Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea that is only partly fermented, giving it an in-between character that lacks the bitterness and body of black tea, yet is richer and rounder than a conventional green. English Tea Store’s Oolong Orange Blossom Estate Tea is a particularly satisfying rendition of this Far East treat, with the gentle addition of the essence of orange blossoms.
Orange blossoms are the jasmine-looking blooms of a springtime orange tree. Their elegant petals cup to form the place where an orange will eventually grow; but first, they flourish on the limb as their own kind of gift. Orange blossoms fan the air with an amazingly heady perfume of honey, turning orchards into magic gardens, and beckoning passers-by to pause, and to breathe in deeply. They are the reminder that soon, more gifts will follow. In that way, orange blossoms are a promise.
In The Secrets of Jin-Shei, a novel by Alma Alexander, we are swept into the mythical Chinese kingdom of Linh-an, steeped in tradition and culture, that beckons us to pause, and to breathe in deeply. In the novel, we learn of the covert written language jin-ashu, the woman’s tongue, taught for generations from mother to daughter to allow a woman to reveal the dreams and desires deeply held in her heart. It is through these words that sister-bonds are formed. And it is through this language, as the heady perfume of sweet tomorrows, that vows are made. In that way, the jin-shei is a promise.
Be patient in brewing Oolong Orange Blossom Tea, to give it the time it needs to unfurl into the richness of its character. And there’s no need to sweeten; it brings its own honeyed aftertaste. As well, give The Secrets of Jin-Shei time to reveal the depths of its characters and the fulfillment of its own sweet promise.
As tea-and-novel companions, Oolong Orange Blossom Tea and The Secrets of Jin-Shei are a most honorable match.
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