99% Oxidized Purple Oolong from Art of Tea – Tea Review

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong is a unique oolong from Sumatra, Indonesia. This tea is sold by Art of Tea.

*Oolong Week!* I’ll be reviewing Oolong teas all this week. Yeah, I started late, it was a holiday weekend! 

I am really interested in this tea. I’ve heard mostly about oolongs from Taiwan, but not Indonesia. However, the biggest selling point is it is a “purple” oolong. Purple is my favorite colour! Purple Owl here also loves purple!

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DRY LEAF: 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong has a gentle smokey scent.

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The appearance is quite interesting – it has that tightly bunched oolong look, but with a deep deep brown purple colour.

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STEEPING: The suggested steeping range is 185 to 200F for 3 to 5 minutes. I did 185F for 3.5 minutes. For each additional infusions, I added 30 seconds.

For the first infusion, the tea slowly changed darker and darker, impressing the purple owl.

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After 3.5 minutes, I had a cup of tea that smells.. really woodsy and kind of bitter, kind of like coffee. Oh geeze, what I get myself into???

It looks so pretty though, a black tea with a twinge of reddy purple.

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First, Second Infusion: Full bodied! 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong has a smokey ash flavor upfront, with mid sip notes of earthy cedar, malt and amber. The tea finishes with an interesting cinnamon and caramel sweetness. The aftertaste is a bit of smoke and wood. No bitterness or dryness.

99% Oxidized Purple Oolong reminds me of liquid incense – a stick of incense, on wet stones, smoking away amber scent.

Third, Fourth Infusion: The smokey notes are almost gone, showing up mostly at end of sip. The tea is more sweeter, with really flavorful musky, malt, amber and caramel sweetness. The aftertaste is almost chocolately with the mix of deep woodsy and sweet notes.

Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Infusion: Brighter, more juicy flavor. Mid sip, the tea is still caramel sweet with some earthy amber woodsy. End of sip, I was getting a bit of creamy sensation on the lips. Very nice!

Eighth Infusion: Very mild, with most of the flavor at the end of sip.  The end of sip is a soft chocolately flavor, mixed with a hint of cinnamon spice. Very good resteep ability, and I’m not even using a gaiwan – this last steeping was like 7.5 minutes!

COMMENTS: I find 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong very interesting. I’ve mostly tried greener oolongs that have grassy flavors. I’ve had a couple roasty oolongs, which seems the middle between the grassy ones and this 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong. This oolong is very smokey, full flavored, complexThe flavor level really reminds me of drinking a ripe/shu pu’er 4 or so steepings in.

With that said, I’m thinking a tea owlet that loves blacks and pu’er would love 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong! It is not as strong as a black, but has plenty of flavor. I’d also like to point out that this oolong doesn’t have any floral to it, for those tea peeps who dislike floral.

I’d really like to see 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong used in blends – I think this would make a fantastic chai, or would pair well with chocolate nibs.  SOMEBODY DO ITTTTTT!

(tea provided for review)

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