Satemwa Tea Estates have impressed me with their artisanal white and black teas so far, so let’s see if the wulong style can follow suit. To learn more about the Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their website here.
The tea bushes used to produce the Thyolo Misty Oolong from Satemwa Tea Estates is grown on the original tea fields in the Satemwa slopes. They are grown at an average altitude of 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. The leaves are lightly oxidized.
The dry leaves have been placed on the digital scale, and the appearance reminds me more of a Darjeeling wulong than a Chinese or Taiwanese wulong. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a vast array or color, from bright green to red to brown to black. There are a few seemingly unbroken leaves attached to a stem, but mostly the leaves are medium fragments. The leaves are quite dry and delicate. The aroma is sweet, with scents of molasses and malt.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes on all three infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet and fruity, with scents of citrus and apricot and/or nectarine. The body was medium, with a soft, delicate feel. The taste had notes of citrus, mineral, very light malt, and a slight pepper-like spice. There was also a very mild astringency. The aftertaste was lightly sweet, and a grassy essence was left on the tongue.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter golden-yellow color. The aroma remained fruity, with scents of citrus and stone fruits. The body remains medium. The taste balanced out slightly, but retained notes of citrus, mineral, and slight spice. The slight malt from the first infusion was no longer noticeable, nor the astringency. A note of stone fruit appeared in this infusion. I enjoyed the modest contrasts from the first to second infusion.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a bright yellow color. The aroma has lightened significantly, as well as the taste. A fourth infusion will not be attempted.
The infused leaves vary in color from fresh forest green to brown. The green leaves all have reddish-brown edges, showing the light oxidation. Most of the leaves are medium to large fragments, with very few unbroken leaves. The few fully intact leaves show a two leaf pluck. There are a few random bare stems in the mix. The aroma is fruity and slightly citrusy, with a light malt hint.
The Thyolo Misty Oolong is a unique and pleasant tea to experience. I cannot say that it ranks anywhere close to the Zomba Pearls or Handmade Treasure teas, but there is nothing negative to say about the Thyolo oolong. It is certainly different from the wulongs from more eastern regions such as China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, etc. It is worth a try, and an excellent way to be introduced to the wulongs from Africa. Cheers!