Red Blossom’s site has some interesting info about Phoenix Oolongs and how they are from single groves grown to emulate the flavor or fragrance of a particular fruit or flower. This one is “almond,” and so of course I was looking for the almond fragrance when I stuck my nose into the freshly opened packet.
And yeah, it’s there. It’s in and around the roasty-toasty, sharp, dark oolong dry leaf fragrance and to some extent overpowered by that aspect, but it’s there. The leaves are dark brown, twisty, and after a rinse look a little like birds nest material.
Gaiwan. 195F. Rinse. 15 seconds + 5 for each subsequent steep.
The tea is a light amber color and clear. It definitely has an almond note in the aroma and the flavor, which fascinates me. Having had a lot of almond flavored teas, that a tea can have this sort of flavor naturally is really cool.
The tea is fairly mild compared to what I was expecting from the sharp note of the dry leaves. That sharpness is filed off in the flavor, leaving a smooth roastiness.
I’m finding it a comforting tea for a winter morning. It didn’t change for me over four steeps, other than to become a bit stronger and rounder in flavor after the first steep, but the almond note sets is apart from other darker oolongs I’ve had. It makes me want to try the other Phoenix oolongs on Red Blossom’s site and see if they all do justice to the fruits or flowers they are meant to emulate.
Flavors: Almond, Roasted, Toast