Recently I had the opportunity to cup three different teas from Indonesia, thanks to samples from PT Harendong Green Farm. They are labeled simply Red, Green and Oolong. Exciting, huh? Well, yes indeed!
Each of the dry leafs appeared to have been rolled in a half-ball style, with leaves that were slightly distressed-looking once unrolled (i.e. steeped).
For each of the teas, I used about one mug of hot water poured over one level teaspoon of tea in a porcelain teapot, steeped for three minutes at what seemed like an appropriate temperature (see notes below).
All were eminently drinkable, and each had a similarly pleasant velvety mouth-feel and a lingering (if not necessarily strong) aftertaste.
The one to write home about, though, it the oolong: I found it delicious and rather unique, with a warm and soft quality to the flavor and aroma that I just adored.
Notes for each tea follow:
Red Tea: Brewed with water just off the boil.
There are soft black fruits and the barest hint of maltiness; also a velvet acidity in the back of the throat.
Green tea: Brewed with water at about 150 degrees.
There is a fresh hay smell (not strong enough to be “fresh mown” though, and not vegetal). Steeping produced a light, grassy tea with a pleasant light bitterness with no fruit at all. There is barely any sweetness. Most striking about this brew were the absent flavors–drinking this after the red tea was like drinking sake after drinking bourbon. Perhaps I should have cupped this one first, although my instincts tell me it would not have mattered much, really.
So: I made a hotter second infusion, at about 160 degrees, steeped for two minutes. This made the flavor a bit fuller, but overall the second infusion was even less interesting than the first.
Oolong: 180-190 degree water.
Aw shucks, this is good. The oolong, to my palate, had the mouth-filling appeal of a nice lightly oxidized tiequanyin, with a darker acid roastiness (reminiscent of roast Taiwanese tiequanyins) that I quite like. Overall, this tea is a beautiful everyday-quality tea with some humble complexity, and it is SO drinkable.
The second infusion, steeped for 2 minutes with water that cooled in the kettle since making the first infusion (therefore indeterminate temperature), was a bit brighter and less complex, but still rather nice.
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