Assam Oolong

Assam Oolong - dry leaf

I bought this tea as part of my mid-September order over at House of Tea, along with two others I recently posted about, a Taiwanese GABA green, and the mysteriously popular Koushun Oolong.

Regular readers of this blog might just remember that when it comes to tea leaves normally used in the production of one class of tea being processed in the style of a different class of tea, well, I’m an easy mark. Once I saw this tea, Assam material given the Oolong treatment, it was in my shopping cart before I had time to think about it.

House of Tea’s notes describe this as a very unusual tea, with only 5 kilos produced annually by a pair of families in Assam. The raw material, as you might have expected, comes from the Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica varietal, and is a cultivar named Teenali.

As I tend to do these days with Indian teas I opted to go down the Western steeping route, and besides, looking at those small, fine leaves I was of the opinion that any attempt to gong-fu them would result in a messy and unsatisfactory session…


Steeping Method

  • Water Used: Filtered tap water

  • Weight of dry leaf: 3 grams

  • Infusion style: Western

  • Steeping vessel: 200 ml ceramic teapot

  • Water temperature: 95°C

  • No. & duration: 3 infusions of 1, 1, and 1½ minutes duration


The dry leaf was pumping out a wonderful floral aroma that had me thinking of sweet peas, and after a few seconds in the warmed up pot I got a hooter full of an interesting cross-section of baked goods – cookies, bread, and pie-crust.

Assam Oolong - a cup of

The first infusion took me quite by surprise. I certainly wasn’t expecting that degree of complexity right out of the gate. The first sip was heavily floral, but also had a pleasing red-wine like astringency, backed up by a sort of vanilla ice-cream deal, one that had a weird cooling effect on the inside of the mouth. Right off the bat the liquor boasted a lovely, deep colour, and was lip-stickingly smooth and creamy. The twin aromas of baking and flowers clung to the inside of the empty cup.

The second round saw the astringency turned up a notch, but not so much so that it overpowered everything else.

The third steeping was perfectly drinkable, but I definitely got the feeling that trying to tease another round out of these leaves would be pushing my luck somewhat.

Assam Oolong - used leaves

Conclusions

As I said above, I simply love these kinds of experiments, where leaves are on the receiving end of non-standard processing, and this is another very nice example of the type. It seems that more and more farmers and factories want a slice of this kind of “crossover” action, which can only be a good thing if the result is more interesting and delicious new teas to tempt us with.

Good stuff.

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4 Responses to Assam Oolong

  1. Sounds interesting! Definitely unique I’ll have to keep my eye out for more cross over teas in the future

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting! I’m also a sucker for teas being produced in a different way (hence why I almost always buy wakoucha when I see it) so this sounds very cool

    Like

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