Somehow, 2021 has been a more challenging year than 2020. I feel guilty for saying that for obvious reasons, but 2021 has left me feeling languished and stretched too thin (“like butter scraped over too much bread” as Bilbo Baggins might say). However, amid Oliver’s recent recess from school, I finally found relief. Granted, I cried mercy two days into the workweek and finally gave myself permission to take time off instead of trying to work with a toddler at home. But, now here I am, finding peace in a cup of Phoenix Oolong from DAVIDsTEA.
The dark brown and charcoal strips of oolong offer a weak scent upon opening the bag. I think of sweet grass on a humid day, but it took a lot of effort to find those notes. After tumbling around in a warm gaiwan however, the tea leaves come alive. They are bold and fragrant fruit and floral, like lychee and plums.
A quick 10-second steep produces a liquor that reminds me of honey, and the wet leaves smell like unripe plums or fresh wildflower petals that have been crushed. The tea offers floral aromas layered with honey or malt, and it makes me think of syrupy, tinned lychee. I also notice a dry bitterness that reminds me of grapefruit or its rind.
A second quick infusion of unknown seconds (because I am still toddler-wrangling, after all) sheds its brown hues in favor of rich yellow. The honey flavor has already dissipated, and this time the tea offers floral aromas with the sourness of plum skins on the finish.
A third and fourth infusion of 22-seconds and 27-seconds respectively (which I know because Oliver and I practiced counting together) produces softer florals yet and something that tastes both smoky and like a handful of dimes. The last few infusions after that become one note– more soft florals, but pleasant all the same.
Dan Congs, like the Phoenix Oolong from DAVIDsTEA, hold a special place in my heart. It’s a kind of tea I discovered in the early days of the pandemic, and I spent many weekends getting to know it back then. Perhaps it seems weird to want to be transported back to April 2020, but amid all of the media coverage, the late night scrambles to process payrolls because we didn’t know what a lockdown would mean, and the refreshing of the State of Michigan COVID site at 3PM each day to see the COVID case and death count climb…I found moments of peace too.
Like when cabin fever drove me to rearrange the furniture in my house, which created so much more space in the living room for Oliver to sprawl out and color. Or when we had to get creative about outdoor play spaces because the community playgrounds were taped off; so, we spent afternoons and weekends on abandoned football fields and baseball diamonds blowing bubbles, kicking a ball around, or having a picnic lunch. Or when I had the time, or perhaps more accurate, the mental bandwidth to create. I’m proud of the blog posts and youtube videos I put out into the world last year, and I miss it. I miss this…
Somehow, finding balance between mother, employee, and self came easier back then, but I finally felt that balance again today in a cup of Phoenix Oolong.
Thirsty? Why not try the Phoenix Oolong from DAVIDsTEA?
About DAVIDsTEA: DAVIDsTEA is among the largest Canadian specialty tea stores that offers both creative tea blends and quality traditional teas and has legions of fans worldwide. Check out the DAVIDsTEA website for delicious blends and to learn more about their sustainability practices and their ethically sourced teas.
Already tried the Phoenix Oolong from DAVIDsTEA? Why not try these tasTEA recommendations:
- Golden Peony Oolong from Old Ways Tea [Youtube]
- Shui Xian from Old Ways Tea [Youtube]
- Bug Bite Bai Hao from Blue Willow Tea Spot [IG]
- Hu Zai Duck from Hugo Tea [IG]