Leaf Type: Oolong
This tea was grown high in the famed Ali Shan mountain range of Taiwan. Teas from high elevations grow slower, concentrating the flavor into the leaves and making for a rich, sophisticated brew: some of the finest Oolong available.
To subscribe to Steepster Select, click here.
There are very few teas that I regard higher than an Ali Shan Oolong. The only tea that immediately comes to mind is a yellow tea, and really, I think that my adoration for Ali Shan is right up there with a yellow tea.
As I was brewing this High Mountain Ali Shan Oolong from Tearroir, the thought that popped into my head is this: What’s better than an Ali Shan Oolong? A freshly harvested Ali Shan Oolong! And that’s exactly what I have before me! A first flush Ali Shan Oolong from 2014!
I steeped this – not surprisingly! – in my gaiwan and then I filled my Yixing mug with the first five infusions. The fragrance of the brewed liquid reminds me of springtime at my gramma’s house when I was young. One of the rear corners of the house was covered with a vine of honeysuckle, and when the windows were open near this vine, the breezes would pick up the scent and whisk it into the house and the house would smell faintly of honeysuckle. To this day, it is still one of my favorite aromas ever.
The flavor is sweet and buttery/creamy. It’s not a full-on butter flavor, nor is it entirely a milky/creamy flavor, but somewhere in between. The texture is lighter than a “creamy” or “milky” Oolong, it’s more like a soft, velvety texture without the heavy thickness. It doesn’t coat the palate heavily the way some Oolong teas can.
There are notes of flower and a very faint vegetal note that falls somewhere between the freshest, earliest buds of new spring grass and lightly steamed, mild veggies. It’s a very mellow vegetative tone.
Although the aroma suggests a honeysuckle note might be experienced in the sip, I am not picking up on that in the flavor. There is a floral tone, but it isn’t honeysuckle-esque. It’s such a faint floral note that it’s difficult to discern the flavor. On Steepster, it’s suggested that it’s a gardenia, but I don’t know that is quite it either.
I have to admit that I am really liking the faintness of the floral tone here. Ordinarily, a green Oolong like this one has a very heavy floral essence to it and that’s not a bad thing, I find those floral notes enchanting! But, it is nice to taste something a little different now and then, and I like the surprises that this Ali Shan is delivering.
This is a really special Ali Shan, and I’m so happy that I got to experience it! Steepster Select does it again!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong is a typical kind of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. This tea is from Ali Mountain, which is the birthland of High Mountain Tea.
The tea garden where Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea grows locates at the altitude between 800 meters to 1400 meters. On the high mountain, climate is cold and cloudy. Sunshine time is short, as a result, the astringent substance in the tea leaves is reduced, thus the tea becomes sweeter. In the mean time, temperature in daytime and in night is distinctive, which make the tea tree grows slowly. Therefore, the leaf is soft and thick with high content of pectin substance. This is the unique feature of Ali Shan Oolong Tea as being a type of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. What’s more, the tea trees are irrigated with spring water on Ali Mountain, making the tea carries a sweet flavor of spring water.
Learn more about this tea here.
Yay! Ali Shan! I love Ali Shan tea!
Yeah, I know you’ve heard that before from me.
But I get very excited when I get to an Ali Shan Oolong in my stash of teas. And this Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea from Teavivre is certainly worth the excitement! It’s so good!
I brewed this the same way I’d typically brew an Oolong tea – in my gaiwan – but with one significant difference. Instead of combining the first two infusions in my first cup, and the next two infusions in the second cup, and so on, I combine the first six infusions into my special “Ali Shan” Yixing mug, and then, infusions seven through ten are combined in my mug for my second cup. Because of this, I’m unable to really delve into the individual infusions as much as I would do with other Oolong teas.
My first cup was creamy and sweet and floral, with hints of vegetation and distant notes of fruit. The floral tones were much more up front and mingled with the creamy notes that were a bit more like milk than butter or heavy cream. I like the way the smooth feeling glides over the palate. The sweet creamy notes linger into the aftertaste. This creaminess is a light creamy texture, thugh, and it never feels overwhelming … I never feel like my tongue is being weighed down by the creaminess of this tea.
The description of this tea from Teavivre suggests notes of gardenia and I’m getting that. It’s a beautifully fragrant tea – a lot of fun to steep! Not just to watch the tightly wound pellets of deep, forest green leaves unfurl in the hot water, but to experience the beautiful aroma.
My second cup was not as creamy as the first, but there was still plenty of flavor in this cup – and this is infusions seven, eight, nine and ten! I would have thought that these leaves would have been exhausted of their flavor, but, they delivered ten very flavorful infusions! Bravo!
The second cup was still floral, and as I said, not quite as creamy. I noticed more of the fruit and vegetative notes in this cup. It is still a pleasantly smooth and creamy experience … and certainly worth the effort to brew these extra infusions!
A truly magnificient Ali Shan! What else can I say but: Teavivre delivers a top notch tea yet again!