Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Teavivre: Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea, A tea Review

I have been rather distracted lately, and not entirely well either. Too much going on in the medical department of my life and the knowledge that this crazy song and dance is just starting feels very overwhelming. To help with my woes I created something kinda neat, a nice spider terrarium for my desk, occupied by a tiny Jumping spider I found. Now if I can find some moss for my terrarium I will be especially happy, but it seems that the Midwest is sorely lacking in moss.

Today's tea is Taiwan Osmanthus Oolong Tea by Teavivre, created with Osmanthus flowers from Yunnan Province and Qingxin Oolong from The Ali Mountain, Taiwan. This tea seems like the embodiment of summertime to me, flowers and oolong, perfect for this time of year. The aroma is extremely floral and sweet. If you have never sniffed an osmanthus flower, the aroma is like a mix of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossoms, it is heady and heavenly, tiny flowers with a very strong aroma. Blend this flower's aroma with a sweet, almost milky, aroma of the oolong. There are also faint notes of chestnut and honey, it is very rich and sweet.

Steeping the leaves is really a treat, little osmanthus flowers prettily float on the top of the water, it was hard to put the lid on. The brewed leaves have a deliciously milky sweet and chestnut aroma. The floral notes are very strong, though not as strong as the dry leaves. There is also a slight fresh vegetation aroma that reminds me of being in the mountains. The aroma of the liquid is gently floral and faintly creamy, with notes of chestnut and honeysuckle.

The first steeping starts out delicate with a very creamy mouthfeel. It begins with a delicate creamy sweetness that blooms into a strong floral presence that is a mix of honeysuckle and and osmanthus. There is a slightly nutty aftertaste. I had a great moment when I first sipped this tea, I felt like I was standing in a garden in full summer, warm and content surrounded by beauty. I found myself getting lost, and it is only the first steeping!

For the second steep I needed to turn my notebook sideways, I had one of those 'my hand writing is listing off the page' moments again. It happens sometimes when I drink an oolong, I go into a tea trance. The aroma is much more floral and very sweet, it is heady and intense. The taste, oh man, the taste is fantastic. First we have a nice buttery mouthfeel that stays smooth throughout the entire sipping experience. The start is vegetal and fresh like vegetation growing in the mountains (I have seen this referred to as alpine and I love it) and that blooms into an explosion of flowers and nectar. It is a sweet floral blend of jasmine, honeysuckle, and grapefruit blossoms. I have to say this steep was quite heavenly.

After a few moments of introspection as I appreciate the previous steep, I move onto steep three. The aroma is very sweet, a blend of flowers and sweet cream. There is a tiny hint of vegetation in the aroma as well, at the finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth, less buttery than previously, but still quite smooth. The taste is less sweet and floral and more alpine and green, very evocative of summer vegetation is fully unfurled glory. This fades to a mild chestnut taste and finishes with floral sweetness which lingers as a very pleasant aftertaste.

It is absolutely no surprise that I go for a fourth steep. The aroma is mellow and sweet with a hint of floral and a hint of alpine. It is not as intense as the previous steeps, but such is the way of many steeps, like pieces of music it builds, comes to a glorious crescendo, and then delicately fades to a finish. The taste is mildly sweet with a heady yet delicate floral taste. The floral sweetness lingers as an aftertaste for what seems like forever.

For the fifth and final of the steepings the aroma is delicate and floral, a ghost of its previous self, but not a haunting, more of a pleasant memory. The taste is also a pleasant memory, bits of floral sweetness and refreshing alpine with a finish of chestnut. Ah, this tea, the sample came at the perfect time for me. I have been a bit blue (too much medical stuff) and my usually pick-me-up of floral oolong was not in the cards (I have run out, tragic) so sipping this sample was the best thing for my sad self.
Espeon Selfie, because she is a silly kitty

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