Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Zi Chun Tea Co.
This exotic “Champagne of Tea” is probably the most fascinating of all the oolong teas. Its rich taste & sweet, smooth honey aroma gives it a unique flavor, not unlike a fine mellow, black tea.Its processing is characterized by heavy oxidation (60% to 70%) and heavy withering (13% to 25%). The oxidation process is initiated before the leaves are plucked by nature’s assistance in the form of small insects biting the tender leaves. See this article in T Ching for more information on this amazing tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’m really enjoying this Oriental Beauty from Zi Chun Tea Company. Of course, that comes as no surprise to me, because I love Oriental Beauty Oolong teas!
What never ceases to amaze me though, is just how amazing the flavor is of an Oriental Beauty. It’s so different from other Oolong teas. It has a bright fruit taste, rather than a floral one (although there are some floral tones), and this particular Oriental Beauty offers not just a sweet fruit note, but also a compelling and contrasting sour note, providing a very savory tea experience.
I brewed this the way I typically brew an Oolong – in my gaiwan! – using short steeping times. I start with a quick rinse (10 – 15 seconds), discarding the liquid, and then I steep the first infusion for 45 seconds. I pour this into my cup, and then I add the water to my gaiwan for the second infusion. I add 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion, so this second infusion is steeped for a minute. After a minute has lapsed, I pour the liquid into the same cup as my first infusion, combining the two infusions. I like to combine the infusions, as it makes for a very satisfying tea flavor. Each infusion of an Oolong tends to have slightly different qualities, and when I combine the two infusions this way, it provides a rich, lovely flavor.
Subsequent infusions of this Oolong reveal slightly more floral notes, but these are slight. I find that the fruit tone remains strong here, and by the third and fourth infusions, I start to notice a honey-esque note emerge. This gets stronger with the third cup (infusions five and six). By this time, the flavors have become more seamless, and the sour tones have softened significantly. It is a very soothing tea to drink.
I really enjoyed this Oolong – it truly is a beauty!