TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

February 18, 2010

Review: A tale of twoolongs

Filed under: exotic tea,food,oolong tea,tea — by JanisB @ 12:20 pm
Tags: , ,

For a long time I’ve considered In Pursuit of Tea‘s Nantou oolong my basic go-to oolong. Wonderful floral/orchid aroma in the leaf, echoed in the cup.

It’s the tea by which I judge other green/floral oolongs. Over the years I’ve probably purchased more pounds of this tea than any other — a very good tea at a reasonable price. I sometimes buy a floral oolong or two elsewhere, but always seem to come back to this one.

According to IPOT’s website, they “airfreight new batches of this tea monthly” direct from the farm.

Well, I’m sorry to say that the batch I recently received is not up to the quality I have come to expect.

Orchid aroma is barely a passing whiff, and not discernible at all in the cup. If I didn’t know better (and I hope I do) I would think that they left the tea chest unsealed during transport and/or storage, letting the aroma and flavour fade away.

I have now prepared this batch of tea gong-fu style, modified gong-fu style (combining multiple clay pot infusions into a larger pot), and directly in 2-cup and 4-cup Chatsford teapots. I’ve adjusted water temperature and leaf quantity.

To put it simply, I’ve wasted a lot of time for a mediocre (at best) cup. Not to mention that with previous batches I have had to do essentially no tweaking to produce an excellent cup.

I don’t know if the producer is losing his touch, or if something happened to this batch. Emails to IPOT remain unanswered.

I did, however, at the same time order their (pricier) High Mountain oolong, which has been consistently producing elegant orchid notes in both taste and aroma. No tweaking required, and I’m enjoying it very much. Unfortunately this tea is no longer listed in their web catalogue — presumably sold out.

Very disappointing all around, to say the least.

Guess I’ll be looking for a new oolong vendor very soon.

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