Friday, September 23, 2011

Bai Hao Oolong (caffeinated)

Hm. This tea tested my patience. I brewed it in a teapot, in a tea sachet; at 208F, 180F, and 203F; for three minutes, four minutes. Never did I get the result that Harney & Sons describes: "This is a dark oolong from Taiwan that is similar to Fanciest Formosa Oolong, but it has more body. There are stone fruit aromas without any charcoal masking of the fruit aromas."

I tried to sense what this tea was all about by putting a teaspoon of this tea in the bottom of a mug just poured nearly dry of boiling water; I cupped my hands over the light steam that arose from the warm damp leaves and got a light hint of a green grassy aroma, plus a whisper of some fruit. Maybe this sample was just not that fresh; or perhaps I'm missing something in my tea-making process, though it's hard to imagine that a details-obsessed foodie such as I am, equipped with an instant read thermometer, fine tea sieve, teapot, two mugs, and a source of filtered hot water, could really miss the mark by this wide a margin. The only similarity between my experience and Harney's description was that the tea was indeed dark. Surprisingly dark for such little flavor. A disappointment!

So my first foray into Oolongs has ended with a whimper instead of a bang. Maybe I'll try another assortment sometime and give this tea variety another chance, although at this point I'm tempted to mark Fanciest Formosa Oolong as the only one I like, and just move on.

Next up: black tea breakfast blends, including Scottish and Irish. And I really must create some posts soon about decaf black teas.

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