Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fong Mong Tea, Organic High Mt. Oolong

This is the fifth and final of my samples provided by Fong Mong Tea Shop. I have mentioned in every review how much I like their packaging. The sample comes in a heavy duty pouch that is vacuum packed and includes an oxygen absorber in the envelope to further protect the freshness of the leaf. The one shortcoming on their samples is the label. It does not include steeping directions.

This was a two day tasting. The first day was disastrous because I used too hot of water. I am going to record my thoughts here to make a point. Steeping time and temperature does make a difference. If a tea does not suit you the first time you try it, change how you are preparing it and have another go at it.

Day One
I chose to use my own steeping parameters rather than look theirs up online. 3 grams of the oolong nuggets and 12oz of boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes in my press. The leaf is partially unfurled with some of it dancing on the surface and some remaining on the bottom. The coloring was very light. I pour and sniff the leaf. It is dark and roasted. Then I sniff the cup. It is highly floral. I love the sweet smell of Taiwan oolongs. There is such a contrast between the brew and the leaf.

Taking a sip - I think I messed this up. I should have used cooler water. The taste is just off. There are some floral notes and some roasted but then there is this whole other thing going on that I am not liking. It is sour and a bit like gym socks meets pool chemicals. On the plus side it is quite milky and has a long lasting floral aftertaste.

On the second cup I used cooler water (heavy steam) and a 4 minute steep. The leaf is mostly unfurled and dark green. While steeping it stood up on the bottom like plants growing in an aquarium. That always amuses me. The taste is much improved. Lighter, more flavorful, and more importantly more balanced. The roasted taste, while light, is a bit too ash like for me. The flavor definitely makes me think flowers. At first I was thinking orchid. Then I started picturing globe amaranth. The problem is I am not a globe amaranth fan.

Day two
I used the remainder of the sample – approximately 3 grams – in my press with just steaming water and only used a two minute steep. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t scorched the leaf yesterday using boiling water or simply over steeped. The liquor is golden amber with a green tint and is clear – no floating dust or debris. The wet leaf smells of ash. The cup, which has taken on an orange tint is floral scented.

Ok, the moment of truth. The sip is a bit mineral tasting and milky up front which gives way roasted notes late in the sip. The aftertaste is floral leaving a cooling sensation on the breath. The overall taste is a bit thin but not offensive. As this cools the smoky roasted taste comes out more and fattens up the flavor. Now it is a nice cup.

The second cup at three minutes is the best cup yet. It is like toasted rice along a floral taste that reminds me of the rind of watermelon.

I am really glad I pursued this tea a second day. Yesterday my attitude was sorry Fong Mong. I loved the other samples I reviewed, especially the Sun Moon Lake, and the Blue Jade., but this one just isn’t for me. Today I am thinking, this is a pleasant cup of tea. Thank you Fong Mong Tea for allowing me to sample and review your teas.

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