Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
A rare, visually stunning hand-twisted biodynamic oolong tea from the celebrated Idulgashinna Tea Estate, consisting of 1-2 inch “spears” of green, cinnamon-colored and white leaves. The infusion is curly and very colorful, the liquor light and attractive with a medium body.
This has to be one of the most unique Oolong teas I’ve ever encountered. It looks different, it tastes different … and it affects me differently as I sip it.
The dry leaf looks so cool. The individual leaves are thin and twisted into a spear or long “arrow” shape. They unfurl very slowly, yielding many wonderful infusions of delicious tea.
The liquor color is a transparent, pale amber. It possesses a very smooth flavor. It is a somewhat delicate flavor, but then, that may have something to do with the fact that I steeped this in my gaiwan using short steeps. A longer steep time may have produced a more intense flavor, but, I don’t know that I would have liked it as well. As it is, the flavor is really very enjoyable.
There is a roasted nut flavor to this tea, with a hint of a flavor that I can only describe as “spice-like” in the background. It has a somewhat smoky taste there too, although it is extraordinarily subtle. This is not a tea I would categorize as a smoky tea.
The tea has a sweetness to it, but it is a rather unique sweetness. Generally, I label sweet flavors as “burnt-sugar” or caramel-y, honey-esque or fruit-like … something along those lines. But this sweetness doesn’t really fall in line with any of those… but if I had to choose one, I would say it’s more like a fruity sweetness than a caramel or honey note. Yes, I think that a “dried fruit sweetness” might be an appropriate comparison.
There is a sour note that hits about mid-sip, and it reminds me a bit of a “brandy” – although, I am not very well-versed on alcoholic beverages, so I wouldn’t be very good in describing that, other than to say that it tastes almost fermented. It’s quite pleasant though.
I found this tea to be very enjoyable. I could feel it relax me as I sipped it (another quality to which I found this similar to an alcoholic beverage, it felt warm and gently intoxicating as I sipped this). This one may just be my favorite yet from Shanti Tea!
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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