Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
The raw material for this scented tea comes from Dong Ding, the most famous of the tea growing regions of Taiwan. The leaves are allowed to sit with orchid flowers as they dry, absorbing the floral aroma. They are then hand-rolled and finished. The tea builds over each sip to a strong, almost candy-like quality with the creamy floral quality of any great green oolong.
I’m going to start this review with a story… and for a few minutes here, you’re probably going to wonder what my story has to do with this tea. But, bear with me, there is a connection…
After my father married my stepmother, my life was pretty sad. The only real happy moments that I can remember at that point in my life was when my father and stepmother took their annual vacation, and me and my stepsister spent two weeks with my beloved Gramma. (Really, there was no place I’d rather be than at Gramma’s back then.)
During those two weeks, my stepsister and I got to spend one day at Disneyland, and one day at Knott’s Berry Farm. And those were the best times at these amusement parks, because we didn’t have my younger stepbrothers with us, and we didn’t have boring parents tagging along. We pretty much had the park to ourselves.
And my favorite place to hang out at Disneyland? This may come as a surprise, but, it wasn’t a favorite ride – although I did love the rides, don’t get me wrong – but I loved the penny arcade and right next door to the penny arcade was the old-fashioned candy store: Candy Palace. They had “real” candy there, made the old-fashioned way with real sugar and real flavor.
And here is where this tea comes into this story. The sweetness of this tea… reminds me of the sweetness of the candy from that old-fashioned candy shop. It’s positively LOVELY. It has that real sugar kind of sweetness, like the rock sugar candy that I used to adore, and maybe a hint of that old-fashioned licorice.
But there is so much more to this tea. I’ve tried a few orchid Oolong teas, and I’ve enjoyed them, but not one of them has come this close to the honest-to-goodness orchid flavor that this tea possesses. It is sublime!
It is smooth and rich too, with a soft mouthfeel that holds on to that sweetness and orchid flavor so that these essences can be enjoyed long into the aftertaste. When I inhale air over the palate after I’ve taken a sip, I can taste the licorice notes I mentioned earlier, but this time it’s strong and sweet with a hint of spice. It’s rather bracing and unexpected.
Truly an incredible tea experience. A must try for Oolong enthusiasts!