Like pretty much every Japanese artist, even the tea makers cannot do anything without putting a dose of elegance and refinement in it. Takarabako Shimane Oolong Tea might be a new tea on the market, and Japanese oolongs might need a bit of time to get into the hearts of tea drinkers, but there is a soul and elegance mixed with ordinariness in this tea, that almost no other oolong can beat.
And this is Takarabako Shimane Oolong Tea – refinement and elegance imposed upon ordinary big leaves. How did they manage to do it? Japan is a green tea paradise, oolongs and black teas (even white) are very rare. And yet, among all other Japanese oolongs I have tried, this one is very special (even though every carefully and with love produced tea is special).
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Meet Takarabako Shimane Oolong Tea
This beautiful tea is so unobtrusive, so simple and so unique that it can get into your heart very easily (and in your cup, of course). It comes from Oba Sorayama District in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture. Leaves were harvested in summer, and they are very different and bigger than regular Japanese spring leaf. It looks completely different from any other popular Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Taiwanese oolong. And tastes different as well, but we’ll talk about that a bit later. Leaves look like a mix of green-colored Bai Mu Dan touched by a large leaf dried melissa, inspired by haru bancha and kyobancha. Ok, that sounds like a pure mess, but it isn’t at all. They are light, with some stalked, and very big.
Takarabako Shimane Oolong Tea comes from a purely organic farm that grows fruits as well. It’s amazing to see the effort of small family farms (Takarabako Tea Farm has only five employees), that put a lot of honest hard work into producing unique teas. And this can be felt. 50 grams costs 16.20 USD.
One would expect nothing less than unique scent from a unique looking tea. Fresh, light, herbal, with lightly baked, nutty and fresh feeling when placed in a warm teapot. Almost like hojicha meets lightly baked green oolong.
Couldn’t wait to brew it
I did follow the instructions, 3 min, 90 degrees Celsius, 200 ml of water and 5 grams of tea. My new Tokoname kyusu from Yunomi was a perfect choice for this tea (I tried porcelain as well). Liquor is ocher-yellow, and it has a very delicate, but powerful and full flavor with no astringency at all. Takarabako Shimane Oolong tea is both thirst quenching like green teas and mouth drying like some black teas. It’s amazing how many different characteristics are connected in this tea to create something very unique. It’s more herbal-tea like than regular oolongs, very light with the actual taste floating somewhere in the middle of the gulp, perfect for everyday drinking in early autumn days or wintery spring. You can use the same leaves for at least 4 times. Love it.