Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
From the famous Biodynamic & Fair Trade Idulgashinna Tea Garden come these visually captivating spears of Cinnamon, gold, and silver tips, resembling the mythical unicorn’s horn. This hand crafted tea is carefully hand-rolled and twisted into spears. Each finished cluster is slightly more than 1 inch in length. These partially fermented leaves produce a delicate, pale liquor that is exceptionally sweet and clean, with champagne undertones. The tea can be steeped multiple times, each revealing new complexities.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is definitely one of the most unique Oolong teas that I’ve ever encountered. After reading the description of the tea, I thought that maybe it was a black tea, but as Shanti Tea has categorized it as an Oolong, that’s what I’ll call it. Taste-wise, it has qualities to it that are reminiscent of both types of tea.
I steeped this in my gaiwan, adding an extra horn (the steeping parameters suggest 3 horns) to my gaiwan, and using short steeps starting with 1 minute, and adding 30 seconds to each subsequent infusion. I combine the results of two infusions into my cup; therefore, infusions one and two are cup number one, infusions three and four are cup number two, and so on.
The first two infusions were light in flavor, at first, I had a difficult time discerning much of anything and I worried that I may have made a mistake while brewing, and that maybe I should have followed the instructions to the letter. However, as I took the next couple of sips, the flavors began to reveal themselves. By the time I was nearly finished with my first cup, I could taste a pleasant sweetness, some earthy tones, and a lovely spiced undertone. There were indeed “champagne-like” flavors to the cup, imparting a slight fruity sweetness to enjoy in the aftertaste.
After infusions number three and four to make my second cup, the leaves no longer resemble the lovely horns that they were prior to infusion, but they haven’t yet completely unfurled, indicating that they were ready and able to produce more infusions. The second cup is more flavorful than the first, with some earthy tones emerging. The aforementioned spiced tone is still present, but, it is smoother than in the first cup. A bit more of a fruit taste with this cup, as well as more astringency. I find this cup to be more rustic-tasting; offering flavors that are more like a black tea to me than an Oolong.
With the third cup, I noticed more of a floral note emerging. This cup tastes much more like an Oolong than the second cup. The fruit flavors are much more distinct. A sweet, smooth flavor, and very few of the spiced undertones I mentioned earlier. The earthy tones have also mellowed. This one is less astringent than the second cup, and definitely my favorite of the three.
This is a really intriguing, unique tea.