Monday, December 13, 2010

A unique Oolong

I seem to be on an oolong kick lately, which is not a bad thing!  As I mentioned in my last post, there are so many different varieties of Oolong, a tea drinker can never get bored! Oolongs typically hail from specific regions of Southern China and Taiwan, but an estate has popped up in a most unusual place, New Zealand! In  in the North Island’s Waikato region, to be exact.

New Zealander Tzu Chen believed that NZ's climate and soil would be perfect for growing tea plants.  Working with his son Vincent, he imported plant seedlings from Taiwan, and along with extensive research and passion, he created two Zealong tea plantations. They hand picked their staff from Taiwan's tea growing regions, and grew their company.  Zealong prides themselves on the highest standards of tea growing and processing.  I could taste their passion in their Pure Oolong tea!

Zealong produces three types of oolong, Pure, Aromatic, and Dark.  I chose the Pure, because the leaves are unroasted, and I wanted to experience the natural tea flavor. This Oolong is on the green tea end of the spectrum. 

With two young children, weekends are usually hectic around my house.  It was a particularly busy weekend for me because both kids have been sick, and were still stuffed up and cranky.  A perfect afternoon to try a delicious new tea, and give myself a few minutes of relaxation.  Out of the package the tea has a lovely light floral scent.  Not very strong, but immensely pleasing.  I steeped the tea according to the directions, using the correct amount of tea, and freshly boiled (but not boiling) water.  This resulted in a beautiful bright yellow/green liquid that had a light sweet smell. The taste is best described as light, yet full of flavor at the same time.  The tea has a rich green vegetal body, that  felt buttery on the tongue.  Floral and sweet notes come through as well. Even though the leaves are unroasted, there was a slight oolong toasty/tanginess at the end. It is a delicious cup of tea that helped relax me on a hectic day.  I did a second steep of the leaves, and the flavor was less delicate, the gentle floral notes were gone. It was stronger this time, with a toastier flavor, definitely more 'oolong-like'.  This is a tea that can take a few more infusions, but I did not have the opportunity to steep the leaves further. I will definitely try next time.

I look forward to my next New Zealand tea experience!

Zealong Pure tea ***** 5 stars

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