Feast Portland is our city’s signature food and wine festival, and this year we teamed up with Seattle Chef and Restaurateur Tom Douglas to create a custom blend called Arbequina Oolong, specially curated for his Dumpling event.
Arbequina Oolong is a blend of milk oolong scented with Oregon Olive Mill Arbequina Olive Oil and Italian bergamot oil. It offers a smooth, creamy and nutty character along with light citrus notes that can complement many different flavors and dishes, including a fresh plate of Tom Douglas’s steamed dumplings. With this tea, we are also proud to announce that 10% of the proceeds will go toward Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, an organization that Feast Portland has supported since the event’s inception.
Inspiration Behind Arbequina Oolong
Our collaboration first began when Feast Portland connected us with Tom Douglas. Shortly after, the culinary magic began to unfold. We knew Tom would be cooking something in the way of dumplings for the event, but not much more, so we wanted to concoct a blend that would pair well with a wide range of flavors. Something that was light but not weak, notable but not spicy or acidic. We also wanted to incorporate an ingredient or staple from his pantry. We looked for a varietal that could provide a creamy and slightly nutty flavor profile with hints of butter fat, and with this in mind, we landed on a soft Taiwanese milk oolong.
The Blending Process
Our team has been experimenting with a few olive oil recipes for a while, but this is the first execution that we will be sharing. Adding olive oil enhances the tea’s taste in a subtle way, particularly using a mild Arbequina varietal of olive so as to not overpower. To scent tea leaves with oil, you must first mix it with an essential oil to reduce the viscosity of the liquid. Thinning the oil allows it to penetrate the tea so the leaves can absorb the oil and full essence of the flavors. For this we turned to bergamot oil, infusing the light flavors with a bit more dimension and citrus aroma.
Before steeping this tea, we first invite you to spend a moment noting the aroma – you’ll immediately pick up on a strong citrus scent from the bergamot oil. As with our Rose City Genmaicha, the aroma of our Arbequina Oolong reads stronger on your nose than it will when you take your first sip. When you are ready to brew yourself a cup, pour 190℉ water over the sachet and steep for three minutes.
Arbequina Oolong complements a variety of flavors. While the oolong and olive oil components make this blend very round, the touch of acidic undertone from the bergamot oil brightens up the finish. Overall the taste is soft and smooth, creamy and buttery, and just the slightest bit vegetal. Tom’s chosen pairing may be dumplings, but the smoothness of this tea allows it to be paired with several foods, especially Asian cuisine that is less fatty than typical Western options. For dessert, try sipping this Arbequina Oolong with mango sticky rice or crème caramel. Discover your favorite pairing with our Limited Edition Arbequina Oolong while supplies last.