2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Shi Zuo Oolong Tea/Tea From Taiwan

(Insert Music Bed HERE)…The best part of waking up…is dancing leaves in your cup! Okay, I’m just having a little fun with spoof jingles and at the same totally showing my age. Regardless, it was the first thing that came to mind when I was infusing this tea. Shi Zuo Oolong from Tea From Taiwan…it’s where it’s AT!

Don’t let the gentle, pale yellow liquor tea color fool you! What it lacks in a bolder, more vibrant color…it makes up for in beautiful aroma and flavor!

It’s very fresh, clean, buttery, and sweet when it comes to taste. As for aroma it reminded me of sweet, sugar snap peas with a hint of raisin. The buttery texture of the sip lingers long after the sip and makes you crave more.

This is definitely one of the more interesting and flavorful Oolongs I have sampled in a while. I think it would pair well with a nice savory veggies and rice dish, too! YUM!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea From Taiwan

Description

Shi Zuo oolong tea (wu long tea) is grown in the Shi Zuo (Stone Table) area of Alishan (Mount Ali). At an altitude of 1300 meters, Shi Zuo has a cool, moist climate that is ideal for growing tea.

Shi Zuo oolong tea is hand picked and hand processed in the traditional manner of Taiwanese High Mountain oolongs. The processing results in ball-shaped tea pellets which consist of two or three leaves and a bud. These pellets open up during brewing to release the full flavor of the tea.

In order to experience the full potential of this tea, we recommend brewing it Gong Fu style. This method of brewing brings out the sweetness and complex undertones that mark this tea as one of the best that Taiwan has to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Liao Mian Ji / Verdant

It is currently snowing outside.

We Lord of the Rings loving Minnesotans are trying to determine whether this is third winter or elevenses. I’d prefer it to be over all together. But because I am not equipped with elemental superpowers to rid us of this weather a mid-day gong fu session will do.

Recently I have had the pleasure of enjoying many oolong using this fashion of tea ceremony. It is incredibly relaxing and makes one truly appreciate the tea. Not to mention you are able to pull out unique flavor nuances that may otherwise be missed. Nothing to be missed with the dry smell of this tea though.

Almost put it in my nose and still couldn’t detect anything. The liquid is a light honey color. If brewed with hot water, pour a cup every 10 seconds and let them cool slightly. Doing so will let you properly experience the liquid. Silky on the tongue with minimal astringency in the after taste. Flavors of summer flowers abound, a meadow of marigolds, especially when steeped longer than 2 minutes.

Also it should be noted that the Liao Mian Ji I am sampling is not the same as the one in the link below.

This one is definitely a lighter oolong. Maybe a 30-40% oxidation would be my guess.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Master Zhang cultivates this almost unheard-of varietal as part of his commitment to achieving the rich biodiversity in his tea fields, all while maintaining zero-impact agriculture for his Original Ecological Preserve designation. Liao Mian Ji is a unique cultivar, full of deep dessert-like caramel undertones and rich nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Master Zhang’s slow full roast brings out even more sweetness in the aftertaste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sun-Link-Sea Oolong Tea/Fong Mong Tea Shop

Currently Fong Mong Tea has their Spring 2018 Shanlinxi Taiwan Sun-Link-Sea Oolong Tea featured in their shop. It’s a High Mountain Ooolong Loose Leaf.

I haven’t sipped on the Spring 2018 one YET but the Sun-Link-Sea Oolongs from previous years have been stellar!

Gaiwan Style is preferred but in a strainer always seems to get the infusing job done, too! I used about a tablespoon – maybe a little more – and let sit just until the leaves were ‘open’. This is what I like to call a ‘dancing tea’. Yup! You guessed it! The leaves dance around in the cup naturally while uncurling and steeping.

As much as I hate the term ‘mouth-feel’ I don’t really know how to describe the texture of the sip. It’s really quite amazing. It’s smooth, light, refreshing, a tad floral, a little vegetal-sweet, and even a bit fruity-sweet…maybe like a sweeter crab apple.

This tea is just begging me for multiple infusions. Of course, I had to oblige. I infused longer each time and was able to get a solid 3 to 4 infusions out of it. Delicious!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Description

Located between Xitou and Ali Mountain in central Taiwan – Nantou County, Shanlinxi (Sun-Link-Sea) is famous for its amazing “sun links sea” scenery. Situated at an altitude of approximately 1200 meters, Sun-Link-Sea has an average temperature of 20 degree Celsius all year long. Shanlinxi (Sun-Link-Sea) tea tree mountains, not as high as other high-mountain tea tree ones though, with their distinctive geographic environment, gestate another different fragrance and taste which is another characteristic fine tea of Taiwan high-mountain teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

King Dragon / Wendigo Tea

Big Red Robe. This tea is as unique as its name.

While some are closer to being a queen dragon with more floral notes this one deserves the title of King Dragon with hints of smoke and earthy notes like oak, cedar, and damp soil.

There is a surprising amount of mineral notes, especially in the aftertaste. Though it may be weird to say one tastes wet rocks, it really does have that flavor.

Perhaps with a bit of granite mixed in. The astringency is also unique. It doesn’t quite make you pucker your lips as some black teas do, however, it leaves a familiar texture in your mouth as often astringent teas do.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Wendigo Tea
Description

All arise for I am King Dragon, an ancient and illustrious oolong tea. I smell of exquisite honey, leather, orchids, and wet stone. My taste is of ripe peaches, earth, and smoke with a smooth lingering sweetness.

As reverence for my exalted nature for millennia I was simply known as “The King of Tea”. I also have been called an Imperial Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock Oolong or Royal Red Robe, but all you need to know is that if you are to unleash my all-powerful leaves into the water, all other teas must bow before me.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!