Review: White August King of Buddha

Oolong Tea, White August Tea Co. Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A respectable way to close a good cupping."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 6.2/10, Vanessa gave it 7.3/10, Bryan gave it 7.8/10
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White August gave this tea a rather odd-seeming name. “King of Buddha” implies rule over divinity rather than a divine rule. That’s quite a boast for a beverage, especially one with so mysterious a background. On the tea profile, not much info was given regarding the origin of this oolong. Other than a mention of its high-altitude-grown roots, regional significance wasn’t mentioned. By sight and smell this could’ve come from anywhere.

Both Taiwanese (Formosa) and Chinese oolongs of particular interest are ball-fisted and blue-green in color. I like seeing them unfurl, and bask in the lovely aromas they impart. Chinese ones tend to smell roasty with a mineral kick, while Taiwanese err on the fruity side of caution. These blue-green ball-fisters were aromatic in a loud and leafy fashion with a slight smell of flowers, metal and peat. I didn’t know what to make of ‘em.

Brewing instructions per the site recommended steeping for two minutes in 195F water. If I wanted to go with a Western mug approach, that’s the most I would’ve gone for. However, I’ve since moved past doing that to a good leaf-balled oolong. I went with a gaiwan prep of four different infusions – the first two at thirty seconds, the last at forty. Water temp the same.

First infusion (thirty seconds): The liquor color was clear with only a slight tea-ish aroma. Other than that, it smelled and looked like warm water. The taste, however, revealed a strong floral forefront, a solidly fragrant middle, and a mild finish. Good start for a greener-style oolong.

Second infusion (thirty seconds): Oh wow, what a change. The liquor color was the same pale palette, but the aroma took on a strong, “smoke-flower” lean. This showed up in the flavor as well with a toasty introduction that held with an almond and apple profile until the end. Most peculiar but still decent.

Third infusion (forty seconds): The liquor was still a white tea sort o’ pale, and the mouthpiece aroma had dwindled since the second steep. It still had an oolong character to it, but one that was waning. The taste still had a fruit note, but that had changed to something resembling grape rather than apple. As is often the case, I liked it quite a bit; probably my favorite round so far.

Fourth infusion (forty seconds): In just about every way, this echoed the features of the third infusion. However, like all journeys, its flavor yield was reaching its end. It still held on to the fruity lean of its fore-steeps, but also ended on a graphite aftertaste of an oolong reaching its zenith. Still a respectable way to close a good cupping, though.

In short, this was an unimposing, moderately flavorful, and a-shy-above-middle-of-the-road oolong. I would happily drink it again in passing, but it doesn’t quite hold up against – say – a Bai Hao, Ali Shan, or green Ti Guanyin. That said, it was worth the contemplation and preparation.

— To purchase White August King of Buddha, 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
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2 Responses to “Review: White August King of Buddha”

  1. Matt Graham Says:

    Geoff,
    To be honest I have always scratched my head about the name as well. In fact that is the name given to it by our importer for that particular tea and we stuck with it, as we do for some of our Teas. Perhaps there is a translation issue; he is a very nice gentleman from China.

  2. Geoff Says:

    I figured it might’ve been a translation thing. But it did give me pause for thought. ;-P

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