Review: KTeas South India White Oothu

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Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"By the taste, I finally came to a conclusion of what the mystery "fruit" was it reminded me of. I pictured an unholy union between a peach, a pink apple, and a kiwi."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.4/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 8/10, Shaiha gave it 7.1/10, 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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kteaslogoThe Oothu Tea Estate, located on the southern side of the Western Ghat mountain range, is one of the most isolated in the world, surrounded on all sides by rainforest. It also holds the honor of being one of the first estates to brandish the "organic" and "fair trade" monikers. It's also considered biodynamic. Not familiar with the term? Let's just say it takes the Gaia Theory to extremes.

Indian white teas are unique to me for one reason only; they are incredibly durable. When one thinks of white tea, usually they associate delicacy with the brewing practices required for young leaves; lighter temperature, strict steep time adherence, and subtle flavor. For some, it's too subtle.

White peony - or Bai Mu Dan - is usually used instead of Silver Needle (Yinzhen) for blending purposes because it is a deeper-bodied, more resilient white tea. However, Indian whites have a different flavor profile that can't be ignored, equal parts fruity and spicy. At least, the Darjeeling ones are that way. The South Indian variety appear to hold their own also as evidenced by this offering from KTeas.

The dry leaves for this Oothu white tea had an exquisite jungle-berry aroma. I couldn't quite come up with an accurate fruit comparison except to say it simply was. White tea may be my absolute preference, but it smelled like no white I've ever tried. I'm no Henry David Thoreau.

Brewing instructions were rather odd. They recommended 2 tsp per 8oz of water, brewed to a temp of 158F for two minutes. That seemed a bit on the conservative side. Whites - per my experience - were usually brewed for at least three minutes at 165F at the safest. But what do I know? The leaf amount suggestion probably had something to do with how fanned they were. I tried it there way.

I was shocked by the drink that was produced in so little time. At only two minutes, it produced a deeper yellow liquor than the usual white teas I go for. The scent was subtle but identifiably fruity, like the dry leaves were. Some of the Indian spicy allure was also present, but a bit masked by a (not bio-) dynamic earthy quality I usually equate with oolongs. By the taste, I finally came to a conclusion of what the mystery "fruit" was it reminded me of. I pictured an unholy union between a peach, a pink apple, and a kiwi. No, not the flightless bird...although that does sound delicious right about now. Biodynamic hippie hoopla or not, this was a helluva white tea.

— 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: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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