Red Buffalo Vietnamese oolong tea comes from a high altitude (1100 meters) tea farm in Son La. It has a higher level of oxidation, tea leaves are small and rolled in semi-balls, very uniformed in size and color with visible branches.
Name: Red Buffalo Oolong Tea
Tea vendor: Hatvala (Vietnam)
Type: Vietnamese oolong tea
Red Buffalo Vietnamese oolong tea – introduction
Red Buffalo Vietnamese oolong tea has a level of oxidation of 65-70%. It grows at the altitude of 1100 meters. Unlike most of Hatvala’s teas, this one is estate grown tea. Price is 3.95 USD for 50 grams. Hatvala’s page says that most of this tea is sold to Taiwan, which does not surprise me so much, judging by the character of this tea. It’s mde from qing xin varietal, which is one of two most common varietals used for production of gui fei tea.
Leaves are in semi-ball style, dark brown, absolutely uniformed in size and color, with visible little branches. Fragrance impressed me immediately. It can be compared to one of the best Taiwanese oolong teas. It has a deep intense scent of honey, chocolate and ripe figs. A deeper breath reveals a baked note, but it’s not dominant at all. In a heated teapot fragrance is much more intense, fermented-fruit like.
Five grams of tea leaves, 200ml of water heated and cooled down to 95 degrees Celsius. 2, 2.5, 3 minute steepings. I hesitated for a long time weather or not to brew it like this. However, past experience with Hatvala’s teas prevailed and I decided to follow the instructions. I am glad I did. It seems Hatvala knows its teas very well. After the first steeping wet leaves adopt an intense spicy-sweet note. They are opening-up equally and they look like they are only at the beginning of releasing the aroma. Second steeping gives a liquor more darker in color, and leaves retain that intense spicy fragrance. They still have much more to give. Two minutes for the first steep is maybe a little bit too short, I believe two and a half minutes would be ideal. This tea can best be described with Taiwanese gui fei. Second steep gives and intense, spicy and sweet, very full liquor. That spicy taste stays in the mouth for a long time. Texture is full and half-creamy. When cooled down it resembles Chinese black teas with chocolate aromas. Third steep is lighter and fresher, with more pronounced dark chocolate aroma with less spice and honey notes. Flowery notes are more evident; however, they are very very light.
Wet tea leaves are very pretty, uniformed in color and size, very firm, half-opened, little twisted and with a lot of little branches. They are darker brown in color and even used-up retain nice fresh fragrance.
Its almost incredible hot Hatvala’s teas have perfectly nailed names which suit the character completely. This tea warms up a body fast and leaves a spicy tingling sensation on the tongue. It leaves a long long aftertaste, but not the sweet one like most of the teas, this aftertaste is true to the taste of the tea itself. It’s perfect for cooling up in summer, especially in the evening when you need a stronger tea.
Red Buffalo Vietnamese oolong tea has a very complex dual character – gui fei Taiwanese oolong like when hot and Chinese black tea like when cooled down. Really impressive tea.
Thanks to my dear Iva for a beautiful teapot. 🙂
Great (and again, very affordable) complex tea with intense fragrance and full taste, beautiful leaves and very easy to brew. It's possible to get at least two-three very good steepings and two lighter ones out of it.