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!

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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!

Wirun Green Tea Powder from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

Let’s get to a green tea product from Daokrajai Lanne Thai Teas. It has been clarified to me that Daokrajai is not actually the name of the tea farm that these products are sourced from, hence the change of name to Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas.

The sample packet of wirun green tea has been opened, and a small bag of green tea powder is inside. Not what I was expecting, but welcome, none the less. Let the journey begin…

The dry leaves are ground in to a fine powder with a bright forest green color. Very similar to ceremonial grade Japanese Matcha. The aroma has strong scents of fresh cut grass.

The four gram sample of powder was placed in a eight ounce ceramic matcha bowl. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The powder was whisked in the water.

Wirun Powdered Green Tea Infusion
Wirun Powdered Green Tea Infusion

The infusion has a dark forest green color, cloudy, thick, and opaque. The aroma has scents of fresh cut grass and dark green vegetables. The body is full, with a mouth-filling, grainy texture. The taste is rich, with strong notes of fresh cut grass, and lighter notes of dark green vegetables. The aftertaste is grassy, and the flowery essence that is left on the breath is very pleasant.

I am not used to writing such short reviews, but there is not much to analyze in a powdered tea. This tea was very similar to ceremonial grade Japanese matcha green tea. If you like Japanese matcha, as I do, then you will enjoy this tea. It may certainly be used in cooking and baking, as well to provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals, as well as a bright green color.

 

Pai Red Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

Next on the review agenda is the Pai Red Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. Many of the pertinent details of Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas may be found in last evening’s review of the Jing Shuan Oolong. Scroll down a post to read more about Daokrajai.

Let the journey begin…

Pai Red Tea Dry Leaves
Pai Red Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are a uniform black color with light brown stems. The leaves are small to medium sized fragments. There are a few seemingly bare stems in the mix. The fragments are rolled. The aroma has scents of hay and molasses.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a 5 ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Pai Red Tea 1st Infusion
Pai Red Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark orange-red color, with a slight cloudiness, but still transparent. The aroma is floral, earthy (wood and hay), and winey (burgundy). The body is full, with a lively, bright, and almost oily texture. The taste is brisk, citrusy (lemon), winey (burgundy), woody, and lightly floral. The aftertaste is winey and floral.

Pai Red Tea 2nd Infusion
Pai Red Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter orange-red color with no cloudiness. The aroma remains floral and earthy, with slightly less wine scent. The body lightened some to medium-full, and the texture remains lively and somewhat oily. The taste remains brisk, citrusy, woody, floral, with lighter notes of wine (burgundy). The aftertaste is more floral and citrusy than winey. Overall, this infusion was certainly lighter than the first infusion, but nothing worth complaining about. This was a tasteful infusion.

Pai Red Tea 3rd Infusion
Pai Red Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with an orange-gold color. The aroma has lightened, but remains floral and earthy, with a light sweetness. The body has lightened to medium. The taste has lightened significantly. The brisk character has lightened quite a bit. This third infusion was quite light in every aspect, but still not difficult to drink and enjoy on some level. I do not expect a fourth infusion to be practical.

Pai Red Tea Infused Leaves
Pai Red Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark copper color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The aroma has earthy scents of wood, a light floral scent, and a touch of spice.

This Pai Red is a surprisingly complex tasting tea. The highly brisk character caught me off guard, and immediately sent a spark of alertness through my body. This tea has some common characteristics with a Keemun, like the winey and burgundy-like aroma and taste, but the citrusy, brisk, and somewhat oily texture make this tea highly unique. I may have to do a side by side comparison of the other sample packet of the Pai Red against the Hao Ya A that I have at home. I do like the brisk, lively character of the Pai Red. The first couple of sips truly opened my eyes and sent a wave of energy through me. It was quite the experience.

Cheers for another impressive product, Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas. What sample shall be next?

Jing Shuan Oolong Tea from Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas

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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.