Here is yet another review from my slowly shrinking backlog. I finished a sample pouch of this tea sometime around the end of May. Prior to trying it, I had never tried a purple oolong, but came away quite impressed. Though I found it to be a somewhat temperamental tea, I enjoyed trying it and would most likely be willing to buy more of it in the future.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of chocolate, plum, and malt. After the rinse, new aromas of blood orange, raisin, and fig emerged. The first infusion saw the plum aroma strengthen while subtle aromas of butter and cream also emerged. In the mouth, the tea liquor started off with a pronounced plum note before transitioning to reveal chocolate, butter, cream, malt, fig, and golden raisin flavors. Plum notes then reappeared on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose develop some bready, floral, and nutty characteristics. New flavors of wood, cinnamon, ginger, lemon zest, minerals, roasted beechnut, tart cherry, pear, baked bread, and roasted chestnut appeared in the mouth. Notes of blood orange belatedly emerged as well, and I even noted some floral impressions reminiscent of a combination of rose and violet on several infusions. The last infusions presented mineral, cream, butter, and pear impressions balanced by subtler wood, golden raisin, and plum notes.
A seemingly rustic tea with surprising depth and complexity, this made for a nice drinking experience. It certainly made me want to try some more Kenyan purple teas because, if this one is any indication, they have plenty to offer. I know I am the most extreme outlier with regard to my rating of this tea, but I really did find it to be that good. It reminded me of a lighter, sweeter Chinese purple black tea, but without the astringency and bitterness that those teas seem to frequently display. Definitely give this one a shot if you are open-minded and looking for something new and different.
Flavors: Blood Orange, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Chestnut, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Fig, Ginger, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Pear, Plum, Raisins, Roasted Nuts, Rose, Violet, Wood