I have such a terrible case of the winter 'blahs' and it is seriously sapping my desire to do much of anything other than play Terraria (because it is so green and full of life! sometimes). As soon as the weather stops being insanely cold (it was -18 degrees here the other day) I am going to haul myself outside and find a speck of green and just sit next to it. This may prove awkward for my neighbor who has the only pine tree in a several mile radius. I do not think my SAD is related to sunlight, having Lupus means the sun hates me, but the lack of green things and most of nature being asleep does make me want to hibernate. So, like yesterday, I am pulling a tea that reminds me of livelier times from my notebook to review.
Today we are looking at Rose Ti Kuan Yin by Tian Hu Shan. I came across a jar full of this tea at my favorite Asian Market and was so enchanted by the idea of mixing rose (one of my favorite tea additives) and Tie Guan Yin (and all its spelling permutations) that I had to grab it, plus I loved the jar it was in. I pop off the lid and give the leaves a good sniff and alas, I am disappointed. With rosebuds that size I was expecting the aroma to be intense and like stepping into a rose garden during summer, instead it was like coming across a single dried rose leftover on the vine from last summer. Dry, mildly floral, and a little perfumed. The Ti Kuan Yin had the aroma of sweet, baking bread and a hint of roast, it was also pretty mild.
Brewing the tea does help both the oolong and the roses have more distinct aromas, the rose is very much so an English rose style and not a spicy wild rose (I might sniff too many flowers) and has a soapy, perfumed quality. The oolong has notes of green beans, chestnuts, and yeasty bread with a fading hint of orchid. The liquid is mostly oolong with a hint of rose as the finish, sweet with notes of chestnut and oddly a hint of popcorn.
The flavor is sadly, a bit uninspiring. The rose is fairly mild, a finishing note instead of being front and center. There are very mild notes of orchid and chestnuts, but mostly what I am getting is yeasty sweet notes, like baking bread, and roasted notes. I was disappointed and put it back on my shelf until my gaiwan arrived, perhaps giving it a Gongfu steeping instead of Western would change things up a bit. The flavors were a little stronger but still nothing spectacular. It was a beautiful tea to look at but uninspiring to sip, the quest for a rosy Tie Guan Yin continues!