I was not aware that Sri Lanka produces oolong as well, but I am learning every day and this was a great find. The rolled leaves looked light green and I did not expect a roasty flavour from this tea at all. I thought it looked similar to those of traditional Tie Guan Yin oolong tea. However, its taste was very strong with smoky and woody that disappeared in consecutive steepings and replaced with faint floral aromas and I had to pay strong attention to identify them. This semi-oxidised oolong showed its true green colour when infused indicating that the level of oxidation for this tea was not very high. I have to say it is not my favourite oolong, however, I appreciate the effort in trying different teas in a culture which is dominated by black tea production.
This tea comes from a low-grown area in South of Sri Lanka also known as Ruhuna. It is harvested from a single in the Galle District. According to Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss’ “The Story of Tea” book, the tea from Ruhuna grows easily and the soil conditions favour a darker leaf colour. However, they add these teas lack finesse in general as the plants are not exposed to flavour-enhancing cooling breezes unlike their high grown cousins in the north of the island. I have to agree with their observation as in this particular tea I also struggled to find a distinct and clear tasting note. It is also not surprising that the Ruhuna teas are exported mainly to Russia and the Middle East where full-bodied and strong black teas are popular.
Origin: Galle, Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
Harvest time: Spring 2020
Leave colour: Dark green
Liquor colour: Orange
Tea aroma: Smoky and woody
Tea taste: Full-bodied with strong roasty and subtle floral notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 36 months(to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)