What Should It Taste Like: Oriental Beauty

by Jason Walker on December 22, 2013

in Member Content, wulong/oolong

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Oriental Beauty Flavor Wheel

Part of a series: What Should It Taste Like?

The legend behind this tea includes a story of Queen Victoria giving this tea its name. Research suggests the tea wasn’t commonly referred to as Oriental Beauty until the 1970’s. Before that, it was called peng feng (膨风) tea (braggart’s tea).  Records mentioning Peng feng tea go back to the 1930’s, so the tea was likely developed and popularized long after the death of Queen Victoria.

Oriental Beauty, or dong fang mei ren (东方美人) wulong tea is generally known for:

  • Silky smooth texture in the higher grades of quality
  • Tastes/aromas that can include stone fruit (apricot, peach, plum) with some light woody aspects. Combined with the silken texture, tasters note the similar characteristics with finer cognacs.
  • An aftertaste of honey sweetness, with lasting smooth texture

A few tea references have also sought to capture the Oriental Beauty flavor profile:

The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea used “peach,” “orange flower water,” “guava,” “honey” and “buttered toast.”

The Tea Drinkers Handbook,  described it as “tobacco,” “damp wicker,” “spicy vanilla,” “prune,” “dried apricot,” and “cinnamon.”

The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook noted characteristics like  “honeyed fruit,” “apricots” and “peaches.”

Tea: History,Terrior, Varieties spoke of “honeyed,” “apple,” “nutmeg.”

Just as important as the flavor and aroma characteristics are notes about intensity of flavors and textures, and duration of aftertaste.

The diagrams may help you visualize Oriental Beauty characteristics along various spectra. Note that I use the spectra universally across teas, so these show general place in relation to most other teas, whether they be green, wulong, etc.

 Oriental Beauty Flavor Wheel 2

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Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings.
Want to see a tea reviewed? Contact me: jason@walkerteareview.com

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