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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: The English Tea Store’s Spring Pouchong Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  Spring Pouchong
Company:The English Tea Store

Straight Tea Rating:

Oolong Ranking Bar:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:165-190° F
Steeping time:1-3 mins.
Tea type:Oolong (Taiwan)
Aroma, dry leaves:  Fresh, planty, blue-green leaf pieces

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —  1½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Melon-ish, planty
Taste, plain —Fruity but not sweet, hint of minty/grassy, almost tingles
Color, plain —Yellow-green
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —  2 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Melon-ish, planty
Taste, plain —Under flavor like honeydew melon, almost tingles
Color, plain —Yellow-green
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —  2½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Melon-ish, planty
Taste, plain —More melon-ish (close to the rind), slight tang
Color, plain —Yellow-green

Once again, tea drinkers are faced with inconsistent tea naming. Not only are herbals called “teas” instead of “tisanes,” but true teas like this one go by several names. Pouchongs are oolongs from Taiwan (formerly Formosa) that have been fermented to about 15%, meaning that it is mostly green. This one is particularly special, hand-processed for 5 generations by the residents of a town in a fairly remote area of Taiwan.

The leaves are actually a wonderful blue-green color, sort of like my lapis lazuli-malachite necklace. After steeping the leaves, you can see that many of them are quite large in mostly full leaves, with some broken pieces and a stem or 2 here and there.

Like any really good tea, this one is good for multiple infusions. Depending on your preferences, you could probably get 4 or 5 tasty rounds from one small amount of tea leaves. Hubby and I stopped at 3 since the final infusion was developing a tang and losing its smooth feel. The melon-ish flavor was more like the fruit near the rind instead of more toward the middle.

Another “sipper” tea that will keep you satisfied. I can say from personal experience that it goes well with a bowl of clam chowder and some corn bread (warmed with a bit of butter melted in). A bit of chocolate also went well with this tea. See what pairings you prefer.

A bit about price here. At the time this review was written, the vendor’s price for a 2-ounce pouch was $7.39. Even at only 3 infusions for each pot of tea, your cost per cup is quite reasonable (I calculate it at about 15¢, far less than a cup of that fancy coffee or tea at one of those shops). I say this for people who think that really good quality teas are expensive. Hope this encourages you to think otherwise.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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