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Introduction to Oolong Teas at Perennial Tea Room

June 26, 2008

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Tasting Sets and Kettle

Tucked away in Post Alley next to Kells Restaurant, the Perennial Tea Room is one of the better tea shops in Seattle. In addition to their fairly extensive offerings of teas from all of the major growing regions in the world, they also host themed tea tastings. I attended last week’s tasting, which was an introduction to oolongs. The ironically named Michael J. Coffey, who operates under the name Tea Geek, is host and instructor at Perennial’s tastings.

For this tasting four very different oolongs were chosen from a wide range along the oxidation spectrum. Oolongs, as semi-oxidized teas range dramatically, from the barely ozidized greens to highly oxidized and roasted preparations. The four in the tasting were, in order:

  • A fall Baozhong from Taiwan (Note: this was not the Winter Competition Baozhong that is currently available in the store.)
  • Bai Hao, a tea known by a million names, including “Oriental Beauty” and “Boasting Tea,” also from Taiwan
  • A semi-oxidized Ti Kuanyin, from the Fujian Province of China
  • Golden Lily, a roasted oolong from Taiwan

The tasting was a good introduction to the exquisite diversity of the world of oolong teas. Since I tend to be drawn toward the really rich green semi-oxidized oolongs like the Ti Kuanyin, the tasting was a good opportunity for me to round out recent experience with a roasted oolong, which I would have been unlikely to try under other circumstances.

Like the Indian Tea tasting I attended there last month, this event was quite informative and a worthwhile way to spend a summer evening down by Pike Place Market. The tastings are limited to a small number of attendees so the atmosphere is comfortable and interactive, with plenty of allowance for questions and discussion. Perennial Tea Room offers a 10% discount on all purchases made in the store the night of the tastings, which is a nice added incentive. If you are interested in receiving notices of upcoming tasting events, sign up for the email newsletter for either Perennial Tea Room or Tea Geek – or both.

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