My itch to buy teas was a lot stronger last year than this year, but when there’s a sale, it’s hard to resist. It’s especially hard to resist when you visit the 52Teas site — as I did a few weeks ago — and notice that their amazing Cranberry Orange Rooibos is on clearance.
So I made an order to get another 2 ounces of that delicious ambrosia, even though the Canadian/US exchange rate is still in the dumps. Of course, I added a few more blends to my order to make it worthwhile.
When it finally arrived in my mailbox a week ago, I tore the package open to get my paws on what was inside, only to be greeted by a surprise freebie:
Yes, you are reading that right. Sparkle Pony Oolong tea. With actual sparkles in it, according to the label.
I am nothing if not adventurous, so sure! Why not?
The label says this tea contains oolong, pluots, ginger chunks, crystallized ginger, and edible sparkles. Here’s how the whole thing looks in real life:
A “pluot” is actually a kind of plum/apricot hybrid (hence the name). That chunk of orange fruit right in the middle of my palm in the photo above is a dried pluot — it looks like a dried apricot, except for being a bit stickier/gummier. The oolong leaves are a brownish green, but not rolled up. Looking closely at them, I wasn’t really able to determine what variety (eg: tie guan yin, da hong pao) served as the base.
Smelling the leaf didn’t help either, as the most noticeable scent was the ginger — spicy, somewhat sweet and pungent.
I took about 2 teaspoons of leaf and steeped it in 80°C water for 4 minutes, which is slightly longer than what’s recommended on the package, because I’m a really big rebel.
Here’s what the tea looked like after steeping:
Taste-wise, the most prominent note was the ginger. Beneath that, there’s a gentle powdery sweetness. This tea made me think of a similar tea I reviewed last year: Tea Leaf Co.’s Soul Good oolong tea. The notes here are very similar – the ginger, the powder, the sweetness. Also like Soul Good, I was expecting this Sparkle Pony Oolong to have a stronger fruit note.
After I steeped the tea, I took the dried pluot, now reconstituted due to the hot water, and popped it in my mouth. The taste was tangy, with the tartness of plums mixing with the chewy texture of apricot. Oddly enough, I’d say that the pieces of pluot, just by themselves, are my favourite part of this tea.
Oh, and there weren’t any visible sparkles that I could see. Maybe they’re all glommed together at the bottom of the bag.
Anyways, this was a fun tea to try, and it introduced me to a new fruit I’d like to encounter again in my cup some day.