Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Red Leaf Tea: Milk Gao Shan Tea, A Tea Review

So I saw my new Rheumatologist today and I have some interesting news! Turns out I might not have Lupus, I might just have Hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia (just like my mom, genetics!). He is not quite ready to rule out autoimmune disorders entirely since I show a lot of signs of Lupus, but my blood work came back negative and I have all the symptoms of Fibro (just an added bonus butterfly rash for fun?) and thyroid problems on the blood work. So new medicine to try for fatigue and pain management, and lots of monitoring my condition. I would be quite content with this diagnosis, the fear of Lupus trying to kill me was getting really old.

Today's tea is another from the Red Leaf Tea 20 Teas Sampler, Milk Gao Shan Tea (number 5). I am slowly making my way through all the teas, ok actually I have long since tasted all the teas in this sampler and recorded my notes in my tea-notebook, so really I am slowly adding them to my blog. You can tell these tasting notes are a bit old since this was pre-gaiwan days, such nostalgia. From what I gathered from a quick skim of the internet, Gao Shan is translated to High Mountain, so this tea is essentially a Taiwanese High Mountain Milk Oolong. The aroma is very sweet, true to its name it smells very milky and creamy. In fact I would go as far as say this tea smells like vanilla ice cream with a touch of chestnut and hay. If you are unfamiliar with Milk Oolong's distinct aroma, it can seem a little unreal. There is also, at the very finish of a particularly long sniff, a touch of pineapple.

After giving the tea a nice steeping and watching the leaves unfurl a bit, the aroma of them in their little steeping basket is less intensely sweet and creamy and much more like you would expect a green oolong to smell. There are notes of chestnut and fresh vegetation with an underlying aroma of sweet cream and honey. The liquid is a buttery mix of sweet cream and fresh vegetation. It is fairly mild and only slightly sweet.

First steeping time! The first thing I notice is that buttery smooth mouthfeel, I am such a sucker for oolongs that have that distinct mouthfeel. The taste starts out quite sweet and floral, like sweet cream and honeysuckles. This fades to vegetal, mixing notes of fresh vegetation and fresh spinach. After this my mouth is treated to a bit of chestnut and an aftertaste of cream.

The aroma of the second steep is really sweet and creamy, much more so than the aroma of the first steeping. The taste starts out a bit bitter, like kale, this very quickly fades to chestnut, sweet cream, and honeysuckles. The mouthfeel is also still pretty smooth and buttery, which I enjoy. As the tea cools, all bitterness fades and we are left with a mouth full of sweet, milky, goodness. This Milk Oolong is not bad, I have had better and I have had worse, this is a perfect example of adequate.

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