Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What-Cha: Kenya Hand Rolled Purple Varietal Oolong Tea, A Tea Review

There is some serious derp going on over here, like really heavy derp, I sit at my computer, flipping from tab to tab, in a great attempt to do something and keep getting distracted. Yours truly was having a lot of pain last night and to rectify it I took some muscle relaxers (the only thing I can take for my fibro pain when my daily meds are not strong enough) the pain is much diminished, but the side effect of being in a brain fog is not very fun. Also, I want everyone to know that when I get a new email, my phone goes all Mass Effect and says 'Assuming Direct Control' thank you Harbinger, you always make me smile.

Time to get my rambling on! Today What-Cha is taking us on an Oolong adventure to Kenya, with Kenya Hand Rolled Purple Varietal Oolong Tea, yay for purple teas! I find them very intriguing, all of them I have tried get to wear the coveted 'well that was certainly different' title. So, just a quick rundown on what makes this tea purple, just in case you don't know...ANTHOCYANIN! Seriously, go outside and just shout that word, it feels great, from the Greek Anthos and Kyanos, which translates to blue flower, that is all it is, a pigment with a lot of epic science behind it that would take a whole blog post to explain (tempting as that is.) What is most important is this pigment in tea is thought to make it drought and pest resistant, along with boosting the antioxidants, fun stuff! Also I have decided that all purple teas are officially Drow (or Shadow Elves, my dark elves of choice) teas. The aroma of these dark twisty leaves is earthy and sweet, very sweet actually, blending notes of loam and mineral with plums, raisins, and honey. I will admit the earthy notes and sweet fruity notes mixing together are a little odd, though not unpleasant, my nose finds you intriguing oh great dark elf tea.

Brewing time! I am using my funky green gaiwan that does not get enough use lately (poor neglected thing) that I sometimes pretend is a houhin. I love this thing because it holds a lot, good for those days when I want to gongfu up some tea but want a big ol' cup of the stuff (or several big ol' cups) again the aroma of the (now wet) leaves can be described as odd but good, like cooked plums, sauteed veggies, and earthiness. Reminds me of eggplant just a little, specifically cooked eggplant, along with a bit of mineral and a hint of salt. The liquid is a fun blend of regular cooked plums, umeboshi (picked plums, delicious) mineral, loam, and salt. It has a sharpness to it along with mellowness from the earthy quality.

The first steep is fairly mild, it starts out with a blend of sweet, extremely juicy, ripe plum, then it moves on to mineral and a touch of loam. Around the end of the sipping experience there is a touch of fruity sharpness that causes a salivary explosion and then immediate sweet, honey aftertaste.

Onward to the second steep! So, this gave me a little bit of a giggle, the aroma of the second steep had a definite plum and mineral note, but it also had a note of cooked collards. Oh be still my heart, the sultry aroma of collards makes my mouth water. It made me giggle because of the many memories I have of my grandfather having to cook collards outside because they stink up the house. Ok, awesome, the tea even has a slight note of collards! It is faint, but just at the beginning there is that delightful earthy green taste of cooked collards. This moves on to cooked plums and then finishes with earthy loam and minerals.

And now we finish with steep number three, which has a very mild aroma, like distant plums and loam with a hint of umeboshi. This steep's taste is pretty intense, lots of plums and a hint of prunes, very mouthwatering. The plums gradually fade to earthiness that is reminiscent of clean dirt. Yes, it tastes like dirt, but it does not taste dirty, I like the taste of dirt so I found this pleasant, but I could see some people going eww at this. This was a weird tea, it was unlike most Oolongs I have had, in fact it was unlike most teas I have had, I really enjoyed it and will probably be getting more, but it is definitely an 'I have to be in the right mood for it' kinda tea.

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