Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zealong Dark

The finale of the Zealong trio...

Not much to say prior to tasting, so lets dive in.

The aroma of the dry leaf is comprised of an interesting combination.
Cocoa and nutmeg are the first two scents that leave an impression.
The smell of freshly baked bread is the second aroma.
And to complete the mix (interestingly enough) is teriyaki...Now I am not saying that this tea smells like Chinese food, but what I am attempting to convey is the strikingly savory aspect of this tea. The proper diction for that aroma, in this case, just happened to be teriyaki!

The aroma of the liquor was different, to say the least.
Buttermilk was the standout smell that the liquid released. This was clean, crisp and made the tea very approachable.
The flip-side of the scents of the liquor was the hearty vegetal smell that still accompanied the tea.
I have noticed this vegetal trait in all three of the Zealong teas.

The taste of the liquor was quite heavy for the color.
It is much more vegetal, with hits of toasted pine nuts.
This is one of the first darker oolongs I have encountered that does not have a "sugary" sweetness to it. The tea is savory in all aspects.
One equivalent I can conjure up for the overall experience of this tea, is dark chocolate. I am not talking about the 60% cocoa kind. I am referring to the 72% or higher cocoa content. It is rich and tastes more like I am eating a meal than drinking a tea.

The texture is not smooth, but it is not unpleasant. It pairs nicely with the flavors presented.
This would be a fine tea to drink with a sweet desert, like dark chocolate dipped strawberries.

This tea is quite unique as far as oolongs go. I give the Zealong company props for making this tea standout among other oolongs in its class.
This tea will remain on my palate and in my memory for quite a long time!



  1. This does sound unique. I've actually tried a few darker oolongs that were not at all sweet and more savory, but none that have chocolate-like tones. I find Darjeeling oolongs to be highly vegetal, even the darker ones, but they are even less cocoa-like than Chinese oolongs.

  2. Alex,

    It really is! The savory, bittersweet dark chocolate notes were surprising and well received!
    Yes, I think I would be hard pressed to find cocoa tones in any Darjeeling tea, even an oolong!