08 July 2009

Kilinoe "Misty Rain" Green

The 2008 World Tea Expo offered its guests the first public tasting of the first teas being commercially grown in the US for the high-end US tea market--the green, white, oolong, and black teas of Hawai'i.

However, the tea brewers sadly had to prepare tea for 50, brewing them at too low of temperature, all with the same water, Western style. I thought this an unfortunate coming out for America's first boutique tea. So when I read that Narien Teas of Florida began distributing the first commercial batch of Hawai'ian green tea to hit the market, called Kilinoe ("Misty Rain") I jumped at the opportunity to purchase some and give our homegrown tea a second chance.

Kilinoe is grown on Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawai'i. It's marketed as sustainable and eco-grown, and from the somewhat cultish WWOOF ads I've seen online, I do believe it.

Kilinoe green - dry leaf

In its foil pouch, Kilinoe smells like sugar and cream with a slight vegetal hint. Its long and twisted leaves gave me impressions visual and olfactory of Yunnan maocha fresh off the straw drying mats.

In the gaiwan, it smells strongly of citrus peel and sweet grass. It tastes much the way it smells at first, developing a richer maocha flavor with citrus highlights. The creamy texture reminded Davin of white rice.

Kilinoe green - liquor

The aftertaste, while present, disappears sooner than I'd like. About a 5-cup green, in later infusions it tastes so much like a lighter flavored green pu'er that I find it hard to justify the price: at $1 per gram, Kilinoe costs more than any other green tea that has passed my lips. In fact, my criticisms of Hawai'ian teas at the Expo included dismay at how light they were.

Kilinoe green - spent leaf

Still, Kilinoe is a pretty good hand-picked boutique green with soft energy and light, non-fishy, non-chickeny flavors. Fans of green tea would do well to spend the $9 on a sample, if only to see the budding potential of Hawai'i's boutique greens.

Kilinoe green - spent leaves


Anonymous said...

Wow. It smells sweet and isn't grassy or fishy. And even is like a light green Puer. I agree with you that every American tea lover should buy a sample of this green from Hawaii and I'm glad they can be reputed to have done such a good job. Good 'ol Yankee ingenuity, ya know? Thank God we didn't screw this one up.

Lainie Petersen said...

I agree that it is worth trying, because it is an American made tea, though I don't know that it is worth $9.00 an ounce.

I enjoyed the tea incidentally, but felt that it lacked depth and structure: I'll be interested to see how the tea from this plantation develops over the years.

Brett said...

I also enjoyed that Kilinoe green, and I blogged about Eliah's April 5, 2009 batch on April 23, 2009. I also have 25 grams of her April 11 batch which looks more like the one in your (beautiful) photos.

Last week she sent me an 8 gram sample of her Summer '09 A'a black. That tea was (also) fantastic.

and... it should be noted that $9 an ounce is an incredible deal because I paid Big Island $1 per gram!

Jason Fasi said...

Lainie and Brett: it's actually $1/g, not $9/oz. I did not receive two bags of 28g of tea each! Each sample is 9g.

Brett said...

Jason - That's what I was hoping you would say!

loose leaf tea lover said...

Isnt it great that tea can look so intimidating but taste so yummy! Thanks for posting the different states of tea.

Pat Canella said...

Good review, this sounds light and almost tropical (not just because it is from Hawaii haha). A good investment for sure!