Pouchong Green Tea from PT Harendong Green Farm

Any tea enthusiast who is semi-familiar with the excellent wulongs that are produced in Taiwan have heard of Pouchong (Baozhong) tea. The most famous of this type of wulong, or some call it a green tea due to the low oxidation, hails from the northern Taiwan district of Pinglin.

However, today’s review focuses on the Pouchong Green, as the manufacturer calls it, from PT Harendong Green Farm, located in the Halimun Mountains, Banten Province, Indonesia. The altitude and climate in the Halimun Mountains are very favorable for the cultivation of Chin Shin (Qing Xin) tea bushes, whose leaves are used to produce this version of Pouchong tea. Traditionally, Chin Shin Dahpan is used in Taiwan for production of Pouchong, but Chin Shin is a very suitable substitute.

Chin Shin is well known for producing exceptional aromas. As I open this sample packet, the contents are living up to this reputation. Let the journey begin…

PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry Leaves
PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a very dark forest green color, with light brown stems, and a few silver tips. The leaves are long, whole, and twisted. Some leaves are attached to stems. Stems show a three leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma is quite fresh, with scents of sweet wood, sweet hay, light nut, and light brown sugar.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute forty-five seconds.

PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 1st Infusion
PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet cream, orchids, and light brown sugar. The body is light-medium, with a somewhat creamy, silky texture. The taste has strong notes of sweet cream, orchids, very light tree fruit (apple or pear), and very light cooked vegetable. The aftertaste has hints of cream and flowers, with a pleasant flowery essence being left on the breath.

PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 2nd Infusion
PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 2nd Infusion

I increased the temperature of the second infusion to 195°F (90°C) to determine the ability of this “green” tea to withstand a higher temperature without becoming bitter. The second infusion produced a liquor with a bright, and slightly darker shade of pale yellow color. The aroma retains the dominant scent of sweet cream, though slightly lighter, with complimentary scents of orchids and light honey (as opposed to brown sugar in the first infusion). The body remains light-medium, and the texture silky. The taste retains the notes of sweet cream and orchids, and very light tree fruit. There is a light honey hint, and the very light vegetable notes are even lighter. The aftertaste retains light notes of sweet cream, and is more flora. The flowery essence has been intensified with the higher temperature. The flowery essence can be felt throughout the mouth, not just in the olfactory area. I prefer the aroma, taste, and general characteristics of this tea more with the higher temperature.

PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 3rd Infusion
PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry 3rd Infusion

For the third infusion, the higher temperature water was used again, and the infusion time was increased to two minutes. The third infusion produced a liquor with a color nearly identical to the second infusion. The aroma also retained the general characteristics of the second infusion, with very little noticeable diminishing of quality. The body lightened some, and the texture is not quite as creamy. The taste is well balanced among tastes of sweet cream, orchids, and light honey. The light vegetable taste is slightly stronger than in the second infusion. The aftertaste and essence remain dominantly floral and very pleasant.

PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry Infused Leaves
PT Harendong Pouchong Green Tea Dry Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh, dark forest green color, with some leaves showing spots of reddish edges, indicating the light oxidation allowed during production. The leaves are fairly short and narrow, and most appear to be quite young and tender. There are very few bare stems. Stems with leaves attached show anywhere from one to three leaves with bud pluck. Buds range in size from fairly mature (3/4 inch or 19 mm) to quite small. The majority of the leaves are whole, with others being large fragments. The aroma has scents of sweet cream, cooked vegetables, and light apple or pear. The infused leaves are quite impressive in appearance and aroma.

It has been about three minutes since I took the last sip of the third infusion, and the flowery essence is still being felt in the olfactory area. Going forward, I will be using strictly the higher temperature water that I would use for wulong teas, as the positive characteristics of this Pouchong tea were magnified by the higher temperature, and no noticeable negative characteristics were produced. With the presence of the slight oxidation observed on the leaves, I would classify this tea as a wulong instead of a green tea.

This Pouchong Green tea from PT Harendong Green Farm was very enjoyable in all respects. The appearance of the leaves in both dry and infused form were impressive, as well as the bright appearance of the liquor. The aroma was very attractive and welcoming. The taste was comforting and consistent through all three infusions, and I am confident that these leaves could produce one or two more worthwhile infusions. The most remarkable aspect of this tea, in my opinion, is the strength and persistence of the flowery essence left in the mouth after the liquor was swallowed. We are going on about five minutes since my last sip, and the essence is very light, but still there at some level. That is exceptional. I am quite impressed by this tea, and any consumer of green or wulong tea will certainly enjoy the Pouchong Green from PT Harendong Green Farms. Cheers!

Advertisements

SFTGFOP Black Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

Today’s review will focus on the Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP) Black Tea, sourced from the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. This tea appears to processed in a very similar manner to Darjeeling second flush teas.

Let the journey begin…

Mt. Kanchengjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Dry Leaves
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color, with a few being a bright green, some being reddish, while the majority are dark brown and black. There is a generous amount of silver tips in the mix. The leaves are all small to medium fragments, and rolled. Again, the appearance is very similar to a Darjeeling second flush. The aroma is very pleasant, with strong scents of cocoa, cherry, and a lightly floral hint.

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.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 1st Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright amber-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma fills the room with scents of roses, cocoa, and light cherries. The body is medium-full, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste is very floral, with strong notes of roses, slightly lighter jasmine, with softer notes of cocoa and cherries. The aftertaste is sweet and floral, and a lingering flowery essence can be felt on the breath.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of amber-orange color. The aroma has lightened some, but retains a dominantly floral character, with very light scents of cocoa. The body has lightened some. The taste has also lightened, with the floral notes remaining dominant, but the cocoa note seems to be more recognizable in the second infusion. The aftertaste is floral, and the essence has lost some strength, but is still present.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of golden orange color. The aroma lightened some from the second infusion, and remains dominantly floral, with a touch of cocoa. The body and taste also lightened. The taste remains mostly floral, and the cocoa note has lightened but is still recognizable.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Infused Leaves
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from dark green, light to dark brown, and black. All leaves are small to medium fragments. There are some small bare stems in the mix. Stems show a two leaf and bud pluck. There are a generous amount of tips in the mix. The aroma has scents of cocoa, roses, and light cherries.

I am hoping to have a sample or two remaining of a second flush Darjeeling tea from 2013. I would like to find the time to compare this Nepal SFTGFOP with a similar grade Darjeeling second flush. The primary difference between the two, as far as I was able to tell, is that the Nepal tea had more of a cherry taste than a grape taste, like a Darjeeling. The floral rose and jasmine notes are very similar to a Darjeeling. The combination of cocoa and cherries made the aroma and taste of this tea very comforting. I am looking forward to comparing these teas side by side with some Darjeeling varieties. The side by side comparisons tell the real stories of each tea.

Have a nice weekend everyone. Pittsburgh will finally have some spring temperatures, so I will be outside preparing my flowers beds for more friendly weather. My roses will be given steeped tea leaves for some nutritional benefit, and I will be happy drinking more tea to provide more food for the roses. Cheers!

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea from Hankook Tea

Moving along through the samples of South Korean tea, courtesy of Hankook Tea and Honam Tea Estates. Today’s review will focus on the Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea. This tea is certified organic by the USDA and Korea. For more information about Hankook Tea, visit their website here.

The leaves of this Organic Jaksul Chut Mool are selected from both the first flush (Sejak) and second flush (Joongjak) harvests. The leaves are harvested by hand in May of each year. The leaves in this sample are from the 2013 harvest year.

The sample packet has been opened, and a clean aroma is complimenting the fresh appearance of the leaves. Let the journey begin…

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea Dry Leaves
Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark forest green color. All leaves are small to medium fragments, and are rolled. A few of the leaves are rolled into a pellet shape. There are very few bare stems, and the ones that are present are quite small. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, fresh grass, and light brown sugar.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in a 18 ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 1st Infusion
Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright yellow with a slight jade green tint. The aroma has scents of fresh wet grass, light wood, and light brown sugar. The body is light-medium, with a clean, very smooth texture. The taste is very fresh, with a slight savory (umami) character, and notes of wet grass, light flowers, light wood, and very light brown sugar. The aftertaste is fresh and grassy, with a very impressive floral essence lingering on the breath.

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of yellow-gold with a slight jade green tint. The aroma remains grassy, lightly woody, and lightly sweet. The body remains light-medium. The taste is grassy, with a stronger floral note, light wood, and very light brown sugar. The aftertaste is more floral, and the essence continues to impress me with the strength and linger time.

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a pure light jade green color. The aroma has lightened some, but remains grassy and floral. The body is light. The taste has also lightened some, and retains the grassy and floral notes. There is a light sweetness in this infusion that is very pleasant. The aftertaste is grassy and floral, and the flowery essence continues to be very pleasant.

Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea Infused Leaves
Organic Jaksul Chut Mool Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. Some leaves are slightly lighter than others, perhaps the difference between the first flush leaves and second flush leaves. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. The leaves have a soft, silky feel, but are not as delicate as I expected. These leaves may still have an infusion or two of aroma and taste left in them. The aroma has scents of fresh cut wet grass, wet wood, and a very light floral hint.

As compared to my previous review of the Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea, which consisted entirely of first flush (sejak) leaves, I am leaning toward preferring this Jaksul Chut Mool, with the blend of first flush and second flush (Joongjak) leaves. This Jaksul Chut Mool had a fuller, more robust aroma and taste, and I also feel that it held it’s strength in aroma and taste through three infusions slightly better than the Gamnong. The Gamnong also had more umami to the first infusion than this Chut Mool. I do not care for umami the way that many tea enthusiasts do, so the lack of umami in the Chut Mool is not a problem for me. One characteristic of the Chut Mool that stood out to me was the strength and linger time of the flowery essence that was left on the breath. The flowery essence that a tea leaves is something that I enjoy immensely, and a strong and lasting linger will always result in a better review from this enthusiast. This Jaksul Chut Mool had a great flowery essence, and a long lasting linger. I was also impressed by the retention of the taste strength from first to third infusion. I really enjoyed this green tea.

Thanks to Hankook Tea and Honam Tea Estate for providing the sample. I think the Huang Cha will get the next review. Cheers!

Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

The focus of today’s review is the Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates, located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. For more information regarding Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their website here.

Unfortunately, I got too distracted writing notes to remember to take a photo of the dry leaves, so we will have to do without that part of this review. My only consolation to missing this important photo is the fact that the dry leaves were not very unique in the appearance. Certainly they appeared as good quality and well processed, not to take anything away from these otherwise attractive leaves, but their was nothing notably unique about them compared to some other green teas from other growing regions. Anyway…

Let the journey begin…

The dry leaves have a pale green to dark green color, with a few very dark (almost black) leaves. The leaves are lightly rolled. All leaves appear to be medium to large fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a very dry, thin, fragile feel. The aroma is very sweet, with scents of light brown sugar, molasses, citrus marmalade, and a very light sweet grass hint.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in a 18 ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 1st Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion had pale yellow color with a jade tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of light grass, white peach or nectarine, and light wood. The body was light, with a lively, almost citrus (lemon or lime) juice texture. The taste had notes of citrus (lime), fresh grass, light mineral (salt), light wood, and very light brown sugar. The aftertaste is sweetly grassy, with a light floral essence being left on the breath.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with slightly more jade green than yellow color. The grassy and woody scents dominated the aroma, with the white peach or nectarine scents still present. The body remains light. The taste also was dominated by the grassy and woody notes, with the citrus notes lightening some, and the light salt mineral becoming very light, and the brown sugar almost non-existent. The aftertaste is grassy, with a light floral essence.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Zomba Steamed Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with the lightest of color among the three infusions, having a light pale jade color with light yellow tint. The aroma and taste have lightened some, but produce the same general notes as the second infusion. One note is the light mineral taste seems to be more of a wet stone taste than a salt taste at this point.

Zomba Steamed Green Tea Infused Leaves
Zomba Steamed Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a light forest green to dark forest green color, with a few leaves being light copper brown. All leaves are small to medium fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a silky, delicate feel. The aroma has scents of wood and fresh cut wet grass.

The Zomba Steamed Green Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates had some rather unique features in the cup, with a lime juice like texture, mineral salt in the taste, and a very sweet and fruity aroma to the dry leaves. This is a tea that I wish I had more leaves in the sample, because I get the impression that some playing around with the quantity of leaf and infusion times may produce a much different liquor. Unfortunately, this sample has been exhausted.

Thanks again to Satemwa Tea Estates for giving me the opportunity to sample this product. I still have a few Satemwa products to review, and as always, I am looking forward to each experience. Cheers!

White Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

I have heard and read that Nepal teas have some traits similar to Darjeeling teas. Thanks to the generosity of Niru Trading, I have an opportunity to try samples of white, green, black, and oolong teas from the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. These will be my first experiences with Nepalese teas, so needless to say that I am quite excited to try them out and compare them with teas that I am more familiar with.

Niru Trading is certified organic by the USDA, NASAA (Australia), and JAS (Japan). The tea bushes are grown on pollution free land. It is said that one can taste the freshness of the Himalayas in each sip of the teas from this region. Mount Kanchenjunga is located in the eastern-most border of Nepal, in the north corner, with China to the north, and the Sikkim state of India to the east.

The sample that this review will focus on is the White Tea from the Mount Kanchenjunga foothills. The packet has been opened, and this white tea looks very fresh. Let the journey begin…

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Dry Leaves
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fresh, bright green to forest green color, with plenty of silver tips. The leaves and tips are covered in delicate downy-like white hairs. Leaves appear to be all medium fragments, with many whole tips. There are no bare stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, light brown sugar, and light flowers.

Five grams were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 1st Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a very light, pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, flowers (light jasmine and rose), and very light honey. The body is light, with a refreshing smooth texture. The taste has fresh notes of sweet hay, light floral (jasmine & rose), very light pear. The sweet hay continues in the aftertaste, and a flowery essence is left on the breath.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 2nd Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker shade of light, pale yellow color. The aroma has more dominance on the floral (jasmine, rose) scents, and a light honey scent. The sweet hay scent has lightened. The aroma is quite different from the first infusion. The body remains light, and the texture refreshing and smooth. The taste has evolved significantly from the first infusion. The notes of jasmine and rose are dominant, while the sweet hay note has diminished. The taste is dominated by floral notes, which reminds me of some Darjeeling first flush teas. The aftertaste and essence are both dominantly floral.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 3rd Infusion
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a nearly identical color to the second infusion. The aroma remains dominantly floral, with some lighter sweet scents. The body and texture remain light and refreshing. The taste has lightened some, but is still dominated by floral (more rose, less jasmine) notes, and some light sweet (honey) notes. It is interesting that the taste has changed yet again, with the rose being the dominant taste, and the jasmine lightening some. There is much taste and aroma in this third infusion, and I have really enjoyed the evolution of both from infusion to infusion.

Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Infused Leaves
Mount Kanchenjunga White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh, light green color. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, with many whole tips. Stems display a two leaf and generous bud pluck. The leaves have a silky feel, but are not delicate. I believe an additional one or two infusions are possible. The aroma is incredibly floral, with dominant scents of jasmine and roses, and a lighter scent of sweet hay. The aroma of these leaves is incredibly fresh and clean.

My honest opinion of the first infusion was one of being underwhelmed. I thought the aroma and taste of the first infusion were fresh, clean, but very basic. However, that all changed with the second infusion, which had a completely different aroma and taste than the first infusion. Suddenly, the aroma and taste of the second infusion could compete with the first infusions of some good quality Darjeeling first flush teas. I was shocked in the difference between the first and second infusions. The third infusion continued the floral bouquet in aroma and taste, which I very much enjoy. Had the characteristics of the first infusion been maintained in the succeeding infusions, my personal rating of this tea would have been average. By the end of this review, however, I gave this tea a high mark. The evolution of the aromas and tastes from infusion to infusion was very pleasing, and the aroma and freshness of the infused leaves was truly invigorating.

My first experience with Nepalese tea was incredibly positive. This tea put my emotions to the test, evolving from the initial feeling of slight disappointment to the final conclusion of being highly impressed. Many thanks to Niru Trading for providing this opportunity to try the teas of Mount Kanchenjunga. Cheers!

Gabaron Oolong Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Fine Teas

Here is a relatively new style of oolong tea that has been gaining some attention in the health and nutrition fields recently. This is the Gabaron Oolong Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Fine Teas, sourced from a tea estate in the area outside of Chiang Rai City in northern Thailand.

What is different about Gabaron (or GABA) teas? During processing, the tea leaves are flushed with nitrogen gas, causing the level of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutryic Acid) in the leaves to increase, unlike tea leaves processed in strictly oxygen environments. GABA is marketed as a promoter of relaxation due it’s neurological effects in the brain. However, in normal to even reasonably above normal amounts that can be ingested through GABA tea consumption, this tea will most likely not have any relaxation inducing effects beyond that of other teas. I prepared this sample fairly late in the evening, and although I had no trouble falling asleep, I cannot say that I felt any additional relaxation beyond what a Sunday evening usually brings.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet, fruity, woody, and slightly spicy scent is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Gabaron Oolong Dry Leaves
Gabaron Oolong Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light to dark brown color. The leaves are shaped into semi-balls. The leaves appear to be large fragments and whole leaves with stems attached. There are no bare stems in the mix. Although the leaves appear to be higher on the oxidation scale, I would be interested to know the oxidation percentage, and if the exposure to nitrogen causes any color change in the dry product. The aroma is sweet, with scents of brown sugar, molasses, apples, citrus, light wood and spice.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

Gabaron Oolong 1st Infusion
Gabaron Oolong 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with light golden-yellow color and a light orange tint, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet, with fruity scents of apples and citrus, and spicy, most similar to cloves. The body is light-medium, with a lively, spicy, almost sharp texture. The taste is somewhat brisk, with strong notes of citrus (lemon or grapefruit), apples, and spice (cloves), with lighter notes of flowers and minerals. The aftertaste is light, sweet and floral. There is very little flowery or otherwise of an essence that is left on the breath.

Gabaron Oolong 2nd Infusion
Gabaron Oolong 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of golden-yellow color and more of an orange tint. The aroma remains fruity and spicy. The body is medium, and the taste is not quite as sharp as the first infusion. The taste has balanced some, with the notes of citrus, apple, and spice blending more evenly with the flowers and mineral taste. The aftertaste is still sweet and floral, but the floral hints have gained some ground on the sweetness. I preferred this second infusion to the first.

Gabaron Oolong 3rd Infusion
Gabaron Oolong 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor that was very slightly lighter than the second infusion, but remains golden-yellow with an orange tint. The aroma continues to be fruity and spicy, but lighter in strength. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened and balanced more, with the floral and mineral notes having gained some ground on the fruity and spicy notes. The third infusion had plenty of aroma and taste to offer.

Gabaron Oolong Infused Leaves
Gabaron Oolong Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark reddish-brown color. Many of the leaves are whole, and are long and narrow. My guess is that the cultivar used for this product is Chin Shin. The broken leaves are large fragments, and many leaves are attached to stems that show a three leaf and small bud pluck. The leaves have a wet, thin, leathery feel to them. The aroma is also fruity (apples), spicy (cloves), with a unique mineral (wet stone) aroma that I do not remember smelling in other infused leaves. I believe these leaves could produce another infusion or two of acceptable aroma and flavor.

This Gabaron Oolong is definitely a unique product. The dominant fruity and spicy flavors are unlike any other oolong that I have had. The aroma of the infused leaves was very potent, and had a mineral scent that was unusual, yet pleasing. The appearance of the infused leaves was impressive. Despite the appearance and aroma of the dry leaves, which more resembled a higher oxidized or roasted oolong, the aroma and taste of the liquor was nothing like the higher oxidized or roasted oolongs. If you have not tried a GABA product yet, and like fruity and/or spicy teas, you may find a new favorite in the Gabaron Oolong from Daokrajai Lanna Fine Teas.

Cheers to another unique, aromatic, and tasteful product from Daokrajai Lanna Fine Teas!

Red Tea from PT Harendong Green Farm

Today’s review will focus on the Red Tea from PT Harendong Green Farms. Thanks to the generosity of PT Harendong Green Farm, I now have an opportunity to explore several types and styles of green, red, and oolong teas from the Halimun Mountains, Banten Province of west Java, Indonesia. PT Harendong Green Farm is Certified Organic by the USDA NOP, Control-IMO, EU, Canada, and Japan. For more information on PT Harendong Green Farm, check out their website here.

The PT Harendong Green Farm is located at an altitude of around 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. During the dry season, the bushes are supplied with fresh (unpolluted) mountain spring water.

I have not had anything to drink yet today, and the thought of fresh mountain spring water has my thirst knocking, so let the journey begin…

PT Harendong Red Tea Dry Leaves
PT Harendong Red Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a reddish brown to black color. The leaves are semi-ball shaped. There are small, medium, and large leaf fragments, and a possibility of some whole leaves still attached to stems. There are few bare stems included. The aroma has scents of brown sugar, molasses, wood, and spice.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname Kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 205°F (96° C). The dry leaves were infused for three minutes.

PT Harendong Red Tea 1st Infusion
PT Harendong Red Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light-copper brown color, clear and transparent. The aroma is fairly light, with scents of light brown sugar, wood, and light apple. The body is medium, with a soft, gentle texture. The taste is delicate, with notes of light wood, mineral (wet stones) light brown sugar, light apple, and light citrus. The aftertaste is sweet and persistent.

PT Harendong Red Tea 2nd Infusion
PT Harendong Red Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter color, more of a golden-yellow with an orange hint. The aroma remains light, sweet, fruity, and woody. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened slightly, but has balanced out some, reducing the woody notes, and having a more noticeable hints of citrus and light apple. The aftertaste remains sweet, and has a floral hint developing.

PT Harendong Red Tea 3rd Infusion
PT Harendong Red Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor that is again a lighter color than the second infusion, being a lighter golden-yellow. The aroma, body, and taste have lightened some, but all retain the same general notes as the second infusion. The mineral (wet stones) flavor note is gaining dominance as the infusions increase in number.

PT Harendong Red Tea Infused Leaves
PT Harendong Red Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a dark brown, coppery-red color. All leaves are medium to large fragments, with a few leaves being nearly whole. Many leaves are attached to stems, which show a two or three leaf and small bud pluck. Some of the leaf fragments indicate a rather large, broad leaf cultivar. The leaves have a wet papery texture. The aroma has scents of wood, light char, and light apple.

The Red Tea from PT Harendong Green Farm would be a perfect tea option for fans of lighter tasting teas looking for something different. Although technically a red (black) tea, it is quite delicate in flavor. Anyone who thinks that red (black) teas are overwhelming should give this product a chance. This tea has an uplifting feeling that made me feel lighter. It was also quite refreshing and thirst quenching. This is not a red (black) tea to be used in a breakfast blend, but more of a late morning, early afternoon style of red tea. In my opinion, it is nice to know that there are red teas available that can be delicate and subtle. This is one of those teas.

Thank you again to PT Harendong Green Farm for providing this sample of Red Tea. I look forward to reviewing the other products included in the sample package. Cheers!

Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea from Hankook Tea

Although I do have some limited experience with the teas of South Korea, Hankook Tea is doing their very best to upgrade my level of experience. Thanks to their generosity, I am about to get a crash course in South Korean teas. I could not be more excited to get started. If you are interested in checking out the variety of green and other partially oxidized teas and herbal products offered by Hankook Tea, visit their website here.

Hankook Tea operates several tea farms called the Honam Tea Estates, located in the Jeollanam-do province of south west Korea. The green tea that I am sampling tonight is the Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea. This is a first flush (sejak) tea that is hand plucked in April of each year. That being the case, this sample package should be from the 2013 first flush.

The sample packet has been opened, and a potent sweet scent is perfectly complimenting the fresh, dark green color of the leaves. Let the journey begin…

image
Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform fresh, dark forest green color. The leaves appear to be small to medium sized fragments. There are no whole leaves, and some very short bare stems in the mix. The leaves are rolled. The aroma is very sweet, with scents of brown sugar and molasses.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 160ºF (70ºC). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

image
Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale, light jade green color with slight golden tint, clear and transparent. The aroma was very fresh, with scents of sweet fresh cut grass, light brown sugar, and light nut. The body is medium, with an incredibly smooth, almost melted butter texture. The taste is clean, and has a savory (umami) character, with notes of fresh cut grass, light wood, light nut, and light brown sugar. The aftertaste is sweet, with a lasting flowery essence on the breath.

image
Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker shade of pale jade green with gold tint. This infusion had a light haziness to it, and finer sediment in the cup. The aroma remains fresh, with scents of fresh cut grass and light nut. The scent is not as sweet as the first infusion. The body remains medium, with a melted butter texture, albeit not at such a level as the first infusion. The taste maintains some savory (umami) character, and the taste is dominated by the fresh cut grass, wood, and nut notes. The aftertaste remains lightly sweet, with the flowery essence persisting.

image
Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade than the second infusion of pale jade green with gold tint. The light haziness has returned, and more fine sediment is in the cup. The aroma has lightened, with scents of fresh cut grass, light nut, and a very light sweetness. The body has lightened some, and the buttery texture has also thinned significantly. The taste retains the notes of fresh cut grass, wood, and nuts. The savory character is very light. The aftertaste is more grassy, but the flowery essence persists. Despite the lighter overal character, this third infusion had plenty of aroma and taste to offer.

image
Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and there are some short bare stems. The leaves are very soft and delicate to the touch. The aroma has scents of fresh cut wet grass, with a slight sweetness.

There were two aspects of the Jaksul Gamnong Green Tea that I found extraordinary, the aroma of the dry leaves, and the buttery texture of the liquor. The savory umami character was very pleasant, and the aromas and tastes were very clean and fresh, overall. This is another great example of how types of teas are so unique to their origin. This tea had some aspects similar to both Japanese and Chinese green teas. However, the intense buttery texture made it unique from any other green tea that I have had from any origin. Fans of Japanese or Chinese (or both) should give this tea a chance when they feel like changing their routine slightly. This tea has just enough unique character to be a refreshing break from the normal regimen.

Thank you to Hankook Tea for providing me with the opportunity to experience South Korean tea. There are some very interesting samples in this box, so look for more reviews of the products from Hankook Tea and Honam Tea Estates. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Suwirun Green Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

The focus of today’s review is the Suwirun Green Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. This is the highest quality green tea offered by Daokrajai.

Two notes for today’s review. First, I still do not have complete function of my nose. The weather and temperatures in Pittsburgh have varied by nearly 30°F from day to day, and my sinuses are not appreciating the diversity. If the aroma descriptions are a bit broad, please forgive me. Second, I got rid of my iPhone last evening and opted for an LG. Please be patient with the photos while I get accustomed to the new camera functions.

Let the journey begin…

Suwirun Green Tea Dry Leaves
Suwirun Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light forest green to dark forest green. The leaves are rolled, and appear to be medium to large fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves are very dry, and quite fragile. The aroma is quite potent, with scents of nuts, grass, wood, and molasses. The aroma is very attractive.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.

Suwirun Green Tea 1st Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is potent, with scents of nuts, wood, and light ripe citrus fruit. The body is medium, with a lively and invigorating feel. The taste is brisk, with notes of wood, nuts, grass, and citrus fruit. The aftertaste is sweet (fruity), with a flowery essence left on the breath.

Suwirun Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker golden-yellow color. The aroma remained potent, with scents of nuts and wood. The fruity aroma has dissipated. The body remains medium. The taste is stronger, especially on the woody, grassy, and nutty notes. The citrus fruit note has lightened, but is still easily identifiable. The aftertaste is more woody or nutty in this infusion, and the flowery essence remains.

Suwirun Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Suwirun Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a color similar to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened some, and the scents of wood and nuts are most prevalent. The fruity scent has surfaced again, in a very light way. The body has lightened some. The taste has also lightened, and remains dominant in the nuts and wood notes, and light on the citrus note. Despite an overall lighter character, there is plenty of aroma and taste in this third infusion.

Suwirun Green Tea Infused Leaves
Suwirun Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a forest green to dark forest green color. The leaves are all small to large fragments. There are no whole leaves. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft, delicate feel. The aroma has scents of wood and nuts.

The Suwirun Green Tea was a very nice product, overall. The aromas were very potent, even for someone who has a hard time smelling much. The taste was refreshing and brisk, and had a nice balance of flavors. It is certainly different than most of the Chinese and Japanese green teas that I have experienced. Quite honestly, I like this style a little better. I prefer the nutty, woody tastes over fresh cut grass and vegetable tastes.

The Suwirun Green Tea was another great experience, courtesy of Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. Cheers!