This is a lightly oxidized oolong, and when I opened the package, the leaves were quite green looking – large and slightly curled green leaves. There’s not much aroma from the dried leaves – just a faint green smell.
When brewed, the aroma is a little bit grassy and a little bit floral. When I say grassy, I don’t mean in any way bitter; it’s quite smooth. The tea brews up a pale green. Although the company’s instructions say to brew for only 50 seconds, I don’t find that there’s enough of a tea taste in that short a brewing period, and I brewed it for two minutes. I could drink cup after cup of this.
I found the tea even nicer on a second steeping – at that point, the grassy note was gone, and the floral aroma much stronger. For a second steeping of oolong, one uses 200 degree F (about 90 degrees C) water, for four minutes or so. The floral aroma was as strong as if this had actual flower petals in it (though it doesn’t.) The taste had the same floral note, with the same hint of natural sweetness that rose or jasmine petals would bring to a tea. And a second steeping is much lower in caffeine than the first steeping, so that I can drink it late in the afternoon.
Naivetea says about this tea:
Premium grade Bao Zhong
Mouth Feel: Soft with light and smooth body
Aroma: Profuse flowers with hints of orchid and osmanthus
Ingredients: Ching Shin Oolong
Origin: Highest altitude tea farm in Ping Lin, Northern Taiwan
Elevation: 650 meters/2,132 feet
The company gives instructions on the web site for making cold-brewed tea, but I make my iced tea by brewing it hot, then icing it. This tea made a very nice iced tea, either on a first or second steeping. The flavor is still smooth when iced, and it doesn’t really need sugar, but you could add some and it wouldn’t hurt. Although it’s late fall as I write this, and not precisely iced tea weather in most people’s minds, I lived in Texas for years, and got used to drinking iced tea year round, so even now that I’m further north, I always test every tea to see how it will do as iced tea. This one is delightful, and I can see myself enjoying many glasses of it come summer.
Another really nice thing about this tea is that it is good even for a third steeping. On a third steeping, the color is a very pale yellow. The taste is far more delicate, but there’s still that nice floral note, and a good floral aroma. Since a third steeping has very little, if any, caffeine left, one could save the leaves from afternoon to make an evening cup. Being able to steep leaves three times also makes the price of a tea quite reasonable. The company’s instructions go even further; they suggest that if one follows the instructions for steeping the tea the first time for only 50 seconds, and adding only 15 seconds to each additional steeping, one can get up to seven steepings. I personally wouldn’t find that strong enough, but if you like your tea delicate, this method could be a real winner for you!