Totem Tea Gui Fei Oolong

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 200 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: amber

I love a good roasted oolong but they seem to be far and few between these days. That’s why I was super excited when I pulled this sample out of a recent box from +Totem Tea. Even better, it’s also a bug bitten tea. The leaves were attacked by the same wonderful little leafhopper that brings us Bai Hao oolong. I’ve often seen this variety referred to as Concubine oolong but somehow Gui Fei seems a bit more culturally appropriate. Yang Guifei was known as one of the Four Beauties of Ancient China.

The dry leaves were fairly dark in appearance with a somewhat sweet, nutty aroma. I went with a slightly lower water temperature than my usual since that was their recommendation. That was a safe choice as it kept the brew from being too overpowering. The first infusion was very mellow but really started to open up as my session progressed. I don’t usually rinse my oolongs but that might be a good idea if you want more body from the get-go.

The taste was just as toasty as I expected with sweet notes of honey. The floral aspect was there in the background when I looked for it. Lavender was what kept coming to mind but I’m not sure if that is exactly what it tasted like (who eats lavender all of the time anyway?). What surprised me were the bright citrus notes that popped up in the later infusions. They lingered deliciously in the aftertaste. I found myself continuing to drink even after the leaves had just about given their just for that effect.

Gui Fei sample provided for review by Totem Tea.

Nicole has been writing about her love of the leaf since 2008. Her work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. She is the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.