Review: KTeas South India White Oothu

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Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"I really liked the play of flavors. This tea made me pay attention."
Lynn’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 7.1/10, Geoff gave it 9.4/10, Dan gave it 8.0/10, Raven gave it 8.3/10, Sophie gave it 7.8/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10
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kteaslogoFrom the KTeas' website: "Forty miles from the southern tip of the subcontinent and isolated within a pristine tropical rainforest, Oothu was the first tea garden in India to adopt Biodynamic tea cultivation. This White Tea offering is partially oxidized, showing splendid colors of green, russet and pale brown." Pungent earthiness with nutty undertones are promised.

This is one of the few whites I have tried from India, rather than China. My sample was composed of very long, slender, slightly curled whole leaves in the colors described above, fragile and crispy as autumn leaves. They had a very light floral fragrance.

Because the leaves are so large, they take up a lot of airspace. It's therefore hard to spoon measure, and if you have a scale, weigh out 3 g. of leaf. Otherwise, it's about two teaspoons. I steeped 3 g. in 8 oz of 158F water (the lower temperature is very important with whites, otherwise you'll stew the delicate leaves) and kept the steeping time to the recommended 2 minutes. This produced a light golden liquor with a fragrance that was floral and vegetal. The flavor was very interesting. The first impression as the liquid flowed across my tongue was a light, pleasant earthiness akin to a pu'erh, but that quickly changed to something quite sweet along the sides of my tongue and florally fragrant at the back of my mouth and up into my nose. I wouldn't call it "pungent" in any way, though. In subsequent sips the earthiness receded, leaving more of a white tea silvery sweetness in its place. As it cooled, a little earthiness returned, and touch of nuttiness crept in, as well, but still sweet and smooth. The finish was floral, a little sweet, and quite astringent. I really liked the play of flavors. This tea made me pay attention.

I tried a second 2 minute steep and came out with another pale golden cup with a sweet vegetal fragrance. The flavor, however, is quite flat, just some vegetal astringency left, with a little hint of sweet along the sides of my tongue, but not the shimmer of flavor of the first cup. This would be a one-steeper for me, but quite a good one.

If you were to compare this to Chinese whites, it is closer to a Bai Mudan than a Bai Hao Yin Zen (Silver Needle), the more oxidized of the two, but is more robust. However, though an India tea, it had a completely different flavor palette than an Arya Pearl Darjeeling, which it closely resembles. Overall, this is an interesting white, and worth a try, especially at its low price point. White tea lovers, take note.

— To purchase KTeas South India White Oothu, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Lynn Lynn
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