Oriental Beauty: TEA AVE

Oriental Beauty by TEA AVE

Oriental Beauty by TEA AVE

I started a new class this week. It’s lovely! They are young, energetic, enthusiastic, and fun! Everything a teacher could want! It makes you wonder why all the classes can’t be like this. When I ask them to do something, they just do it! When I ask them to talk with a partner, they talk! When I ask them to do group work, they work! When I speak, they listen, and even respond! And… I haven’t had to ask ANYBODY to put away their phones! I wonder if it’s some kind of weird, Twilight Zone kind of trap… where they look all nice and friendly for the first week, and then, eerily, you start to notice little things going wrong… until one day you find yourself looking at a bunch of slimy space-aliens with blacked-out eye-sockets and sharp, pointy teeth! That has actually happened to me.

In honour of my beautiful class, I’m trying this beautiful Taiwanese “Oriental Beauty” oolong from TEA AVE. First of all, the packaging on this tea is beautiful.

Beautifully designed packaging by TEA AVE

Beautifully designed packaging by TEA AVE

It’s re-sealable which earns bonus points from me. And the label is full of useful info. The tea is processed by hand once a year, comes from Ping Ling Region, Taiwan, grows at 400-800 m, and is from the Qinxin Oolong cultivar. I open it up and it smells so saturated and rich, with earthy/ fruit/ plum/ apple/ apricot/ prune/ currant aromas. I imagine that if I grilled plums on a barbecue it might smell kind of like this. The leaves are crispy and twisty and fresh looking, in shades of brown, green, and red. Ohhhh, don’t they look gorgeous?!

I steep the tea in a glass push-button modern gaiwan steeper thing (I don’t know what to call it, clearly). I like how it can control how much gets steeped at one time. And all the other teaware is in need of washing out… *sigh*

The first steep is at 85 degrees, for 30 seconds. I’m using TEA AVE’s aroma cup, so let me talk about the aroma before I come to the tea. The aroma in the aroma cup is hard to describe. It’s really sweet, like dark honey, and a little burnt, or carmelized, like the drippings of a fruit pie. It’s also kind of woody and earthy… but mostly just intoxicatingly sweet!

Steep 1 - light gold

Steep 1 – light gold

The first cup of tea is a pale, golden-brown. It hits the mouth with sweet hints of honey, apricots,  plums, and chocolate! It’s very mild and smooth, with no bitterness at all. The aftertaste is slightly floral and perfumey…. wow! The interplay of plums, chocolate, honey, and floral perfume is quite intoxicating! It’s so rich, but also, so mild!

Steeps 2 and 3 - rich gold

Steeps 2 and 3 – rich gold

I steep the second cup for about 90 seconds. The tea is a much richer golden colour. It still smells like fruit and honey, but the flavour is less sweet, and more deeply earthy with fruity/ woody notes. It’s so complex… tea, dark honey, and chocolate is the overall lasting impression.

This tea is supposed to be good for up to 10 infusions, and I will try to get as many out of it as possible, but I can’t imagine it will be any BETTER than it is now. It’s perfect!

BIG HUGE THANK YOU to TEA AVE for the amazing tea and the gorgeous tasting/ aroma cup teaware! You should really check out this brand new Canadian company. So far, they’ve been excellent!


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