If you do not follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably don't know that I have gotten back into painting, finally. I am not entirely sure why I had that massive several month long break from painting, and why it took redoing my bedroom into a tea room that reignited the painting itch, but I am glad that it did. It is not that I lacked for inspiration or desire to paint, just everytime I tried to paint it didn't work, and I can only blame a lack of paint or good brushes so much. Either way, I am glad to be back at it, finally finishing my Dreadfleet ships, just have Count Noctilus's Bloody Reaver left to go!
Today I am looking at Ginger Plum Oolong by CuriosiTea, a blend of Sechung Oolong and Ginger Pieces. I love Oolong and I love ginger, so I thought this would be a fun tea to Gongfu. I assumed by reading the ingredients that the plum note comes from the tea itself, since it seemed to be a bit roasted and roasted Oolongs can have a wonderfully fruity note. Sadly the moment I opened the pouch I knew I was mistaken, even though it is not listed in the ingredients, this tea is definitely flavored and not by anything natural. Now, this is not me being an elitist snob who only likes the 'pure teas' true I do prefer them, but a well done flavored with natural flavoring tea can be excellent. I cannot do artificial flavoring, and I can tell it is artificial a mile away, because artificial flavoring (along with perfumes, scented candles, air fresheners...things of that nature) are possibly the worst headache trigger for me in existence. Since it does not list any flavoring on the website or packaging, I opened the bag and stuck my face in...which was a horrible mistake!!! I was punched in the face with a bubblegum fist, yes bubblegum, I am not sure how or why, but there are no notes of Oolong or Ginger, just bubblegum. I hate bubblegum.
So, even though I now have a splitting headache I realize I have a job to do, who knows, maybe once this tea has been steeped it will taste and smell totally different? Like that one Puerh I had that smelled like a barn floor but tasted like honey, sometimes things don't match as cleanly as expected. So into my gaiwan the leaves go, slowly my tea area is filled with the cloying sweet smell of bubblegum and a tiny hint of ginger, still no Oolong though. The liquid has a peculiar note of burnt bubblegum, so I think I finally found a bit of Oolong, though the only note I am getting is char which is not promising. Sadly my headache is increasing, I am very much so not pleased about this headache situation, if this tea had been properly labeled I would have never picked it!
Here is the moment of truth, sipping and at first it is a nice mild ginger, I let my guard down a bit and NOPE. The midtaste is an explosion of bubblegum that did the double punch of making me gag and making my head hurt so bad that my vision goes blurry. The aftertaste is lingering bubblegum and it just won't quit. I tried a second steep to see if the flavoring had been washed off, but really all I get is watered down char and bubblegum. I then had to take some Advil and recuperate in a dark room until the headache eased up, which I should point out took over a day. I know not everyone is as sensitive to artificial flavoring as I am, but I do wish it would have been properly labeled, but to be fair the distributor that CuriosiTea uses also doesn't list flavoring so I am not sure who to be cross with. Just remember tea companies, list ALL the ingredients!!
This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.