Review by Alicia B. Read the original Reddit post here
Many of which are from community members who are far more knowledgeable about tea than I am. So, I wanted to share my own impressions while combining another hobby of mine: baking! For this review, I decided to pair each oolong sample with a cookie that I thought would go well with a particular tea. Sacriligious? Maybe, but that's just me.
Minnan Narcissus Oolong Tea.
Minnan Narcissus: Overall I found this tea to be quite complex. There were some floral notes and hints of dark caramel and buckwheat honey in the first few infusions, with later infusions tasting a little more like roasted nuts to me. I quite liked this tea. I paired it with honey lace cookies, which were delicate, crisp, and sweet. I think I made a decent choice here. A word to the wise: these cookies will start melting and losing their definition if left out for a day or so on the counter in hot and humid weather. Not that I speak from experience or anything...
Fenghuang Dancong Oolong Tea.
Fenghuang Dancong: This was probably my favourite tea in the oolong selection box. I'm not sure if it's obvious in the photo, but the first couple of infusions turned out a sort of pinkish orange hue, which I honestly wasn't expecting. The taste reminded me a lot of white nectarines, subtle and sweet, very juicy. There were also some nutty and floral notes, especially in later infusions where the fruitiness of the tea took a backseat. I paired this tea with amaretti cookies, the less finicky Italian cousins of French macarons. They were nutty and chewy, and the almond notes balanced well with the fruitiness of the tea.
Tie Guanyin Oolong Tea.
I love Tieguanyin, and this one was a pretty solid version. The first few infusions are very floral and made me think of morning runs in late May and early June when lilac bushes, roses, and magnolia trees are in bloom, and I get a whiff of delicate perfume as I pass them by. Creamy, buttery notes are also prominent. The floral and buttery notes tone down a bit in later infusions, which I found to be more vegetal and grassy. I paired this tea with lemon poppy seed shortbreads. The lemon punch cut through the buttery taste of the tea (and the cookie itself) and played off nicely with the floral notes.
Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea.
Dahongpao: This tea was probably my least favourite of the bunch, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. I got a lot of notes of roasted nuts and warm spices, with a bit of smokiness tickling the back of my throat. It wasn't nearly as strong as a smoked Lapsang, but I did find it to be a pervasive sensation throughout. I paired this with a spice cookie that's similar to a gingersnap, but made with buckwheat honey instead of molasses. I was afraid of masking the flavours and aromas of the tea with molasses and spices, which can be quite assertive. I think next time I'll be more generous with the cinnamon and ginger, though. This tea can handle it.
Anyway, that about wraps up my review. Many thanks to iteaworld for generously offering their samples. I really enjoyed tasting all of them and I hope this inspires other tasters out there to conduct their own experiments. Now, if you'll excuse me, after drinking all that tea and eating all those cookies, I have to go run for a kilometre...or two, or ten...