I will confess to you that I’ve had a hard time identifying with oolong tea. But I’ve had some new experiences with it that are slowly changing the way I think about it.
We live fairly close to a Seattle restaurant called Lemongrass, Taste of Vietnam and I was in there over the holidays with some friends of mine, and it was the first time I recalled being able to identify oolong tea, specifically. I know I’ve consumed it many times in various Asian restaurants, but over the years I mistakenly assumed it was just another variant of green tea.
The bottomless pot at Lemongrass features a very lovely oolong, and after our meal we sat and talked over a fresh pot, and I couldn’t leave it alone. It has a very floral aroma, and a solid, earthy taste with no bite.
I’m fighting the urge to make this a restaurant review, but I can’t recommend this place enough – especially the mango salad, which was suggested by the proprietor. There isn’t much information on the web, so I can’t give you much more than the link above, but they certainly deserve mention for providing me with my first real appreciation for oolong tea.
I have several varieties from The Teacup that are currently enticing me – Goddess Oolong (earthy), Green Dragon oolong (honey), and Tie Kuan Yin oolong (floral). My husband and friends came home after a long afternoon of snowshoeing on Saturday, and we ordered cheap Chinese takeout. I brewed a large pot of the Tie Kuan Yin to accompany it, and it was a huge hit with the whole crowd. I think I’m on to something!
Next step: I need to season my yixing pot so I can properly dedicate it to oolong tea.
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As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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