Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tula Teas
Dry, the large, twiggy, army-green and pine-blue leaves of Zealong Dark smell roasty and nutty. Fleeting floral undertones in the dry leaf emerge alongside aromas of toasted almonds, warming spices and charred hardwoods as the leaves brew into leaf-and-bud sets. The golden-hued brew is rich — think toasted almonds, cinnamon sticks and roasted grains — and it is neither bitter nor too sweet, thanks in part to delicate floral notes and hints of Wuyi-oolong-like minerality. The finish of this unusual oolong is roasty, floral and slightly drying, with a persistent raw almond flavour.
Learn more about this tea here.
Having previously tasted and reviewed their Zealong Pure, I thought that this one might be like it, but, they are really quite different. This Zealong Dark has been roasted, which has given the sweet, buttery character more of a toasted nut kind of flavor. The roasting has also imparted a charred quality to this tea, almost like charcoal. This tea that woodsy and rustic kind of flavor to it.
My first cup of this tea (the combination of my first two infusions) delivered mostly that charred wood kind of taste, as well as the nutty flavor I described, and a sweet, honey-like undertone. With the second cup (infusions three and four), revealed more of a floral note which provided a sharp contrast to the now softer rustic, woodsy taste. My final cup (infusions five and six), I found that the honey-esque sweetness really emerged, complimented by the floral tones and the sweet nutty flavor.
There was also a savory element to this last cup, one that was only hinted toward in the second cup but now is much more pronounced. It isn’t exactly bitter, and not exactly sour either… but somewhere between these two savory elements. Very intriguing, indeed.
I have been very impressed with the New Zealand Oolongs that I’ve tasted from Tula Teas. If you are an Oolong enthusiast, these are definitely worth exploring!