REVIEW: What-Cha – Two oolong teas from Vietnam

What-Cha - Vietnam Oolong Teas

I have tried very few teas from Vietnam. My inexperience doesn’t come from lack of interest, but I haven’t seen many for sale. It does seem more and more people I follow on Twitter or through their blogs are regularly reviewing Vietnamese teas, but I would like to learn more about the teas coming out of this country.

Today I am pleased to be reviewing two oolong teas from Vietnam that are available at What-Cha. Recently What-Cha started stocking eight teas from Vietnam. All of What-Cha’s Vietnamese teas have been sourced by Geoff Hopkins of Hatvala. If you are interested in trying a good spread of Vietnamese teas – everything from oolong to green to black to white – What-Cha has a ‘Discover Vietnam’ taster pack that contains all of their new Vietnamese teas. I have all eight teas, but I will start today with the two oolongs in the pack.

Vietnam ‘Red Buffalo’ Oolong Tea

IMG_3587

Tea and origin: Roasted oolong tea from Moc Chau, Son La Province, Vietnam
Twitter: @What_Cha_Tea
Facebook: What-Cha
Link to ‘Red Buffalo’ Oolong Tea

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of small rolled leaves that are a dark brown colour. It has a light toasted aroma, but the leaves awaken in warmed crockery and give off sweet, honey-like notes

Infused tea: The tea cups out a dark golden liquor that is packed with a sweet aroma. Like the aroma, the liquor has strong sweet notes – a honey-like sweetness.  The tea is medium-bodied with a moderate amount of astringency

Infusion tips: I would suggest short infusions with a gaiwan to most effectively pull all the aroma and flavour out of this tea. Try five grams of tea with 150ml of water that is 95C. You will get at least five infusions

Conclusions: This is one of the sweetest roasted oolongs I’ve ever had. The powerful sweetness makes it a bit one dimensional, but you have to admire how loaded with flavour and aroma this tea is. It is too sweet to be an everyday tea for myself, but I think it is something I would reach for when needing something different and full of flavour

Retail price: 10 grams for £1.65 / 50 gram for £6.00 / 100 grams for £11.04

Vietnam Flowery Oolong Tea
IMG_3581

Tea and origin: A green oolong tea from Moc Chau, Son La Province, Vietnam
Twitter: @What_Cha_Tea
Facebook: What-Cha
Link to Flowery Oolong Tea

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: Upon opening the pack, you’ll probably notice the strong floral aroma before the appearance of the dry leaf. When added to warmed crockery, the floral aroma is even more potent. The dry leaf consists of small rolled leaves that are primarily dark green, but they do have some streaks that are light green

Infused tea: Like the dry leaf, the aroma of the liquor has strong floral notes. The body of the tea has a bold orchid flavour, whilst the finish has a subtle sweetness. A florally aftertaste lingers in the mouth. It is a medium-bodied tea with a medium amount of astringency

Infusion tips: I would suggest making this tea in a gaiwan. Use five grams of tea for 150ml of water. Steep for 30 seconds with 90C water for the first infusion, and increase steeping time by 15 seconds for subsequent infusions. I would also suggest that you give this tea a quick wash (15 to 20 seconds) before drinking the first infusion. The aroma of this tea is something to admire, so take a few minutes to enjoy inhaling the liquor from the washing. Plus, the quick wash starts the unravelling of the leaves to get to more flavour. Infuse this tea four to five times

Conclusions: This tea is loaded with wonderful floral notes. It is a solid tea for everyday drinking. The only thing that potential buyers might want to bear in mind is that it seems to have more astringency than many green oolongs. Whilst it has a nice floral aftertaste, the astringency leaves a slightly drier mouthfeel compared to other green oolongs. I would be very interested to hear what other oolong lovers think

Retail price: 10 grams for £1.65 / 50 gram for £6.00 / 100 grams for £11.04

Overall conclusions

You can’t really compare these two teas – they are as different as apples and oranges. However, I can say that they are both packed with aroma and flavour – a real pleasure to drink. They are also a great deal. Priced at £6 for 50 grams means they can be an everyday tea

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About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at teaxplorer@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
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