Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ocean of Tea: Ti Kuan Yin, A Tea Review

It has been a rainy, cold, and generally miserable day...which of course makes it perfect for sipping tea and doing crafts. Of course in my opinion all days are perfect for crafts and tea, the only thing that makes a real difference is cold, dreary weather makes for snuggling under blankets. The really good news is I am about half-way finished with my great paper organization project, as soon as I am finished it will be back to folding.

Today's tea is Ti Kuan Yin by Ocean of Tea, a rolled Wuyi oolong from Fujian, China. Ti Kuan Yin (or Tie Guan Yin, depending on dialect) is one of my favorite oolongs and is THE tea that really got me obsessed with different kinds of tea all those years ago. The aroma of this Ti Kuan Yin is a really great blend of roasted and floral notes. There are notes of honeysuckle and orchid, along with roasted chestnut and a touch of roasted peanut. The roast is fairly light for a roasted oolong, none of the charcoal notes or smoke, much more delicate allowing the floral notes to shine.

The steeping instructions are for Western Style, but you all know me, if it is an oolong it is going into the gaiwan. I kept the 195 temperature and had the first steep for 35 seconds instead of 3 minutes. The aroma of the brewed leaves is a fantastic balance of roast and heady floral. There are notes of sweet honeysuckle and roasted chestnut. The liquid is delicately creamy and sweet, with chestnut, honey, and heady orchid notes.
I had too much fun fidgeting with my cube
For the first steeping I notice a smooth, almost buttery mouthfeel, that accentuates the flavor. The taste of the first steep starts off with delicate roasted chestnuts and nuttiness which makes a transition to honeysuckle and finally orchids. The aftertaste is one of honey, a nice finish to compliment the floral notes.

Second steeping time! I really need to spend less time on tumblr because the tasting notes for the second steep are written in my tasting notebook in doge style. Much roast, very floral. Oh memes, you are so addictive. The aroma, doge aside, is quite roasted and very floral, taking the notes from the first steeping and magnifiying it. The taste is much the same but more intense, I did detect a change in the mouthfeel. It is less buttery and smooth and more dry and assertive.

And now it is time for the third and final steep, the leaves have unfurled and show off inside my gaiwan. The aroma is a combination of creamy honey and roasted chestnuts, there is only the barest hint of floral. The taste does the opposite of the previous steeps, starting out with heady floral, it fades to roasted chestnut, and then fades again into sweet honeysuckle. The mouthfeel starts off smooth and transitions to dry when the flavor changes to roasted. I liked this Ti Kuan Yin, I am not going to say it is the best oolong I have ever had, but it is really quite enjoyable. I would recommend this tea for those who are wanting to get into oolongs because it represents the roasted aspects and floral aspects really well.

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