Cup of Tea and a Blog

Welcome to my spot for musing about all things tea. Here you'll read reviews of quality teas, click through comments on tea rooms and shops I've visited, and see photos of leaves and cups. You’ll also find things I might talk about over a cup of tea, like philosophy, literature, current events, or fun ways to pass the time.

Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

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26 July 2005

Iced Oolong Tea

Much of the U.S. has been blanketed in an oppressive heat wave, but in Seattle the weather has been mild and pleasant. July and August are generally the only months of the year when our daytime temperatures occasionally go above 80 degrees. Today, it is sunny with highs expected to climb into the mid-80s. There are no clouds on the horizon, which means the mountains are out.

(click image to see larger photo)

In preparation for the hot afternoon, I brewed another pitcher of iced oolong tea. This is just my second batch of refrigerator-brewed oolong, and I continue to be surprised by the knock-out flavor of these teas. There is an incredibly refreshing quality to oolong when brewed cold, and it is a very satisfying way to combat the heat.

Oh, iced oolong, why didn’t I know about you when I lived in the hot desert of southern New Mexico? I could have really used you back then!! :)

The process for this couldn't be simpler-- put oolong leaves in a pitcher, fill with room temperature water, then place in the refrigerator overnight. I used 2-3 spoonfuls of tea in the 1.5 quart pitcher. (my thanks to Shiuwen of Floating Leaves for her tips)

Many years ago I bought an iced tea pitcher with a strainer basket that makes removing the leaves a breeze. Mine came from Republic of Tea, but I’ve seen these elsewhere. I like the convenience of the brew pitcher. However, I'm sure that just pouring the tea through a strainer would work as well, and some might prefer a ceramic or glass pitcher for brewing.

Tasting Notes of Two Iced Oolongs

Nantou oolong, from In Pursuit of Tea: The tea is quite nice and rather dramatically floral when iced. I was surprised at how strongly the various aromas and flavors come through when it is cold-brewed. The liquid is the color of white grape juice or a white wine. There's no bitterness at all, and the floral aspect is stronger than when I made a hot cup of the tea yesterday. There's still a reminder of the brothier, greener taste, which creates a buttery and smooth sensation on the tongue.

Dong Ding oolong (shown above), a gift: This is what I’m sipping today. The liquid itself is darker and a tiny bit greener than the Nantou. There is definitely a more roasted note to this tea, and it is much less floral. I actually brewed this up yesterday afternoon and had some last night, but the tea tastes better today. I’m not sure if it needed to sit and relax a bit, or my taste buds are just more receptive in the morning.

Between the two iced versions, I think the Nantou oolong is better. The flavor of the tea retains its complexities (and its characteristic lilac aroma) even cold. I'll probably brew another pitcher of the Nantou, since we have a warm week predicted. Tomorrow I'll take some along with me on a ferry ride to Bremerton. I'm looking forward to many incredible views of mountains and the Puget Sound, as well as a tea shop purported to carry many yixing pots.


Blogger Frustrated American said...

I am just cruising the blogs and I ran into yours. I have to say you really like tea. I printed some off for my mom she will like that.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Cindy W. said...

Thanks for visiting. I do really like tea. :)

8:55 PM  

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