I received some Chinese gift teas today from a co-worker of mine who has just returned from a visit to China. Since the tin was entirely in Chinese, I thought it would be fun to try to guess what kind of tea it is, to test my skills and knowledge I have gained so far (or lack thereof). So, let’s open it up and see what we have!
Right off the bat, I am unfamiliar with the dry leaf. It’s a rolled oolong of some kind, but it looks different from any tea I have ever had. I have the suspicion that I have seen this tea before in passing, but I can’t remember what it is.
I brewed the whole package, which came to 8.16 grams in a gaiwan with 200F water for 15 seconds + 10. There was no smell at all coming from the dry leaves, so I am completely stumped at this point. Let’s brew it up.
The wet leaves had a smell of popcorn but slightly burnt popcorn.
All I can say is this tea tasted like cotton candy. But like someone took cotton candy and sprinkled a bunch of powdered sugar on top of it. I love sugar about as much as anyone, but I was not expecting that flavor in a tea. It threw me for a loop. All of the infusions tasted like cotton candy and a funnel cake, it was a day at the fair. Those are perfectly pleasant flavors but not when I was expecting something completely different.
At this point, I am thinking that the leaves were encased in sugar, which is crazy but that is what it tasted like. I went for 4 infusions because that was all I could handle.
This was a gift tea bought in China, so I don’t know the price.
So, could I guess what it is? No, I couldn’t. I figured it was an oolong but that’s as far as I got with it. I appealed for help to the Gong Fu Cha Facebook group that I am in, and several people knew right away that it is Ginseng Oolong. A quick internet search proved that they were correct. I have heard of Ginseng Oolong but only in passing and never really studied it. So I am 0 for 1 in this game. I will try the other tea soon and hopefully have better luck. On the bright side, I now know what Ginseng Oolong tastes like and I can add that to my experience. No experience is completely wasted. That goes for tea and in life.
I should note that the taste of this tea was not bad overall and could be quite pleasant if you know what to expect. The sweetness did diminish a little bit with each infusion also, so there’s that. I can’t say I would recommend it, but ginseng is good for you and we know tea is good for you so it certainly wouldn’t do you any harm to try it, but I prefer tea with nothing added to it. Cheers!