Hatvala Three Moon Estate Oolong

Hatvala Three Moons Estate Oolong
Origin: Son La, Vietnam
Harvest: 2016
Cultivar: Quingxin
 I’ve been in the mood for oolongs a lot recently and have been having trouble finding one, not necessarily because a lack of good options since almost sixty percent of my tea horde is oolongs at the moment. I decided to sample Hatvala’s Three Moon Estate oolong, I’ve had it sitting in my to be sampled pile for at least a month, recently I haven’t been as attentive to how long I’ve not touched an unopened box.
 Aroma: Floral and Toasted Nuts
Flavor: Floral, Honeydew and Vegetal

I was initially a little off put by the aroma of the dry leaves, while it had an undoubtedly strong floral aroma, there was a strange roasted smell that I tend to associate with GABA oolongs of which I am not the biggest fan. Nonetheless I soldiered on and tried the tea despite my prejudices and I liked it. There was some hard to describe taste in it that reminded me of GABA oolongs, but this definitely tastes like a green floral oolong, more on the floral side then the vegetal one. While it doesn’t have a lot of complexity it reminds me a bit of a lightly aged pouchong that has potential, but will be so much better with a couple years under its belt.  Which definitely is a possibility since it is so inexpensive that I might purchase a couple hundred grams to squirrel away to play with later on.  


Teas Unique Korean Mt. Jiri Joongjak (Third Pluck) Hwang Cha (Lightly Oxidized) Organic Single Estate Whole Leaf Red Tea

Korean Mt. Jiri Joongjak (ThirdPluck) Hwang Cha (Lightly Oxidized) Organic Single Estate Whole Leaf Red Tea
Origin: Mt. Jiri, Samsin Village, Hwagae District, Hadong County, Gyeongnam Province Korea
Harvest: Around April 28, 2016

Aroma: Malty and Raw Chestnuts
Flavor: Chocolate, Vegetal, Dates and Honey

Again I am back with another strange tea from Teas Unique, this time a red tea which historically I am not a fan of. Although this tea in particular felt like it could be a yellow tea if brewed under the right parameters. I only had enough to brew this twice; initially (this time) I did start off following the recommending brewing suggestions and then tried again using much cooler water and slightly shorter steeps.

I rather enjoyed this tea perhaps because it is so different then what I expected, even though it has some very orthodox red tea flavors. Perhaps despite being quite rich and smooth, this tea felt delicate. In fact I think I like this tea more so then the Mt. Jiri Sejak I already wrote about although not as much as the delicious Matchacolate Organic Green Tea Matcha White Chocolatebar I had that made me feel disgust with m\myself over how fast I ate it. 


Teas Unique Korean Mt. Jiri Sejak (Second Pluck) Organic Single Estate Whole Leaf Green Tea

(Tea Provided For Review)

Origin: Mt. Jiri, Hadong County, Gyeongnam Province, Korea
Harvest: Around April 17, 2016

Dry Leaves:  The leaves are quite small and have a fairly dark blueish-green color with bits of gray towards the twisted tips. The dry leave was quite pretty, but it had quite a weak aroma. 

First Steeping
Temperature: 180oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Bell Pepper
Flavor: Cold Zucchini, Cold Soybeans and Brown Rice

Tasting Notes: I’ll admit I was immediately worried about how high the recommended brewing temperature was (and I am sad to admit that I did use the remainder of my sample to brew at a lower temperature and understand why Teas Unique recommends brewing at such a high temperature), but I did and it seems that most of the teas that I have sampled from Teas Unique can take quite a beating. 

The flavor was quite interesting; initially I had quite a bit of trouble describing what I tasted when my notes were entirely my feelings. I kept thinking of a hot lazy summer day and light vegetal notes. I ended up describing this tea as having a cold zucchini and cold soybean taste, but there was something crisp about it (think crisp apple), it feels like it would be perfect with a light vinegar drizzle.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 180oF
Brewing Time: One Minute and Thirty Seconds
Aroma: Bell Pepper
Flavor: Soybeans and Brown Rice

Tasting Notes: The bell pepper nose is still weak, but it is developing. While this tea still has quite a crisp taste to it, the initial zucchini taste is entirely gone.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 185oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Vegetal
Flavor: Brown Rice and Vegetal

Tasting Notes: The bell pepper nose has become either so light that I can no longer distinguish it or it has become murky, I am not sure which one I finally decided on. As for the taste, the vegetal notes from the previous steeping are still present, but no longer as developed. Although the brown rice notes that have been present since the beginning is still there, but has developed into quite an interesting thing, it sort of reminds me as a cross between a lightly roasted savory senbei and a sesame Jonbyong roll.

I am a little disappointed with this tea, I feel that I did this tea big disservice by not brewing this tea as long as Teas Unqiue recommended and using the remainder of my sample to brew at a much lower time and shorter steep, but I suppose that is what happens when one let’s follow one’s experiences before those of others. Regardless I rather liked this tea, it isn’t the punchiest of teas, but it is one of those teas that is a perfect complement to so many things.


What-Cha Vietnam Ta Jin Xuan Green tea

Origin: Hong Than I, Tan Cuong, Thai Nguyen, Vietnam
Harvest: Spring, March 2015
Cultivar: Hybrid of Ta & Jin Xuan

Like always when I am facing an ever growing mountain of un-sampled teas I randomly decided to try one today, and by random I mean I threw about 30 packets in a box and picked whichever one I found on top.  I had a rather interesting Lotus Scented Vietnamese green tea recently  and was looking forward to trying more of What-Chas new Vietnamese teas. While I did like what Alistair sourced last year of the new 2015teas I tried so far I’ve been very impressed at how much better they are. I am curious if this will be an improvement on some of the greens from last year (1  2) which were nice, but a little on the bitter side which I could see turning many off. While I did consider buying another sample of the teas from the Discover Vietnam sampler (namely the Flowery Oolong and the Wild Silver Needle White tea) I have yet to purchase any of them again (and I just realized I never got to write my thoughts on two of the teas of the Discover Vietnam sampler). Nevertheless What-Cha describes this as:

A splendid Vietnamese green tea with the creamy tones associated with Jin Xuan coupled with the powerful grassy strength of typical Vietnamese greens, very much living up to the high reputation of its parents.Ta Jin Xuan is a great example of the tea experimentation currently ongoing within Vietnam, it is a hybridisation of the native Vietnamese tea cultivar 'Ta' (meaning 'our' in Vietnamese) and the famed Taiwanese cultivar 'Jin Xuan'. Sourced direct from the Trong branch of the Vu family who operate a number of small farms around Vietnam, with one family member typically managing a single farm. The Vu family were one of the first to cultivate tea in Thai Nguyen, now considered one of the foremost Vietnamese tea regions.

Dry Leaves: The dry leaves have a slight ashy color although it is still very obvious there is some green in there. There is a slight chocolatey scent reminiscent of some Long Jings. The leaves are both twisted and slightly coiled.

First Steeping
Temperature: 167oF
Brewing Time: Fifteen Seconds
Aroma: Grassy
Flavor: Fresh Cut Grass and Spinach
Tasting Notes: It starting out a little simple, but still a very nice tea so far; there is not much to the aroma although it is apparent, but it quickly fades away. This is a very grassy tea, but there is a bit of sweetness in there. It was interesting that this felt grassier than a Korean green and Japanese green even though it lacks both astringency and bitterness.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 170oF
Brewing Time: Thirty Seconds
Aroma: Grassy
Flavor: Fresh Cut Grass, Spinach and Dry Stray
Tasting Notes: Not much is going on here that is different from the last infusion. I rather like this tea so far, but there is a strange thickish mouthfeel to this. It is a little on the thick side for a green tea, but pales in comparison to many Oolongs. The mouthfeel is not entirely pleasant nor is it unpleasant, it is a just strange for a green tea in my opinion.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 175oF
Brewing Time: Forty-Five Seconds
Aroma: Grassy
Flavor: Fresh Cut Grass, Spinach and Dry Stray
Tasting Notes: Not much of a change from the last infusion, the aroma still is weak and does not improve much from here on. I almost wanted to describe this as a lackluster tea because of how very simple it is, but there is something pleasant about this tea. Ordinarily I write off as simple teas as this one, in fact I had quite a few senchas that I decided against writing anything on because of their simplicity, but I decided to write on this even though I have very little to say about it because of how comforting this is. It sort of reminds me of chicken noodle soup, despite its plainness this is a very good tea.

At the time of writing this What-Cha is currently selling this for $6.86 for 50g and is well worth the price if you are looking for a nice simple daily drinker, you should probably avoid it if you are looking for something more complex although this is pretty good for the price it is being sold at.