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!