Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tea Review Tuesday - A Review of Tea Ave's Magnolia Oolong Tea

This week, we have arrived at the Tea Ave review, which I find most intriguing of this three week series. First, our experience with Taiwanese Tie Kwan Yin expanded my Tie Kwan Yin horizons. Then, last week, we tasted the delicious and familiar flavors of Jasmine Oolong. This third tea from Tea Ave is their Magnolia Oolong. From their website, "Our Magnolia Oolong is prepared using the ancient method, in which the tea absorbs the flower fragrance during the baking progress, producing a scented tea that’s aromatic and flavorful..." And it is here that I must make a confession: I have never before tasted a magnolia-flavored tea, so this review will embody my first impressions of it as a flavor with no bias or comparison (to other magnolia-flavored offerings, at least)!

After preparing the teaware and heating the water (just under boiling!), I rinse the leaves and then begin the first steep, which will be for thirty seconds. In the meantime, I smell the leaves themselves. Green oolong aromas sit in the background, crowned by the magnolia itself. The floral notes are lighter than jasmine, sweeter than jasmine, and less cloying than jasmine. This makes me excited to try the tea itself! In a way, even breathing the leaves aroma is refreshing.

The aromas of the first steep are sweetly floral. (Thankfully, the sweetness is nothing but natural-smelling.) They seem energizing. Yet neither the tea nor the floral are very in-your-face scents. The flavor truly embodies the magnolia. My first sip splashed blossoms of magnolia over my taste buds, seeming to permeate my tongue. And yet, in a moment the insistent flavors are gone, leaving the faintest of floral-sweet aftertastes and a bit of dry mouthfeel. Certainly refreshing.

A second steep of forty-five seconds reveals what was missing in the first steep: much oolong flavor. The leaves had not yet opened very much in the first infusion, but they have now released more fresh, green oolong taste. Whereas the first steep had only the faintest hint in the background, the bold notes now truly uphold the cup. Balanced and smooth, the floral notes seem just on the edge of slight bitterness...but pleasantly never reach that point! Having quickly finished that cup, I steep another for a further forty-five seconds and am treated to the same pleasant flavors and aromas. For my first experience with a magnolia-flavored tea, this truly hits the enjoyable spot. Overall, I would describe it as "light" for an oolong, both in flavor and aroma. This could be quite tasty with a bowl of fruit for breakfast...

After two more steeps (one minute each), I taste the flavors beginning to diminish. It is here that I sit back to reflect on this enjoyable tea session. Much as I enjoy floral teas with jasmine, I think I shall definitely pursue those with magnolia more often. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea a 95/100.

Photo credit to Built from Ink and Tea.
Tea Ave's Magnolia Oolong is available from their website, here.
This review was provided in exchange for the tea sample.
Text is copyright 2015, Built from Ink and Tea.

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