I did a bit of background research on this tea, revealing that it was indeed grown in New Zealand and that this is one of three different varieties being produced there at the moment (the others are Zealong Dark and Zealong Aromatic). Unlike the other two, this Zealong Pure features “sweet, fresh-tasting leaves” that are “unroasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavour of the tea” (zealong.com). Their website suggests 1 tsp of leaves per cup of water, infused for a minute (at least at first).
Opening the package, I take in the aroma of the dry leaves. Sweet, very clean-smelling. They are rolled into balls, reminiscent of a ti kawn yin oolong. I prepare the water, freshly boiled, but not still boiling. The first minute of infusion goes by. The steeped liquor smells fresh and slightly floral. The leaves have a very vegetal aroma and still smell quite sweet. Sipping this first cup is a joy. From the smell of the liquor, I expected a much weaker brew than what now dances around on my tongue. While not strong, this oolong does have a full body – floral, fresh, and with just a touch of that natural sweetness.
Eagerly, I go ahead and steep the leaves again, for the suggested one minute. The leaves now have taken on a fuller aroma, more “juicy,” but in a floral sense. The smell of the brewed tea is still subdued, but after the first cup, I know this subdued aroma could hold great flavour. I can tell that the flavour has gone, somewhat, from the leaves, in comparison to the first steeping. It is, however, still there with the sweetness becoming a bit more prominent and equal with the other flavours.
The third steep is for two minutes (as per the suggestions from zealong.com). The longer steep-time has brought the flavours and aromas back in line with the first steeping. Full bodied, perhaps even a bit stronger flavour-wise than the first infusion. Ah, it is still delicious, regardless. I go ahead and put this tea through several more steepings. The zealong.com website makes the claim that it will last six to eight infusions. I am satisfied, and gladly would rate this tea a 92/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.