So, it is with great joy that I kick off Oolong Week! Oolong might be my favorite kind of tea, sure on some days I prefer a different tea, but I can almost always say on the grand scope that Oolongs are my fave. And what a better way to start of the week of the Black Dragon than with new store Tea Ave! They had their grand opening yesterday, and for those who follow me on Instagram, you know they sent out an amazing promo of three tea samples, an aroma cup set, and a gift card (which when I have spending money again I am so using) so yeah, they certainly got my attention. I decided to start out with Cape Jasmine Oolong, an Ali Shan Oolong (yeah, you remember correctly, that is one of my favorite mountains for green oolongs) scented with Cape Jasmine (which, if I am reading correctly, is a kind of Gardenia) in the traditional way rather than just tossing flowers in with the tea and calling it a day. In my humble opinion, scented teas are far superior to teas with flowers tossed in because you are getting the essence of the flower rather than the added plant tastes you get with flower bits. Anyway, the aroma of this tea is heavenly, it is a thing of beauty, flowery, heady beauty. Seriously, it is amazing. It blends orchid, jasmine, gardenia, honeysuckle, honey, cream...it is like I am a hummingbird and someone gave me a free pass to a conservatory. Yes, I have a weakness for conservatories, they are just so pretty and they smell heavenly...like this tea.
I am using the double whammy of gaiwan and aroma cup set to brew the leaves, and I am pleased to say that I have not once spilled or burned myself while doing the epic cup flip. As a notoriously clumsy person, this is really an impressive feat! The brewed leaves are sweet and creamy, and of course very floral, it blends the aroma of jasmine, orchid, honeysuckle, and gardenia in a heady floral dance. The liquid, ok guys, I am going to be honest, I am at a loss for words, almost. Imagine taking the nectar of these flowers and making a cup of it, it smells just like that, honey sweet and delightfully floral. I spent quite a bit of time sniffing the tea, it was a good way to wait for it to cool.
The flower nectar comparison continues! Good heavens this is delicious, it is of course a bit mild because it is a first steep, but it is delightfully smooth. The creamy notes mixed with the smooth texture gives it a bit of a buttery feel, which makes my mouth happy, it coats the mouth with sweetness and floral notes. And oh those heady floral notes, it blends jasmine, orchid, and gardenia perfectly, it manages to be intensely floral while not being like perfume. First steep is made of win.
Smelling the tea (the aroma cup is so fun! I do not burn my nose as often!) the liquid is much sweeter and headier, there is a flower explosion in my nose! Oh by the flowery heavens this tea is going to haunt my dreams for all eternity, it smells like a steamy conservatory in full bloom, it is sleepy and beautiful. This might be the most girly tea I have ever sipped, I feel like a princess while drinking it, like I am drowning in flower nectar. It reminds me of a combination of a conservatory and my favorite flowers from my mom and grandmother's gardens in the South. The notes of honeysuckle, gardenia, orchid, and jasmine are so heady, but again, it is not like cloying perfume.
I found the third steep was pretty much identical to the second in aroma. There was more sweetness and the jasmine and gardenia are overtaken by the tea's natural honeysuckle and orchid notes. So even as the scented qualities fade, the base tea is delightful. The finish is honey sweet and creamy, and it lingers. I won't lie, I motored through my sample at more or less light speed, I will be buying more of this tea for my collection, it does such amazing things to my brain. It feels and tastes beautiful, and I really do feel like royalty while sipping it.