Review: KTeas South India White Oothu

Fair Trade Tea, KTeas, Organic Tea, White Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Thin bodied but displaying robust, earthy flavours with sweet undertones, this will please oolong fans as well."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 8/10, Shaiha gave it 7.1/10, Geoff gave it 9.4/10, Dan gave it 8.0/10, Raven gave it 8.3/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10
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kteaslogoPartially oxidized, this white tea is touted as being exceptionally pungent and robust. Oothu is situated in a remote and pristine region of Southern India, and one of the first Indian tea gardens to feature organic, fair trade and biodynamic practices.

A sweet, grassy perfume with undertones of honeydew melon and cantaloupe wafts from the leaves. Large, fluffy and multi-coloured, these are truly spectacular. As with Bai Mu Dans, the two leaves accompanying the buds have been included here and are relatively well preserved. The brewing instructions for this tea are a little unusual. KTeas suggests 2 heaping teaspoons of leaves because of their large size, steeped for 2 minutes in 8 ounces of water heated to 70 degrees Celsius. A sunny amber-coloured brew with a slightly brothy aroma lights up the cup after the short steep. Very earthy and mineral tasting, this is not what you would expect from your typical white tea. The savoury notes detected in the scent come into play, creating a very buttery effect. The lingering vegetal sweetness of the aftertaste is the only feature that is more recognizable as a white tea. If I had to categorize this blindly I would peg it as a lightly oxidized oolong. A second 2 minute infusion leads to a remarkably similar bright and aromatic cup. Although a bit less intense, it still delivers a pleasantly sweet, smoky and nutty combination. After a third 2 minute steep the leaves are starting to fade but the buttery notes give the tea a last burst of flavour.

Out of curiosity (and sheer geekiness) I decided to brew a new batch of leaves for a whopping 5 minutes. Besides adding a burnt sienna tone to the colour, the cup is almost identical to the 2 minute infusion. There is more depth to the aftertaste, with it taking on more of a preserved plum character. But otherwise it is smooth as can be, with no trace of astringency or bitterness whatsoever. I also tried an infusion with water heated to 80 degrees Celsius with no ill effects. This tea is decidedly not very fussy.

Somewhat perplexing as a white tea, this is an interesting offering to break out of the ordinary. Thin bodied but displaying robust, earthy flavours with sweet undertones, this will please oolong fans as well. Plus it's so inexpensively priced, especially for an organic and fair trade product, it's certainly worth experimenting.

— 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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