San Lin Xi Oolong from Harney & Sons. . . .

San Lin Xi Oolong from Harney & Sons is an overly comforting tea that I have been enjoying as of late. I know I have said that about other teas in the past but with as much tea as we drink here at SororiTea Sisters it has to be something REALLY special to wedge it into that ‘overly comforting’ category.

It’s just one of those teas that you verbally let out an “ummmmm” or ‘yummm’ as soon as it hits your tongue and swishes around in your mouth. It instantly put a smile on my face.

Harney & Sons San Lin Xi Oolong is a Taiwanese high mountain (Gao shan) oolong. It’s from the middle of the Nantou District, between Li Shan to the north and Ali San in the South. It’s lightly oxidized yet sweet and buttery. It has a medium strength for an oolong and works well with multiple infusions.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons
Description

We are pleased to expand our offering of Taiwanese high mountain (Gao shan) oolongs. This tea is from the middle of the Nantou District, between Li Shan to the north and Ali San in the South. It is a lovely lightly oxidized oolong.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Zhu Lu Alishan from Fong Mong Tea. . . .

A Few thoughts our Sister had while enjoying Zhu Lu Alishan from Fong Mong Tea. . . 

One of the first things to note is the tightly wrapped little tea leaves.

A beautiful jaded green leaf tightly rolled with care. A few still have twigs attached, which personally I like to see. It gives you more sense of how delicately the farmer plucked the leaf.

Clear, pale yellow liquor. No smell; wet or dry. Smooth mouth feel. I’m on my third cupping now and the leaves are still unraveling. It is a bit grassy with marine and mineral hints.

When the liquor first hits your mouth you will also get a sweet flavor. Sweet grass? It’s hard to describe. . .


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy: Fong Mong Tea Shop
Description

Zhu Lu Alishan Gaoshan developed since 1980, the tea estate on Alishan area is the origin of the beginning to plant and produce the newest type of high mountain oolongs in Taiwan. At the elevation of 1000-1500 meters, the mountainsides are covered with fog or clouds which are ideal for growing Oolong. The tea estates are nestled in a beautiful scenic area with a 1000 years old forest nearby.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tsuei Luan Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan . . . .

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
Description

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!

Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) – Tillerman Tea Co.

All hail the Queen! The queen of teas that is. Everything about this tea shouts royalty. Unfortunately, the dry smell isn’t coming through due to cross contamination from another tea but the wet smell more then makes up for the loss. In the first 30 seconds of steeping an aroma blossoms from the leaves that is borderline heavenly. One would think they infused rose oil into the leaves. It’s so floral it almost hides the earthy tones.

The essence extracted from the leaves in the water, aka the flavor is truly unique. Floral and fruity notes with a honey finish. Considering that it’s 70% oxidized, I’m surprised that the earthy tones are so mellow.  The surprises keep hitting with this tea. I’ve tried it hot, luke-warm, and cold and find the flavor notes do best right in the middle.

Oolongs are truly one of those tea types that are not well known enough the USA. If you are a first time tea drinker you generally start off with something that isn’t even tea [to be considered tea it has to have the camellia sinensis leaf in it]. These are generally called herbals or tisanes. They then will most likely try blacks like English breakfast or scented greens like Jasmine. It’s not until you really dive deeper into the world of tea that you discover oolongs. Even the world of oolong is intense. The type of oolong you get depends on how much it is oxidized. As I said before this tea (Bai Hao) is 70% oxidized and thus is closer to the black tea spectrum. If you truly want to branch out into the tea world or just want to discover more about oolongs and you don’t know where to start, this is a good tea to begin with.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tillerman Tea
Description

 

One of the few high grade teas to be harvested in the summer, this tea, first known as “Bai Hao” in Taiwan, reminds us a bit of a superior first flush Darjeeling. We are not the only ones to think so; the story (certainly apocryphal) goes that Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, enjoyed this tea so much that, when she ran out of her Darjeeling, she dubbed this the “Oriental Beauty.” This was subsequently translated back into Chinese as “Dong Fang Mei Ren” Multi-colored twisted leaves mixed with an abundance of silver furry tips gives this tea its visual appeal. The unique flavor profile results from the way this plant develops. The tea green leaf hopper attacks the young developing bud in the spring causing it to wither on the branch. The lower leaves are harvested in the summer with the withered “white tip” attached. This tea is organically grown in Hsinchu County in Taiwan. For anyone who likes a fruity malty tea like Darjeeling with an intriguing honey note, this is a great alternative. After all, if it was good enough for the Queen. . .

Grower: Hsu Sheng Fu Dashi
Cultivar: Qing Xin Da Pan
Region: Emei, Hsinchu
Altitude: 300m
Harvest: Summer 2016
Oxidation: 70%
Roasted

Brewing Suggestions:

Use between 3-5 grams of tea. This is a wiry leaf so practice is required. Pour 195°F (90° C) over the leaves and steep for 1 minute. Always remember to adjust steeping time depending on water temperature, amount of tea you have and personal flavor preference. Increase time and temperature slightly with each infusion.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here

Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea by Teavivre

Recently I’ve been going through an all-black-teas-all-the-time phase, so trying this oolong was a refreshing change. In addition to the great flavor, I also loved how intact the leaves were, and how they were rolled into neatly compact pearls.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for 2 minutes (using the entire sample packet). The packet suggested 1-2 minutes; I sampled it after 1 minute and decided I wanted it stronger, so I left it in for another minute.

The rolled leaves start to expand as soon as they’re submerged. They’re pretty tightly rolled, but they expand a LOT. I’m not really good at determining the level of oxidation in an oolong but I’d say it was fairly light to medium, based on the color of the leaves (and of the liquor). They seem to be high-quality, fairly intact leaves; I was able to pull out one crumpled piece and tease it open to discover that it was actually a couple of entire leaves attached to a bud by the associated stem. So cool! It makes me feel a lot closer to the plant, somehow, than when the leaves are pre-measured into a sachet and/or chopped up into eensy bits.

The tea liquor when steeped is a mid-light yellow, not quite as light as the average green tea, with that distinctive oolong-y fragrance (a bit floral and a bit savory).  

First sip: tangy. There’s a definite presence of acidic/astringent aspect. A warming, slightly roasty flavor travels over the top of the tongue while the astringency pulls at the sides of the tongue. By “roasty flavor” I mean an almost nutty, hearty savoriness. It’s not exactly roasted (and certainly not smoky) but it’s a very hearty presence with more depth than just the floral/orchid oolonginess.

The flavor is overall quite smooth with no noticeable bitterness. This smoothness combines with the savoriness to give an almost buttery impression. There’s maybe a tiny bit of mineral-y-ness as well, combining with the green (in a good vegetal sort of way) and slightly roasty/hearty/buttery flavor to create a very satisfying flavor profile. 

The tea is fairly sweet already, so I added just a pinch of sugar. I don’t usually prefer milk with oolongs, so I didn’t add any. I imagine you could re-steep this tea with good results as well, based on the quality of the leaves. 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Teavivre
Description

The Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea is grown in the area at the altitude of 2500 meters, in which the climate is cold and forests grow well. This cold and moisture condition is suitable for tea trees’ growth. In addition, the soil here is fertile, meanwhile performs well in drainage. Thus the tea leaves carry a natural scent of flower and fruit.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!