Oolong tea is like whisky or wine. Yes, it all tastes like wine and it all tastes like tea, but the differences in flavor (both subtle and large) make for endless different experiences.
Many people write to ask us about oolong tea taste, the difference between a Jin Xuan Oolong and an Alishan Oolong, or how roast affects oolong tea flavor, etc. We do our best to answer one at a time and with our blog posts and videos.
But we think we can do better…
There are countless books, tools, and guides for whisky, wine, and coffee, but try to find a great one for tea…it’s a lot harder!
We built one! 🙂
This interactive tool gives you a quick and easy way view tea tasting notes, roast levels, growing regions, and more. It's a first of it’s kind for tea!
Before we go into the features of the new Interactive Tea Profiler and how it works, we just want to tell you that not all of the features have been released yet.
For the first release, we focused on the world’s most well-known Oolong teas and the essential info you need to know.
So let’s dive into the new Interactive Tea Profiler tool.
TEA SELECTION MENU
The tool is broken down into 5 main sections: tea type, region, oxidation/roast, tasting notes, and a flavor scale.
The first section is a drop down menu that lets you select the type of tea you want info for.
You can choose from the most popular and well known types of oolong and green tea in the world. We’ve got Alishan High Mountain Oolong, Jin Xuan (milk oolong), Red Jade Black Tea, Bilouchun Green Tea, and many more.
We started with this group of teas because they cover Taiwan’s most famous teas—and Taiwanese tea is what Eco-Cha does best!
Each type of tea (green, oolong, black) also belongs to sub-categories that can further give clues as to flavors. This section of the tool shows you if a tea is a "green oolong" (closer to a green tea than a black tea), or if it's a "traditional roasted oolong" (a more mellow and full bodied tea).
TEA GROWING REGION
The second part of the tea profiler tool shows where each tea type is grown.
Region (or terroir) matters just as much as it does with wine and coffee. Variance in soil, air quality, rainfall, water, sun, and the tea making traditions of the region all affect the taste and quality of your tea.
As you become more familiar with tea, you’ll notice certain regions pop up often, and you’ll start to recognize the common flavor profiles that come from each region.
TEA OXIDATION / TEA ROAST
Green tea is not oxidized (leaves are heated and dried immediately after picking) and black tea is fully oxidized (leaves are allowed to wither for long periods of time before being dried). But oolong tea is the amazingly complex and varied tea that it is because it is oxidized anywhere from green to black—depending on the type of oolong being made and the preferences of the tea maker.
One of the really cool features of this tool is a quick look at the oxidation and roast level of each tea. This will help you get familiar with the oxidation and roast levels that create certain flavors. And, if you want to try and compare teas with different oxidation and/or roast levels, this tool will help you find what you’re looking for.
TEA TASTING NOTES
Now we’re getting to the fun stuff.
This feature shows you the flavors and tasting notes of each tea.
Just like a wine, coffee, or a whisky, tea tasting can be broken into nose, palate, and finish.
Similar to wine, each batch (or vintage) will have a slightly different flavor profile based on a variety of factors from season to the skill of the tea maker. Where as in general a Cabernet is being more fruit-forward and rich, vs a Bordeaux that has more minerality, the actual flavors of each bottle will vary.
So too in tea.
Therefore, in this tool we’ve given you the general flavor profile of each tea, and we’ve left the subtle differences from batch to batch to our tasting videos. For example Jin Xuan Milk Oolong is buttery, floral, and clean while a Dong Ding Oolong is rich, roasty, and mellow.
TEA FLAVOR SCALE
This is the quick reference part of the tool (well, it's all pretty quick, but if you want use a single color to guide your palate, just focus on the tea flavor scale section of the tool).
We’ve broken it down into light green, dark green, orange, and brown. Each color represents a different level on the "fresh and light" to "rich and full-bodied" scale.
As you scroll through the tea types, pay attention to the color scale in contrast to the Oxidation / Roast section to get an idea how roast and oxidation affect flavor profile.
SO, WHAT'S NEXT
We wish we were able to release everything at once, and we’re working hard… but good things take time.
In addition to more teas, the next version will add features like price range, cultivars, origin of tea name, Chinese characters, and more fun stuff.
With your feedback, we WILL make this the best and easiest (and most fun) to use tea guide on the internet!
What do you think about the new Interactive Tea Tool?
If you haven’t used it, go check it out.
Like we mentioned earlier, this is a work in progress and other features are already being worked on.
We are making this for YOU, so, please, the more feedback the better.
So, what do you think about the new Eco-Cha Interactive Tea Profile Tool?
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