Oolongs are mysterious creatures- full of complexity, and with such a wide variety of dominant flavors depending on how the leaves are processed. For me, they are the closest I will get to anything like ripe pu’erh for probably a long time. That said, whenever I am presented with an oolong from a well-known, high quality tea vendor, I am always very excited, and like to put my “snooty tea connoisseur” wizard hat on for the duration of the review. SO!
Without any further delay, I present Eco Cha’s Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong! Let’s just call it.. SLX for the rest of this review. Hawt. The little emerald leaves are tightly rolled, requiring a 2 minute rinse to fully ‘expand’. ..and boy, do they really expand. My little gaiwan has suddenly turned into a dense, leafy jungle inside! I’m feeling healthier just by looking at all this green!!
After a 30 second steep, the resulting brew is a light yellow-green color, not entirely expected since the dark leaves led me to believe I’d have a dark drink. However, the flavor of the tea perfectly matches its color- so light and beautifully sweet, grassy without tasting vegetal or bitter, with a pleasant aftertaste that reminds me of cinnamon!…? Am I crazy right now? I’ve had this tea multiple times now and “CINNAMON!” just keeps popping up in my mind every time I taste it. Like.. a snickerdoodle cookie or something.
Subsequent steeps are also given 30 seconds to brew; the tea remains full bodied and satisfying. This tea is so perfect for the ‘transition’ period between summer and fall we are currently in. SLX provides a light and grassy taste for sweet sunny days, with just the right touch of toasty cinnamon spice to hint at the breezy days of hoodie weather that lie just ahead. This was my first ever tea from Eco Cha, and I loved it! 🙂
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco Cha
One of the prominent qualities of Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the fragrance that exudes from the freshly brewed leaves. Especially after the first and second brews, hold the un-lidded teapot near your nose and inhale slowly to experience the volatile aromatic oils that are being released from the freshly moistened and heated leaves. From there you can enjoy the evolving aroma of each successive brew. The fragrance is the most intriguing and subtle quality of a fine high mountain tea.
This tea carries distinct qualities of adequate oxidation of the leaves during processing. This is evident in its sweeter, mellowed aroma and smooth, balanced flavor. Its aroma is slightly less floral and more fruity or pastry-like. Oxidation offers a more substantial, less green brew that is complex, yet balanced and smooth on the palate. This batch is another exemplary high mountain tea from the Shan Lin Xi area.