We (or our smart gadgets connected to the Internet) have just switched the clocks to daylight savings time, the days are getting longer, the sun is giving us more vitamin D every day. But that's not enough for me. After a cold winter I want to treat myself to even more vitamins. I want freshness in the morning, because now I have to get up an hour earlier every day. Citrus fruits would be ideal now, as they also contain a lot of vitamin C. But wait, isn't tea much healthier? Doesn't tea offer so much more allegedly or really health-promoting ingredients? Well, then, "tea it is"!
Checking the tea cupboard. What have we got here? Earl Grey, well, it's an acquired taste. May taste good, at least if produced with real bergamot-orange oil and not with "nature-identical" aroma made of wood waste or mold. What else do I own around citrus fruits? Well, a slightly shriveled and slightly blackened pomelo, filled with some unspecific Oolong. And there, some dried tangerines filled with a dubious Shu-Pu'er.
To drink or not to drink...?
Hm, those are indeed real citrus fruits, but today I'm looking for freshness. And tea lover Ralph has come to visit, so it rather be something better.
Just by chance, two teas from Nannuoshan fall into my hands. A Huang Zhi Xiang and a You Xiang You Hong, luckily briefly called "Pomelo" by Nannuoshan; it suits the lazy blogger. While the latter is a red ("Hong") tea, (called "black tea" outside of China), the Huang Zhi Xiang is a Dancong Oolong. Let's try this one first.
Huang Zhi Xiang waiting to be brewed
What does the Huang Zhi Xiang have to do with fresh citrus fruits? After all, his name means "Yellow Gardenia Scent" in English! Well, in addition to their floral notes, many Huang Zhi also offer a clear and strong scent of orange blossom. This one too, but not as strong as a comparison Huang Zhi from my stock. Both teas show the same good leaf quality and are of exactly the same price. Brewing is done with Volvic mineral water and according to Nannuoshan's infusion time recommendation (45/60/60/90). My fellow drinker and I are surprised by these rather long times, as we usually start with 5 to 15 seconds when it comes to Dancong. As always, we dose a bit strong with 5g for 150ml. The result justifies it. Very nice aroma, Ralph speaks more of a yellow rose than of gardenia, but the orange blossom aroma only really gets through after the third infusion, before it is rather apricot. The fun continues for six intense steepings. The comparison tea is stronger with regard to the orange; perhaps it is because it is produced a hint darker? Personally, I prefer a stronger orange flavour, but we both agree that the Nannuoshan is richer in overall flavour and even more valuable.
Pleasantly refreshed and already very satisfied we turn to the Pomelo. As a black tea it does not offer the fruity or floral notes that come naturally in many oolongs; scent and taste are due to the pomelo blossoms, which, similar to high-quality jasmine teas, are added several times to the fragrance and then removed again.
Highlight of the day: Pomelo
Here, too, we stick to the infusion time recommendations (15/30/30/45/45/60) and this time we dose exactly as specified. Already during the wash cycle there is magic in the air, a very special scent that I may have never experienced before. The infusions confirm it; a surprising, unknown, intense experience runs throughout the six infusions. Not as sour and citrus-like as Huang Zhi, but milder and honey-sweet, with a clear hint of pomelo. As the pomelo scent decreases after some steepings, the mild sweetness increases instead. The aroma never becomes dominant but is nevertheless very clear and unique. We let a seventh infusion last much longer and Ralph now describes the scent and taste quite beautifully: "Slightly bitter, like the white between the peel and the fruit, but still very pleasant."
I had already enjoyed the Pomelo several times and now I am surprised how enthusiastic my tea guest gets. He didn't expect that, and neither did I the first time, since flavoured teas are often rather disappointing. But here we experience quite an opera, you wouldn't want to miss it.
It might be subject to discussion whether—as mentioned jokingly at the beginning—we have taken in more vitamins than by the consumption of high-quality fruit juice; but comfortably quenched we are. So enjoying healthy vitamins does not even have to come with calories.
Summer may come now. The tropical fruits or at least their aromas are already in our teacups. Cheers!
Written by Jens