To cheer up an office Monday, we ran a little tea-tasting party with some of the oolongs that naivetea sent.
We tried five from their selection: Rose Violet, Yuzu, Mint, Lavendar and Osmanthus.
Our favourite was the Osmanthus, which everyone agreed was light and very refreshing. The mint was very powerful.
The tasting was enlivened by the discovery of Fergus-Ray Murray‘s poetry. Enchantingly, though perhaps somewhat sadly, he notes the song is based on a true story.
the oolong tea song
Oolong tea, Oolong tea
Won’t you please come back to me?
I lost your box six weeks ago,
And now I don’t know where to go
For Oooo-oolong tea
Oolong tea, no other tea
Does quite what you do for me.
I miss your subtle peachiness;
Green tea’s great but you’re the best,
My Oooo-oolong tea
Oolong tea, Oolong tea
Your little leaves I long to see
But I can’t find you anywhere
I keep trying shops and you’re not there
Tea ye, Oolong
(based on a true story)
And finally, we come to the end of a marathon tea tasting session. My last tea is a fairtrade green tea chai. Its good. Very good. There’s something endlessly comforting about chai; this particular chai is less spicy than many and rather lighter, perfect for a Sunday afternoon cuppa.
Do you know of other tea selections we should taste en masse? Are you a tea distributor or enthusiast? Please make suggestions of teas I should hunt out and taste in the comments below.
Let us say I’m slightly sceptical about this tea. For all my bluff of having a refined taste and knowing about tea, when it comes down to it, I can’t resist a cup of builders. Strong black tea, with a large wallop of milk (save the sugar though). I’ve never ever got herbal teas. And to be honest, I had no idea what an “echinacea” was until I popped the bag in the mug. Pomegranate though, I am rather a fan of…
So, first off: echinacea. Wikipedia (don’t say four years at university hasn’t taught me how to engage in critical and complex research) leads me to believe it is essentially a daisy, though purple in colour, and means hedgehog Here’s one with a bumble bee on (the flower, not a hedgehog sadly):
There’s all sorts of jazz about it being good for immune system or something too. Blah. I don’t drink tea for health, I drink it for taste. And this tea leaves me a little bit confused. Its far darker than your typical fruit tea, with a fair bit more substance. There’s an orangey taste and something a bit peppery too. The pomegrantate aroma is fabulous, the pomegrantate flavour is just about there but nothing to shout home about. Which is what gets my goat about fruit teas. They always smell sublime yet have no real taste. This is better, but I’d rather have a mug of builder’s in all honesty.
Rooibas chai is today’s sixth cup of tea in this tasting. It is significantly spicier than the white tea chai tasted earlier, with a good chunk of cardamon and star anise flavour. It is a good tea. I like chai. I like tea.
I’m never quite sure whether or not to add milk to rooibos. I very rarely do, as they never have the bitterness that (bad) black teas do, with the milk sometimes threatening to overpower if added. Yet with a chai, I feel it should be sweet, milky and hot. Do you add milk or not?
[I did eventually add milk and was glad I did – supreme cup of tea.]
Hm. A green tea. Not a bad green tea, not a stunning green tea. Just a green tea. A touch disappointing after some of the blinding teas I’ve had so far today.
Hackney Empire is somewhere I’ve not yet ventured but really should. It has been and done it all – built in 1901, started as a music hall hosting names such as Charlie Chaplin, been a Mecca bingo hall (…hm…), been more of a mecca for stand up comedy in the 1980s and was refurbished a few years back to provide a proper orchestra pit for opera.
For more info on the mugs, email SaraNotSarah [AT] gmail [DOT] com
Time for another cuppa soon I guess…
Oh. My. God.
This tea is just the best thing ever. Sweet, smooth, with a wonderful caramel taste. I’ve become quite a convert to white tea lately and a good cup of chai is always a pleasure. I’m a bit short on words on this tea. Its hard to explain just how good it is. Mmmmmmmm.
The Bethnal Green gas towers are a touch easier to talk about. They’re a landmark I’ve been aware of for at least the last decade, from when I used to get the train down from Norfolk to London. As we started the final approach to Liverpool St, I’d always be amazed at these gigantic structures – sometimes just a skeletal framework with some seemingly miniature ladders around; other times in awe at how this structure encompassed what appeared to be a massive vat. I probably figured out that they were storage of some description, but it was only later the complexities of gas storage came to light for me – the challenges of keeping it “air” tight, maintaining appropriate pressure and having such a huge yet dynamic structure. Strangely enough, it isn’t far removed from my day to day life, but enough of that.
While I’m not normally that great a fan of green tea and rooibos, I’m normally rather scathing of Earl Grey. The process of taking some decent black tea and adding bergamot to create a tea that clings to the back of your throat and smells a touch too funky seems a strange one to me. Its that moment of disappointment when you order a cuppa on holiday and find yourself presented with a choice or earl grey or a cup of hot water.
So, while I didn’t mind this brew – being substantially nicer than a lot of other earl grey teas I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of tasting – I’m still not a convert.
The Museum Of Childhood in Bethnal Green however is AWESOME. It has been donkeys years since I’ve been, so probably about time I went back for a visit.