Posted by: dan | August 14, 2009

waltzing oolong (part 2)

TungTingHeader

Dan: For part two I decided I wasn’t going to chicken out and have another nicely flavoured oolong. That was to try and (re-)introduce me gently – now it was time to try a proper oolong tea. The task fell to a box of teapigs’ tung ting tea bags temples (have I mentioned my adoration of alliteration?), described thus:

Oolong tea is part-fermented tea, with the strength of a black tea but the aromatic flavour of a green, and tung ting is one of the finest.

In case you’re wondering, Tung Ting is the mountainous region of Taiwan where this tea is grown. It has nothing to do with sounding like this song (which you’d be wise to not listen to). When Ben learnt I was reviewing this one next he enthusiastically jumped on board. We reviewing this one by MSN as we did for another one a few months ago. Maybe I’ll get to call Ben insane again.

~~~

The bag is not as full as usual

The bag is not as full as usual

Ben: First things first: I have several confessions to make before we do a proper tasting of this one.

1) I’ve been drinking a lot of oolong recently. A lot. Lahloo Tea did an excellent Quilan (now sadly out of stock) which is my standard worktime go-to tea.

2) I’ve also sneakily tried this tea before. Admittedly it was months ago and I can’t remember it. Also – don’t be mad – I’ve tried the Jing yellow oolong that came in the sampler pack. Months ago! It was all in the past!

Dan: *gasp!* I’ve had a couple of tries of this oolong before too. But not the yellow oolong which I am saving for the big finale to this series.

Ben: 3) The fiancé is drinking my golden monkey again. It is making me jealous with it’s delicious scent. She made it in her heat-sensitive Pac Man mug which I’ve photographed and, I think, should be included in the blog post. Those are all my confessions.

Wakka-Wakka-Wakka

Wakka-Wakka-Wakka

Dan: So, Mr oolong expert, what do you think?

Ben: Ok. Very floral aroma. Has subtle jasmine undertones. It’s sappy but not too fresh, too.

Dan: I think it has a similar scent to the chamomile tea I tried before. Quite sweet and pollen-y but also a little dusty. Quite pleasant.

Ben: I can see (smell?) that. I have to say that brewing was a bit heartbreaking.

Dan: Not particularly exciting, is it?

Ben: The problem is that I’m used to brewing the same leaves over and over again whilst at work. In the teapigs’ ‘temples’, you’re kinda obliged to throw them away. Ah well.

Dan: It’s just another reason to prefer loose-leaf.
Ok, so the taste. Presumably you actually like it, as you’ve had it a few times now?

Ben: I’ve had it once and can’t remember. Hang on, let me taste.

Dan: I’ve been supping gently this whole time.

Guess which idiot named Dan forgot to hold on to the string?

Guess which idiot named Dan forgot to hold on to the string?

Ben: It’s so unusual as a tea. The initial taste is like a jasminey green tea but the aftertaste is very much a classic black ‘teabag’ blend. A wee while later the taste is sappy.

Dan: That’s my favourite thing about it actually. The fact that it doesn’t quite fit into either green or black tea camps means it stands on its own as unique kind of tea. It works really well and I think the Tung Ting is about as close as to a ‘standard’ oolong you can get. There’s nothing ‘extra’ added to it. It just tastes like tea and a very nice one at that.

Ben: According to my teabook, Tung Ting is considered to be one of the finest green oolongs available.

Dan: I don’t have a teabook. I don’t cheat.

Ben: I do! I think that these young leaves and buds brew a pale greeny-golden cup that has a superb flavour and a subtle floral aroma.

Dan: I think that you’re insane. Overall then? Yay or nay?

Ben: I need to wait. Oolongs are ace because they change taste when they cool, like white teas.

Dan: Fair enough. I don’t find that it changes too much as it cools. It’s a fairly consistent tea.

The most appetising yellow ever

The most appetising yellow ever

Ben: I want it to be the nice, woody Quilan that I’ve been drinking at work.

Dan: I’m still thinking about that Fruit Medley tea. It’s very more-ish.

Ben: Oolongs are halfway between green and black. This one’s closer to green than black. I think that’s why I’m not digging it. And why I WANT THAT GOLDEN MONKEY.

Dan: It’s reminding more of the Jasmine Pearls now. But lighter, nicer and more drinkable. Also: Golden Monkey is delicious.

Ben: The fact that we’re both thinking about other drinks is indicative of something, don’t you think?

Dan: Absolutely. This is nice enough but because it’s so ‘standard’ oolong there’s little there to hook me into drinking more. As I said, I’ve had it a couple of times before but I’ve never felt compelled to go back to it.

Ben: Ah, now, I don’t think this is a standard oolong. It’s remarkable in its freshness. Neither of us have enough experience of oolongs to go branding this as middle of the road. It’s probably amazing to lots of people – but, to me, it’s neither one thing or another.

Dan: True enough but I can’t taste anything that seems to deviate much beyond that description of ‘half-green, half-black’. If you’re a big oolong fan, you probably will enjoy it more. For me it’s just not engaging enough. And as you think the same I’m guessing we’re not going to be that wide of the mark.

Ben: But we’re idiots!

Dan: Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong. At least not all the time.

Ben and Dan were drinking teapigs’ Tung Ting oolong tea, available at £7.50 for 75g of loose leaves.

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