This is my first ginseng oolong. I bought a 5 g sample from Tao Tea Leaf several years ago and finally decided to give it a go. I steeped the entire 5 g in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, followed by several uncounted steeps because this tea just wouldn’t quit.

The dry aroma of these compact, powder-coated pellets is of honey and syrupy sweetness. When I poured the boiling water for the first steep, the tea seemed to crackle and squeak, which was weird. The first few steeps are very light and have flavours of licorice sweetness, honey, and herbs. The texture seems syrupy, though that could just be an unconscious association with the flavours. The leaves start to open up around the fifth steep and show classic oolong flavours of grass and butter, though the ginseng still predominates. The ginseng powder also gets into my cup. As the session progresses, the buttery, vegetal oolong becomes more prominent. Even at the tenth steep, some of the balls haven’t opened and the flavour remains strong.

This tea had great longevity and I almost certainly could have coaxed a few more steeps out of it. However, not being a licorice fan, I eventually gave up, probably around steep 14. I found the sweetness to be kind of cloying (this from someone who likes bug-bitten teas) and didn’t get much from the oolong. I’m not rating this because I don’t have a quality benchmark for this kind of tea.

I always enjoy learning about new teas, even when I suspect they’re not for me, so I’ll call this part of my tea education and move on.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Licorice, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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