DUE TO HIGH DEMAND, THIS TEA IS SOLD OUT
– Sensei, my mind is stuck. I need a refreshment. I will go out to smell the flowers and feel the caress of the green grass in our garden.
– Dear boy, the flowers' sweet aroma and the green grass' freshness are all inside this tiny cup of tea. Have a sip and invigorate your mind.
A truly exotic tea, "Kagutsuchi" Suruga-wase Japanese Oolong tea is Path of Cha's proud addition to our Oolong tea collection.
This Japanese Oolong comes from an organic tea plantation in Isagawa, West Shizuoka. The plantation stretches at 350-500m above sea level in an area known as "the organic valley". It enjoys shading from the surrounding mountain ridges and a naturally occurring mist that fills the air with moisture. Right next to the tea gardens is a river with pure, drinkable water that runs downstream to the lower mountain.
The tea producers of Suruga-wase Japanese Oolong pair the exceptional ecological surroundings of the area with the local tea masters' organic cultivation know-how. The result is purely organic tea, without the use of any pesticides or fertilizers.
Suruga-wase Japanese Oolong is a lightly oxidized tea. It has a sweet, floral mouthfeel with tender notes of lemongrass. Its production process recalls the traditional Taiwanese Baozhong Oolong. The picking season for this tea starts in later June. Tea farmers process the leaves the very same day. First, they spread them in the sun to wither under close temperature supervision and constant turning. Once the leaves start to wrinkle and lose their luster, farmers put them indoors for the next phase of withering. They then proceed to "bruising" – a crucial processing stage for Oolong tea. It involves shaking and resting the tea leaves for a couple of hours. This stage defines the degree of oxidation for the tea leaves and greatly impacts the aroma and taste profile of the finished tea.
After that, processing moves on to the "fixing" stage. Farmers put the leaves in heated pans and stir-fry them until loud popping sounds appear. They then immediately transfer the leaves for a 10 min rolling phase. This stage fixes the tea leaves' shape and ensures a proper infusion once the leaves are brewed in hot water. After that, farmers will break any lumps that may have formed during the rolling phase. Finally, the leaves dry at 100ºC for about half an hour. That ensures the removal of any enzyme activity that survived the fixing stage. It also eliminates the raw grassy smell, improves the aroma, and lowers the moisture for optimal storage.
In the best traditions of Taiwanese Baozhong processing, our "Kagutsuchi" Suruga-wase Japanese Oolong processing doesn't imply roasting. That accounts for a mild taste with subtle grassy astringency. Indeed, this Oolong stands out for its well-balanced bitterness and mild astringency, which nicely counterpart its sweetness. One can say that "Kagu-tsuchi" is a crossover between oolong and green tea.
205℉ / 95℃
1g per 60ml
1min for the first infusion; +30sec for each subsequent infusion
This was a very soothing and light oolong. Really great stuff.
I have experienced other oolongs, some of which have been quite good. Yet, I will say that my taste lends more to this Japanese organic oolong for mornings. This, for me, is a perfect blend if you will. Color is beautiful, taste sublime, aroma, excellent. Highly recommend!
Glad you liked it, Trent!
And the good thing is that it's not a blend but a single origin Oolong tea:)
Light oolongs and Japanese green teas are my two favorite tea categories so I knew I had to love this one. It’s truly an exceptional tea! I immediately noticed the pleasant grassy astringency of it - like drinking a really nice gyokuro. But that came balanced with the mellow sweetness one would get from an oolong. - like a nice butter cookie.
I also liked how enduring this tea is. It’s definitely true that you need very short steepings. Just a few seconds will give you a full robust cup and then keep brewing away!
I really enjoy Japanese teas and green teas in general but my wife is very so-so on them. This is a nice in-between sort of tea that does have some notes of a green tea but also has the notes of an oolong. I would say that if you are strictly an traditional oolong drinker that you won't find it your typical cup and hopefully it will be a gateway into trying other fantastic green teas that are offered here. So for my wife it was a nice step towards green teas without, in her words, "that green grass flavour".
I enjoyed it quite a bit and will get it again if I'm looking to make something that doesn't have that green, vegital type of flavour.
If you are on the fence about green tea, get this and try it out.
I am a fan of Japanese teas in general but when you look to expand horizons beyond green teas it is sometimes difficult to find satisfying alternatives (oolongs, blacks, whites, puerhs). So this Organic Japanese Oolong piqued my interest. I don't find Gong Fu Cha short steeps satisfying with Japanese teas so I went with a longer option. First I used 5g of leaf to 200ml of filtered water heated to 95C. First steep was for 60 seconds and I increased steep times by 15-30 seconds on each successive infusion. Let me start by saying the dry leaf has a wonderful sweet aroma when warmed either by breathing in, out over the leaves and in again or simply in a warmed kyusu/teapot. The first infusion brought out the sweetness with a tad of vegetalness. I'm not big on going crazy with tasting notes so suffice it to say the tea was enjoyable for both my wife and myself. There was a hint, just a hint, of bitterness and astringency but nothing unpleasant. Color was lovely. I was hoping to add a photo but don't think I can. Color, aroma and taste carried throughout the second and third steeps. After that things started to fade. Color got lighter. Taste got somewhat weaker. And we stopped after the fifth infusion. All in all, a nice Japanese oolong. I would probably buy again when I run out.