Taste Test - Caramel Apple Roasted Oolong (or Caramel Apple Oolong v2)
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Caramel Apple Oolong v.2
Tea Description: Some time ago, shortly after I started doing this thing as the Mad Tea Artist, one of my online friends suggested that I create a caramel apple Oolong and he suggested using a roasted Oolong base. I liked the idea but the thing was that Frank had already crafted a Caramel Apple Oolong using a Fujian Oolong. (Click here to read my original review* of that tea.)
So here is a tea that was previously imagined and then later re-imagined based on an inspiration from a tea friend. I started with a charcoal roasted TieGuanYin which is delightfully nutty and sweet. To this, I added a combination of freeze-dried apples: Granny Smith and Fuji (which, interestingly enough, are my two daughter's favorite apples. Amethyst loves Granny Smith and Lilith loves Fuji.) I added some caramel essence and then - just because I felt that it needed some warmth, I added some cinnamon.
This is a tea that's deliciously, apple-y sweet but also pleasantly spiced - with a creamy, nutty background of a truly delightful Oolong tea.
ingredients: oolong tea, organic apples, organic cinnamon and organic natural flavors.
I have to tell you that even though I've been doing this now for almost 2 years (after taking a hiatus from the blending game for a few years), I still get a bit nervous when I blend Oolong teas. The same is true, incidentally, of Bai Mu Dan white teas.
You see, the former reviewer in me knows that these teas, in their pure forms, are rather 'sacred' to many of us that have tremendous appreciation and respect for the leaf and there are many purists out there who think that certain teas should not be 'toyed' with. I still don't know that I'd be able to flavor a yellow tea - as yellow has always been a beloved favorite - but I'm sure that in time, I'll find that courage.
Because I've come to realize that I'm not 'destroying' or 'disrespecting' the tea by flavoring/blending it. I find that by doing what I'm doing, I can discover new flavors within the tea leaf - not just the flavors that I add to it but also some of the natural nuances of the tea that these flavors help reveal. I love what I do and I think that what I do helps me appreciate and respect the leaf even more than I once did.
So, let's get on with this tea, shall we?
The tea starts off with a cinnamon-y note - it's a warm yet sweet cinnamon. Not the spicy-hot cinnamon taste that you'd find in those red-hot cinnamon candies but more of like the cinnamon you might add to your favorite apple pie recipe.After a couple of sips, the caramel notes come forward as do the notes of apple.
After a few more sips, I start to appreciate some of the roasted nutty flavors in the Oolong. As I near the end of the cup, some hints of charcoal even come through. I also find that as I near the end of the cup, the cinnamon flavors soften somewhat, and give the flavors in this tea a taste that resembles a caramel apple pie filling - rather than the traditional caramel apple on a stick - which brings a smile to my face because I did truly want something a little different from what the original version of this blend offered.
to brew: be sure to give this pouch a gentle shake to redistribute the ingredients. The cinnamon might shift to the bottom of the pouch! use 1 tsp. of leaf to 12 ounces of hot water (heated to 180°F) and let steep for 3 minutes. This tea can be resteeped a number of times. I resteeped three. The first infusion was more cinnamon than other flavors. The second infusion was more apple-y than the first or third and the third offered some really lovely, creamy, nutty flavors from the Oolong.
*To those of you who are members of the '52Teas Club' - in my newsletter announcing this tea to you, I linked a review of this tea - but that was one that I didn't write. It was written by one of our sisters (who no longer writes for the SororiTea Sisters) and that review was of a reblend of this tea. So I guess, technically, it can be said that this is a re-imagined blend of a tea that's been blended and reblended. I don't think I actually sampled the reblend - only the original tea (which you can read the review of by using the link in the above description).