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Green Pekoe Tea
Shou Mei White
Four Seasons Oolong
Four Seasons Oolong
Simple Loose Leaf tends to alternate between pu'erh and oolong in the monthly box. I have yet to acquire a taste for pu'erh and don't generally review it during Tuesday Tea, but I will almost always choose oolong when I see it. Oolong tea has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. This month they didn't let me down, we have a high quality Taiwanese green oolong that I believe comes from Mountain Tea Company.
The first steep of this tea was lighter in flavor, but packed a sweet, yet floral punch which became stronger in subsequent steeps. By the time I reached my fourth steep of this tea it developed a somewhat vegetal flavor with hints of floral mixed in. While earlier steeps of this tea were somewhat creamy in texture, later steeps began to develop a hint of dryness. I was impressed not only with the flavor, but also with the number of times I was able to steep the tea. Even my fourth cup had wonderful flavor, I could very likely have gotten a fifth steep out of my leaves, but in my sick and clumsy state I managed to drop my steeper sending my tea leaves flying everywhere. This week is already starting off on the wrong foot, but at least I have a great oolong to help me on my road to recovery.
My Rating: 80/100
Would I order this again? Yes. This is exactly the type of tea I want to see in my selection club box.
Normally I dither about which teas to select for my monthly box from Simple Loose Leaf, but when I saw this tea on the menu for September I knew immediately it would be one of my selections. I tend to drink a lot of chai once the weather cools off because the combination of spices gives me an illusion of warmth. Since this summer has been unusually cold I've already pulled out my packages of chai and have been happily drinking them for the past few weeks.
Chai tends to vary widely in methods of preparation as well as ingredients, but every chai I've sampled in the past has one thing in common: it's made with black tea. The fact that this particular chai is made with a rooibos base didn't escape my notice, in fact, i'm rather intrigued by the idea. As you know I've been drinking a lot of rooibos lately to help with the swelling in my hands. While the flavor of rooibos has slowly grown on me I still find the rather medicinal taste unappealing and prefer heavily flavored blends. In other-words this tea should be right up my alley.
My first sampling of this blend was not prepared in the traditional method (with milk and sugar) as you can see from my photo. I had just opened the package and taken a huge sniff when two things happened. First of all, I caught a good nose full of black peppercorn which caused a huge sneezing fit. Secondly, I discovered that my son had finished off the last of the milk while I wasn't looking and all we had left was a really old carton of coconut milk. Not to be deterred, I decided to prepare this like I would any rooibos blend and was greeted with a huge burst of flavor on my first sip. The cardamom and black peppercorn were the flavors that were the most prominent and I was happy to find that the cinnamon wasn't as noticeable, but rather something hidden in the background amongst the other spices. I find that many spice teas on the market this time of year are laden down with cinnamon, so this was a welcome change.
My husband was kind enough to bring me a gallon of milk on his way home from work, so one of the first thing I did this morning was prepare a cup of chai on the stove with 2% milk and sugar. I'm not sure which way I prefer this tea, I think ultimately it comes down to what I'm in the mood for at the particular moment. When I prepare this using traditional methods it makes a nice after dinner treat, yet when prepared like any other tea it's a nice, calming drink I can have before bedtime.
My Rating: 90/100
Would I order this again? Yes! This could quite possibly be my new favorite chai.
In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Simple Loose Leaf has provided me with a free subscription to their service. As always, all opinions are my own.