Usually the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a busy time around here, but an extended illness and several family emergencies have made it so I've had to step away from the blog for awhile. I'm slowly finding the time to start writing again, but after such a long break I'm discovering the words don't seem to flow as easily as they did a few months ago. Instead of beating my head against my keyboard in frustration I took some time today to do a little retail therapy (and knock a few things of my holiday shopping list) before settling down to plan my Black Friday/Cyber Monday tea buying strategy so I can stock up on the teas I want to share with you over the next year.
It was during my planning last year when I discovered the tea I'll be sharing with you today, a 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong from Art of Tea. This tea definitely piqued my interest as I've never had the chance to try a purple oolong (only a few fabulous purple teas from the now defunct Butiki.) In general purple teas are rare, so when I do come across them I like to snap up a sample, but I was especially curious about this one since it's an oxidized oolong and quite different from anything I've stumbled across so far. It immediately went to the top of my shopping list, yet for some reason I never found the time to pull it out and share it with you, which is a shame because it's an interesting tea.
The scent reminds me somewhat of pu-erh and to some extent the flavor does as well—it's deep and earthy, with the faintest hint of smoke. What I found surprising was how sweet the back-notes were, I wasn't expecting the natural sweetness or smooth texture. It reminds me a little bit of milk oolong, although it doesn't have the floral undertone until later steepings. This tea certainly doesn't compare to anything I've tried before and for that reason alone I think many of you will find it to be an acquired taste, although it you're a fan of pu-erh or aged oolongs it should be right up your alley—you won't find another tea quite like it.
Would I order this again? Possibly. I'm really on the fence with this one because of its unique flavor. I'd likely purchase it again to share with my tea-appreciating friends, but it's not something you'll find me drinking regularly.
Where to Purchase
Suggested Brewing Tips
Serving Size: 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces
Water Temp: 185-206°F
Steep Time: 3 - 5 minutes