I’ve recently created a couple of cocktails that have been using tea as part of its ingredients, and around this time, Lu Lin Tea grabbed a hold of me with the chance to sample their range. Always one to try something different, I decided to try each tea out and have a play around to see if any were versatile enough to co-host within a cocktail.
But before the experiment, a brief look into who Lu Lin Tea’s are –
Founder Alexandra Verhoosel has been buying and sourcing teas in China for many years. It started out of interest but soon lead to the formation of her company Tea & Things in Belgium. Together with her son, Hans Verhoosel, they have been specialising in directly importing a small range of teas carefully selected from small local farmers based on ethical, environmental and quality standards, with the local help of tea aficionado Wang Jiannong.
Hans together with his partner, Amy Gallagher, were running a speciality Belgian café called La Place Verte in York, UK since 2006 until 2012, and soon began to buy these specially sourced teas in their coffee-house, having already been disappointed with the range of loose leaf tea available in the UK. The teas became so popular that they soon added them into their shop, which was formally selling just Belgian chocolates. It was from here that the brand Lu Lin was born. Lu Lin means Green Forest in Chinese, not only reflecting a clear link with La Place Verte (the Green Place), but also emphasising the natural and healthy aspects of the products.
I’ve been lucky enough to try two of their cubed tea bag offerings, and a twist on the classic loose leaf Earl Grey, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –
A mix of bright blue corn flowers and orange flowers. Served black, a fresh citrus nose with soft honey and orange rind coming through near the end. A subtle freshness on the palate with the citrus less dominant, but enough to linger and create a dry finish.
Lu Lin Ginseng Oolong
Made by rolling Oolong leaves into tight balls and coating them in a thin layer of ginseng and liquorice grass. An instant hit of ginseng followed by a soft liquorice, light bark and damp wood chip aromas. Rather strong on the palate with a developing flavour of sweetness and ginseng. A fresh and really long finish.
Lu Lin Lapsang Souchong
The whole leaves for this tea are dried above fires of pine needles. A strong, bold aroma with plenty of dry smoke and wood fire. Remembrance of Victorian museums. Strong also on the palate with the smoke lingering and creates a short, slight dry finish.
The Posh Earl Grey would go great within a Whisky Sour, playing on the fruit flavours within Buffalo Trace and the honey and citrus notes within the Posh Earl Grey. Blackwood’s 2008 gin infused with Ginseng Oolong alongside 1724 tonic would work fantastic as a refreshing drink, with the citrus and liquorice notes blending well together. The Lapsang Souchong however would be great with Bunnahabhain 12yr within an Old Fashioned. Using Lapsang Souchong steeped tea as the water base would really bring out the gentle smoke that they both produce alongside forest floor aromas.
Great to pick up and try for yourself, and hopefully seen in many a bar and cafe in the near future too.
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