If you missed my post earlier today, I am doing a fun direct comparison between Sanne Tea’s 2014 and 2015 Oriental Beauty Oolong harvests. I do not often get to do a side by side look of two harvests where the only thing that separates them is a few hours of my sipping time, with mostly the same tea gear (same steeping vessel, different cups) and the previous harvest very fresh in my mind. I had to jump on the opportunity to do this, and instead of making one MASSIVE blog, I divided it into two, also so you can look at each tea in a vacuum. Wee!
So without further ado, time for 2015 Summer Oriental Beauty, a bug bitten Oolong from Taiwan, sporting fluffy leaves with silvery hairs and a veritable rainbow of tea leaf colors. The aroma of these light leaves starts with autumn leaf loam (not wet forest loam, a nice fluffy pile of leaves) subtle spices, sweet raisins, wildflower honey, and cooked apples and pears. The sweet fruity notes and warm spices put me in mind of an autumnal fruit bake, while being surprisingly delicate.
Brewing the leaves brings out the sweetness, I mean it was already sweet, but now it really resembles the honey sweetness and fresh fruit. Juicy pears, crisp apples, and ripe grapes. There is a tiny hint of spice and loam at the finish. The liquid is quite fruity, blending honey, apples, and pears baked with spicy for a gentle and juicy sweetness. Again, it is reminding me of an autumnal fruit bake…maybe a pie but no crust?
The first steep starts out very light, the mouthfeel is smooth and a touch delicate. Tasting notes start with gently spiced wildflower honey and quickly moving into dried apples and white grapes. There is a touch of pear at the finish but mostly this steep is light and all about the grapes and apples. For the aftertaste, oddly enough, is very gentle loam, adding a touch of earthiness to the light tea.
To the second steep, the aroma is light and sweet, notes of apples, pears, honey, and grapes with a nice spice note. Up until now the spice was hard to nail down, fleeting, but it is definitely a nutmeg note, warm and a touch earthy. The mouthfeel is still pretty light and smooth, a bit of thickness compared to the first steep, but overall it is still light compared to other Oolongs. The taste starts out with honey sweetness and baked apples, this moves to grapes and cooked pears, and the finish is loam and spice. The loamy finish and lingering spice has the earthiness to keep this light tea from floating away.
Before you ask, yes, yes I am quite tea drunk. The aroma of this steep still has the sweet notes of honey and apples, with a touch of grape, but the real powerful note is loam, it is earthy and with a slight spice that lingers in the nose. Mmm nutmeg. The taste is light and smooth while also heavy, the notes of cooked apples and pears (drizzled with honey, of course) very quickly get overtaken with loam and nutmeg, it is a heavy finish, one that cuts down the sweetness just a touch. Seeing the subtle differences between years was epic…I need to do this more often!