This top-shelf variant of Iron Goddess (Tie Guan Ying) oolong is named after the Beijing opera story where a concubine gets shwasted after she’s stood up by the king. Based on the name alone, I’m not sure which way this will go from the baseline floral taste of a lesser quality iron goddess – will the tea be a sharp bitter taste reminiscent of heartbreak, or a sweet balm to heal her sorrows?
The dry leaves have fabulous scent, reminding me of the elusive white gummy bears flavor.
After brewing “3-5 grams for under 2 minutes”, the brew is quickly a deep ochre yellow. A delicate purple orchid wafted up from the full, fluffy leaves along with the familiar umami butter of oxidized teas. It should be noted this teas flavor is due to slight oxidation as it grows – leaf hoppers bite a bit and start the process as it’s still growing. Which means there’s an absence of pesticides – win!
Everything about this tea so far is flat out sexy. Yep, sexy tea, I took it too far with the concubine reference…Moving on.
One thing I love about Oolong teas is their incredible resteep value. In this particular case, the royal fragrance gives way to a complex nectar of smoke in later brews. I’m at least 5 steeps in and the flavor just keeps evolving. This is FANTASTIC! Perfect to drink all day. Definitely the heart mending tea from my predictions earlier. A great escape for someone whose thoughts are clouded with an ominous heartache.
My first go with this tea, I over brewed it. Fortunately it was forgiving…maybe the tea is telling me something? When I brewed it with more care, it was simply magical. This is exactly the pick-me-up tea I needed this week.
Here’s the scoop!
Where to Buy: Silk Road Teas
Drunken Concubine is named in recognition of the intoxicating flavors of a wonderful, high-grade Tieguanyin oolong. One will note the highly aromatic fragrance of the leaves. In the first steep, as the leaves begin to unfurl, delicious, flavorful notes build. This tea is bright, clean, fresh and orchid-like – all classic flavors of this high-grade, prized lo-oxidized oolong. Each season, we select a lot of this varietal from our tea maker that we believe is the finest of the harvest. We are proud to offer our latest lot of Drunken Concubine. This is a rare taste offering, high-grade oolong, much prized in China.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
As an adult, I spent 3 years living in China and Japan where I learned about green, white, oolong, and pu'er teas origins. I was even prescribed traditional medicinal teas while I was there and that's a taste you don't soon forget! But it didn't scare me away from herbals - I really like cold brewing rooibos and tisanes now because I can share them with my toddler.
I am back in school to become a geologist and eventually will work in sustainable agriculture to ensure the teas I love are always in bloom 😉 but those textbooks can be difficult to get through without a strong cuppa. When I'm not studying, I love pairing my teas with salted caramel macaroons or having existential chats with my dad.