Teatime Tuesday #24: Mandarin Silk Oolong

Welcome back to another teatime! This week for National Pride Month’s Rainbow of Tea it is time to feature a beautiful yellow tea! This time I had a lot of options in my collection, since so many teas brew a lovely golden color, but this particular tea not only has a vibrant yellow color, but has become one of my favorites since first sip!

This is Art of Tea‘s Mandarin Silk Oolong, which apparently is the winner of “Best Flavored Oolong” from the World Tea Expo, and Specialty Tea Institute, Tea Association of America… and I can see why after trying this $5 sampler! I was so taken with this tea I decided to send the remainder of this sampler to my mom and buy myself a 4 oz. bag for $27.00!

This tea contains Pouchong oolong tea leaves, a lightly oxidized style of oolong typically grown in Fujian Province, China, or Taiwan, with lemon myrtle, marigolds, and natural essence of vanilla flavoring. It smells heavenly, like a sweet vanilla confection with subtle hints of citrus.

I steep this tea for three minutes using water boiled at 190 degrees F — hot, but not boiling (though increase my steep time to five minutes on subsequent steeps). The tea steeps into a very vibrant yellow color, and smells of oolong and sweet vanilla! I like just a bit of sugar to really bring out the flavor, but it is naturally sweet. “Silk” is an apt name for this tea, because it is so light and silky smooth on the tongue! It is one of those teas that just made my eyes roll back in delight from first sip! The vanilla leaves this sweet, pleasant aroma and taste, and there is just a hint of the lemon myrtle lingering on the back of the tongue with every sip. Yet at the same time, the complexity of the pouchong leaves is not lost on me, as every steep — oolong is the perfect tea to resteep! — tastes just a bit different as the properties of the leaves change. Pictured above is actually the second flush of these leaves!

I have no problem resteeping this tea at least three times (and sometimes will go for more), and notice that the flavors change slightly from steep to steep from the oolong leaves themselves; the vanilla taste does get a bit weaker but holds up surprisingly well, continuing to lend a sweet, tasty finish. The other amazing thing about this tea is it is absolutely fantastic cold or iced! Some teas you just have to dump after you cuppa goes cold, but I find I actually love sipping this tea cold, it is incredibly refreshing as a cold drink! Once my bulk leave comes in, I plan to make a big pitcher of cold brew tea in the fridge for the hot summer months, because the flavor is fantastic cold! If you are looking for a tea to try iced, I’d highly recommend this one!

Samplers of this tea are only $5, so I’d highly recommend trying this tea out if you are a fan of vanilla, or teas with a sweeter side. Even if you don’t normally like oolongs, give this one a try! This blend might just change your mind! And if you’ve never tried an oolong, I’d highly recommend this blend as a gateway into this complex and interesting tea type!

While I enjoy my third cuppa, let me share with you an interesting story about Pride in my town… that is, we have never had one. I live in a small religiously-dominated community in southern Idaho (given the proximity to Utah, I’ll let you figure out which religion) and this is not the sort of place I would describe as “diverse” in term of race, ethnicity, or non-heternormativity when it comes to sexual and gender orientation.

We have a yearly event the first weekend of June called “Western Days” that has a flagship parade, and in 2007, the Southern Idaho Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center tried to get a float entered. It was denied because, apparently, “Western Days is a family friendly event.” It was the first float to ever be denied entry. They submitted the float again in 2008, and it was accepted, however, they were restricted from having any rainbow flags on it, from passing out any information about getting help with AIDS or drugs, and they couldn’t use the letters “LGBT” in their organization name, having to use “Southern Idaho Community Center” instead, and couldn’t have any T-shirts or fliers referring to homosexuality. OUCH. One has to wonder if simply being rejected again would have been less of an insult at that point…

So that was nine/ten years ago. This year, not only is the Southern Idaho Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center allowed their float, but Magic Valley Pride also has a float, bedecked in rainbows with Drag Queens waving at the crowd proudly. They were still barred from handing out pamphlets or literature, but it’s a step in the right direction.

This last weekend, Magic Valley Pride took over the park for their own event. As Western Days packed up and left the weekend before, the park was taken over by booths in bright rainbow colors. The queer community of the highschools were taking donations for baked goods, bands were playing in the bandshell, and the night before a fabulous Drag Queen/King/Pride variety show took place at a local theater (the acts were fantastic!) And I have to say… for once, it was nice to see a little less hate in this little town that can feel so overwhelmingly oppressive and close-minded.

And here, there were pamphlets being handed out. I spoke at length with the nice lady at the PFLAG booth, and took one of her pamplets!

Change takes a while, and comes slowly… but at least progress is being made. And I think for a lot of us in the LGBTQQIAAPP+ community, that’s the best we can hope and ask for. Progress, a little at a time, over time.

Thanks for joining me for another teatime! Next week I’ll be sharing a delicious orange-colored brew as we start to wind down the Rainbow of Tea!

#23 | #25

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About Mastress Alita

I'm a fulltime librarian, a chronic migraineur, a tea addict, and an avid Simmer that writes SimLit and maintains the Stories and Legacies Index, a link directory of SimLit on Wordpress. Though I obviously love cats, I actually don't own one! (Blame my apartment lease for that!) I do have a charming old cockatiel, Kali, that has been my companion for the last seventeen years!
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12 Responses to Teatime Tuesday #24: Mandarin Silk Oolong

  1. cathytea says:

    Heart-warming! I know that culture , as I’ve lived north, west, and south of it in adjacent states and through teaching have known many students who come from there as refugees or still integrated parts of it . So I can celebrate the gains and also applaud your work as a librarian there since libraries are gateways to freedom and possibility !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll admit, it can be a bit hard for someone like me to fit in around here (the school years were especially hard) and if I didn’t love my job so much, I’ve thought that relocating to a more “open-minded” area (like California) would be for the best. But it is nice to see these kind of changes, even if they are small and slow-coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. raerei says:

    Awesome I love oolong teas . I have a milk oolong that honestly tastes like popcorn. Today however I’m having iced blueberry fields, a flavored black that I love iced.

    I’m so happy your town is learning to embrace pride! The park looks so much better in rainbows. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blueberry Fields was the first tea that I tried making in bulk iced! Lasted me quite a while, too, but I was sad how much leaf it used up from a 2 oz. bag to make a gallon of iced tea at once! But I learned that if I’m making iced, I’m going to have to buy a lot of leaf… either that, or I’m going to have to make quarts at a time to make myself feel better about it.

      I recently tried Milk Oolong at Twin Beans, since that is one of the ones they have, and really enjoyed it! TeaSource’s Milk Oolong is a bit pricey for me, so I’ll probably shop around for a different Milk Oolong. I did recently restock on Strawberry and the Rhubarb one that I can’t get enough of (already have gone through my 2 oz bag, and I made a cold brew pitcher of that one iced recently!) I also tried the Gunpowder Oolong at Twin Beans recently too. I have been absolutely addicted Oolongs as of late! I have a soft spot for rooibos, but among proper tea leaves, I think I’ve found that oolong is “my cup of tea”!

      And yes, the park does look nice when it is that colorful. Would give us a nice view from work if it was always decorated like that. ^_^ The library is right across the street!

      Like

      • I use about 8 teaspoons of loose peach tea for sun tea in a gallon jar, comes out lovely. Tempted to see if it comes out just as lovely with only 6 teaspoons. :)

        Liked by 1 person

      • And you don’t think it is too weak? I’ve read that you need 1 teaspoon of loose leaf per 1 metric cup of water, and there are 16 cups to a gallon, ergo 16 teaspoons of leaf are needed to do a full gallon at a time without the taste of the tea being weak.

        Like

      • With sun tea it sits outside and steeps for several hours. It is in some ways lighter than a brewed tea that’s steeped for a long period, but it doesn’t taste weak. :)

        For hot brewed I use a ratio of 1 or 2 teaspoons per cup of hot water. :)

        Keep in mind growing up coffee was always the beverage of choice for almost everyone I knew so I learned how to make tea by reading, :)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve read that sun tea can cause bacteria to develop — not that I still wouldn’t give it a try, I’m always willing to experiment with tea brewing, but mainly with my apartment living situation, I don’t really have access to a good sunny spot to do it. I’ve done a hot-steep mixed with cold water to make iced tea, and also a cold brew (leaving tea in a pitcher of cold water overnight) and it is interesting how different those two methods of making iced tea can change the taste, too! I’m thinking the next two months I may dedicate Teatime Tuesday to iced brews for the hot summer months (if I can find a spot where I think I’d get decent sun and none of the other tennents would mess with it, I really would like to try out sun tea at least once!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. lisabeesims says:

    I have been meaning to come and pick your brain on an oolong tea … I purchased one called milky oolong … and I’m not real sure how to serve it or how to brew and serve it. It is quite different. I tried it brewed regular and plain … taste was very overpowering. Not sure what I did wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I love Milk Oolong, it is one of my favorites! I get it for lunch at Twin Beans typically once a week (but still need to buy some for my home collection).

      Oolongs have a lot of variety, some are more oxidized than others, so you get some that are very green and leafy and more like green teas, and others that are highly oxidized and quite dark like black teas. They have very complex tastes and the leaves are curled and rolled so on each steeping they unfurl a bit more, so the taste tends to change just a bit from steep to steep.

      Do you have a temperature-control kettle? Oolongs are best just before you reach a boil, but you shouldn’t use boiling water on them, it tends to be a bit harsh on their leaves. A setting between 180-190 degrees is good (I use the 190 setting on my kettle). Giving oolongs a “rinse” is typical, as this helps open up the leaves before you do your first steep. Either put just a little water in the cup and dip your infuser, then dump it, or put your infuser in the cup, splash a bit of water over it, dump it, remove your infuser, then go ahead and fill your cup and put your infuser back in to steep proper (your leaves will now be “opened up” from the brisk rinse of hot water and you’ll get a slightly nicer flavor on your first steeping).

      Milk oolong is one that doesn’t need a long steep. I usually steep mine for three minutes, but some people give their oolongs a very brisk one minute steep. Since oolongs are designed for multiple steepings (some quality oolongs can get up to 8 steepings, but most will get at least 3 from one serving of leaf) experimenting and going a little longer if it seems weak shouldn’t hurt. The flavor of oolongs does change from steep to steep as the leaves will open, unfurl, and change slightly each time. It’s a bit different than other teas, which honestly usually just get weaker on multiple steeps. I’ve actually found I sometimes like my second steeping of an oolong better than the first!

      With milk oolong, I *really* like it with a bit of sugar. Not a lot, but I think it really brings out a rich, creamy taste. If you don’t like it plain, try it sweetened a little.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lisabeesims says:

        Thank you so much I think I did it wrong and I think you give me great advice here. I’m going to try it today. I knew that I must be doing it wrong somehow. I had it too hot and steeped it too long.

        Liked by 1 person

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