Hawaiian Oolong


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 8th, '10, 17:18

A few years ago the talk of Hawaiian grown tea had just began to emerge. Tea plants were being imported from Japan to be grown in Hawaii's rich soil. The Japanese told plantation owners that tea could not be successfully grown at low elevations, but Hawaii's unique lava enriched soil and temperate climate, proved otherwise.

I was fortunate enough at the time to be attending to some family business in Honolulu, so I hopped a flight to the big island, to an area north of Hilo called Onomea Bay. There I met with the plantation owner of Onomea Tea. The owner prepared 5-6 teas for me to taste and we both enjoyed them in the traditional manner which included the tasting/aroma cups. We sat on his lanai surrounded by tea fields, overlooking the ocean discussing tea. It was a perfect day.

Since that time, every season, his tea has been sold out locally with none left for online sales. There is quite a frenzy to obtain this tea by the islanders. Many of the best teas sell out immediately. The locals are dialed in and anxiously await the harvest, and snap them up as soon as they roll out, leaving little for sale. Even some is purchased by Taiwan agents who buy for high demand Taiwanese clientèle with a taste for Hawaiian tea. No wonder it is so hard to procure!

Since that time more and more plantations are springing up and the availability has finally increased enough to make its way to the internet market.

This year I was able to find online another tea grower, with tea available for sale on line! Oddly enough it’s by a coffee company - The Hilo Coffee Mill. I think it is quite good and I have repurchased it and even sent a few samples around. This roasted oolong has a unique flavor, not easily comparable to any other oolongs. The flavor is smooth, non-astringent and tastes of yellow raisins. Very unique, and very tasty, and unfortunately … very pricey. Is it worth it? It is if you are looking for the experience of drinking a Hawaiian grown tea, of course, absolutely. Not something you can afford every day, but definitely worth trying.

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http://hilocoffeemill.com/100hawaiianoolongtea.aspx
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby JD » Jul 10th, '10, 17:41

Ouch.. $40 for 1.5 oz. Not my cup of tea.. pun intended. ;)
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 10th, '10, 18:18

Well as I said ... for trying USA grown oolong. :)
Not an everyday thing!
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 11th, '10, 01:11

Debunix did a review here:
viewtopic.php?p=161857#p161857
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 11th, '10, 20:08

I forgot I took some pics earlier:

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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby nickE » Jul 11th, '10, 20:12

Wow, that does look really interesting! :D

Way too expensive for me to try, though.
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 11th, '10, 20:15

Maybe like a cross of Oriental Beauty and a wuyi.
It has the deep frutiness of some wuyi withought tasting like
a wuyi, if that makes sense.
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby nickE » Jul 11th, '10, 20:23

Oops, I deleted the part where I asked what you'd compare it to after I caught this :oops:
Victoria wrote:This roasted oolong has a unique flavor, not easily comparable to any other oolongs.

Your answer does help though! :D I really like the color of the spent leaves.
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 12th, '10, 01:12

It does look nice...but at that price I could buy a really amazing dancong from Imen... :?
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Victoria » Jul 12th, '10, 10:21

Oh I agree. Yo can get a lot of very nice teas for this price.
It's more about trying Hawaiian grown tea maybe just once.
Kinda like the New Zealand tea, I'll probably break down
and try a sample of that, just to see what it is like. :)
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby MIKE_B » Mar 30th, '12, 18:27

Bumping this old thread...
My mother brought me back a tin of this tea as a gift. I would agree that it is over-priced, but I am enjoying it very much. Fruity with some mellow spice. Pretty to look at too. Very different. Pulled some pretty big leaves out of the pot after.

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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby mbanu » Mar 30th, '12, 19:24

So much tea-work is done by hand, if you were paying someone US $8/hour, that sort of price is quite understandable. I predict that unless someone discovers a way of automating tea plucking in a way that maintains the quality of hand-plucked tea, this sort of pricing is the future of good tea. (An excuse to dust off that antique lockable tea caddy, from the last time tea fetched such prices!) Right now, we are in a bit of a bubble caused by drastic differences in "cost of living" between the tea growing regions of China, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, etc. compared to the average urban consumer from a wealthy industrialized area.
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Re: Hawaiian Oolong

Postby Tead Off » Mar 31st, '12, 02:29

Very true, mbanu. Plus, the western consumer is going to pay even more from online sellers from many of these countries than they would if they were there buying in the country of origin.
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