I once saw a perfect little bee, encased in amber… a golden prison for a hundred million years, give or take. Here’s the bee, buzzing around the prehistoric flowers, collecting her pollen, and attracted to the bright, shiny gold. She’s tired… she lands… she rests. But the golden goo won’t let her go. She’s trapped for all eternity. Be warned, little worker bees.
On a happier note… this little golden packet will free you, not trap you. It’s the first time in a couple of weeks that I have time to sit down and sample this really tantalizing oolong tea from TEA AVE. It’s described on the package as “sweet and smooth, with a light body. Blended with High Mountain oolong tea and Alishan Jin Xuan, to yield a tea that has an earthy oolong taste with a light, sweet ginger finish.” The tightly rolled little balls are fresh and green, and smell amazing! There is a wonderful earthy, nutty aroma like pistachios and pecans, and a little bit of dry grass and toasted almonds.
I follow the instructions for a gaiwan, steeping for 1 minute with boiling water. AND, for the first time, I’m using my tasting cup, aroma cup, and tea tray that TEA AVE so generously provided with the sample! I had to go online to find out what to DO with an aroma cup (click here), but I think I can handle it! Let’s see…
I pour the tea into the aroma cup and cover it with the tasting cup. I wait a bit. It’s difficult to turn the whole thing upside down because it’s quite hot. I do it anyway. Then I smell the aroma cup. It smells very sweet… like sweet straw and honey. In the tasting cup is a very pale, yellowish tea. It smells like sweet green peas. The flavour is so delicate, I almost can’t taste it. But it comes through in the end as a clean, lightly sweet nuttiness. The aroma cup still smells sweet.
I need a second cup. I do it all over again, but this time, the tea is a darker, buttery yellow. It now has a deeper warmth to the flavour… a more roasted nut flavour. Like almonds and pecans, I think. But there’s a hint of toasted earthiness too. The aroma cup is reminding me of baklava… nuts and honey!
A third cup got over-steeped a little, and it now has a stronger roasted flavour… and still the dry, toasted almonds. Ah! But this last cup is where I’m getting the ginger notes! Wow! That is really awesome! It’s not at all a spicy or strong ginger, but just a tiny hint of ginger, just enough to surprise you!
What an interesting tea! It starts out as a light, almost white tea… nutty and sweet, then it develops into a more roasty nutty flavour with a hint of earth, and finally, a light, nutty, roasty oolong with a ginger finish that lingers in my mouth for a long time after. Now, THAT is complex! I love it! The leaves, by the way, open up to reveal their large, glossy, unbroken form. Gorgeous!
I can’t really say if the aroma cup has added to my experience at all. It’s new to me, and it seems like more hassle than it’s worth, and the aroma doesn’t really match the taste. BUT, I will try it again, and continue to see if my appreciation for it deepens. I’m really glad to have the experience, and very very grateful to TEA AVE for their thoughtful and generous package!