Tze Lan Heung, the Purple Orchid
Purple Orchid is one of the most famous of Dan Chong teas. To me it stood out this year as heads and shoulders above the dozens of Dan Chong Teas I tried, and that has a lot to do with its provinance and when it was picked. This Purple Orchid DC was picked before April 4th, before the Qing Ming festival honoring ancestors who have passed. The date is marked on every farmer's almanac as the beginning of the picking season. But, in rare years, under special circumstances tea buds earlier, and if the weather is just right, and the picking and processing are just right, you wind up with an exceptional tea. This is such a tea. The dry leaves have notes of lichee and purple grapes. But this tea has great character.
Wet and warm the leaves, and a surprise is waiting. Notes of dry sweet almond are evoked, nutty and slightly spicy.
The aroma of the steeping tea fills the room.
The resulting cup is creamy, caramely and nutty, and reminds me of sitting in a restaurant and a waiter passes by with another guests desert of freshly caramelized flan.
This is a sumptuous tea, indulgent and relaxing. Check out all the Dan Chong Oolongs here: http://redcircletea.com/redcircleteas/oolong/redcircleteas_oolong.html