Kanaya Sayamakaori Oolong (金谷町さやまかおり烏龍茶) is a lightly oxidised oolong from Kanaya that is made from the Sayamakaori cultivar. The style is more akin to the popular modern versions of green oolong teas from Taiwan, being reminiscent of the likes of Wen Shan Bao Zhong. It delivers a floral liquor with creamy notes and a fruity aftertaste. We source this tea via a specialist refining factory in Shizuoka who work directly with the farmers. They provide end processing and refining at their small factory in Shizuoka but also support smaller farmers in distributing their teas, developing new tea types and improving their techniques.
This particular Sayamakaori Oolong comes from a small experimental tea farmer in Kanaya. He has been developing new styles of tea making (at least for Japan) in order to diversify his range of teas and introduce some new novel types. This type of oolong is still not very common in Japan. The floral flavour is definitely more reminiscent of green oolongs from elsewhere and the care taken in processing the leaves is also evident. Many Japanese teas have a more broken leaf due to nature of processing and traditional tea grading. So it is always exciting to see teas from Japan that are processed in a way that preserves the shape of the leaf, leading to more complexity in the taste as well as possibilities of an increased number of infusions possible from the same leaves. You may also be interested in trying another experimental tea from the Kanaya farm, a ‘bug-bitten’ Benifuki Honey Fragrance Wakocha.
The Sayamakaori cultivar itself has been registered since 1971 and it was originally developed from Yabukita cultivar plants. The cultivar is reasonably popular in Japan and it is renowned for having a distinct aroma. It is mostly intended for the production of sencha but in this case we think it achieves a particularly nice result as an oolong. Due to high catechin content, it is also sometimes used in black tea making. Perhaps not quite as aromatic as oolong teas made from the Koshun cultivar, it still delivers a liquor that is aromatic, while having a balanced flavour profile.
This Kanaya Sayamakaori Oolong consists of large lightly oxidised curled leaves. The light oxidation leads to a light liquor with a lightly creamy aroma. The fresh taste has dominant floral and creamy notes with a tangy edge. The aftertaste becomes fruitier, with notes of peaches. The lasting effect has a stony, fruity and tangy aftertaste. It’s an easy-going tea that delivers a refreshing flavour. There is just a touch of dryness evident at the very end of the tasting. This is an interesting take on a lightly oxidised oolong and we urge you to try it, especially if you are a fan of lightly oxidised oolongs.
It is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed 3+ times depending on your taste preferences. This tea is best brewed in a way similar to other green oolongs, so we encourage to experiment based on your favourite method of brewing those.