Review: Red Leaf Tea Oolong Earl Grey

Bergamot Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Jasmine Tea, Oolong Tea, Red Leaf Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"There was a mild astringent note followed by citrus-sour-floral trifecta but no real oolong character. I can't say this was a flaw, but rather a surprise. "
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Raven gave it 8.0/10
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It was 11:30AM on a Tuesday. I had every intention of getting up earlier to get some writing done. (Yes, I write things other than reviews!) Unfortunately, the morning was almost gone. I heard from an e-tea pal that oolong helped her wake up physically and creatively. But I was craving an Earl Grey. There had to be something in my sample arsenal that could act as a concession.

Even better.

Amidst my review samples was an Oolong Earl Grey put out by Red Leaf Tea. It combined Formosan (Taiwanese) roasted oolong, jasmine flowers, and bergamot; what an unusual combination. I could see the jasmine petals in the dark brown oolongy mass, and they certainly contributed to the scent. Coupled with the bergamot, the scent - and I swear this rhyming scheme's accidental - was "sour-flower". The decision of what to drink was made for me.

Brewing instructions called for 1 tsp of leaves brewed in 6oz of 190F water for up to eight minutes. That left a lot of wiggle room, almost too much. Ever the moderate, I went the middle road with a four-minute steep - 1 tbsn in 8oz. I had to treat it as close to a normal oolong as possible. Some tend to get too dry on the tongue if overdone.

The biggest surprise was how dark this brewed. One would expect an oolong - even roasted - to brew to a green, gold or amber. This brewed auburn-to-brown like a normal Earl Grey with a Ceylon black base would. The aroma almost tricked me into thinking so as well; it smelled like Earl Grey. The oolong base was effectively masked by a medium-sour aroma. Same went for taste, too. There was a mild astringent note followed by citrus-sour-floral trifecta but no real oolong character. I can't say this was a flaw, but rather a surprise.

I would recommend this to those who like their Earl Greys strong in taste but not in delivery. Oolong retains about two-thirds the amount of caffeine as a good strong black tea. This has the color and taste of a lighter black but without the wallop. True, some want the wallop. But if an afternoon Earl is needed, this would make a perfect option. And on a subjective note, it got me writing this review while I was still in my pajamas. Gotta give it props for that.

— To purchase Red Leaf Tea Oolong Earl Grey, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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