Monday, June 18, 2012

Fong Mong Tea, Lishsan High Mt. Oolong Tea

Fong Mong Tea Shop is a Taiwan based distributor that sells on Ebay with a 100% rating! Their offerings are a bit higher priced than what is normally reviewed on the Everyday Tea Blog. This one is $48/150g (roughly 5.3 oz).

From their webstore:
Lishan High Mountain Oolong Tea is one of the most unique and highest quality Oolong. Grown in the Li Mountains of Taiwan, this tea is harvested at the elevation of 1200 meters in an isolated area. Due to the cold weather and relatively harsh environments, the plants grow at a very slow rate and in small quantity. The tea is either harvested during the winter or summer and sometimes only once during the entire year. After the harvest, the leaves are carefully handled and aerated during the long ride to the nearest tea maker. Despite the difficult growing conditions, the leaves are selected as the highest quality of Oolong.

This is the first oolong I have tried that I know is from Taiwan. The sample pouch is heavy aluminum/mylar. The tea is vacuum packed and there is an oxygen absorber packet in the pouch. I like this attempt at maintaining freshness. The label lists tea type, weight, manufacturer, and origin, but does not give steeping directions. I looked up the company provided information on Steepster.

The sample size is 6g. I decided to split the sample in half for a 3g steep rather than dividing it into three 2g batches. The tea is rolled into very tight nuggets. It looks and smells similar to tiguanyin. I steeped this between 5-6 minutes in 12oz of water at about 90C. The leaf expanded dramatically from the tiny nuggets. After the first steep it still isn’t completely relaxed but appears to be some whole leaf and large pieces.

The color of the brew in the French press is green tinted amber. The smell of the wet leaf is vegetal like steamed broccoli. The liquor in the cup is more orange yellow in color. The taste is a bit sweet and floral. This tea is grown along with pear trees so it will absorb the sweet fragrance of the fruit. This is a lightly oxidized tea with no hint of smoke or roastiness. It is slightly astringent but not bitter. I notice it is leaving my lips feeling numb and tingly. The aftertaste is very fresh and green. As I continue to sip I notice the mouth feel has a light milky quality and the taste is mildly buttery.

For the second steep I went 4 minutes. The flavor did suffer a bit with the shorter steep. It was very similar to the first but less intense and no numbing qualities. The third steep I went 6 minutes. Still flavorful however it is starting to drop off. I think the proper method on this tea would be 4 minutes on the first steep, 5m, & 6m while increasing the temperature slightly each time.

I can certainly find nothing negative to say about this tea, other than the price is higher than I normally feel comfortable paying. If you use 3g as I did that is roughly $1 a mug. If you steep it 3 times it brings the per mug price down to about $0.32. Compared to restauraunt tea that is actually pretty inexpensive.

Sample provided by Fong Mong Tea Shop

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