Where to Purchase:
Gyokuro Green Tea
Lemon Grass Herbal
Mint Chamomile Rooibos
Sheng Cha Oolong
My monthly box from Simple Loose Leaf came in last week and I was excited to see this unusual wild-grown oolong among the offerings. What makes this oolong so unique is the fact that the leaves are left on the plant for decades, rather than picked seasonally. This gives the tea a much different flavor than other Taiwanese-grown oolongs, which are oftentimes sweet or floral.
The first steeping of the tea has a rich, roasted flavor and a slightly sweet finish. There was a noticeable shift in flavors in the later steepings. They developed a deeper roasted flavor, reminding me somewhat of toasted sesame seeds (which I'm not particularly a fan of) and tasted salty. I thought at first my son had been dipping his pretzel rods in my tea again (this has recently become his new favorite game) but I kept noticing the same subtle brine-like flavor every time I prepared a fresh cup. I wasn't expecting such a radical shift in flavors, it caught me a bit off guard and left me to wonder if I would notice such a huge difference if I had decided to steep the tea at a different temperature. This is one of the rare times I wish Simple Loose Leaf hadn't decided to decrease the amount of tea in their monthly boxes. The new ¼ ounce size just doesn't give me enough tea to experiment with if I feel the need, as was the case with this tea.
One thing I want to note before I end my review is that I found the steeping instructions for this tea to be odd and wondered if they were a misprint. Normally you would increase your steeping time with each infusion to help draw out more flavor, but instead Simple Loose Leaf suggests that you steep the tea for 2 minutes the first time and decrease the time for the second infusion by a full minute. This not only limits the number of times you can steep the tea, but also doesn't allow the tea to produce the full range of flavors it is capable of. For this review I steeped the tea at 185°F with infusions spaced 30 seconds apart (1m, 1m30s, 2m, 2m30s). I was able to steep the tea four times before I felt the need to switch to something else, but could have continued to steep the tea several more times, or as long as I found the flavor to still be pleasing.
My Rating: 76/100
Would I order this again? No. I didn't enjoy this enough to reorder, but it was nice to see such a unique offering available in the box.
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.