Firstly let me apologize for my disappearance, my previous entry was a post about Halloween teas which was an astonishing 4 months ago! I only meant to be gone over the Christmas holidays but unfortunately the new year has been just as busy. Since I last blogged I’ve closed down my jewellery business, had a birthday and started the procedure to buy a house which leaves me with loooots of things to sort out and pack and arrange. So there you are, lots behind me but plenty in the future but this time I aim to keep blogging as much as I can.
For my entry back into the blogging world of tea I thought I would share this adventure with you, my first taste of a Japanese Oolong. I’ve had plenty of Oolongs, some good and some bad but each a wonderful experience. I have no idea what to expect, I’m rather new to the world of Japanese tea and honestly I’m finding it to be an amazing experience.
This particular Japanese Oolong is called ‘Orgnic Miyazaki Oolong’ tea from Gokase Town, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki, Kyushu, Japan. It was sent to me as part of a travelling tea box by the wonderful Dag Wedin from Steepster.
Here is a link to this tea on the Yuuki-Cha website: http://www.yuuki-cha.com/japanese-oolong-tea/kuchinashi-oolong-tea?search=miyazaki
This is what Yuuki-Cha has to say about this tea:
‘A truly remarkable lightly oxidized kamairi-style Japanese oolong tea grown organically in very limited amounts in the mountains of Gokase Town, Miyazaki on Kyushu Island, one of the traditional pan-firing tea producing areas of Japan!
Each year, only a very limited amount of this choice tea is produced during the first spring harvest with an extreme amount of care and attention to quality. Two very specific cultivars of Japanese tea bushes, known as Takachiho and Minami Sayaka, are harvested to make it. Both of which have proven to be very suitable for the production of this lightly oxidized Japanese oolong tea.
Being lightly oxidized and also pan-fired with care, the curly leaves maintain much of their green appearance, the liquor turns out a strong clear yellow, and the taste retains much of it’s fresh lively appeal without any roasted notes.
The most notable and amazing aspect of this oolong is its extraordinary floral fragrance which is incredibly gardenia-like (Kuchinashi in Japanese), hence the name of this Japanese oolong tea is Kuchinashi. If you are familiar with fragrances of flowers such as gardenia you’ll not fail to notice the resemblance. The fragrance is accompanied by a wonderful refreshing fragrant taste that spreads gently throughout the mouth.’
Wow so Kuchinashi is Japanese for Gardenia? Very cool! That answers that mystery for me.
Well as the description says the raw leaves are curly and green in appearance. There are also some lighter coloured stems present amongst the leaves too. Some of the leaves are not quite curled and are perfectly preserved, I can see the tips and shape along with the markings, a beautiful rarity amongst most teas.
They have beautiful sweet scent that is very floral, the name and description state gardenia which it very much does but also elements of lily of the valley and a soft fruity yet mature apricot.
I’m not sure how to steep this ‘correctly’ as there are no steeping instructions but I can have a good guess. I will treat it similar to other low oxidised Oolongs and hopefully it will be fine.
So I will be using 5g of this tea in my 200ml Gongfu teapot (not authentic Japanese but works very well). Water temperature will be 90 °C and shall be infused over three steeps. I will also do a 5 second rinse.
First Steep – 30 seconds
Light yellow colour tea with an elegant and sweet gardenia scent. The gardenia is pure and very much present, I used to work with perfumes and pure aroma oils and this smells exactly like pure gardenia oil but on a softer level.
Flavour is soft yet sweet with delicate hints of gardenia, flowers and grass/hay. Lovely for a first steep.
Second Steep – 1 minute
Thicker in strength and resembling gardenia oil even more now. The sweetness has also increased and is somewhat perfumed overall, that is to say it has a little dryness in the after taste. It is also fruity in the after taste, like apricot, it has that sweet yet sour delicate crispness.
Third Steep – 2 minutes
A little dryer this time and with a touch of astringency but still very sweet and floral. The astringency is rather mineral like which resembles more of a green tea rather than an Oolong.
Overall – This tea gave what was promised in the description, that being gardenia. It was present in the smell of the raw leaves, the smell of the steeped leaves and the flavour. Not only was it floral and perfumed throughout but it was also very sweet.
My rating for this tea is 10/10.
This was my first Japanese Oolong and I’m happy to say it was delicious, honestly this was one of the most pleasant Oolongs I have ever tried. It was perfect in every steep and each sip left me wanting more. This trip was pleasant one and I want to thank you all for sharing it with me, also thank you to Dag Wedin for sharing this wonderful tea with me.