I steeped this tea for three minutes with five grams of leaf in six ounces of water at 190 degrees.
It smells so lovely in the packet that I kind of want to eat it. The tiny densely rolled-up leaves (which I let float free in the cup so I can watch them moving around and unfurling) are so cool! It seems about half of them are floating and half are sinking. It smells fruity, orchidy and a bit savory.
First sip: Super rich! So much flavor!! The tea leaves have unrolled into large, intact leaves and the tea liquid is a gentle yellow that reminds me of winter sun.
As I sip the tea, it’s astringent, creamy/buttery, a little grassy, viscous, and a little nutty even, with some floral/orchidy notes flying around too. It’s also a bit “leafy” so I may have steeped it a bit long, or maybe that’s just supposed to be part of the flavor. Either way, it’s a very interesting combo with the buttery and the fruity and the vegetal/savory aspects.
It’s a full and rich cup, and I don’t think it needs sugar or milk. I really enjoyed finishing this cup off and I’d love to have more of it sometime. Apparently this tea is very popular with aficionados of Taiwan teas (according to Tea from Taiwan’s website), and although I myself am not an expert in that area, I can definitely see how that would be the case.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tea from Taiwan
Tsuei Luan Oolong tea (wulong tea) is grown in the Tsuei Luan district of Li Shan (Pear Mountain). This area is a former fruit producing region which was converted to tea plantations in the late 1970’s. The soil quality of the former orchards is excellent, and the high altitude (more than 2,000 meters) of this district provides a cool, moist climate – ideal conditions for growing tea.
Tsuei Luan oolong tea has an exquisitely sweet aroma and interesting flavour profile. The slightly floral taste has a definite fruit undertone – said to be the result of growing tea on orchard land. This tea has a very pleasing flavour that makes it one of the most popular teas amongst Taiwan tea connoisseurs.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Beautiful Taiwan Tea
The premium teas of Taiwan are known for their smoothness, the quality of their soup and their “Chaqi”. Only grown in the highest areas, theses leaves take their time to grow and soak up all the cool mist and the High Mountain air. You’ll feel calm and attentive with this Dayuling sourced High Mountain Oolong.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve heard great things about Dayuling Oolong; and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to try one! The high, high altitude at which this tea is grown (greater than 2500 meters) and limited quantity that can be produced because of the geographical location are a giant part of what makes this tea so special. At $20 an ounce, this isn’t the priciest tea in my cupboard but it’s certainly up there – I can’t help but cross my fingers and hope it’s worthy of the price tag.
I have to say, the leaf is very beautiful; dry the rolled up leaf gives off a very large, ‘thick’ appearance and has a weight in my hands. After the first infusion I could see why; the leaves are so giant – some of the biggest I’ve ever had the pleasure to brew up. Almost every single one is a completely full leaf, and I even picked out a stem that had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR completely intact leaves branching off it. Just stunning!
I certainly wasn’t going to squander this sample by Steeping it Western Style; so I enjoyed a lovely evening Gong Fu session. Sometimes I feel I can get a little stuck in my head when I’m drinking tea or doing Gong Fu in particular and I focus too much on the technical side of things while trying to pick apart flavour – and I didn’t want to do that with this tea so I just kept doing infusions without really taking physical notes; and I just kind of let the tea ‘speak to me’ while I drank it. It’s so delicate and fragile with very lovely, complex nuances! Teas grown at higher altitude tend to be more complex because, due to the altitude, they grow at a slower pace – and that comes through here for sure.
It’s quite a floral tea, that’s for sure – while the infusions I did blend together I remember the first couple had really lovely, pronounced floral notes of orchid, lily, and a bit of violet as well. Incredibly well balanced though; not ‘perfumey’, forced or over the top in the slightest. Other things I noticed were this very cool, crisp freshness. I kind of instinctively want to call that flavor ‘the smell before it rains’ but I don’t know if there’s a technical word for that. I know petrichor is defined as the smell of rainfall on dry soil/earth (and that’s my all time favourite smell) but this wasn’t quite that: it’s the smell of rain before any has actually fallen. No earthiness.
This was such a pleasant, relaxing tea though! I’m not sure how many infusions I got in total but it certainly lasted quite a while and made my evening magical. Probably well worth the price tag just to say I’d tried a Dayuling, but all in all a very delicious, serene taste experience too. I definitely felt a little tea drunk’buzzed afterwards.
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tea from Taiwan
Da Yu Ling oolong tea (wu-long tea) is a premium-grade oolong tea from the Da Yu Ling area of Taiwan’s Taichung county. Its high altitude (more than 2400 meters) makes this one of the highest tea plantations in the world.
Learn more about this Oolong here.
The website states that this tea was harvested winter 2012, and the package was vacuum sealed to preserve the freshness … and it is evident in the tasting! This tastes really fresh!
I chose to try this tea because I didn’t recognize it as one that I had tried before, but now as I’ve read the entire description on the website, I see that this is a tea that is grown on the Li Shan mountain. I guess that makes it similar (or possibly identical to?) a Li Shan Oolong … but, as I taste it, while I do note some similarities, I note also some striking differences to Li Shan Oolong tea (which I do love, by the way!)
What I notice in this first cup (the combination of my first two infusions, following a quick 15 second rinse) is a very crisp, almost “perfumed-air” quality to the flavor. But not perfumed as in a chemical taste, but more like the air that you might taste if you were in a meadow where orchids and lilies bloom. Imagine what that air that surrounds the meadow might taste like … that is what I taste here. It is quite floral – tasting primarily of orchid, with hints of lily.
It is refreshing and sweet and very enjoyable. There is a gentle creaminess to the cup, not overly buttery or like milk or cream, but something quite similar to that, lighter though, perhaps. There is an undertone of fruit, reminiscent of the apple pear … or what is also known as the Asian Pear. Crisp, sweet and juicy, but also delicate as the Asian Pear is delicate in flavor. Very pleasant.
In subsequent infusions, the flavors become less distinct, as they seem to meld together to offer a sweet, smooth, delightful flavor. It is at once: floral, slightly creamy, vegetative, and sweet. Lovely!