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The Makinohara Benifuki oolong tea is a tea from the 2019 June subscription box from Curious Tea. It’s an atypical oolong tea as it is a green oolong from Japan. This type of tea is becoming more popular but is still quite rare in Japan. Most farmers focus on the more popular green teas and that is why it’s rare to find teas like this one. Because of this, I thought it was an excellent tea to taste during a session.
Do you want to read about another oolong tea I have tried? You can read my tasting notes about the Xue Da Wu Ye dan cong oolong tea.
Makinohara Benifuki Oolong
If you look at the name of this tea, you already know the origins of it. It comes from Makinohara in the Shizuoka Prefecture and is grown there at low altitude. The second part in the name refers to the cultivar that is used: the Benifūki (べにふうき) cultivar. This cultivar is a cross-breeding of two other cultivars: MakuraCd86 and Benihomare. The former is a variety of Camellia Sinensis, originally coming from Darjeeling plants, and the second one is from Camellia Assamica plants coming from India and Sri Lanka. In 1993, the Benifūki cultivar was officially registered in Japan and is popular for oolong and black teas over there. This particular batch is from the June 2018 harvest.
It’s a mixture of large leaves, small pieces and some stems as well. It’s a darker and a bit faded green colour and I’m getting a floral, peppery and buttery aroma with subtle notes of hay.
After the session, you can clearly see that it’s a mixture of small and larger leaves. The colour is a brighter green and the aroma is floral, buttery and there are also some light citrus notes.
- Water 80°C
- 7g of tea leaves for a 135 ml Yixing teapot
- 1 rinse
- 6 infusions
1st infusion (15 sec): the liquor of this infusion has a dark golden colour. Light vegetal flavours at the start and it changes into floral notes. The finish and aftertaste are really sweet; it’s almost as if you’re eating a peach.
2nd infusion (20 sec): the colour is more or less the same. Still vegetal and floral with hints of a peachy sweetness in the finish. The vegetal flavours are less ‘in your face’ but they are still noticeable, especially in the aftertaste.
3rd infusion (25 sec): less intense vegetal flavours in combination with floral notes. Still some subtle peaches in the finish and aftertaste.
4th infusion (30 sec): liquor is a bit lighter. Very subtle vegetal flavours that are also noticeable during the aftertaste. It’s mainly floral notes that dominate this steep.
5th infusion (35 sec): subtle floral flavours with vegetal notes in the finish and aftertaste. I experienced a chalky mouthfeel after this infusion.
6th infusion (40 sec): no floral flavours anymore and only light vegetal notes. I think the leaves gave everything they had.
Want to read about an oolong tea that was pressed into cakes? Read my notes of the Zhang Ping Shui Xian Floral.
I did not know what I was expecting of this tea so it’s difficult to come up with a conclusion. I did not think the tea would taste as it does and I was caught by surprise. For me, the vegetal flavours were a bit too intense to fully enjoy this tea but the butteriness made up for it. Infusion 3, 4 and 5 were the best ones, in my opinion, because the green flavours were not as intense. I also noticed a peachy sweetness, which formed quite a contrast to the vegetal flavour profile. For me, this tea is a 7.5/10 as I am not looking for oolong teas with these flavours. I’m happy that I tried this tea and I will also enjoy it when I have an opportunity but I will not go looking for this tea. If you are a fan of vegetal flavours, I suggest giving it a try! It’s unlike any oolong I have tasted before, which makes it an interesting tea. Trying something new is always exciting!
The tea is available at the Curious Tea online shop. Click here!