Tasting over 500 cups of tea a day may well seem like the perfect job to many tea lovers. But whilst the team at Ahmad Tea HQ’s Tea Room treat every brew with a keen interest and passion, there are times when they yearn for a bit more variety than the everyday. That’s why they were so thrilled by the arrival of some colourful speciality Oolong teas from Taiwan. Here are some of their notes from a Tea Room bursting with colour on a sunny Friday in May.
Hands up who thought that green and black were the only two types of tea? No of course you didn’t, but just in case let us remind you of the curious world of Oolong tea. The Oolong tradition originated in China and unlike black tea, which is fully oxidised after plucking, and green tea, which is quickly processed to stop oxidisation, Oolong undergoes a set period of oxidisation. The length of time given to this process makes an amazing difference to the colour and flavour of the tea and makes Oolong production a real art that results in a wide variety of types and flavour profiles.
Green Oolong is of a type that is oxidised the least and is similar in its taste profile to green tea. Our tea tasters found this cup to be smooth in flavour with floral notes and a pleasant lingering after-taste.
The Amber Oolong that our Tea Tasters were lucky enough to enjoy was hand plucked in the hills of Nantou County in Taiwan and oxidised to a higher degree than others of the same type. The delicate method of cultivation and preparation results in a beautifully coloured liquor. Saleh from the tea department was impressed by the teas’ smooth flavour that offered a floral and fruity taste.
This heavily oxidised Oolong is a very interesting tea indeed. During cultivation, leafhopper insects (locally known as jassids) are allowed to feast upon the leaves and stems. These common pests suck at the plant’s juices and have the effect of beginning the oxidisation process early and turning the leaf tips white. This unusual cultivation technique adds a sweet, honey character to the tea. The leafhopper’s work is more noticeable in the summer months so the team did not get the full Oriental Beauty experience. Nevertheless they discovered a fruity and aromatic character without any bitterness.
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