Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ten Ren High Mountain Oolong

This came to me through my son via an exchange student. Very little English on the envelope. A quick web search of the company name led me to believe this was a whole leaf tea. Alas it is definitely not whole leaf. It is a 2g bag of tiny pieces. It is at least a fair amount of tea. Directions say to use boiling water and steep 3 minutes.

I got distracted at work and the first bag steeped more like 12 minutes. It was very strong and astringent. My main oolong is Yamamotoyama (YMY) it doesn’t care how long it is steeped. Obviously Ten Ren is a different animal.
The second bag was carefully timed at 3 minutes with boiling water. It was much improved and just a little harsh. I don’t drink coffee but that is what the flavor brought to mind. The aroma of the Ten Ren is very similar to YMY in that it has a distinct smokiness, yet the two teas taste quite a bit different. YMY is smooth. Ten Ren had a breakfast tea bite and attitude about it. Knowing what I like but not having the tea expertise to back it up, this could be an Assam based oolong.

The bag of tiny pieces plumped up so nicely I decided to attempt a second cup. The brew remained dark but the taste was slightly weak and lacking in the full depth of flavor. It was much smoother. If I had more of this I know I could find the sweet spot where this teas shines. I believe if on the first steep the water was cooled and the steep reduced to no more than 2 minutes, it would allow a second cup of equal taste and depth from one bag. A worthy, not too shabby tea.

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