Waikato Zealong:

I stayed up very late last night, and so I slept very lat this morning.  As I slept I had a dream about making tea for people.  I don’t remember very much of that dream now, because it faded as dreams tend to, as soon as I woke up.  Nonetheless, as soon as I woke up I wanted to drink tea.

The tea that I choose to drink something from the Adagio Masters Collection, a very dark Zealong (oolong tea from New Zealand) called Waikato.  The description on the box reads…

The moderate climate of New Zealand and its unspoiled, lush green hills have proven to provide ideal growing conditions for tea, in particular oolong.  Roasted at high temps, this Zealong oolong yields a smooth, complex cup.

The first infusion of our Masters Waikato Zealong is quietly toasty, with whispers of citrus fruit and floral notes — perhaps honeysuckle.  The second infusion is a bit softer with buttery notes and honey-floral character.  But don’t stop there — these leaves are cultivated to produce numerous infusions, each to be admired for its nuances.

How I brewed: 

I brewed the tea in a Gung Fu Cha style, using a Yixing teapot that I have paired with Zealong teas.  (I think they are so good that they get their own Yixing.)

  1. I used about six and a half grams of tea, which is almost double the amount suggested for “normal” brewing.
  2. The water temp was about 180-190.
  3. After warming the teapot and cup I added the leaves, and gave them a 15 second wash.
  4. First infusion was 45 seconds (with pouring).
  5. Second infusion was 1 min (also with pouring).
  6. Third infusion was 1 min.
  7. Fourth infusion was 1:10.
  8. After that I just added more time, but I did not really keep track… it was whatever “felt right” then pour.
  9. The tea did last for nine total infusions.  I think I could have been able to push a bit more out of it with long infusions, and a higher water temp, but I stopped at this point.

My Impressions: 

I disagree with the description that Adagio wrote for the tea.  This may be because I did not prepare the tea in the way which I prefer to prepare it, rather than the ways which I assume are the “norm” for Adagio’s customers.

Be that as it may, I found the tea is extremely enjoyable!

The first infusion was very weak, probably because of the short infusion time, and because the teapot was packed with tightly rolled leaves which were not “woken up” all the way.  I did not taste any citrus at all, but I did experience a slight sweetness in the echo the tea left in my mouth.  This sweetness faded quickly, so I was not able to place exactly what it was.

The second and third infusions were remarkably good.  They were strong (which, like my fellow tea blogger Brandon, is what I like).  I could taste the darkness of the roasting, but despite this the tea retained a very smooth and pleasant, mouth feel.

These second and third infusions were done when the water temp had dropped to about 180, and I think this is the ideal water temp for this tea… I think it could be brewed as low as 170 but no lower than that.


In the end:

This is a tea, but I really enjoy it.  Chances are that when I run out I’ll buy some more.

If you’re interested in trying some Zealong another great place to buy (and learn about it) it is the Chicago Tea Garden.