Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tea From Vietnam: Ta Oolong, A Tea Review

You know what, I can't wait til Monday. Apparently my new camera will be delivered then...oh, did I not mention I got a new camera? Well, I was able to make some money and I used that to buy a refurbished Fujifilm S8600, it is not my first choice (really wanted one of those fancy multi-lenses pro $700+ cameras) but with mine dying, the time for saving up for the one I wanted has passed. The new one will be a significant upgrade over my Fujifilm S1800, specifically it has a slimmer profile (unless I unleash the MASSIVE zoom) meaning my tiny hands can grip the thing better for some epic pouring tea photos. The search for the illusive perfect mid-air droplet shot continues. 

Today we are looking at another tea from Tea from Vietnam, specifically Ta Oolong, an oolong that is very uniquely Vietnamese! This is a native oolong, having been grown there for thousands of years, most likely originating as wild grown tea trees of the same stock found growing wild in Yunnan, the place where tea originated. Tea trees are so rude when it comes to borders, they tend to ignore it and wander off to other places. In the 90s a bunch of Taiwanese teas were brought into Vietnam, slowly pushing the Ta Oolong to only be grown in a few small gardens, this one came from a garden in Lam Ha. The aroma of the pretty green leaves is very floral with a hint of sweet cream. Notes of orchid, honeysuckle, osmanthus, spicebush, and a touch of hyacinth and lilies, I feel like I walked into a summer garden or flower filled conservatory. I might have spent more time inhaling the floral explosion than is necessary.

This is a tea that calls for my Xi Shi Yixing Teapot, yeah it is named after that Xi Shi, inspired by her probably very perfect bosom, what with being one of China's great beauties. The leaves, now steeped and unfurled a bit, are a wonderfully flowery explosion, notes of orchids, lilies, honeysuckle and hyacinth are the main flowers, with a gentle crushed vegetation finish. The liquid is honey sweet and creamy, and very, very heady. It is like a garden in full bloom in my cup, just want to sniff and sniff...and yes I dipped my nose in the tea again, it was inevitable.

First steeping, oh it is a creamy thing, the oolong's mouthfeel is definitely a thick one, coating the mouth with its texture, and I am totally ok with that. The taste starts out green and a bit buttery but that is very quickly shoved out of the way by a small storm of flowers. If you are imagining a cloud of petals that also rain flower nectar you are on the right track. Notes of lilies (giving a touch of spice) honeysuckles, orchids and osmanthus bloom in my mouth, with a lingering honey aftertaste.

On we go to steep two, the aroma is creamy and sweet, I managed to not dip my nose while sniffing the flowery sweetness. This time the lily note is very present in the aroma, giving it a gentle spiciness. The mouthfeel is still buttery and thick, and very well rounded. The taste skips over the green note and goes straight into the flowery explosion, so many notes of flowers, lilacs, osmanthus, lilies, and honeysuckles, finishing out with a creamy sweetness.

The third steep brings in more of the lily spicy notes, strong floral and honey with a wonderful spicy note that lingers through and through. The mouthfeel still has that buttery texture that I have come to expect, though it is a touch lighter this time. The taste starts out with a touch of green, similar to the first steep, like crushed fresh vegetation. This moves to sweet honeysuckles and nicely strong lilies whose floral spiciness lingers for quite some time. Many steeps were had.


  1. Sounds fantastic. Where can I buy this in Sydney ? I live in the north.

    1. I am not sure, I order it online so I just get it delivered so maybe that way?