Hello teaple! Tomorrow is a certain love-inspired holiday, so for “I Love You Oolong Time” today I decided to dig through the ol’ tea collection and try to find one with a bit of a dessert tea appeal, since sweets and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand! (Especially if you are an aromantic asexual like me, that is the main reason to get excited about Valentine’s Day! Wooo, discount chocolates! There is simply no hiding my love of sweets!)
I’ve found oolong blends can be a bit hit-or-miss for me (I absolutely love the creamy, citrus-vanilla decadence that is the Mandarin Silk Oolong, but there are few teas I’ve loathed quite as much as the Almond Oolong I tried). Lately I’ve been more into collecting different varietals of pure oolongs, but I do still have a few interesting blends in my stash. Ultimately it was down to Peppermint Cream, a chocolate mint Milk oolong by British tea company Bluebird Tea Co., and Lemon Ginger Cookie by 52Teas.
Since I’ve been fighting a cold all week, ultimately the Lemon Ginger Cookie Oolong won out, as I’ve been craving a lot of hibiscus and rosehip teas for the Vitamin C, and citrus and ginger teas for my throat. Be sure to check out my Steepster account tomorrow for Valentine’s Day if you are interested in seeing a bonus review of the Peppermint Cream tea! Lots of other oolongs, such as Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Dancong by Zen Tea Life and Ginger Orange Green Oolong by International Tea Importers (as well as other teas!) are up there as well! There are usually new updates every day on Steepster, so you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to get a tea fix!
I actually got introducted to 52Teas on Steepster; Anne, the Mad Tea Mixologist for the company, is pretty active over there! 52Teas is a small but ambitious company that creates fifty-two unique Vegan-friendly tea blends a year — a new tea blend every single week! They are produced in limited batches, and once they are gone, they are gone, unless they happen to be lucky enough to get a reblend by popular demand at a later date. So every time you visit the site, you are bound to find a different assortment of unique flavors available! They are available in two sizes, 15 gram “taster” pouches, and a larger 50 gram pouch. Larger bulk sizes aren’t available. They are the kind of tea company that are perfect for people like me, who love ordering tea in small sizes to taste and sample lots of different flavors, and don’t have the room to store lots of tea and don’t like being forced into buying big 4 oz. bags of a single flavor. The downside is if you fall in love with a particular flavor, it can be hard to “stock up” on it, and once it’s gone, it’s pretty much “gone for good,” which can lead to some tea heartbreak situations! (Oh, Foggy Coconut, how I miss thee! Let me count the ways…)
I can say I’ve received some excellent customer service from this company! The first time I ordered, they ran out of one of their “permanent collection” blends, and I said I didn’t mind waiting until it got reblended, so Anne shipped along the rest of my order so it wouldn’t be held up. There was a special going on to get three mystery teas at the time, and they have a lot of banana-flavored blends (and we know how I feel about bananas!), so I listed I had a banana allergy and she sent me a very nice note thanking me for letting her know and she didn’t include any banana blends as the mystery teas, for which I’m very grateful! On my second order, she remembered I still needed my reblend and included it, I didn’t even need to send a reminder. It’s so much fun seeing the creative blends that come out each week!
This particular tea is Lemon Ginger Cookie Oolong. I received a sampler of it in the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox organized by tea-sipper on Steepster, so thank you so much to tea-sipper and whomever included this tea so I could try it! This is the original blend of the tea, and it has since been reblended (and updated) by 52Teas once, in 2016. This original sampler came in a half-ounce sealed foil pouch, and was described by 52Teas as “Fujian oolong, ginger and lemon myrtle combined with organic flavors make this a treat you won’t want to miss out on. It will warm your bones and please your palate.”
The tea includes Fujian oolong, ginger, lemon myrtle, and organic flavors. It has a scent very reminescent of the Lemon Ginger Tulsi tea that Lisabee gifted me (and I’ve been drinking a lot of that lately!), but there is something a little sweeter smelling about it… It has a very lemony scent, but there is something floral about it, too. It makes me think of citrus blossoms and lemon peel zest!
With pure oolongs, I tend to prefer Asian-style gongfu brewing, which really allows all the intricate flavors of the leaf to emerge, but with flavored oolong blends, I usually just brew western-style, as in my experience, the added flavorings tend to dominate over the flavors of the base, while the base is typically used to create a specific mouthfeel. The suggested brewing directions for this tea was one teaspoon in 160-180 degree water, steeped for one to three minutes. I usually prepare my oolongs with water just a bit warmer than that, but I decided to try to keep things as close to the recommendations as possible, at least for my first cup, and adjust if needed. I went with the 185 degree F setting on my kettle, and steeped for three minutes. The leaf opened up quite beautifully!
The tea steeped such a rich, lemon yellow color! The Fujian oolong base had produced a very silky, smooth, and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. It has a very nice, sweet lemony flavor, with some subtle ginger notes that hit the back of the tongue right on the finish. The spice note is quite soft and mellow, and since I am a very spice-sensitive person, I actually prefer that the ginger is downplayed a lot more than I’m used to in most lemon ginger teas, which tend to go really heavy on the ginger and leave a lot of heat on the tongue. This tea has a more gentle spice note and is overall more naturally sweet. What I find most unique about the flavor of this lemon ginger tea is there is a subtle soft floral note lingering just beneath the citrus, which gives the lemon a sort of lemon zest flavor or flowery layer. I feel that floral note from the oolong base contributes a lot to the sweetness of the tea, and mellowing out the heat from the touch of ginger.
This is a very nice lemon ginger tea, much sweeter and creamier than any of the other lemon ginger teas I’ve been drinking recently during “ward off the plague” mode. But I’m not sure if it really connects in my brain as a “dessert” tea or anything like a “cookie”, despite being a bit sweeter, and a bit creamier compared to other lemon ginger teas. It doesn’t really taste like cream or cookie-like, rather it is just a very unique entry into lemon ginger teas. I don’t normally add sweetener to my teas anymore, but I remember what a difference a little sugar made to the Gingerbread Black tea, so I decided to add a dash of sugar and try it that way, and it did make it a little more like a cookie, but not enough to really make the tea register as a guilty-pleasure dessert blend to me. In any event, I certainly enjoyed it for what it was!
Thanks for joining me for another teatime! Is there a certain oolong you’d like to see from the ol’ tea inventory next week? If so, let me know!