Honyama Oolong is a rare lightly fermented Oolong tea from Honyama, Shizuoka. It was over a decade ago when Tatsuji Takahashi, a passionate tea producer in Honyama, started growing Oolong tea trees. This tea tree has been growing healthy and flavorful in the pristine weather of the Honyama mountainous region. Now Honyama Oolong tea is available with its elegant and sweet milky flavor.
Origin: Honyama, Shizuoka
Harvest: First Flush
A slight coconut milky flavor spreads to your mouth and nose and sticks on your tongue for a lingering aftertaste.
Den's Preferred Brewing:
Water: 4oz @ Boiled
Leaves: 3 grams or 1 rounded teaspoon
Steep: 3 min.
A big difference between Oolong tea and green tea is the production method, especially the first stage. Here are the 2 unique processes that differentiate Oolong production from green tea production.
1. Withering and Fermentation
Oolong leaves are stored outside to be withered under the sun. An enzyme in the leaf builds its unique flavor. This first stage to produce Oolong tea is very important because it determines the quality by adjusting withering and fermentation. In some cases the tea grower will scattered the leaves to stimulate this process.
After the first step, the leaves still have a high moisture content. They are heated to stop the activity of oxidation. A large drum is heated to over 200°C and you hear a cracking sound when the leaves are inserted into the drum. The leaves spend only a short time in the drum and the moisture in the leaves keeps them from getting burnt.
This production method does not break down the leaf tissue like the steaming process of most Japanese teas. Tea leaves are not cut, but curled. The extraction in steeping the tea is slower than Japanese green tea, however you can brew multiple cups with the same leaves. If you use a glass cup, teapot or Gaiwan (a Chinese lidded bowl without a handle), you can enjoy watching the dried tea leaf turned back to their original shape.
Most of Oolong tea drinkers are accustomed to the taste of Ti Kuwan Yin or Tung Ting Oolong from China which are major popular Oolong teas. However Honyama Oolong has a unique flavor, something between those Oolong teas and Japanese Senchas. Also this Oolong tea is made of special cultivar giving it a Coconut like milky flavor with a sticky sweet aftertaste.