Today was awesome! Ben and I went to the zoo and I had a blast taking pictures of all the creatures and spending far too much time in the bird enclosures. Seriously my favorite aspect of the KC Zoo (other than their conservation work) is the Australian and African bird enclosure, it is a giant bird cage where many birds just go about their business mostly ignoring people. Except the ibises in the Australia exhibit and the splendid starlings in Africa, conveniently they are two of my favorites. I just love the zoo and I am so glad I was able to go!
Since it is starting to feel like summer I wanted to cover a tea that is practically just summer incarnate, Tea Ave’s Rose Oolong. This tea is an Alishan Jin Xuan that has been scented with rose, and with a few rose petals tossed in, and let me say, I love roses in tea…the idea of blended roses with an already creamy sweet base sounds wonderful. The aroma smells exactly like I had hoped, it smells like Rose Milk (or Falooda, though not quite as starchy) Rose Milk was one of my favorite summer drinks for years. In fact it is one of my favorite aspects of both Indian and Persian desserts, the use of rose is wonderfully decadent. The aroma of rose is certainly strong and sweet, but it brings in milky sweet notes from the Jin Xuan, giving it a dessert quality and it smells delicious.
Steeping the tea was pretty awesome, the tea area was filled with blooming roses and it was heady, which I liked! Full on rose garden in bloom coming out of my gaiwan. After steeping the leaves had a blend of rose and milky sweet custard with a slight nutty undertone and hint of crushed vegetation. The liquid smelled like rose custard, super sweet and creamy with intense rose and even a pinch of sugar cane, it is pretty intense!
I was proud of myself, I shared some of this tea with Ben instead of quaffing it all myself, it took great self control. First thing you notice is the rose, it is at the foretaste and the mid, and of course the after, it is all rose all the time. The rest of the taste dances from creamy sweet custard to a bit of nuttiness to a slight crushed vegetation at the finish. It is fairly light at the first steep, but lightness cannot stop the rose.
Conveniently, the rose is still strong for the second steep, but it does not get stronger, it stays the same level of rose bush. The sweet creamy taste however, that does get stronger, really taking on a custard quality with undertone of sesame seeds. I almost want to munch on pistachios while drinking this tea to really bring out the Persian ice cream quality. The aftertaste is rose and it lingers for a while.
Onward to the next steep, this one has a slightly stronger rose in both taste and aroma, and a slightly diminished creamy sweetness. For this steep the notes of crushed vegetation and lily are stronger alongside the intense rose, there is no doubt this is a Jin Xuan, and it blends wonderfully with the rose, in fact other than the occasional blending with red teas, this might be the best rose combination I have found. I also tried it cold steeped, it was enjoyable, but I preferred it warm, which is odd considering how much the taste reminds me of ice cream!