Spring has sprung. Right on cue the air is fresh, the sun is out and flowers are starting to bloom.
Spring is a season of renewal and is scientifically proven to make us feel more positive. The days are getting longer, it’s still light when we leave the office, and we start to head outdoors more after our winter hibernation.
At this time of year we start noticing more vibrancy in our fruits and vegetables. We see our gardens come back to life, and we start to shy away from the warming, comforting and hearty meals we turned to in the colder months, replacing soups and stews with fresh salads, and lighter dishes.
Just as our eating preferences change subtly with the seasons, what we feel like drinking changes too.
While the true tea connoisseur will drink tea all year round, you may find yourself reaching for something lighter and fresher than the black teas you likely turned to during winter.
According to Cup Above Tea’s, Alison Dillon, spring is the perfect season to fully embrace oolong tea.
Oolong tea sits between green tea and black tea. It is more oxidised than a green tea, but not fully oxidised like a black tea.
Oxidation refers to the chemical reactions that cause the fresh green leaves to turn brown and influences the flavour and aroma compounds of tea. Imagine if you left a half-eaten apple out for a few hours only to return and find that the flesh has started to turn brown – that’s oxidisation in action.
Oolong tea generally has between a 30% to 85% oxidisation level which means tea masters have plenty of scope to create innovative and interesting batches. Through labour-intensive processing, a highly skilled tea master can draw out anything from buttery florals, chocolates, roast nuts, citrus or tropical fruit from one batch of freshly plucked leaves.
As winter recedes you might find yourself tiring of black teas, but you’re not quite in the summery fresh green tea mood just yet. Oolong is your answer. It’s the perfect transitional drink for spring and it will open up a world of flavour you may never have experienced before in tea.
Two oolongs in the Cup Above Tea collection make for perfect spring transition teas.
This high mountain spring harvest tea from Taiwan is like spring in a cup. It’s full of fragrance and delicate layers. It is naturally sweet and has a gorgeous silky texture on the palate.
Expect to taste notes of honey, pear and peach, and be sure to enjoy the evocative floral aroma. This ball style oolong will infuse several times.
Keep using the same leaves up to seven times before the flavour starts diminishing.
Picture yourself walking through a tropical garden in full bloom. This is a mellow tea with hints of pineapple, rose and almond giving it a beautiful lift and lingering aftertaste.
This is a strip style oolong tea and you can use the same leaves up to three or four times without compromising flavour. It’s a brilliant example of a Jun Chiyabari tea, a small and exclusive organic estate high in the eastern Himalayas.
Oolong tea is great to experiment with when it comes to cocktails. This Oolong Negroni cocktail recipe makes for a fun way to welcome in the new season.
Negroni’s aren’t for the feint hearted and can be an acquired taste – most palates aren’t used to the zingy, puckery effect the bitterness of this drink can have, but thanks to a few spoons of exceptional quality oolong tea leaves, we’ve added a touch of extra sweetness to make that famed bitterness a little bit more approachable.
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