yet familiar … and it’s also quite YUM!

And if you’re in the Midwest, do make it a point to check out the Midwest Tea Fest!  Even if you aren’t in the Midwest, I still hope you can make it to the festival!  It’s a really great opportunity for you to check out and become familiar with some top-notch vendors and even purchase some tea and tea ware as well as become better informed about tea through their educational presentations and TASTE some incredible teas!  Sounds amazing to me!

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Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea from Bird Pick Tea & Herb

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Bird Pick Tea & Herb

Tea Description:

High Mountain Oolong Tea is synonymous with the finest Oolong teas in the world. They are grown at high elevations in Taiwan, which has a unique environment due to its geographical location, mountainous terrain, and subtropical climate. The result is a greater quality tea. Also known as Wu-long Tea, this semi-oxidized tea is commonly brewed strong and is known to help metabolism.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve not had the opportunity to try a lot of Bird Pick Tea & Herb’s teas, but the ones that I have tried, I’ve been very impressed with and I can say without hesitation have been among some of the very best that I’ve tasted.  This Taiwan High Mountain Oolong is no exception.

This is exquisite!  The flavor is sweet and creamy, but not in a similar way to the creamy, buttery and/or milky notes that I’ve experienced from other green Oolongs.  This is a bit like sweet cream, yes, but, it doesn’t ever feel like it’s going to overwhelm the palate the way so many milk Oolong teas can.  It finishes so softly, so cleanly.  I get that sweet, creamy taste but without feeling like it’s building up on my tongue.

There is a lovely fruit note here as well, as though the sweet cream had been sweetened with fruit.  Plum, perhaps?  But a bit sweeter … like the sweetness of the plum without the tartness.

And of course there are some floral notes – but again, the floral tones are different here.  They aren’t sharp – just smooth and sweet.  Like a flower from a dream:  sweet, soft and gentle.  Nothing distinct or rudimentary, instead, this is like a billowy cloud of flowers floating off in the distance.

Another lovely and unique tea experience from Bird Pick Tea & Herb.  I love this!

 

Organic Se Chung Special Oolong from Frontier Co-Op

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Frontier Co-Op

Tea Description:

Oolong (English) or Wu Long (Chinese pinyin translation) tea is a partially oxidized tea and has flavor characteristics of both green and black teas. The fresh leaves are withered for one to two days and the leaves are then rolled to release enzymes (needed for the next step). Then the tea leaves are allowed to oxidize, although for a shorter period than for black tea, and the process is stopped before it is completed. The tea is fired (heated) to prevent further oxidation and to dry the tea. Oolong teas can vary significantly in flavor depending on when the oxidization process is interrupted having more of a green tea character if interrupted early in the process and more black tea character the longer oxidation continues.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is nice.  It reminds me a bit of an Oolong that might be served at a Chinese restaurant – nothing too fancy, just pure, delicious Oolong goodness.

Se Chung Oolong is a darker Oolong, which means that it has been oxidized for a longer period of time.  What I typically notice with the darker Oolong teas is that they tend to have a fruitier profile, while the greener Oolong teas tend to have more of a floral note to them.  This is true of this Oolong as well.  I taste a hint of sweet, fuzzy peaches in the background.

There is also a roasted, nutty kind of taste to this, as well as a warm earthy tone.  Because of this toasty kind of flavor, it gives the peach note an almost caramelized kind of sweetness.

Overall, I find this tea to be light and smooth, not too heavy or overwhelming, which is why I think it makes a good accompaniment to a meal – no powerful taste that will interfere with the flavor of the food.  This also makes a delicious iced tea because of its agreeable, amenable kind of taste.

A very pleasant tea, not as fancy as some, but, certainly nice to have on hand for times when you want to just sit and enjoy some refreshing Oolong tea.