Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tea Ave: Ginger Lily Oolong, A Tea Review

Today was a good tea-filled day, I got a big ol' pile of tea in the mail, I went to International 888 and finally restocked on Oksusucha (my all time favorite before bed tea) and best of all, I got to blend my love of tea and gaming by taking my tea gear to Tabletop with me. Not only did I get to have a gongfu tea party with one of my friends, I also introduced several others to a puerh I really like, so it will be easier to justify buying a large amount, since I can share it with them. Now I need to see if there is a small amount of cabinet space for rent, because if there is I am getting a small kettle and storing it there, along with a gaiwan and cup!

Today we are finally getting around to the last of the Tea Ave Oolongs, last in review, but first in the ones I tried, Ginger Lily Oolong, an Alishan Jin Xuan scented in the traditional way with Ginger Lily, along with Ginger Lily bits blended in as well. If you are like me, you are probably wondering, what the heck is a Ginger Lily? Well, a bit of googling reveals that it is Hedychium coronarium, a fascinating flower with quite the history! The aroma of this tea is warm and beautiful, it combines the slightly nutty aroma of chestnut and a hint of sesame, with warm ginger and strong floral notes of honeysuckle, lilac, and a finish of hyacinth. It is not really heady and heavy, but gentle and warming, like sitting in a patch of sunlight.

Adding the leaves to the gaiwan for a nice steeping, and hello flowers! Now it is heady, and gently spicy, with notes of hyacinth, honeysuckle, and lilac. The spicy notes of ginger play nicely with the floral notes and the underlying notes of creamy chestnut. There is also the faintest note of fresh, sweet, tomato, surprising but not unpleasant. The liquid, using my fancy aroma cup set, is mild and sweet, with notes of ginger and flowers, it reminds me of a more flowery version of a much loved Chinese ginger candy that I have eaten many times. I used to always carry it around to help with nausea, because ginger is amazing at that.

The first thing I noticed about the first sip is how warming and creamy the mouthfeel is, it starts out creamy and smooth and as it hits the back of the tongue takes on a warming sensation. So, funnily enough, at the end of the note for the first steeping I drew a little heart, yeah, I liked the way it tasted. The notes are subtle, with gentle notes of ginger and honeysuckle, next are notes of lilac and spicebush, and finish of creamy chestnut. Om, nom, nom!

Onward to the second steep, and still loving these aroma cups, I suggest getting one if you do not have one, it really makes appreciated the aroma of Oolongs just that extra bit special. I will be honest though, not sure if it is because the tool is awesome or just because I really think it is cool, clearly I need to test more. Anyway, the aroma is sweet ginger candy goodness mixed with creamy honeysuckle and chestnut. The taste starts off sweet and gingery and just builds to creamy floral and chestnut, I am loving that ginger note, it just lingers long after the other notes have faded off my tongue.

For the third steep, the aroma is still pretty sweet, the ginger aroma has diminished a bit, but the floral and chestnut notes are going strong. The taste starts out with ginger and creamy honeysuckle, but the ginger is not as strong, it is more the memory of ginger's warmth and taste. At the finish there is a hint of fresh vegetation and chestnut, and a bit of lilac that lingers. In a nutshell this tea is sublime, a gentle and beautiful thing that does not ever outstay its welcome, also I need more of it, this tea and the Cape Jasmine Oolong really knocked my socks off, I look forward to trying more of their teas.

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