Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tea Pebbles…uh…Ginseng Oolong by Teas, Etc.

Scent in package: very light, “green” scent
Brewed in: unbleached paper tea filter
Steeping: as per package, 1 tsp. @ 180 degrees for 4 minutes, then 6 minutes
Cup: My trusty stoneware “For Life” café mug here at work

I’m not a huge green tea fan. I fully admit that my aversion to it probably comes from the fact that before I knew anything about tea, all tea was brewed with boiling water until I remembered to take the teabag out. Well, and I prefer the taste of dirt & leaves (puerh) to grass, I guess. So when I got this sample with my order from Teas, Etc. last month, I was excited to try something that looked like little green pebbles of tea, until I realized that it really was a *green* oolong (I generally go for the darker oolongs too). It’s been sitting in my desk drawer here at work ever since, waiting for me to be desperate enough to try it.

I’m not necessarily desperate this afternoon, just adventurous, I guess. So I thought about it for a minute, decided to use a filter bag rather than my tea-for-one pot just in case the little tea pebbles broke apart into dust upon steeping, and started heating some water. I measured out one level tsp. of…uh…tea rocks (leaving myself one more session, as the sample held two tsp), and set about steeping a cup.

It’s very light for a green tea, and has a nice body to it. It’s very smooth, though not honey-like in the least. There’s the tiniest bit of an after-“tang” on the tongue, probably from the ginseng. The taste is definitely vegetal, though not grassy in the least, which is my main complaint with most green teas. Perhaps being processed as a “light oolong” saved this tea from the grassy undertones. Other than the very light vegetal taste, and the ginseng tang, there’s not a lot of other tastes to this tea…it’s just light, smooth, and I dare say might be good iced as well, for the texture and that unique aftertaste.

I actually liked it well enough to finish it quickly, which left time to sneak in a second infusion before I headed home. The second infusion was darker, and a teensy bit sweeter, and a tad more astringent (though not bitter). The tang was gone as well. Nothing terribly remarkable about the second infusion, so I wasn’t too upset about leaving it at that. I suppose the third infusion might hold more secrets, but I’ll have to find out later, with the last of my sample.

This tea is good, but not something I’d drink often, or pay $13 per 3oz for. It’s always good to try a new sample, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again unless I have extra money to burn and am ordering other teas anyways.

1 comment:

  1. Hm. I checked out the Teas, Etc. site and it looks like they also mix in chunks of ginseng in with this tea. I kinda like that--I have a tea with ginseng bits and it is actually quite good. The picture also makes the pebbles look a bit more like tea than the rocks I got.

    I'm not sure what was up with my sample from YSLLC...either way, tea pebbles aren't likely to be a cabinet staple for me.

    Thanks for pointing me to this post! I knew I'd seen the phrase 'tea pebbles' somewhere. It's quite a good one!


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