An Oolong that Embodies Springtime | Charcoal-baked Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea

It’s hard to miss Springtime in Michigan. Part of me starts to rejoice because the temperatures are so sublime, and there is a brief period when windows and sliding glass doors can be drawn wide open. Part of me wishes for another blanket of snow because I realize just how many people litter in my hometown. The snow plows spend an entire season pushing trash-packed snow into gutters and tree lines, and it’s finally revealed in April. There is also, of course, all of the blossoming trees, but…I almost missed that this year.

It is also the beginning of construction season, which is why I ended up taking a new route home on a sunny and particularly windy work day. I’d like to say it was something romantic that caught my attention and forced me to look up– like the sweet scent of clover wafting through my car windows or the gentle fluttering of white petals on the wind– but it wasn’t. A gust of wind caught the lid of a garbage can, whipping it open and almost tossing the can and its entire contents into the middle of the road and in front of my tiny Ford Fiesta. The garbage can also happened to be sitting right beside a tree with the sweetest, white blossoms. My eyes traveled down the length of the road, which I discovered was completely lined with trees with pink and white blossoms and shrubs with purple and yellow blossoms. My skin prickled as panic pulsed through me; this was partly a delayed reaction from the garbage can threatening to crash my car, but I also kept repeating out loud about the blossoms,

When did this happen?

When did this happen?

When did this happen?

This is what I thought of when I tucked into a mug of hot Charcoal-baked Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea from Tea Vivre. I thought about how I almost missed Springtime’s blossoms this year.

The dried tea leaves are a dark, forest green color, and they are tightly rolled. They smell vegetal and slightly sweet; it almost reminds me of the seagrass that would grow and float in the Weeki Wachee River in Florida. They are quite unassuming tea leaves too because when I dumped them out on a plate to get a better glimpse of the leaves, they hardly filled up the plate (similar to Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea, which I tasted last spring.). They hardly filled up my tea strainer as well. But, after steeping for several minutes, they creep up the strainer and unfurl into full leaves.

The liquor color, which is never demonstrated well in my photographs, reminded me of amber, and the flavor, which I didn’t expect based on the aroma of the dried leaves, was flowery. Perfumy even, though perhaps this is how my palate perceives the charcoal-baked aroma since I’ve never experienced it before. Regardless, it caught me off guard, like the sight of the street lined with blossoming trees.

As usual, this Oolong Tea from Tea Vivre lends itself to multiple infusions. Based on reading about other peoples’ experiences, you can steep this four or five times to draw out more of the sweet floral flavor, though I only steeped it twice (the second infusion seemed more perfumy than the first, interestingly).

Overall, Charcoal-baked Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea is another exceptional tea from Tea Vivre, and if you’re looking for a tea that embodies spring time, I would not hesitate to recommend this. If you’re interested in other spring teas, check out Tea Vivre’s 2016 Spring Tea Collection.

Sample received for free from Tea Vivre in exchange for an honest review.
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