Leaf Type: Oolong (Purple)
Where to Buy: What-Cha Tea
A unique oolong unlike any other we have tasted before, made from the purple varietal tea plant which gives the tea a unique plum taste and purple tint. A rare and unusual tea which is not to be missed.
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! What a delightful purple Oolong!
I steeped this the way I would usually steep an Oolong tea, using my gaiwan. I “eyeballed” a measurement of leaves. These leaves are so long and wiry that it would be difficult to measure them using my bamboo scoop. So I poured out an amount that looked like it would be a bamboo scoop into the palm of my hand and then I put it into the bowl of my gaiwan. Then I heated water to 180°F. I poured in just enough of the heated water to cover the leaves and I let this sit for 15 seconds – to awaken the leaves – and then I strained off the liquid and discarded it. Then I steeped the leaves for 45 seconds for the first infusion and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion. I combine two infusions in my teacup – so my first cup is infusions 1 and 2, and the second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … and so on!
The brewed tea takes on a purple-ish color and has a sweet, floral aroma with notes of fruit. There is a strong flavor to this tea: tasting primarily of stone fruit and flower. Just as the above description suggests, there is a strong and distinct plum note. It is sweet with notes of tart.
The texture is lighter than a typical Oolong. It doesn’t have that buttery mouthfeel like you might experience from a greener Oolong. This doesn’t taste or feel “creamy.” It tastes strongly of fruit. The fruit notes bring a lot of sweetness to the cup and there is a slight “sugary” sweetness to the cup as well. There is a moderate astringency to this tea – I can feel the insides of my cheeks pucker a bit at the finish. But don’t let that dissuade you, because I find that the sensation enhances the fruit notes.
The plum notes were even more focused in the second cup. Still sweet with notes of sugar cane. The astringency is about the same in this cup as it was in the first.
The third cup turned out to be a bit different than the first and second cups. This cup is not as astringent as the first cup – this is much smoother from start to finish. The plum notes are softening somewhat now. Still lots of fruit flavor, I’m noticing the flavors starting to become unified. This is slightly less sweet and a little lighter. I’m picking up on a slight creamy note now and an ever so slight vegetative note. Neither of these new flavors are very strong – they’re off in the distance. Floral notes are slightly more noticeable this time too.
This is a really delightfully different Oolong – one I’d recommend to those who are looking for something just a little off the beaten path!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Teasenz
A farmer needs to work seven days, just to produce about 1.5 kg of this artisan tea, picking only the most-tender leaves from large-leaf tea trees in Simao, Yunnan. Afterwards, each ring is carefully hand-rolled piece by piece, requiring patience and mastery of advanced tea processing skills. A pure organic and luxury green tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
Beautiful! These leaves are so amazingly graceful! They are rolled in perfect little rings, and the leaves feel soft and fluffy as they’re still covered with their downy fuzz.
They slowly unfurl in hot water, and it’s fun to watch them do their thing as they brew. I highly recommend steeping these in something that you can watch the brewing process. I realize that the website recommends a ceramic teapot for brewing, but I brewed this in my gaiwan so that I could watch the tender leaves do their graceful dance as they gently infused the hot liquid.
The cup that sits before me now is the results of the first two infusions, and this tea is delicious. It is delicately fragrant. The flavor is lightly vegetal with notes of butter and nutty tones, reminiscent of a nutty browned butter. It isn’t bitter, grassy or overly astringent.
There is a subtle floral note to the cup that seems to gradually build, and is especially noticeable in the aftertaste. The notes on the website suggest a jasmine note, but, I don’t know that I’m tasting jasmine. It is a very gentle flowery note that melds seamlessly with the other flavors of the cup.
This is a really remarkable green tea from Teasenz: I love that it’s organic, I love that it offers several delicious infusions (I got two cups of tea out of one measurement of leaves, infusing the leaves for a total of four times), and quite simply, I love this tea! Then again, I’ve been very impressed with all the teas that I’ve tried from this company! This is one company that you should put at the top of your shopping list!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Sugimoto America
Temomi Shin Cha is one of the rarest and highest quality Japanese green teas. The word temomi means “hand-rolled”. From the meticulous picking of the best young tea leaves to the final process of kneading the leaves to fine needles, the whole practice is done by the hands of elite temomi artisans. A method used in Japan centuries ago, the temomi technique is vanishing due to the adoption of today’s machines to produce tea. Temomi Shin Cha is offered to the Japanese Emperor each year in a ceremony celebrating the first tea of spring.
Learn more about this tea here.
I have tried Shin Cha teas in the past, but I have never had this very rare Temomi Shin Cha tea before. What an amazing opportunity to try it!
This is one of the finest green teas I’ve yet to try.
The dry leaf is long and elegant. The photo above almost suggests an appearance of a Japanese Sencha, and … it does look a little bit like that, except that the leaves are longer. These aren’t a finely cut leaf, they’re the tender, young leaves – whole – that have been assiduously rolled by hand. Each tiny, beautiful leaf has been rolled into a long, very slender, sleek “needles.” They’re gorgeous.
Since I do not own a kyusu, I steeped these leaves in my gaiwan. My gaiwan is not the “standard” gaiwan, it has a fairly wide, shallow chamber and it is the perfect size to accommodate these precious leaves. How this tea is brewed is very important. The temperature should be only 100°F – yeah! I did a double take on that temperature too. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tea where such a low temperature was required!
Fortunately, my Breville One-Touch doubles as a variable tea kettle as well, and while it doesn’t have a setting for a temperature so low, it does show the temperature as it builds and I was able to pull the kettle at 100°F. The steep time is 2 minutes. After two minutes, look at the leaves and see if they’ve opened. They were beginning to open at this point, but not fully open, so I gave the tea one more minute. After the extra minute, I strained the tea and sat back to enjoy my this rare tea experience!
The color of the tea is very pale. But even though there isn’t a lot of color to the liquid, there is a LOT of flavor and texture. It is sweet and the texture is thick. Thicker than any other Japanese green tea I’ve ever tried (Matcha is not included in that statement.) It is rich and buttery with a strong vegetative taste that is somewhat grassy. Sweet and grassy.
In the literature that comes along with this tea, it says:
Temomi Shincha is consumed in small amounts, very much akin to enjoying a rich and strong flavored espresso.
And I get that. No, I’m not tasting espresso here. But it does have a very strong and forward flavor, just like you might experience if you were to be sipping on an espresso – but without being brash like espresso can be. Hey, what can I say, I’m not into espresso … I’m a tea drinker through and through.
For the second infusion, I used 130°F water and steeped for only 1 minute. This cup is not quite as thick as the first was, but it maintains the same level of flavor and the same sweet, grassy, rich taste that I enjoyed in the first cup. Still buttery, but because it isn’t as thick, it doesn’t seem quite as buttery or creamy as the first cup was. It still has a really luscious texture though, it’s just a little lighter. I notice a bit of astringency to this cup.
I brewed my third infusion the same way, but I added 15 seconds onto the infusion time, steeping for 1 minute 15 seconds. The extra 15 seconds made a difference, and I’m getting that same soft, thick texture that I experienced in the first cup with this cup. It’s thick and buttery and delightful.
This third cup may be my favorite of the three. It has the same rich, brothy texture of the first cup, but with a softer vegetative presentation, the flavor is a little softer and this accentuates the creamy texture.
And because I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to this tea just yet, I decided to do something that I don’t ordinarily do: eat the leaves! I brought the kettle to a boil, and poured the boiling water over the leaves to soak them for five minutes to remove any tannic qualities of the leaves. So after I finished drinking this tea, I enjoyed a warm salad of tea leaves and a light dressing of sesame oil and orange. It was tasty!
This is – unquestionably – an exceptional tea and offers not just a journey that’s well worth taking but also represents an opportunity to taste a rare tea that is available only in limited quantities. I highly, highly recommend this tea to all those who truly love tea.