Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chai Chun: Darjeeling Oolongs, A Tea Review

I was up all night painting undead horses, and you know, I am ok with that! Slowly progressing through my Malignant box, the Hexwraiths honestly seems like the easiest thing in that box to paint, especially compared with my ridiculously fragile Mortis Engine/Coven Throne kitbash. Truly though, I love painting skeletons, you can just do so much with bones, make them all weathered and old, covered in crusty rot, you can even have a red skeleton if you feel so inclined!

Recently Chai Chun sent me a mountain of teas from India, dividing them up on how I wanted to review them on the blog has been a challenge, so I decided to start out with all the Oolongs! Sadly not all of these are on their website, but I am sure if you message them you can get your hands on any that tickle your fancy. Starting out with Glenburn Oolong, the aroma of this Oolong is sweet and muscatel, blending honey and grapes with a touch of sweet peach juice and malt. It smells similar to an Oriental Beauty (not surprising since a lot of people compare Oriental Beauty to Darjeeling) with a slightly heavier oxidation, making it also similar to a second flush.

To be a real pain, I decided to Gongfu all of these, because I really like Darjeeling teas when they are brewed that way (granted Western style is also good, but I have so many gaiwans...) The taste is really refreshing! Crisp and sweet apples and barely ripe apricots blend with orange blossoms and white grapes, and a touch of honey at the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth while being crisp, light and quite bright, with a gently lingering aftertaste. I really like the orange blossom notes on this one, but I am a sucker for all things orange blossom.

Next on the adventure is Poobong Oolong, the aroma is quite sweet, with notes of orange blossom (am I detecting a tasty theme?) thick juicy apricots, cashews, and pears. It has a slightly more roasted nutty aroma which gives it an extra sweet heaviness.

Ok, so this one is my favorite, just going to say that now, I ended up messaging my mom when I was drinking it raving about how good it tasted! The taste combines notes of dried mango, cooked pears, cashew butter, and scuppernong grapes into a thick and very sweet dessert of a tea. Luckily for me this tea has decent longevity, I was able to get seven solid steeps out of it, really it surprised me how sweet it was, it tastes just like dried fruit and if you handed me this tea I would suspect it was steeped with dried fruit...but since I brewed it I know it is just the leaves.

Onward to Balasun Ecstasy First Flush Oolong, an Oolong that is completely different from the other Oolongs in this bunch! I have seen debates that a first flush black tea is really more correctly categorized as an Oolong, and I can see some reasoning behind that, especially when comparing it to an actual first flush Oolong. The aroma is crisp and green, with lettuce and celery notes combining with apricot skin, white grapes, and a delicate plumeria blossom finish.

This is definitely a refreshing Oolong! Strong notes of hay and lettuce, honey and white grapes, and a nice nectar sweetness of plumeria at the finish. It is so crisp and fresh, it caught me by surprise a bit, especially since it is more on the savory side rather than immensely sweet. Drink this Oolong if you need to be woken up in the mouth and need refreshing!

Lastly is Giddapahar Oolong, Giddapahar Estate is a long time favorite of mine, so trying the Oolong was a treat! This is a fun one, the aroma being a touch herbaceous and hemp like, with strong notes of toasted chestnuts and cooked apricots with a potent raisin finish. It is very aromatic and intense!

This one also surprised me, being strongly oxidized and roasted, with strong notes of grilled apricots and mineral, golden raisins, hemp, and malt. It was like the lovechild of a yancha and an autumn flushed Darjeeling, not something I really thought I would experience,  but I liked it! The long lingering aftertaste of honey and raisins was probably my favorite aspect, but the robustness of the overall taste was quite good.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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