Sweet osmanthus, also known as Osmanthus Fragrans, is a Chinese flower that’s often used in the Chinese kitchen to prepare desserts. The flowers are super fragrant and release a buttery sweet apricot scent. In this post we’re going to introduce you some classic blends with osmanthus that you should try out at home!
Before we move on to the recipes we would like to mention that there are also pre-blended osmanthus teas available, but they typically aren’t as great as when you buy leaf tea and osmanthus separately.
Osmanthus oolong tea
Watch the video below to see how it’s prepared in a gaiwan and visit this page for more details.
Osmanthus green tea
Watch the video below to observe how it’s made in a glass teapot. See this page for more details.
A success story of tea villages Shouning county. While tea farmers in Shouning used to earn a little from all the hard work they put in to grow tea leaves, this has changed this year. “Thanks to the village to guide to planting tea plants business has improved significantly! From spring to now, I made 30,000 yuan (5000 USD). My daughter and I are going to build a new house near the ocean side ……” says farmer Wang happily.
714 meters above sea level, the main source of income of the Bangyang tea villagers is oolong tea. Farmer Heng Yuan planted 10 acres of oolong tea but this usually only leads to an annual income of only 10,000 yuan (1600 USD). In order to support two daughters, Heng Yuan had to work outside the home in addition to picking outside, his personal financial situation used to be very tight.
Starting 2003, the village committee decided to guide farmers to improve the oolong tea quality and to provide loans to ease financial problems and finance invest in new varieties of oolong tea. Now the village produces nearly 300 million yuan (50 million USD) annually and the average tea farmer earns an average household income of 15,000 yuan. Nowadays, 80% of village people have moved into the spacious and bright brick houses.
This blog post is dedicated to a dear Indian customer who has ordered Tieguanyin tea from Teasenz for a major 5 star hotel chain. Given the customer’s requirements, The Teasenz team has tasted several floral Oolongs and finally picked this light roasted Tieguanyin Oolong tea:
This Tieguanyin owes its vibrant green color to the fresh late spring leaves and a light roasting process to retain its floral aromas. The taste of this Oolong is close to that of green teas, though it’s characterized by a fuller body, stonger floral notes, and a less grassy taste. Compared to dark roasted Oolongs, which has a taste closer to that of black teas and other Oolong teas, the roasty taste of this light Tieguanyin version is less overwhelming and therefore more accessible. This is the main reasons why most Chinese tea drinkers prefer the light roasted version of the Tieguanyin tea. The traditional dark Tieguanyin has declined in popularity significantly. Many Chinese and most foreigners don’t even know about the existence of a dark roasted Tieguanyin. For darker Oolongs most Chinese people prefer the Da Hong Pao or Dancong Phoenix, undergoing a much more refined dark roasting process developed in the history of their specific tea regions. It is unfortunate though that the dark roasting skills for Tieguanyin has been not been passed on so well in recent history from farmer to son, because nowadays most Tieguanyin tea farmers focus on light roasting techniques.
Brewing with ‘Gaiwan’
Tieguanyin tea should always be steeped with water right after reaching boiling point. Only in this way the leaves of this type of tea is able to unfurl during the first brew. The Teasenz team has steeped this tea the Chinese way using a ‘Gaiwan’ (direct translation: cup with lid). See below the unfurled leaves after the first brew of 30 seconds:
Brewing Tieguanyin the ‘kungfu style’ way with a Gaiwan only needs a short steeping time of 30 seconds. The tea leaves can be steeped for about 6-8 times, with each steep good for making a few small cups of tea. What is fascinating about this tea is that the taste resulting from every brew is different. The 3rd and the 4th brew are the usually the best, when the leaves are fully unfurled.
See the leaves after the third brew in the left cup below (the right cup is a slightly older and lower grade Tieguanyin):
Brewing in Tea Pot
Brewing in a infuser tea pot usually requires a longer brewing time. One could start with 2-3 minutes and adjust according to taste. The longer steeping type is the result of a higher water-to-leaf ratio (the content of a tea pot is usually much larger). A table spoon of Tieguanyin is usually enough as the leaves will expand significantly resulting in a multiple of its size before it is steeped. When brewing in a teapot, Tieguanyin usually lasts at least for 4 brews and the 2nd brew is the best.
What is the origin of the name ‘Tieguanyin”?
Chinese tea masters are always very creative with naming teas. The name ‘Tieguanyin’ refers to the Chinese iron goddess of mercy ‘Guanyin’ due to its purifying and meditative flavor (known in Japan as ‘Kannon’ and in Korea as ‘Guam-eum’).
A Recipe for a Tieguanyin Tea Blend
Osmanthus flowers are very suitable to use as a ‘topping’ on a freshly brewed cup of Tieguanyin. The buttery and floral aromas of Osmanthus perfectly complements the taste of Tieguanyin by adding additional complexity to it.
Different for dark Oolongs and similar to green teas and white teas, the lightly roasted Tieguanyin Oolong tea should be sealed and stored in a fridge between 0-5 degrees Celsius, if not consumed within a few months. By storing this tea in the fridge it will be better able to retain its floral aromas.
Here is a shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/p2E9uL-c0
– Natural milk oolong is called jinxuan oolong, and is from Alishan Mountains in Taiwan. However, most people find the original milk taste not strong enough. – Other oolong teas with artificially added milk flavor can be made anywhere in Taiwan or China.
By the way, the fact that the milk flavor is artificially added, doesn't mean it's a low quality tea. I have seen many flavored milk oolongs before with really high quality leaves.
You hear about green tea, black tea, and herbal tea in more and more studies, but what about oolong? 2 % of all tea produced worldwide is oolong. It is one of the most popular types of tea in China and has numerous health benefits. Oolong Tea undergoes a small degree of fermentation during its processing, which gives oolong a flavor somewhat similar to that of black tea but closer to the taste of green tea. Health claims for oolong tea’s benefits include reduction of cholesterol levels, preservation of heart health, treatment of digestive disorders, strengthening of the immune system, and formation of strong bones.
There have been a lot of research to do with the numerous benefits of drinking Oolong Tea:
In a population study in 2010, researchers found that oolong tea consumption was linked to a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Researchers determined that those who drank coffee, green tea, and/or oolong tea on a regular basis had a lower risk of heart disease compared to those who didn’t drink such beverages.
When paired with standard care, it was also found that oolong may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, according to a small study published in 2003. After drinking 1,500 ml of oolong tea daily for 30 days, diabetes patients experienced a greater reduction in blood sugar levels compared to those who drank water instead of tea.
Even further, several studies have indicated that oolong tea may promote weight loss. In a 2009 study researchers concluded that consumption of oolong tea could improve fat metabolism and, in turn, reduce body weight.
So maybe next time you put the kettle on, pull out a tin of Oolong. The little caffiene in it can give you the pick up you need – both in energy and in your health.