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Indonesia

Mountain Organic Indonesian Oolong Tea from Tea At Sea

b65494_7f41bb3f7e7248d1a8234fe5a20e7265Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Tea At Sea

Tea Description:

Organic grown in the Halimun Mountains of Indonesia at 800m above Sea-Level. Treated with natural spring water and fresh mountain air. These 35% oxidized tea leaves have a honey milk aroma, light creamy taste with a hint of marine. Wake up the tea leaves and steep around 100°C and watch how the leaves slowly unfold to extract their natural flavour. Enjoy!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mountain Organic Indonesian Oolong Tea from Tea At Sea has consistently high ratings over at Steepster.  I tend to agree with those high ratings but here is my take on this specific tea.

Upon opening the package it looks and smells like your average oolong but the taste is what I will be focusing in this review!  First impressions on this first sip were great!  First and foremost I had a strong honeysuckle flavor smack my taste buds from the very beginning.  Then there were other floral and semi-sweet grassy notes to follow.  In follow-up sips and at shorter steeping times I noticed more buttery, creamy, and milky type flavors come into play.  An interesting find with a lingering aftertaste was the hint of peach I could pick up on as well.

As long as you don’t over infuse this one you should have ‘smooth sailin’ with this one.  Pardon the pun but seriously…Mountain Organic Indonesian Oolong Tea from Tea At Sea is a nice, solid yet smooth, greener tasting oolong that I enjoyed very much!

 

Organic Black Tea from Arum Tea

ArumBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

A sweet and malty flavor that jolts the taste buds, with a caramel undertone and a floral finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to admit that I was a little surprised when I opened this package of tea.  The black tea leaves have been rolled into pellets much like the other teas from Arum Tea that I’ve tried.  Why then, did it surprise me to see that this tea has been processed similarly to the others?  I guess, mostly, because I’m not accustomed to seeing black tea leaves wound into pellets like this.

The leaves are a dark chocolate-y brown but otherwise look a lot like a Tie Guan Yin type Oolong.  The leaves have been wound into small pellets and they have a warm, nutty aroma.  Slightly sweet, slightly earthy.

To brew this tea, I used my Breville One-Touch.  I measured out 2 bamboo scoops of dry leaf into the basket and added 500ml of water.  I set the parameters for 205°F and 2 1/2 minutes.  The tea brews up to a rich coppery color.  The brewed tea has a sweet, nutty, earthy scent that is similar to the dry leaf, although this is a bit softer.

Mmm!  This tastes so good.  It’s a very rewarding taste.  I am finding it reminiscent of a Nilgiri tea because it has a rich, malty tone to it, although it’s not quite as robust as a Nilgiri would be.  It is somewhere between a Nilgiri and an Oriental Beauty Oolong.  I’m experiencing some of the texture and nutty flavor of an Oriental Beauty while I’m getting that delightfully smooth, malty flavor and rich, buttery caramel-y note from the Nilgiri.

I’d recommend drinking this straight up.  While most black teas take the addition of milk and honey well, I think that this tea would be overwhelmed by the additions and the nuances of this tea should be enjoyed to their fullest!  For that reason, I wouldn’t make this that first cup of the day.  Instead, this would be an excellent choice for a little later in the morning or early afternoon, when you want a delicious pick me up.

The second infusion of these tea leaves was also quite enjoyable – definitely worth the effort of resteeping!  This tea is really delightful.  It’s a bit different from the typical black tea and that’s what makes it so remarkable.  Everyone should try this.

Organic Green Tea from Arum Tea

ArumGreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

This gentle green tea has a sweet vegetal aroma. The mild floral flavors are smooth and refreshing.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had limited experience with Indonesian teas.  That is to say that I’ve tasted many more Chinese, Japanese and Indian teas than I have Indonesian teas.  So, I’m always excited for the opportunity to try more!

The dry leaf of this Organic Green Tea looks very much like I’d expect an Oolong to appear with dark green leaves that have been wound into pellets.  (Think about the pellets of a Tie Guan Yin Oolong as an example.)  But this tea smells much more “green” than an Oolong typically smells.  I believe that the longer oxidation process of the Oolong tea (however long or short that may be) allows other aromas to be developed.  The aroma of this tea smells a bit grassy, reminiscent of a freshly cut lawn with the faintest hint of a flowery fragrance in the background.

I noticed the difference in aroma (between this Organic Green Tea from Arum Tea and a greener Oolong) to be especially apparent when the tea was finished brewing.  I brewed this tea in my Breville One-Touch tea maker.  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of my tea maker and then poured in 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug and set the controls for 180°F and 1 1/2 minutes.

The tea brews up light in color:  a clear, very pale spring green.  And it is very aromatic!  I could smell the vibrant, fresh grassy tones.  The fragrance reminds me of the aforementioned freshly cut lawn.  Imagine the smell of the air after the first lawn cutting of the spring when the grass is new and green.  Now imagine how the air would smell if after mowing the lawn you trimmed the flower hedges.  There’s a slight floral element in the air along with the fresh grassy notes.  That’s the aroma that filled my kitchen after this tea was brewed!  What a delight to experience!

The tea is very flavorful!  Sweet with notes of vegetable and a light buttery note.  There is notes of flower in there too, just as the aroma would suggest.  I had kind of expected all those flavors before lifting the cup to my lips but what I wasn’t prepared for was the fruit notes of this tea.  I taste sweet notes of melon!  A juicy honeydew melon!  Nice!

I like that the flavor is sweet but there is a certain savory element that arrives on the palate toward the tail to offer some contrast and complexity to the taste.  It’s not overly “kelpy” or “seaweedish” which I like, because I’m not a big seaweed fan.

This is a very light, smooth, pleasantly sweet and refreshing tea.  I would highly recommend this to those who are looking for something that is somewhat familiar to the usual green tea but with some really interesting differences too.  This is deliciously familiar but intriguingly different!

Organic Light Oolong Tea from Arum Tea

ArumLightOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

Very Smooth. Light golden hue with a fruity and floral fragrance. As the tea develops, the initial earthy flavors transforms into a lingering finish of herbs and flowers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I wanted to try this Light Oolong tea not too long after trying the Medium Oolong Tea from Arum Tea to see if I could describe some of the differences between the two teas.

The appearance of both teas in dry leaf form are very similar.  They look very much the way a greener Oolong tea looks (think Tie Guan Yin) with the leaves tightly wound into small pellets.  The aroma of the dry leaf of this tea is sweet and fruity, with fragrant floral notes.  The brewed tea smells more floral than fruity while the dry leaf smells more fruity than floral.  In contrast, the dry leaf aroma of the Medium Oolong tea is nutty and sweet with a slight earthiness.

Parameters:  I steeped this tea using my gaiwan as the brewing vessel.  I put one bamboo scoop of tea into the bottom of my gaiwan and then poured 180°F water over the leaves – just enough to cover the leaves.  I let that steep for 15 seconds and then drained off the liquid and discarded it.  (The rinse cycle!)  Then I refilled the gaiwan with water (same temperature) and let the leaves steep for 45 seconds.  I strained the tea into my teacup and resteeped the leaves for 1 minute.  Then I added the newly brewed tea to the teacup with the first infusion.  I combine 2 infusions with each cup, and I infused these leaves a total of 8 times for four cups of delicious tea.

The brewed tea here is lighter in color than the Medium Oolong.  This cup is a very pale golden yellow, and the flavor is lighter too.

The first few sips were very delicate, but after two or three sips, the flavors began to develop.  As the above description suggests, those initial two or three sips were light and earthy.  Now, I’m tasting more of an herbaceous floral note and this flavor stays on the palate long after the sip.  For as light in color as this tea is and as light in flavor as the first couple of sips were, I was really taken by surprise by just how flavorful this tea has become.

This tea is quite smooth but not so much buttery or creamy like you might expect a greener Oolong like this to be, however, as the tea cools slightly, I find that some creamy taste and texture develops.  The floral notes are profound.  There is a very distant background note of earth, and equally as distant is a fruity tone.  These flavors are off in the distance as if to beckon to the palate, saying, hey!  Keep on steeping so you can experience us!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was stronger in color and flavor.  The floral notes of the first cup are still present but they’re not quite as sharp as they were toward mid-cup of the first cup.  Smooth and sweet!  The fruity notes are making their way out of the distance.  I find that the flavors here taste less focused and distinct, although the overall flavor is stronger, the notes have become more unified.

Later infusions became smoother tasting.  I found the third cup (infusions 5 and 6) to be the strongest in flavor.  The flavors at this point are really quite seamless.  The individual flavors are less focused than they were in the first cup, but the flavor is richer with this cup.  The fourth cup started to become softer in flavor, reminding me a bit of the first cup, although with the fourth cup I could taste more of the fruit and earth notes that were mere insinuations in that cup.

As I promised, I offer the following comparison between the Medium and Light Oolong teas from Arum Tea:  while the Medium Oolong has more of a honey and nutty flavor, the Light Oolong is flowery with notes of fruit.  There are certainly some similarities to the two teas, but they are two very distinctly different teas, and I think that both deserve to be experienced by those that want to experience Oolong teas from Indonesia!

Organic Medium Oolong Tea from Arum Tea

MediumOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

Full sweet taste with floral fragrance with the hint of honey.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tasted several different Indonesian teas over the years, but most of the teas from Indonesia that I’ve tried have been either green or black teas, I can’t recall having tried an Oolong from Indonesia!  So when my package from Arum Tea arrived today, this was the first tea that I tried.

The tea is packaged in tins with simple yet handsome labeling.  I like that the tin has a tight fitting lid and inside the tea was in a vacuum sealed pouch, ensuring a fresh product.

The dry leaf looks a lot like a Tie Guan Yin (perhaps a lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin).  The individual leaves have been tightly wound into pellets.  I measured out one bamboo scoop of the leaves into my gaiwan and using 180°F water, I performed a 15 second rinse before I infused the leaves for 45 seconds.  I strained the tea and then infused the leaves a second time for 1 minute.  Both of these infusions were combined into one teacup.

The leaves seem to open similarly to a Tie Guan Yin as well – that is to say, they open very slowly!  These leaves are waiting for more infusions!

But first, I need to sit back and enjoy this first cup.

The aroma wafting from my cup is floral, reminiscent of orchid.  The flavor is sweet – like honey!  The honey is a top note, and just below that sweet honey taste I taste notes of roasted nuts and hints of flower.  The sweetness remains on the palate from start to finish and lingers into the aftertaste.

It’s a very satisfying taste.  The floral notes are not sharp and they are more like a note in the distance … like the air that filters through a far off meadow and then is delivered to you through a gentle breeze.  You can experience those flowers but that essence mingles with a fresh airiness.

Those floral notes emerged in the second cup (the combination of infusions 3 and 4).  The tea is still sweet but a bit more crisp and slightly astringent.  This cup is not so much honey-esque, the sweetness comes from the flower and the sweet nutty tones that are still very much a part of the flavor of this tea.  As the cup cools slightly, the honey notes begin to come forward.

Interestingly enough, I found the honey notes to be at their sweetest for the third cup (infusions 5 and 6).  With this cup, the floral notes begin to meld with the nutty flavors and this creates a rather sweet taste as well.  The flavors are not sharp.  The astringency is mild.  This cup is smooth and sweet, sweet, sweet!

Given how much I enjoyed the third cup, I decided to try for one more cup to see how it goes.  The fourth cup (infusions 7 and 8) was quite similar to the second cup.  The honey notes seemed somewhat muted until the cup cooled a bit, but that gave me a chance to explore the floral notes and the nutty flavors that are now much more a unified flavor.  Sweet with both floral and nutty tones and the honey notes coming out to play as the temperature dropped a little.  This cup was still so flavorful and refreshing!

This tea is absolutely lovely and I’m really glad that I had this amazing opportunity to try it.  I would recommend this to any Oolong lover (especially those of you who love Tie Guan Yin) because it’s a little different … a change of pace.  It is familiar enough to a Tie Guan Yin but also deliciously different to keep things exciting for the palate.