Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Cameron Tea
AliShan is one the famous oolong tea growing areas in Taiwan. Located at altitude of 1500m, the mountain has a rich soil and ideal climactic conditions. The cool climate and moist from daily mists make the plants to grow very slowly and produce tender, flavourful tea leaves and buds.
Learn more about this tea here.
Not too long ago, I reviewed the Competition Grade of Cameron Tea’s AliShan High Mountain Oolong Tea. According to the website, one notable difference between the two grades is that the Competition Grade has been lightly roasted. And tasting this Premium Grade AliShan, I can say that the roasting definitely does make a difference in flavor.
That doesn’t mean that this one is better nor does it mean that it’s not as good. I really enjoy both! This tea has less of the roasted, nutty flavors that I discovered in the Competition Grade. But I’m tasting more of a creamy note here as well as a floral tone that melds beautifully with the natural vegetal tones of the green Oolong tea.
As I’ve said many times, AliShan is my very favorite type of Oolong. I love the creaminess of the tea and how that almost vanilla-esque note softens the somewhat sharp flowery tones. I love how the two flavors meet on my palate – sweet and sharp – and how they interact with one another. And I love the soft, silky, lush texture of AliShan. I love AliShan so much that I bought a special mug just for AliShan tea!
And this AliShan is simply magnificient.
The dry leaves look very much like what you might expect from a greener Oolong type tea: they’re tightly wound into pellets and they’re a dark, forest green color. They are very aromatic, smelling of flower and vegetable.
I brew these leaves in my gaiwan using 180°F water and short steeps. The first infusion – the “rinse” cycle as I sometimes call it – lasts for just 15 seconds and I strain off the liquid and discard it. This process is often referred to an ‘awakening’ of the tea leaves and it’s something that I think is crucial to ensuring a properly brewed cup of tea.
Then I infused the leaves again, this time for 45 seconds and I strained the liquid into my special Yi Xing “Ali Shan” mug, and I started infusing the leaves again … and again … and again! I added an extra 15 seconds onto each subsequent brew time, and kept on resteeping until my mug was full (this usually takes 5 steeps).
The combination of the first five infusions (following the rinse cycle) is smooth, sweet, and amazingly good. There is sweetness from the floral tones as well as the aforementioned vanilla-like flavors. There is a lightly savory aspect to the flavor from the very faint vegetal tones, although there is definitely more sweet than savory to this cup. It’s like a blanket of sweetness that envelops the palate. Like liquid candy, except that it’s not cloying.
Love this tea!
And I got 2 mugs full of tea from the same leaves. This is a very high quality AliShan, one of the finest I’ve had the opportunity to taste. I highly recommend it to all you Oolong fans out there … and if you love AliShan the way that I do, then you simply must – I said MUST – try this tea!
Well, what are you waiting for? Put it on your must try list now! Once you try it, you’ll be glad you took my advice!