Hye Thyme Cafe: REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

Growing up near Boston, it's only natural that I became a Dunkin Junkie. There is practically a Dunkin Donuts on every corner. When I moved to New Orleans back in 93', I was concerned that I would miss it because they seemed to trail off around Virginia. No need to worry - there were two Dunkin Donuts in the New Orleans area - one right down the street from my apartment and the other right down the street from my office. I couldn't have planned that any better!

I didn't become a tea drinker until after attending my first High Tea at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. I wanted to participate, so I felt it only right that I order tea, even though I could have gone with lemonade or something else. After thoroughly reviewing the menu options, I settled on their Oolong, which was referred to as the "champagne of teas" and touted to have peach notes. I was hooked from the first sip! Not only was it extremely flavorful and soothing, but I didn't need to put anything in it.

I had tried teas in the past, but they always left me feeling like I was drinking dish water. I just couldn't warm up to it, so I stuck with coffee. The Oolong came as a welcome relief. What I didn't realize at the time is that there is a wide range of Oolongs, some that are delicate and pale, more along the lines of a green tea, and some that are rich and bold, closer to a black tea. Once I started to enjoy tea, I went back and tried other varieties, thinking that I had developed a taste for it - nope, for whatever reason, the teas I enjoy the most all fall under the Oolong canopy.

When Teavivre first contacted me to ask if I would be interested in sampling their teas and writing a review, I secretly hoped for Oolong. I was slightly disappointed when that didn't happen, but as it turned out, I did enjoy most of the teas they sent. Fast forward a bit and you can imagine how happy I was when they contacted me again asking if I wanted to sample and review their Oolong.

The following are the five varieties I sampled:

Unlike with my first experience, there was not one variety that I didn't care for. If pressed to pick a favorite, I would have to go with the Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin. Not only did it have a lovely flavor, but in a strange way, it made you pause and think about it while you were sipping. This particular tea had a stronger aroma than taste, so as you bring the cup to your mouth, you are expecting to taste what you smell. When that doesn't quite happen, it gives you a momentary pause, and then comes a floral flavor, almost with a hint of lilac, but not in any way cloying as lilac would imply. I like that it draws attention to itself in that way and makes you take your time and appreciate it - a reminder to slow down and enjoy.

If you lean in one direction or the other - Green v. Black tea, Oolong falls somewhere in between, with green teas being un-oxidised and black teas being fully oxidised. I strongly urge you to take a walk into the center and add some Oolong to your tea repertoire. And for those of you who are new to tea, I think Oolong is the best place to start!

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

The first Oolong I tried was the Taiwan Jin Xnan Milk Oolong, to accompany some Cranberry-Orange Muffins.

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

It was with a batch of Coconut Scones that I tried my favorite of the group, the Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuan Yin. 

When conducting a review, I always like to use the item in some sort of recipe, so I strong-brewed some of the Taiwan Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) and incorporated it into a Peach Butter. That was great on its own slathered on toast and stirred into yogurt, but then I attempted to incorporate the rest into a batch of oatmeal cookies which turned out to be an EPIC FAIL on my part!

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

A very BIG thanks to Teavivre for again expanding my horizons when it comes to tea; in this case, more specifically Oolong.

Although Teavivre did provide me with the samples - as always, this is not a paid post, 
and all opinions expressed are strictly my own.

REVIEW - Teavivre Oolong Loose-Leaf Teas

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