Friday, January 18, 2019

Hatvala: A Pair of Bug Bitten Oolongs from Vietnam, a Tea Review

Hey, guess who went to the doctor today, yep it is me. It is really only part one since I need to see a specialist about my uterus problems and get an ultrasound next week (people who follow me on twitter got to see that whole rant, but long story short the evil sack is trying to kill me, thus keeping with the family curse) but progress is good. I have been distracting myself from the pain with long time sickness distraction, video games, mostly Subnautica, my new favorite survival crafting game. It has totally supplanted Ark, mostly because it works, but the whole alien ocean theme is beautiful and deeply unsettling. Sadly I have gotten no painting done lately due to pain making me shaky and shaking is not good when you are painting miniatures. I really hope I can get back to my normal level of non-functioning soon because this new level of hell is just lame.

Today I am looking at two teas from Hatvala, a company specializing in Vietnamese teas, one of my favorite (somewhat obscure) tea regions. The two teas are bug-bitten, a classic Oriental Beauty and a partially bug-bitten Gui Fei, so both teas are going to be wonderfully sweet! This is one of my favorite styles of Oolong and so I am very glad to be indulging in the good stuff.

Golden Turtle Oolong

This is the Gui Fei Oolong, made from the Jin Xuan cultivar, so it is going to be intensely sweet. The aroma of the tightly balled leaves is like nectar, wonderful fruity nectar with notes of pear, peach, honey, tulips, and a finish of lightly toasted almonds. Brewing the tea fills my tea area with a heavy and very heady aroma that creeps around like a sugary cloud and it is lovely. Notes of orchids blend with tulips and the nutty undertones become stronger, and of course there is a wonderful stewed fruit aroma as well. The taste is intense, so very intense! Very thick mouthfeel with a nectar quality (you will see that word a lot in this review) strong notes of peach and pear stewed together in honey with a strong tulip blossom and orchid finish. Later steeps bring in a nutty walnut and almond note that reminds me of a fruit crumble now, this tea could be a good dessert after a heavy meal, but honestly drinking it makes me want to take a nap since it is so rich and heavy. I love it.

Oriental Beauty Oolong

Ah, OB, a long time favorite of not just me, it is a very popular tea, and for good reason! It is such a wonderful tea, the leaves have a wonderful aroma of fresh crisp apples, cherries, and a hint of raisins and stewed peaches, it is very sweet and aromatic, a great tea to happily sniff for a long time. Once steeped the aroma has a touch of a tannic quality along with buttery sweet fruit and honey. The taste, oh the taste, it is wonderfully smooth and sweet, with notes of persimmon, apple, grapes, and honey all stewed together for a delightful fruit compote that is both very sweet and also very refreshing. Where the Gui Fei is heavy and makes me want to nap after drinking it, the OB is light and energizing. A fascinating contrast between two beautiful teas.

Tea sent for review

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