I am sooo sleepy today, great epic piles of tired, but I only got a little bit of sleep so that is probably why. Of course the reason I was not sleeping last night was totally worth it, I was hit with the urge to paint and got two miniatures painted. One is a horned owl on a stump that is going to live with Oolong Owl, which was a bit of a pain...I learned that painting wood and feathers to make them look realistic and not cartoonish is complicated when you have never done it before, fun times! The other piece I painted was a modified reaper miniature, modified specifically to be Liliana Vess from Magic the Gathering. Lucky for me the only modifying I had to do was add her head thingy (stolen from an angel she offed, because she is a bit of a villain) I was able to find a model that worked as a stand-in pretty easily. At first I painted her with the demon lines etched into her skin, but with a combination of being a 32mm figure and recent art not really showcasing them I ended up removing them. Always glad to be in the mood to paint.
Hurry, run to Eco-Cha and buy their Organic Osmanthus GABA Tea, there are only three boxes left! Honestly this made me go 'ah crap' when I saw how little is left because I want to snatch them all for myself! But yes my dear tea friends, you guessed it, this is the tea the rambling will cover today, Eco-Cha's first blended tea, it blends my favorite flower to have in tea (or on its own) Osmanthus with a Four Seasons Oolong processed as a GABA Oolong. This is one of the most uniquely aromatic teas I have sniffed, first off, it is immensely sweet, almost candy like. Notes of gentle cashew butter and honey start off the notes, they are the mildest, but then an explosion of papaya, juicy plums, apricots, and heady sweet osmanthus flowers dance in my nose. It is a party that is pretty intense in those leaves.
Into the gaiwan for a bath the leaves and flowers go, and wow, just wow, the aroma is crazy! It starts with a gentle woodiness and toasted cashews and then explodes into a tropical cascade of sweetness. Pineapple, papaya, plums (ok that one is not tropical) peaches, and very rich osmanthus and honeycomb note at the finish. The liquid has a touch of nuttiness and a tiny touch of woodiness, but the real show stopper is the papaya, guava, pineapple and plum notes. It is almost candy sweet, and the heady nectar of osmanthus at the finish just makes this tea smell decadent.
First steep, so I could talk about the taste, but before I do allow me a brief moment to talk about the killer smooth, it is buttery while also being slippery, like biting into a papaya without the sticky aspect. Speaking of papaya, drinking this tea is like eating a papaya, pineapple, apricot, guava, and plum all at once. With a generous sprinkling of pollen and osmanthus, both of which lingers into the aftertaste. It is heady in its sweetness, but is never cloying, one of the joys of osmanthus, it has flower tones without being overwhelming like rose or jasmine.
Second steep, the aroma is not much changed, but it does get more intense (I was not aware that was possible) I feel like I need one of those paper umbrellas for this tea. The mouthfeel is smooth and thicker, nectar like, it clings to every part of my mouth while drinking. Tasting, the notes are similar, the start instead of directly falling into a fruit bowl eases into it with notes of cashews and a touch of woodiness, then it is the fruity bombastic intensity of the middle. At the finish there is the sweet honey osmanthus and apricots with a slightly tangy underripe plum bit at the end. The aftertaste is all osmanthus all the time and it is heavenly.
Third steeping, ok, I am going to be honest, by this point I am so tea drunk and zoned out by this tea that my notes are unintelligable. I can read 'juicy' 'fruity' 'sweet' and 'dear god this is pure undiluted magic' so I am no help. I got a few more steeps out of it before I was ready to call it quits, at which point I decided to take the mostly spent leaves and put them in my Libre for a cold-steep overnight. By morning the result was a lightly guava and papaya tasting tea that was immensely refreshing. And if you were curious, my box of this tea is about half empty, I am trying to not guzzle it all away.
This tea was a gift.