The students attending the recent 3-Day ITMA Comprehensive Tea Mastery Course™ on Hilo, Hawaii, had the pleasure of a full day’s training at the Tea Hawaii Estate at 4,000 ft. above sea level. They harvested their own tea, all for the first time, and then tasted and evaluated several remarkable teas, but it was the Mauka Oolong that caught their attention above all the rest.
Tea grower Mike Riley of the Volcano Mauna Loa Estate grows and harvests Mauka Oolong at an elevation of 3,600 feet above sea level, where it is withered, oxidized, rolled, and dried to a final state. Tea Hawaii does final sorting of the oolong and branding. Mauka (meaning “to face towards the mountain”) is a tea that is artfully consistent and vibrantly colored with slightly oxidized edges. The tea steeps into a sophisticated, delicate, pale amber infusion. The flavor is elusive and complex. It is flinty, crisp, smooth, and cooling, with mild tropical notes of green papaya and honey that add to the complexity of this enticingly unique tea.
Below is my personal evaluation of this tea:
Date: June 29, 2014
Name of Tea: Mauka Oolong
Acquired From: Tea Hawaii
Type of Tea: Whole leaf oolong
Cost of Tea: $10 per 12 Grams
Dry Leaf Aroma: Sweet, floral, fragrant fruit
Leaf Dryness/Texture: Dry, crisp
Leaf Color: Dearkgreen, gray
Leaf Size: Twisted 1 in.
Amount of Tea: 6 Grams
Water Temperature: 175 F
Steeping Time: 2 min.
Tea Aroma: Floral
Tea Color: Beautiful Golden Light Amber
Tea Taste: Refreshing smooth-tasting oolong with great mouth-feel and satisfying body.
Tea Rating: 8
Water Temperature: Same as first infusion
Steeping Time: Same as first infusion
Tea Aroma: Same as first infusion
Tea Color: Same as first infusion
Tea Taste: Same as first infusion, but more defined
Tea Rating: 9
Water Temperature: Same as second infusion
Steeping Time: Same as second infusion
Tea Aroma: Same as second infusion, but more defined
Tea Color: Same as second infusion
Tea Taste: Same as second infusion, but more defined, i.e. richer
Tea Rating: 9.5
Personal Experience of the Tea: A delightful, satisfying oolong with great traits all around. 50-60% oxidized. A tea to remember.
By ITMA Certified Tea Master Chas Kroll