Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tea Ave, Cape Jasmine Oolong

Tea Ave Description:
Our Cape Jasmine Oolong is prepared using the ancient method, in which the tea absorbs the flower fragrance during the baking progress, producing a scented tea that’s aromatic and flavorful without using any additives or chemicals. It’s good for you and delicious.

An elegant, luxurious tea, Cape Jasmine Oolong has a subtle fragrance of the fog that it was grown in. Cape Jasmine Oolong has a clean, aromatic floral scent, and its flavor slightly sweet with just a hint of spice. Classic vegetal oolong undertones.

Sample provided by Tea Ave

My Review:
Tea Ave is scheduled to open their webstore on March 1st. Several of us in reviewland were contacted to preview some of their teas before the opening. It is my understanding Tea Ave intend to concentrate on oolong teas.

When my sample package arrived, it seemed more like one of those swag bags the rich and famous receive at the Oscars. Actually, it was better because there were two of everything. My oldest son claimed one set. That is what I get for trying to elevate his tea drinking up a notch or three.

Each pack included a nice size and durable looking tote bag. My wife tried to claim it but it really will come in handy for my use, so back off woman! (Did I say that out loud?) Next was a nicely boxed aroma/sipping cup set with an oak tray. I have seen these for sale and they are not cheap. I am still getting the hang of using it. I attempt a short review below. Then there are the three oolong samples. Mine included a roasted Tie Kwan Yin oolong, a Ginger Lily oolong, and the one I am reviewing today - Cape Jasmine oolong.

This is a really amazing treat for those of us who were fortunate enough to receive them. Thank You Tea Ave. It is much appreciated. It won't affect my review, but I am impressed with how you have treated your reviewers.

So. first off, each sample is about 9g. It comes in a resealable aluminum back and clear front pouch. The label has a plethora of information, including 4 ways to brew the teas. The one thing that I do not see is a list of ingredients. The base is listed as Alishan Jin Xuan oolong. The leaves are scented with Jasmine though that is not clear from the label.

Opening the sample releases a light jasmine mixed with a buttery milky scent. The scent is light and really pleasant. The leaf is dark tight balls with a lighter green stem sticking out.

I used the gaiwan with half the sample. The label says to use 8g for a 130ml gaiwan. My gaiwan is only 90ml. Anyway that sounds like a lot of leaf. Normally I would use 3g but I am trying to follow Tea Ave's guidelines. Boiling water was added and the steep was 1 minute.

The gaiwan was used to fill the tall thin aroma cup. The remainder was poured into a small cup not in the picture. The tasting cup was placed over the aroma cup and the whole thing turned upside down. Next the aroma cup is lifted slowly filling the sipping cup. The thin cup is then sniffed.

The aroma is much like that of the dry leaf. The color is pale yellow and quite pretty. The taste is very lightly jasmine. Next is a fresh floral aroma of high mountain oolong.

The taste is similar, except I get flashes of citrus. It is like orange and lemon bouncing off each other. Maybe that is what Tea Ave reports as spice? Anyway, it is very tasty.

For the second cup I repeated the process and added 15 seconds to the steep. The liquor is darker and the gaiwan is very hot. I am not as in love with this cup. For my tastes it is just too much leaf. I am getting a strong geranium taste. Each to his own but I am switching to my usual method for the third cup.

With number three, I put the leaf in my clear glass teapot and added about 10 ounces of boiling water. The steep was about 1m 15s. The liquor pours a pretty golden green. The main aroma is the floral oolong with the jasmine being very faint.

This is much more to my liking. The tea is floral yet not overly so. It is a bit mineral but in a good way. I can taste the spice now, though I can't identify what spice. The aftertaste is lingering and pleasant. It is kind of sweet. There is no hint of bitterness in this cup (there was in the second). A drying sensation is present. The tranquil properties of the tea have just kicked in and I am becoming very mellow.

This  would steep at least another time, maybe many more.

Final analysis - If you love Alishan you will love this. If you like jasmine but often find it too strong for you, then you will love this as the scent and taste are pretty subtle. My advice, unless you are accustomed to steeping with a large amount of leaf, is to ignore the quantity on the label and go with 2-3g of leaf for a 6-10oz cup.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely LOVED this tea. I loved the way the creaminess of the Ali Shan melds with the Jasmine notes. So lovely.