Review: Driftwood Tea Organic Golden Oolong 17

Driftwood Tea, Oolong Tea, Organic Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"With its unique coconut and shiitake overtones, this oolong offers an interesting twist for floral oolong lovers. Definitely worth a try!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.6/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 7.2/10, Katie gave it 5.9/10
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driftwoodoolong17According to the folks at Driftwood Tea, this oolong is one of Thailand's finest. It was harvested at a small family run plantation in Northern Thailand in the summer of 2012, where growing conditions are similar to those of the Taiwanese mountainside. The Number 17 hybrid used here was in fact imported from Taiwan's Alishan region. This tea promises soft, creamy floral and tropical fruit notes. The large, deep green leaves have been rolled into sizable nuggets. Their sweet aroma mixes lilac, hyacinth and a touch of freshly mown grass.

I followed the instructions for the European Style brewing provided on my sample's package, infusing 3 grams of nuggets in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. The leaves open quickly in my infuser. The pale gold cup has a faint flower and nut scent to it. The tea tastes predominantly creamy, grassy and mineral. The sweet finish is the best part, with its distinct coconut notes. It's a relatively mild cup but smooth and easy to drink.

A second cup is more flavourful and sharp. After a 3 minute-long steep, the top notes are now much more savoury, reminding me of shiitake mushroom broth. An interesting blend of hyacinth, grass and black pepper has developed at the close of each sip as well. The body is also much oilier in feel. While the first brew was merely pleasant, this cup makes me stand up and take notice.

I steeped a third cup for approximately 6 minutes. I had meant to take the tea out after just 4 minutes but got stuck talking on the phone. The tea doesn't seem to be adversely affected in any way though. The cup is creamy, with a little roughness to the grass and flower tones of the finish. It's more homogeneous, not changing quite so much throughout the sip or along with the temperature, but still quite flavourful, especially for a third brew.

I decide to tempt fate and see what a fourth steep will be like. After 5 minutes, mild mushroom, broth and cinnamon notes lead to a subdued but still interesting cup. It's possible that this steep would have been more flavourful had I not brewed the third for so long. Nevertheless, the leaves are now clearly passed their prime and I decide to call it a day.

With its unique coconut and shiitake overtones, this oolong offers an interesting twist for floral oolong lovers. It's worth re-infusing the leaves to get the most out of this tea. I also found that these are not at all fussy to brew, the tea remaining smooth and creamy even if accidentally steeped for a long period of time, like overnight – ahem. Definitely worth a try!

— To purchase Driftwood Tea Organic Golden Oolong 17, 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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