Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Oolong Aura

One of the interesting people in Berne on market day. As the woman turns a crank, all sorts of things move and make noise, some of which is music.

The nice folks at Aura Teas sent me some samples a while ago and I had the last one today. It is Formosan Bai Hao, aka Oriental Beauty. It is one of the more deeply roasted Oolongs and has a good bit of caffeine when compared to others. This is another pretty tea with longish twisted dark leaves with some tips. It smelled somewhat floral, but that was elusive. What really surprised me was the definite whiff of cinnamon I caught in the dry leaves. I brewed the whole sample, about 3 teaspoons, in a small ceramic pot I generally keep for Oolongs. The water was about 190 degrees and it brewed for about 2.5 minutes. This is all very “aboutish” as I was brewing black tea for my husband at the same time. The liquor was a pretty, soft yellow.

I was again surprised by the Bai Hao as it was not nearly as floral tasting as I expected. There was more of a “straight tea” taste to it, with hints of floral. It seemed to be thick in my mouth and the taste lingered in the back of my throat. It was soft and fresh and very, very pleasant. I am putting it on my “after I move” list for purchase. However, I noticed on their web site they have a large selection of Bai Haos and I may have to try them all. What a hardship. I have always had good tea from Aura, some of it really exquisite.

This tea supposedly received the English name of Oriental Beauty when Queen Elizabeth II called it that upon tasting it. Don't know it it's true, but it's a nice story.


Steph said...

Bai Hao tends to be one of my favorites. I don't get a lot of floral, but I definitely get a clean/sweetness.

Alex Zorach said...

I have yet to try a Bai Hao (also called Dong Fang Mei Ren) that really grabs me. I'm wondering if I just don't like that style of oolong, or if I haven't tried a good one yet.

I have definitely noticed, however, an aroma of cinnamon from most of the Bai Hao's that I've sampled. I also notice they tend to be smooth and often sweet. I tend like teas that have more kick to them, a stronger aroma, and are more bitter / cool tasting. I also am not a big fan of the cinnamon aroma.

I suspect that some people may love these qualities though!