Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Tea Shelf: Billimalai Nilgiri Oolong, A Tea Review

Oh good heavens today has not gone as planned at all! I was going to bake and pack since it was supposed to be cool (y'all know by now I hate the heat) but it turns out that was not in the cards today. Unsurprisingly fiddling with my medication dosage throws my body for a loop, so I feel really quite awful. With luck I will feel better in a few days after my equilibrium returns, and that the fatigue will be fixed by lowering the dosage a bit. If not then I have to up the dosage, and if that doesn't work then who knows. This is by far not the first time my dosage has been fiddled with, and certainly not atypical of a reaction, but UGHHHHH it is about as pleasant as being pecked in the backside by a mockingbird and flipping face first off a chair into a rose bush (thus establishing the hatred I bear towards those birds till this day.) But it is supposed to stay cool til Saturday, so even if I am just spending that time letting my body adjust, I won't be roasting.

Today I am taking a look at another offering from The Tea Shelf, continuing my journey through Nilgiri with Billimalai Nilgiri Oolong, so far I have been really enjoying learning about this region, specifically this estate. Before I get into the tea, I need to point something out that I have forgotten to in the past, The Tea Shelf's packaging is pretty great, the tea samples came in a jute bag (totally using as a dice bag) and the pouches have awesome little icons saying which mood, time of day, and character the tea has, you can find these on the website too, but I think having it on the packaging is awesome. The aroma of the curly leaves is quite floral and sweet, blending delicate orange blossoms and osmanthus, with fresh muscatel notes and a pleasant underlying aroma of nectarines and nuttiness. It is a light and almost ephemeral aroma, spring like in its flowery and fruity notes.

The aroma of the brewed leaves is delightfully floral and delicate, notes of orange blossom and grapes, like a blend of a Darjeeling and Taiwanese Oolong, it is fascinating in its delicate complexity. There are also notes of nuttiness and citrus, pleasantly sweet! The liquid poured away from its leafy friends, it is a combination of tangerine, orange, nectarine, and orange blossom, it is very citrusy, and combine it with notes of honey and delicate nuttiness and you have a delicious smelling tea, but I am such a weakness for citrus notes.

This is a very delicate brew, the earlier description of ephemeral fits because not only it is delicate, it is also sweet, light, and mellow. Starting off with notes of orange blossoms and apricots, the taste then moves to grapes and honey very quickly. Underneath these floral and fruity notes is a gentle touch of fresh vegetation and a hint of pepper. I keep being pleasantly surprised by these 'unusual' teas from India, veering away from the typical black teas, I hope to be continuously surprised.

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