Review: Taiwan Honey Black Oolong.

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Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Smooth, flavourful and satisfying, this black tea/oolong hybrid is a winner! "
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.4/10
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Harvested in April 2012, this tea is a new arrival to T-oolongtea's extensive collection of oolongs. From what I understand, it's a mix between a black tea and an oolong. This is what the website has to say about this offering's processing:Taiwan Honey Black Tea Oolong is produced following the method of making black tea oolong tea and using the raw tea leaves for oriental beauty. The oxidation of this tea is between black tea and oriental beauty oolong to preserve the flavor of black tea and the taste of oriental beauty oolong. Oriental Beauty is a tea that is made with leaves that are exposed to leaf hoppers. These tiny insects feed on the leaves, changing the flavour of the tea, giving it a sweet, honeyed finish. In order to attract leaf hoppers to produce this tea, the bushes have to be pesticide free. Looking at the leaves, they very much seem like a black tea. Most are ebony-coloured, with a few gold strands thrown in. Long, lean and spidery, I have a bit of trouble taking them out of the bag. Their scent is rather herbaceous, reminding me a bit of the planty of some Darjeelings.

I brewed this tea using a heaping teaspoonful of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. This produced a light coppery brew, scented with malt and toasted bread notes. Slightly drying, planty top notes are followed by intensely sweet honey and cinnamon flavours. Malt and sweet potato also come out to play. As it cools an interesting muscatel quality develops. I wouldn't add milk to it as it's quite light-bodied. There is certainly no need for sweetening with a finish like this one. Smooth, flavourful and satisfying, this black tea/oolong hybrid is a winner so far.

After a 4 minute-long steep, cup #2 is similar to the first cup, only less herbaceous. This allows the sweeter range of flavours to shine. The finish now has a hint of berries to it as well. The body feels heavier and thus more decadent. This is also a really enjoyable cup.

I managed to get a decent third brew as well, following a 5 and a half minute-long steep. The tea's flavour is mainly concentrated around it's sweet, malty finish at this point. It's absolutely smooth and gives no hint of wanting to get bitter.

The herbaceous notes of the profile remind me of Darjeelings. This tea also showcases all the highlights of Chinese black teas: smooth, malt and sweet potato notes, with no trace of astringency. At the same time it does have a unique intense honeyed finish. This is an addictive mixture of flavours folks that I highly recommend trying! Well done!

— To purchase Taiwan Honey Black Oolong., 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.

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