This month’s review is of a tea that was given to me by a friend who went travelling around China. I didn’t really expect a souvenir or present as such, so you can imagine my excitement when he gave me tea from where it all started! Especially as I have a soft spot for Oolongs and I think you can never go wrong with a Chinese tea.
Even though Ginseng Oolong looks dark green and it is very skilfully rolled into these big pellets, it actually produces a beautifully golden liquor (as you’ll see below) so I suspect it’s left to oxidise a bit more than other Oolongs. You can read more about how Oolong is made in an earlier post.
This tea was actually my first attempt at infusing tea using the Chinese method of 30 second, short burst infusions. And it definitely delivered. Each steep reveals another layer of the tea’s wonderful taste. But I won’t go into that now to keep things simple and to encourage you to try it!
Here’s how I would describe it
Dry leaves: this is definitely an unusual-looking tea! It has very tightly rolled leaves, which some research revealed are then rolled through powdered ginseng and liquorice root to the point that you don’t see the leaves anymore. The scent is dried herbaceous, a bit like a combination of hay and seaweed, if I was to describe it.
Water temperature: 80 degrees Celsius
Amount: 2g or in this case, about 15-18 pellets
Brewing time: 3-5 minutes or 6 x 30-second infusions
Wet leaves: It’s incredible to see the leaves unfurl and how they’re actually intact. The sweetness of the liquorice and ginseng come through nicely. To go more in detail, the scent is still a bit like seaweed, it’s also a bit woody and honey sweet. These are just subtleties though, don’t let your imagination go wild!
Brew: finally, the brew (using the European method), has a beautiful golden colour. It feels like it flows well in the mouth, while maintaining a herbaceous flavour but a definite sweet, honey-like aftertaste coming from the ginseng.
Ready to try it?
As mentioned, this was a gift from a friend who travelled to China so I can’t give you the exact source because I don’t know it. But a quick google revealed some potential candidates in The Tea Makers of London, Chiswick Tea or even Amazon. Prices range but are roughly £5 per 50g which is a normal price for a speciality tea (Milk Oolong is another example, you can read that review too).
Let me know what you think if you try it! Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @whiteduckling.
Thanks for reading!