A tea grown in New Zealand? No way. Yes, believe it. I don’t want to write much here because Jane Pettigrew wrote an excellent blog post about the history of the Zealong Tea Estate and its founders and owners, Vincent Chen and his father, Tsu. But for a quick summary, the Chens imported tea plants from Taiwan into New Zealand and planted them on the Zealong Tea Estate in Hamilton in 2000. In 2004, they built a tea factory to process tea. By 2009, they were selling their oolong tea. Today, the Zealong plantation is 40ha and can produce 100 tonnes of fresh leaves. Zealong currently sells four oolong teas.
– The dry leaf consists of tightly rolled leaves that are dark green in colour
– It has a sweet, floral aroma
– The tea cups out a pale green liquor with a strong floral aroma
– The liquor has all the characteristics of a top unroasted oolong: buttery, floral, sweet. It is smooth, and its aftertaste grows in your mouth but doesn’t leaf your mouth feeling dry
– Prepare this tea gong fu style with 80 to 85C water. Infuse for 20 to 30 seconds. You will get at least four to six infusions
– After learning this tea came from Taiwanese tea plants, and after opening the pouch and smelling and seeing for the first time, I already knew I was going to love it. Unroasted Taiwanese oolongs are some of my favourite teas, and this tea has all the wonderful characteristics of a top-quality Taiwanese oolong. For oolong lovers, this is a must-try tea not only because it is delicious, but because it isn’t every day that you can try a tea grown in New Zealand!
Retail price: £5