Friday, September 26, 2014

The Persimmon Tree, Mandarin Cream Oolong

Mandarin Cream
The Persimmon Tree Description:
Our Mandarin Cream tea awakens the senses with oolong loose tea leaves, hints of cream and a stimulating citrus finish. Blended with lemon myrtle, marigolds, and natural essence of vanilla, Mandarin Cream is a rich and smooth tea experience with an utterly heavenly aroma.

Organic Oolong Loose-Leaf Tea, Organic Lemon Myrtle, Marigold Petals, Natural Flavors

Sample provided by The Persimmon Tree.

My Review:
This one is listed as a bestseller on The Persimmon Tree website. What The Persimmon Tree does not say on their site, but does mention on the label, is the oolong in the tin is Pouchong. As always I appreciate the solid tins that help with storage.

Dry Leaf
I approach this tea with caution. I like vanilla in my cup but often find such flavors overdone for my tastes. Opening the lid, there is a very pleasant vanilla fragrance present. I must admit, pouring the leaf on the plate to examine made me hungry. The vanilla is very present but not overpowering or alcohol like is nature.

The leaf is pretty with the big lightly twisted pieces of leaf varying in shades of green from olive to quite dark. The lighter green leaf may actually be lemon myrtle. The yellow marigold petals add a splash of interesting color.

I used around 3 g of leaf in my press with water heated to 195 F. The steep was 4 minutes. This produced a slightly cloudy mug of yellow sunshine. Meanwhile the Pouchong leaf has expanded and mostly relaxed. The leaf remains partially folded. I can tell this is mainly large pieces of leaf.

Sunshine In A Mug
The Persimmon Tree use natural ingredients in their flavored teas. What catches my attention though, may be why others are occasionally not as impressed. The flavors are generally more subtle than the flavor blasts of most other products I've tasted. That is the case with Mandarin Cream.

Notice there is a big difference between subtle and flavorless. This mug has plenty of flavor. It just doesn't beat up your senses expressing those flavors.

The vanilla is the primary flavor component, yet it is very pleasant and just the perfect level for my tastes. I can barely catch the lemon myrtle under the vanilla. I think it could stand the volume being turned up just a little.

Adding a little sweetener does just that without making the mug too sweet. I try not to use sweetener at first while reviewing. Often I have discovered the cup does not need it. This being more of a dessert type tea, I feel it benefits from the addition. Try it both ways and see if you agree.

Wet Leaf - Mostly Large Pieces
The Pouchong of the first cup shows up late in the aftertaste if you wait for it. I really don't get any strong orange type flavor here. To me that is what Mandarin implies. I think if I imagine orange sherbet, I can loosely make the connection as this is creamy. It just isn't particularly orangey to me.

Since this is an oolong, it should steep again. We must investigate!

Without sweetener the second mug is quite green oolong tasting - not a bad thing. Once sweetener is added, the vanilla reappears and moves to the background. This is maybe more creamy now, and the orange connection grows stronger. It remains mostly a hint yet present. Mostly, this is a nice cup of Pouchong with a light flavored background.

This makes an interesting cup that I appreciate for finally delivering a vanilla based tea that I enjoy. I personally expected a bit more lemon and a healthy dose of orange. Since orange is not listed as an ingredient, this must not be the profile they were going for with this blend, despite the name. This is nice as is, and tasting the tea is more important than tasting flavors to me, so unless that can all be accomplished without sacrificing the tea taste - it should be left alone.

You can find Mandarin Cream here.

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