Friday, October 21, 2016

Taiwan Treat: Amber Oolong Loose-Leafed Tea, A Tea Review

My life has taken an awesome and chaotic turn. First bit of awesome information, turns out that Rita's tour in Peace Corp is ending sooner than expected, this means that Ben and I can get married next Halloween! We were thinking it would be 2018 before things would work out, but nope, now I have to actually plan and not just ogle pretty dresses. A more immediate bit of awesome is that during Rita's brief visit she said once she left we can use her room for whatever, so it is getting turned into our bedroom...and the current bedroom is getting turned into my personal tea and gaming lair. I could have turned her room into my tea lair, but I really don't want to move all my tea gear until next year when we are moving, I just have way too much to move more than necessary!

Ah, Autumn, the season of roasted Oolongs! At least it is for me, it goes hand in hand, the color of the tea matches the color of the falling leaves, the taste matches the taste of the air, and of course the warmth is welcome on the increasingly chilly nights. When people call tea a hug in a cup, roasted Oolongs are always the ones that come to mind, which brings us to today's tea, Taiwan Treat's Amber Oolong. This is a good starting point if you are new to the world of roasted Oolongs, it is very approachable. The aroma of the leaves is very roasty and toasty, with strong notes of roasted grains (buckwheat, oats, and wheat come to mind) with a nutty sweet and honey undertone.

After the first steeping the aroma takes on a char note, along with the roasted grains and nutty sweetness, though it is more the aroma of sweet grains instead of honey as the roast takes over as the main note. The liquid reminds me, hilariously, of burnt cornflakes. Yes I know what that smells like, I lit one on fire as a teenager to settle a bet as to whether or not it would smell like burnt popcorn, it does not, it smells more like toast. There is also a note of sweetness and of Autumn leaves, keeping the thematic correct.

The first steep is pleasantly sweet, with notes of...well...cornflakes! There is also a note of char and burnt sugar in the middle, but it is light as roasted teas go, the main note is definitely corn related. With the cereal quality and smooth mouthfeel I almost want to say that this tea is a balanced breakfast, but that would be ridiculous, it does evoke breakfast though so maybe pair it with some pancakes!

The second steep takes the notes of the previous steep and increases them, stronger note of cornflakes (and even a bit of corn silk) and burnt sugar. There is still char, though since the other notes are stronger it seems that this steep is milder, focusing on the grain notes. Speaking of grains this steep is not all cornflakes all the time, there are also notes of buckwheat and toasted red wheat, giving it a nice toasted bread quality.

The third steep doesn't have a ton going on in taste or aroma, light cornflakes and gentle freshly toasted bread with a sweet and mineral undertone. I found this was really great in the evening before sleep, where I wanted a tea but did not necessarily want to sit around for a dozen steeps, and sadly leaving the leaves to the next morning doesn't always work because Espeon really loves tea. I don't want my cat to eat my tea leaves, she already tries to 'groom' my tea tray! I found this tea to be very comforting, even if it was not terribly nuanced.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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