Hey there Teacups! I know I don’t normally post today but I want to write a little more and I recently tried an oolong that I simply couldn’t wait to write about. The oolong in question is Tea Repertoire’s – Qi Lai Mountain Concubine Oolong. As you all know I’m a huge fan of oolongs so when I saw this in the most recent box of teas they sent I couldn’t have been happier I’ve been trying my best to try as many new oolongs as possible recently, so this came at just the right time. Tea Repertoire told me on Instagram that they thought I would love this one so with that in mind I was excited to taste it and see if they were right. Each time a try a new tea from Tea Repertoire they completely blow me out of the water, so I think I will always look forward to getting to try new ones.
Floral (Rose) – Honey – Dried Apple – Slight Vanilla Like NoteThis Oolong has such an amazing aroma! For the most part it’s floral and sweet but it has a delicious dried apple note to it and an ever so slight vanilla. It almost reminds me of apple pie a little bit and I know that’s my western palate coming into play, but I couldn’t help but make that link in my mind when it smelt this sweet, floral and fruity aroma. It’s quite a light aroma so you’ll want to spend a little bit of time getting to know it and once you do it will begin to come to life and you’ll slowly start to pick out notes you didn’t notice initially. It also helps to put the leaves you want to use in some warmed (but dry) Teaware and let it sit in there for a little big once warmed the aroma gets much stronger. When it came to tasting this blend, my only hope was that the taste would be much stronger than the aroma and all the best notes from the aroma would translate into taste.
For this tasting session I used my Tea Repertoire Glass Gaiwan (ml) and my small porcelain tasting cup. w/ 80- 85 Degree water.
Tea Tasting Notes
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a steep run through rather then a wordy review and while doing my tasting session with this tea I knew it would be the perfect one to get me using this format again. Don’t get me wrong I love writing my normal reviews, but I think I could do with mixing things up a little bit every now and then to stop you all from getting bored of seeing all my post formatted in the same way.
Total Steeps: 8
Steep 1: Light – Smooth – Floral mostly rose but there is a slight orange blossom note in there as well towards the back of the mouth. – There is a little bit of a fruity apple not to it which was lighter than I thought it would be, but I was very glad it was there at all and I hoped it would get stronger as the steeps went on – The ever so slight vanilla like note from the aroma didn’t come through at all in this first steep but I didn’t loose hope that it may have come through in further steeps.
Steep 2: Much Stronger – Darker in colour (yellow/golden) – Heavier florals – Stronger fruity apple notes – and ever so slight vanilla toward the back of the mouth – This Steep was much stronger than the first in almost everyway the floral notes (still just rose), the apple notes and even the vanilla like notes got stronger and I subtle vegetal note started to come forward as well. It’s a very naturally sweet oolong and its flavour palate is perfect for spring/summer. It did have a little bit of a bite to it but it wasn’t a bad thing in fact it just made this oolong even more interesting for me.Steep 3: Very Smooth – Heavier Florals (mostly florals but there was a little more orange blossom in there this time around) – the apple was still present but wasn’t as strong as the second steep at all – the vegetal note that appeared in the second steep was much stronger in this one but didn’t overpower any of the mellower notes. It’s a very well-balanced oolong – While you can brew it western style I would suggest you do it gongfu style I’ve done it both ways and the latter really carters to it the best and gives you the time to truly sit and concentrate on just how great of an oolong this really is.
Steep 4: Darker in colour than the previous steep – Lighter floral notes (just rose again) – much more prominent vegetal notes – a little bit more of a bit to it but still quite sweet. This steep is where I really started to notice a change in the oolong it’s almost felt like I was drinking a brand-new tea. This steep was a little drying in the mouth, but it wasn’t enough to put me off doing more steeps.
Steep 5: Much sweeter than the all other steeps – stronger apple notes – Light Florals & vegetal – no bite present at all and the mouthfeel was much smoother. I expect it to still be a little bit drying like the steep before it was but that completely disappeared, aside from the first and second steeps this was one of my favourites.Steep 6: Very similar to steep 5 but lighter in almost ever aspect, I could definitely feel some of this oolong’s best notes slipping away at this point but with how the pervious steeps have changed I didn’t want to give up on it and wanted to do at least one more steep. What I will say about this oolong is that at this point in my tasting session it started to make me quite sleepy and I know tea has a calming effect on people sometime, but this took that to a whole new level.
Steep 7: Looking back in my mind this was this oolong’s last good (hot) steep it was however very light at this point and hard started to go a little green in colour. Some of it’s best notes were still there but much lighter than they had been in all other steeps. If I could go back now I would have stopped my tasting session here but we all learn from out mistakes don’t we.
Steep 8: I wouldn’t push it this far in hindsight because it lost all its best notes in this steep and while it was still pleasant it just wasn’t as good as the pervious steeps. I did however take the leaves I used for this tasting session and cold brew them and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve never cold brewed many oolongs, but this has completely changed my mind when it comes to cold brewing them. You never would have thought that after it lost a lot of it’s good notes in my hot tasting session because it came back to life when I cold brewed it. The florals were much stronger in the cold brewed version and so were the fruity apple notes, so never give up on your leaves they have so much to give.I really enjoyed my first tasting session with this Oolong as always Tea repertoire have managed to exceed all my expectations and introduced me to another great tea. I’m really looking forward to going back to this tea in a few weeks/months’ time and seeing if my opinions on it change at all. If you have the time today or whenever you are reading this post go and check their website out because they have some amazing teas on there that will open, you up to a whole new world (their Teaware is great as well). The teas they sent to me are sent for free for me to review but you all know I wouldn’t let that hinder my opinions and I would never be dishonest when it comes to reviews. I honestly love Tea Repertoire and I can’t wait to buy some more of their teas as soon as my tea buying ban is over.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to know more about Tea Repertoire and purchase this amazing oolong yourself, you can do both here. As always 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 get the chance.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley