I cannot wait until the Spring finally hits the western Pennsylvania area and the number of sicknesses being recycled in schools and offices begin to dwindle. My son honestly got sick maybe once in the two years of his life prior to going to daycare. Now he is sick more often than he is completely healthy, and the same applies to me. My senses of smell and taste have been completely useless over the past week, but I can wait no longer. I have received so many interesting samples since I first lost my smell, and I have been itching to get to these reviews.
This review will focus on the Jing Shuan oolong tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. The tea farms’ total acreage of 550 acres is divided between two plantations located slightly over an hour away from Chiang Rai city in northern Thailand. One plantation is in higher elevations, and the other plantation is in lower elevations.
You will be seeing a substantial amount of reviews posted in the near future of products from Daokrajai, and I am excited about that fact. In fact, many of my upcoming reviews will be focusing on teas from regions that are relatively new to me, such as Napal, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. I am also hoping to come up with samples from Vietnam and Turkey in the near future. Plus, a few good samples from Malawi are waiting for my time, as well.
Anyway, back to the Jing Shuan oolong. As you may have figured out by the name, this oolong is produced from the leaves of TTES 12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar bushes that were imported to Thailand from Taiwan. The farms use organic methods to care for their tea bushes, and all tea leaves are hand plucked.
Being an enthusiast for Taiwan high mountain wulongs, especially Jin Xuan teas, I am interested to see how the tea masters at Daokrajai have developed their strategies for growing and processing the Jin Xuan bushes, and how the results compare to the Jin Xuan products of Taiwan. In the near future, I will compare this product to two Jin Xuan products from Taiwan that I have in my collection, one being quite expensive and the other having an average cost.
The sample packet has been opened, and the familiar sweet scent of light brown sugar and sweet milk is reviving my sense of smell. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a pale dark green to dark green color. The leaves are formed into dense semi-ball shapes, having an average size of a pea. The leaves appear to be mostly whole, many having the stem attached. The aroma is sweet, with scents of light brown sugar and sweet milk.
Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. However, the teapot was filled with roughly 7 ounces (210 ml) of water to compensate for the lower weight of dry leaves. Filtered tap water was heated to 190ºF (88ºC). The leaves were infused for three minutes on the first infusion, one minute on the second infusion, and two minutes on the third infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale yellow-light gold color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet, with scents of light brown sugar, sweet cream, and a hint of orchid flowers. The body was medium, with a creamy, silky texture. The taste had notes of sweet cream, orchids, light brown sugar, and a very light citrus hint. The finish was very smooth to the point where I barely noticed I was swallowing anything. The aftertaste was lightly sweet at first, and gradually converted to a floral essence, reminiscent of a Taiwan wulong.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of pale yellow color. The aroma remains sweet and lightly floral. The body remains medium, with a creamy texture. The taste maintains the same characteristics, and any lightness can be attributed to the significant difference in infusion time. To explain briefly why I cut down on time so much, I always find the second infusion of most Taiwan wulongs to be quite time-sensitive. A difference of thirty seconds causing the second infusion to become somewhat vegetal. This tea, on the other hand, I believe could have withstood an extra thirty seconds and not had such an effect. I will test this theory on the third infusion, and infuse the leaves for two minutes.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a color nearly identical to the second infusion. The aroma has balanced some, lightening on the sweet scents, giving the floral scent more definition. The body has lightened some. The taste has lightened also, but there are some interesting changes in taste to this infusion. The sweet cream has lightened significantly, but the citrus (lemon) hint has become much more prominent, and is creating quite an enjoyable combination with the orchid notes. The creaminess can be felt most in the finish and aftertaste. A lighter, but no less enjoyable infusion than the second.
The infused leaves have a dark forest green color to them, with some leaves displaying the common reddish edges. The leaves display the long, broad leaves that are characteristic of the Jin Xuan cultivar. The pluck varies, with some stems displaying anywhere from a five leaf and bud to three leaf and bud pluck. The leaves are either whole or almost whole, most attached to the stem, some loose. The aroma is sweet and floral, maintaining scents of sweet milk and orchids.
Among the reasons that I chose this out of the twenty plus samples from Daokrajai to sample first was my interest in seeing how a Jin Xuan from Thailand can compete with a Jin Xuan from it’s native Taiwan. I can say with confidence that this Jing Shuan from Daokrajai can certainly compete with many Taiwan Jin Xuan teas. In fact, I will give the Daokrajai Jing Shuan a higher mark than most of the Taiwan Jin Xuans for the fact that there was not a hint of vegetal quality to any of the three infusions, regardless of infusion time. I also like how the taste evolved from being dominated by notes of sweet cream to orchid in the second infusion, then orchid to citrus (lemon) in the third infusion. Even the fourth infusion, which I did test, maintained the citrusy dominance. It was quite enjoyable. I am impressed with the quality of this product from Daokrajai, and I think any fan of wulong and Jin Xuan will appreciate this tea.
Thank you to John and Kelly, who introduced me to the Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas and provided samples. And as always, thank you to the workers and employees at Daokrajai. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I look forward to the many reviews coming up in the near future. Cheers!
Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.