Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail
Kenya, a country in East Africa, is known worldwide for its wildlife reserves, its lofty mountain peaks, and the high quality offerings from the country’s tea gardens and coffee plantations. For the past 10 years or so, Kenya tea producers have been focusing on more orthodox production methods to create high quality large leaf style teas. This tea is a relative newcomer to the Oolong tea market. It is grown in the Central Province District of Kirinyaga, where the rich earth and moderate climatic conditions help the plants to thrive.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is a delightful Oolong. With the first sip, I noticed a fantastic apricot-peach flavor to it, reminding me a bit of a nice Formosa Oolong, but it is a bit more brisk. It is as if my treasured Formosa Oolong (Formosa Oolong was my very first Oolong, so it will always have a very special place in my heart) had a love child with a high grown Ceylon … and then moved to Kenya!
It has a pleasant sweetness, but, I find that with the astringency at the tail, the sweetness never gets to the point where it’s too much. It lasts as long as the sip lasts, and then the astringency cleanses the palate and readies it for the next sip. This tea is also earthy, and I pick up on the earthy tones especially at the start of the sip, and then the earthiness subsides into the sweet fruit notes, with a hint of flower (orchid, perhaps?) in the distance. As I continue to sip, I notice a citrus-y background begin to develop, by the end of my first cup (which is the combination of the first two infusions), the citrus-y note is well-pronounced.
This tea provided me six very wonderful infusions, and the flavors changed and shifted focus with each cup. This is a wonderfully contemplative cup, one that I could spend hours over, just examining the layers of flavor. It has such a complex character, very similar to other teas, but, different enough not to be cast into their shadows.