Late autumn always makes me crave Oolong tea and it just so happens that week 6 of the Canton Tea Club is 10g of Hawaiian Makua Oolong. In the 1990′s Dr Francis Zee began to research the possibility of growing tea in Hawaii and in short he found that not only does tea grow well in Hawaiian soil but that it also gives unique flavours to the tea grown there. Now a days there are many Hawaiian tea growers and companies but the tea I have here ‘Hawaiian Makua Oolong’ is produced on the Manua Loa Estate on the slopes of Kileauea Volcano by Mike Riley who is a leading Hawaiian Oolong tea grower.
Instructions for a gaiwan: 5g of tea 80°C water
Rinse the tea for three seconds and discard the infused water. Oolong is suitable for a few steeps and I would suggest 6 steeps. Start with 10 seconds and increase each steep by 5-10 seconds depending on how strong you find the tea.
The tea leaves whilst raw is dark green and brown in colour and curled into c shapes. They smell earthy yet sweetly floral.
Once rinsed the tea leaves smell buttery and a little toasted.
Steep 1 – 10 seconds
Golden yellow in colour with an earthy and floral scent. The first few sips are toasty but fresh with a little sweetness. The notes state this tea to be ‘honey toned’ and I can understand why, it’s an earthy sort of honey.
Steep 2 – 20 seconds
Much toastier in smell and also picking up grassy freshness almost vegetal in flavour. Still very much buttery/honeyed but not as sweet.
Steep 3 – 30 seconds
Increasing again with the toasted flavour and earthy freshness. The tea leaves are also starting to unravel and become brighter in colour.
Steep 4 – 40 seconds
Now I’m noticing the buttery taste more and the sweetness has just about gone. Also the toasted tang is weakening.
Steep 5 – 50 seconds
The brew is weakening down now in colour and flavour. Very green tea like with buttery and gentle grassy tones.
Steep 6 – 60 seconds
Smell is very subtle but toasty. Buttery and slightly floral tones.
Overall this tea was very fresh and flavourful which makes a nice example of Hawaiian Oolong. It’s not sold on Canton Tea’s website but they do have some for sale, you just have to contact them. www.cantonteaco.com
This tea even comes approved by my kitty Ivory.