Hey there Teacups! I’m back today with another Let’s Talk Tea post this time around I’m going to be reviewing Grand Tea Co’s Organic Xia Xing Chun Oolong. If you’ve read my first post featuring Grand Tea you’ll know that the first tea I tried from the package they sent I loved and it definitely set the bar high for this one and probably the rest of the teas I try from them in the future (If you haven’t read that first post you can find it here). After that first tea I tried (and loved) it has taken so much will power not to dive into the package they sent and try every single tea to see if they were all as amazing as that first one but I did it and I managed to hold out until I was doing my tea tasting sessions for this month the hardest part after that was picking which of their teas I wanted to try next out of what was left. (In the end I just went for the one closest to the top of the package and let it make my decision for me)
Nutty – Light – Slightly Sweet – Somewhat Floral – Honey – Light Milk ChocAt first it was hard to pick much of the dry aroma of this tea because it is very light but as it started to acclimatise I was slowly able to pick so much more out of it’s aroma. It has a unique aroma because it smells somewhat like black tea but it’s also slightly floral, rather sweet and has a delicious milk chocolate underpinning. Even though the aroma is rather light I could tell from what I was able to pick out that I was going to really enjoy this tea taste wise. The leaves are long, slightly twisted and black & brown in colour they reminded me a lot of the leaves of a dancong oolong I had not to long ago in both shape and colour.Once I started steeping this I was really surprised to see though flashes of green coming through I wouldn’t have expected that at all from the appearance of the dry leaves, but it only made me even more excited to try this tea.
For this tea tasting session I used 3g of tea – 150ml of 85-90 Degree (C) Water and my 150ml ceramic Teapot and Stoneware Tumbler.
Tea Tasting Notes
When I took my first sip of this tea I was instantly taken by surprise because it was much more fruity in taste than I thought it would be because I wasn’t able to pick out even a moderately fruity note in the aroma because it was so light and delicate and I had to really push to pick out the notes I did. It was a little bit weird to have an oolong have a malty aftertaste that’s not something I’m used to at all and made this feel much more like a black tea than an oolong and rounded everything off perfectly. I did a total of 4 steeps with the leaves I used and with each one this seemed to flourish even more. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a tea that changed and even developed through progressing steeps any tea that does that is almost instantly in my good books. Around the 3rd steep a delicious milk chocolate note appeared which added an overall creaminess to this tea and made it much smoother mouthfeel wise. With my last cup I left it to cool a little longer than I normally would and I’m very glad it did because it only seemed to get stronger and an underlying vegetal note came through. I would advise leaving at least one of your steeps with this to cool to see if you can pick that out as well.
The name of the tea, Xia Xing Chun translates from Chinese to mean “Summer meeting Spring.” This phrase describes the time of year that this particular tea is harvested. Notably, most high-quality teas harvest in early spring. However, this tea, is purposefully harvested in early summer to enhance its flavour. In addition to this special time of year for harvesting, the Xia Xing Chun tea only uses the bud and the top two leaves of the plant. All other Oolong teas use the top four or five leaves and the bud of the plant to make the tea. Xia Xing Chun is a heavily fermented Oolong tea, making it comparable to black tea. The fermentation process for creating a dark Oolong tea is quite specific and must be followed with precision to have a desirable outcome. Most tea farmers believe that this is a special skill and that dark Oolong tea is much harder to make than the lighter kind.The fermentation process will decide on the final flavour of the tea. This tea is grown in a special environment to boost its flavour. The famer choses the leeward side of the hills on his farm that have sufficient humidity and sunshine to grow this tea. He purposefully allows weeds and insects to remain around the plants to encourage environmental harmony and to nourish the tea plants in the most natural way. This organic growing method is what provides this tea with the honey and fruit flavour that is so uniquely its own. This organic tea is purchased directly from a tea farmer who has achieved the European organic farming certification: CERES. This certification is one of the most trusted certifications for organic food products in the world.
This is without a doubt one of the best and incredibly unique oolong’s I’ve ever tried, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be ordering some more of this as soon as I’ve lifted my self-imposed tea ban it’s just far to good not to have as a permanent part of my tea collection. I you’re already a fan of oolongs but you want something a little more unique to try I would suggest you give this a go I grantee you will love it and it will no doubt become a favourite of yours as well. If you know of any other companies out there that sell oolongs like this please let me know because I would love to try some more heavily fermented oolongs.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Grand Tea and purchase this tea for yourself, you can do that here. As always Teacups if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all soon. Happy Steeping – K