La Colombe Ruby Oolong
Country of Origin: Thailand
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 4 minutes
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: glass infuser mug
Liquor: reddish amber
As I’m sure most of you know by now, coffee just isn’t my thing. I actually love the smell but I’m not at all a fan of the taste. Sometimes the worlds of the bean and the leaf do meet, though. When La Colombe announced that they were debuting a new line of teas and tisanes I just had to check it out. They worked with Rishi Tea to source and develop a carefully curated collection.
This ruby oolong was the offering that piqued my interest the most. It was produced in the Doi Mae Salong Mountains of Thailand and is certified organic as well as Kosher. The elevation is 1,600 meters and it was harvested in October of 2015. They had me at Thai oolong. There have been some really exciting teas coming from this region in recent years and I had a feeling that this would be one of them.
It arrived packaged in a foil bag within a beautifully designed cardboard box. I love that the label included tasting notes, origin information as well as detailed brewing directions (for multiple infusions to boot!). My only wish is that the bag was resealable but that was quickly remedied with an inexpensive clip. The dry leaf was dark and tightly rolled with a slightly glossy sheen.
Gongfu is always my go to so I gave it a try with this tea before using the western style directions provided. I used 8g of leaves but definitely could have gone as high as 10g without it negatively affecting the taste. The initial sips had woody notes that reminded me a bit of tobacco. As my infusions progressed a brown sugar-like sweetness swept in to bring balance.
Western style brewing (in this case a glass infuser mug) brought similar but slightly softer and rounder flavors. I can’t say that I have a strong preference a particular method here. I would reach for either my mug or my gaiwan depending on my mood. On a day off when I have the time to leisurely steep multiple infusions, gongfu is definitely the way to go. For late night binge watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix, a simple infuser mug wins out.
Have you had a chance to try any of the tea offerings at La Colombe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!