Monday, April 25, 2011

2010 "Zealong Pure" New Zealand Oolong

If you missed the very detailed post on Zealong and New Zealand oolong a few days back please do have a look. If you caught that article and are still curious please continue to read. If you don't care about reading a review on an over-hyped oolong from a novel place you may also wish to opt out. If you simply read anything on tea or are a fan of the blog then read on...

Let's get the kettle boiling on this sunny spring day and enjoy some of this interesting little tea, "Zealong Pure", the greenest that Zealong has to offer...

Before we toss the dry leaf into the pot lets first take some time as the water comes to a boil to appreciate the dry leaf. The odour of these very green stemy balls has a starchy subtle ginger sweetness that is more starch than ginger.

The first infusion is prepared and comes out very light with a substantial milky sweet flavour which turns into airy floral sweetness. This taste disappears on the breath. There seems to be a very soft spicy tone in the taste as well something just lurking beneath the surface. The aftertaste is so faint after the initial flavour presentation that it feels as though there is a void in the mouth- only ghostly bland taste can be found.

The second is prepared and starts off slightly spicy in the mouth with a soft vegital base. The spice drops off fast leaving faint floral vegital notes that bridge the gap to the aftertaste. A very soft melon/ green grape aftertaste is left behind in a blandish base flavour. The mouthfeel is very light, so is the weather outside.

The third infusion has a slightly spicy, somewhat sweet, unpretentious, daisy-like floral quality to it. The aftertaste contains very very light florals even slightly melon tastes. More melon accumulates on the breath as minutes between cups goes by. A light slightly oily mouthfeel continues showing up and is mainly in the front 3/4 of the mouth.

In the fourth infusion, tight honey and faint, but fairly long, florals stretch into a longish buttery aftertaste which slowly evolves into melon. The very light mouthfeel spends most of its time in the front part of the mouth.

The fifth infusion is somewhat buttery but not really sweet and has more of a wood taste all the way though. It finishes a soft, bland melon in the mouth. The sixth infusion holds on to a glimmer of woody honey taste in the initial flavour, but is primarily a bland tasting water.



Juliusz said...

Jeez, folks, all this is rubbish! the tea tastes as any regular oolong but is way too expansive! I am sorry but reading you blog is sometimes like watching adds on tv! Are you being paid for that?

Matt said...


Couldn't agree with you more- "the tea tastes as any regular oolong but is way too expansive!"

No- not getting paid. The tea reviews here on this blog are simply transmitting how one enjoys tea.

Thanks for stopping by.


Leaf Dharma said...

It is a over priced commercial tea. Ordinary tea does not always make Ordinary mind. But sometimes something can be made of nothing.

Matt said...

Leaf Dharma,

... And so one drinks ordinary tea knowing that it is only ordinary but drinking it with the same mind as extraordinary tea.

Will you drink it with us?


Anonymous said...

I do fully agree with you that an ordinary tea can make an (extra)ordinary mind. Fortunately here in Europe we have been enjoying this beverage for centuries although sometimes we may not brew it the correct way. I do understand that you put so much effort into creating your bogs as you try to TRANSMIT your joys, unique, ephemeral feelings a simple cup of good or bad tea can trigger. However what made me wonder was that there is no critical remark in your reviews. It was exactly after reading one of these so encouraging and very personal reviews when I rushed to try the zealong but it turned out to be such a regular oolong. And now it gets really funny: You both have admitted publically – what in my opinion you should have done in your blog at the first place - that the tea is expansive and clearly over-priced, however you are now trying to say that it doesn’t matter: if I was so stupid to spend over 30 EUR for 100g of simple regular tea I should stop moaning, free my small petty mind and try to pretend an extraordinary pleasure where there is non?

Matt said...


You are right that the tea reviews on this blog are more like "tea appreciation/ enjoyment" rather than "tea critiques". They hope to reveal "what is sensed" instead of "my opinion". In some ways "what is sensed" is less subjective but certainly not completely objective. Simply trying ones best to not hold on to opinions. Suppose they creep in anyways. Hahaha...

Yet if pushed hard enough, usually one will not completely side step questions. So these comments usually get coxed out in the comment section as one is not entirely interested in waving my opinion around.

If you read the descriptions though, you will get a great idea of the feel of the tea. For instance in the review of the Zealong Dark it states that the mouthfeel is "thin" and "weak" and "only pleases the front of the mouth" and its qi is "very light" and "very mild". Perhaps not descriptors that would describe a completely mind blowing tea?

But rather this blogger quite liked the very same tea, so why say that "I know better"?

See here:


FamilyAndTea said...

...those were some wild comments :P I was wondering if you know what year/harvest your batch of oolong was from. The Zealong has changed so much each year. The 2011 was more fruity than a Taiwanese oolong, and lacking the subtle and sought-after fragrance distinctive of the high-mountain offerings, but when I stop comparing it to something it necessarily cannot be, it is really quite a nice oolong and I think that it will be able to hold its own in the next year or two. It isn't Taiwanese oolong, but it is better oolong every harvest.

Gingko said...

I agree the tea is way too expensive. But many teas are charged due to their rarity and that's understandable. Besides, I got mine from Chicago Tea Garden and I was delighted to find that their price was more affordable than the price on Zealong official site!

Besides, its existence is of certain value. With so many fake Taiwan oolong in the market, I am very interested in trying high quality Taiwan style oolong labeled with their real origins. I think producers doing this are very admirable.

After seeing Zai Rai's comment, I am really eager to try some 2011 harvest of Zealong. I do secretly hope it won't get too expensive :D