About This Tea
Origin: Herendong Garden, Banten, West Java, Indonesia
Altitude: Approx. 1000m
Harvest: October 2014
Brewing Technique: 85-90°C, 1-2 Min
Supplier: Baraka Teas
Upon opening the packet there is a delicate essence, reminiscent of tobacco and black tea, making it strangely attractive. However, when left to steep the smell changes and becomes more alluring with a remarkably floral aroma, combined with a slight hint of the normal grassiness that accompanies many green teas.
On tasting (and smelling) Indonesian Pearls I couldn’t believe how similar they tastes to some Taiwanese Li Shan Oolongs. The flavour is aromatic and floral, with a predominant note of lilies, a subtle essence of fruits and a vegetal finish. This is also accompanied by a thick mouth feel that extends and linger through the finish for a while after tasting.
The information on Baraka Teas website regarding Indonesian Pearls states this is a green tea, yet also states that this tea is 5-10% oxidised, which had me re-checking my tea facts. Here’s why; the green tea production process is designed to prevent oxidisation, allowing the light flavours and beautiful colour to be retained in the leaves, whilst black tea is heavily oxidised, usually above 85%. In comparison, the production process for Oolong tea allows for partial oxidisation of varying degrees, between 8-80%. So if Indonesian Pearls smells like an oolong, tastes like an oolong and is oxidised to some degree… Surely this is an oolong? Well, although the green tea process doesn’t allow for any intentional oxidisation, sometimes this naturally occurs in very low quantities. Baraka tea supported this, stating that the manager of the tea estate describes it as a green tea and states the oxidisation levels in order to be accurate should oxidisation naturally take place. What do you think; green tea or oolong?
I really respect and appreciate the efforts Baraka Teas put into sourcing organic, high quality products. Their line is small but so worth it. Indonesian Pearls is grown on a USDA certified organic farm, gaining instant respect as it can often be very hard to achieve and maintain this status. The tea does taste great, however (and I really hesitate to write this but I like to keep it honest) I really struggled with its similarity to a particular batch of Li Shan that I felt was superior in taste and smell. Despite this, there is no reason not to choose Indonesian Pearls over Li Shan (you could just try both!). In fact, this tea is in many ways less accessible than Li Shan and therefore a rarity than won’t easily be found in the UK.
You can get Indonesian Pearls for yourself from Baraka Tea.