In setting up a wholesale account with Tealet for my tea company, I have been quite fortunate to discover some delicious teas from all over the world. The tea I tried today was the Orchid Isle Oolong from Second Alarm Farm in Hawaii. Although I over steeped it (I know, I know - shouldn't have done that), it proved to be quite an excellent representation of oolongs. What makes an oolong is the special rolling of the leaves during the processing stage - that is what gives the oolong its flavour. When you try an oolong tea, there is nothing else that comes close to its flavour. Oolong is my favourite kind of tea, in case you can't tell.
The scent of the leaves was quite bright and crisp with that signature scent that all oolongs seems to have to me - a combination of heady, vegetal, and floral. Each twist and curl of the leaves looks like art to me - I love to watch the leaves unfurl and give out their essence to the hot water in creating the perfect cup of tea. The scent of the tea was grassy and mild and not unpleasant even with me over steeping it. When I finally had my first cup, my senses went into overdrive. The taste reminded me of walking through a botanical garden with every kind of flower represented. Floral, light, still heady, grassy, and just delicious - all in one cup. This tea can be consumed all day because it is not too heavy nor too light. However, after two cups, I feel that Orchid Isle Oolong would really make a good afternoon tea - just getting in from work or after a full day of activities. It is settling and calming but then again, the art of preparing and drinking tea is calming as well (Chado). This is a tea that I could enjoy alone or blended with other ingredients like dried lemon peel or lemongrass. I may be using this tea in a future blend within my tea company.
Much thanks to Elyse Petersen for sending my samples!