drank Ono Black Tea by Onomea Tea Company
35 tasting notes

I purchased tea from this estate in Hawai`i a few years ago and it was the single best tea I’ve ever had, so I decided to buy it again. There must be something about those volcanic soils and ocean air. My second purchase proved me to be correct the first time around – it is still the best black tea. Ever. And this is just their standard black (review of the koko ki to come). I purchased it straight from the company via mail order, as it’s a little cheaper than buying from a tea seller middleman.
The dried leaves smell honey-sweet, and the tea is true to its name (“ono” means “delicious” in Hawaiian, and “mea” means “taste”). The strongest notes are honey and malt. On top of that are cocoa, caramel, and a little orange. I didn’t time my first brew, but it was not very long – a minute at most, and the liquid was a light amber. The next infusion was longer and I began to taste the tea’s potential to be robust. Then the caffeine took effect. This tea can pack a punch.
I don’t know why I waited several years to purchase this a second time. I guess because shipping is not cheap, but I may just buy in larger quantities in the future. I visit Hawai`i often, and I hope to visit this estate sometime.
This is my gold standard for black tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Orange

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On tea: Although I’ve been drinking tea (mostly green and oolong) since childhood, I didn’t really start learning about tea processing, preparation, and varieties until about 10 years ago, though I’m still a noob in so many ways. I’m very interested in the natural and human histories of tea.

For me, there’s a time and place for almost all types of tea – green, oolong, black, white, yellow, herbal, loose-leaf, bagged, etc. I most enjoy buttery greens and oolongs, yellow teas, and black teas grown in Indonesia and Hawaii. I love to try different teas. Also, sometimes tea is a ritual and sometimes it’s utilitarian.

Other likes and interests: I’m a huge music fan. As a Gen-Xer, punk will always have a special place in my heart, but the Beatles are my all-time favorite. Springsteen is next. Also, I love ‘50s rock and roll – Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, etc. I also like bebop and vocal jazz, classic country (I can’t stomach “bro” country, though), soul, classical, Hawaiian, old-school rap, Philip Glass (who’s in a category all his own, IMO)…the list goes on. I never got rid of the bulk of my records and actively collect records still.

Toshiro Mifune is my favorite actor and Kurosawa my favorite director. I also like “Star Wars” and “The Godfather.” “Star Trek” probably had a big influence on my worldview since I’ve seen every episode of the original series and TNG a bazillion times. Otherwise, I don’t watch “regular” TV but I will binge-watch a K-drama or a taiga drama now and again.

I’m an anthropology professor. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll always have something insightful to say in my tea reviews or that I’ll never make grammatical errors.



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