Review: KTeas South India White Oothu

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Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Despite the similar flavours as a black tea, the lack of bitterness or astringency and the fuller texture lend a different angle to the classical toasty honey profile. "
Raven’s Teaview: 8.3/10
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kteaslogoWhen one mentions Indian tea, I naturally think of black teas so I was excited to try a white tea from India when I found they were also produced there. Oothu seemed like a wonderful place to start, not only because of the fun name (pronounced oo-tu) but also because it was a bit of a trend setter as one of the first organic tea farms and the first biodynamic farm in India. With such zen production along with the dreamy landscape of the Oothu tea gardens, set in the midst of rainforests in the Nilgiri district of southern India, it offered visions of ever so lush tea leaves. From the description of Ktea’s white Oothu as having ‘an intensity rarely seen in a white tea’ on their website (, it seemed a perfect match to the oasis of the place. So I was ready to see if I could do one up on Dorothy’s Yellow brick road to Oz with a white leafed one to Oothu.

This winding trail is much more colorful than Dorothy’s as the array of greens, tans, browns and rusts of the leaves give an air of the landscapes from which they’re grown. As if capturing the motion of the wind on the plants, some of the small leaves and pieces are curled, some flat with every kind of fold and twist in between.

While the interesting variety in the leaves' appearance could seem grown in Timbuk 2, the smell of the leaves immediately announce their pedigree with characteristically Indian tea aromas. Yet the toasty honey notes were quite a surprise coming from a white tea as the bouquet strongly resembled black teas of the region.
Upon brewing at 158°F for two minutes as Kteas website suggests, the Oothu escapade continues where the land of white tea is transformed by a seemingly classical black tea palate with some important distinctions. The dark hue of the cup is the first clue that it was a decidedly different white tea donning a deep gold redolent with dry leaves accented by marigold or buttercup and a lemony sweetness. The crisp airy aroma shines, ever so suited to the brightness of the tea, that is striking in its clarity. The thick body is supple and round without any bitter edges while playing out the leafy honey flavours found in the aroma. A cream of wheat, melba toast base carries a delightful citrusy floral touch, suggestive of pomelo to further highlight the sweetness. Actually, the tea reminds me of times closer to when I first met the Lion, Toto & the Tinman, with a flavour reminiscent to my first Red Rose orange pekoe doused with milk and sugar like only a kid will do. With a straightforward affection in its sunny and floral palate, each sip then leaves complete off the tongue without much aftertaste. Despite the similar flavours as a black tea, the lack of bitterness or astringency and the fuller texture lend a different angle to the classical flavour profile. Further evidence of the lower oxidation seems suggested by a softness to the toasty flavours, a lighter, less rich honeycomb essence and a hint of cucumber tugging in the background. Yet for those searching for the dewy, orchid nuances of Chinese white teas, the more oxidized character may disappoint.

The life of the tea is a further surprise as it holds up wonderfully upon re-steeping. Subsequent infusions of the leaves are still deeply coloured with golden hues that become more tan. The flavour is equally persistent with a similar palate as the first brew. I found the leaves last nicely through four steepings, only requiring additional time in the fourth steeping. Although the flavours of the fourth cup are quite subtle, the pleasant briskness of the tea offers an enjoyable lift to the cup.

With its alluring strength and longevity, Kteas South India White Oothu would be a perfect choice for black tea drinkers looking to drink outside the black box while also offering an interesting contrast for white tea enthusiasts. Seemingly perfect for high noon, its brilliant hues and bright honeyed character could easily mark the start to an adventure to Oz, Oothu or elsewhere.

— 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.

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