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Tea Review: Jade Oolong

May 19, 2009

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mighty_leaf_jade_oolongMighty Leaf Tea’s Jade Oolong is a good introduction to green (very lightly oxidized) oolongs. If most of your experience with oolongs has been with darker, more oxidized varieties, a Jade Oolong will probably be a very pleasant surprise. It has a pronounced but general floral note and is very spring-like and aromatic. Any oolong of respectable quality will taste best prepared gongfu style, but this Jade Oolong is also pleasantly drinkable brewed with an infuser in a large mug or in a teapot.

Whichever style you use for brewing, use a glass or porcelain brewing vessel, not iron or yixing. Either of these latter materials will darken and tone down the flavors, compromising the best aspects of this tea. Use water that has just come to a boil.

Mighty Leaf’s description:

“Jade Oolong tea, made in China’s Anxi province on a small co-op farm, is a competition grade, lightly oxided oolong tea with a complex, orchid-like taste. This oolong tea has a distinctive silk mouth feel and a medium body. The perfect loose tea for multiple infusion as the flavor will become more nuanced with each steeping.”

One of the most wonderful things about greener oolongs is the way that they smell. You will want to be sure to breathe in the lovely scent of the dry leaf before you infuse it and note the complex, layered floral quality. The liquor also has a lovely scent which enhances the drinking experience. The scent, for me, is reminiscent of summers drinking tea in the sunshine.

jade_oolong_brewedAs the product description states, the tea will gradually release its full flavors with multiple infusions. If you brew it once and then discard the leaves you will miss out on the best that it has to offer as the second and third infusions are often the best tasting.

I am familiar enough with Jade Oolong as a variety to know what its qualities are, and Mighty Leaf’s offering is a fine example. One disclaimer: my sample of this tea arrived looking as if it had been handled by a couple of steamrollers with a grudge. Much of the leaf was severely broken. I have no doubt that the tea would be even better if contained and transported more gently. The tea should look like the photo at the top of this post – nice, orderly little balls of whole leaf. I would recommend it particularly to anyone who wants to experience a refreshing tea with a character completely unlike a black or green tea.

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