Thursday, October 10, 2013

Teavivre, Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea

Teavivre Description:
A good tea needs attentive observation on its appearance and careful taste on its flavor. This Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea is twisted into round particles. Dry tea is in dark green color of glossy appearance. Infuse the tea with 100℃ water. Tea liquid looks transparent in golden yellow color. It tastes full and mellow, with long-lasting sweetness and fresh fragrance in the mouth. The floral aroma and smooth flavor still stays after ten or more steeps. As it cooled, its fragrance and sweetness retains in your cup. This is a special characteristic which only can be found on high grade teas.
Another characteristic of Li Shan High-Mountain Oolong Tea is the natural fruity scent. It is a result of the high mountain and low temperature condition. Unique climate and fertile soil bear the tea trees that are grown with the natural fragrance. Thus the tea’s flavor tastes richer which differs from low grade tea. This is the important fact that the tea can become a representative of Taiwan Gao Leng tea.

Price: $28.90/50g (1.75oz)

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
The third oolong from Teavivre as I continue Oolong Fest! This is a high level Li Shan from Taiwan. I'm looking forward to this one.

The photo I grabbed from Teavivre's website shows the leaf pellets in all their mystery. It amazes me how a bud and two or three leaves connected by a stem can be rolled so tightly.

The dry leaf has a light floral green oolong scent. I used about 3.5g in my press with boiling water for an initial two minute steep. Teavivre recommends twice that amount of leaf. For my tastes, I have never felt it necessary to use so much leaf. The result of my western hybrid brewing method is a very lightly morning sunshine colored liquor with a hint of green. The leaf is relaxing but still quite twisted. The leaf scent is a light floral aroma along with spinach.

The sip is creamy with a spicy floral taste. Late in the sip it develops what I call a geranium note. There is no bitterness and no rough edges. Apparently it is a bit astringent as the inside of my cheeks feel a numbing sensation and it is slightly drying. The aftertaste is very sweet and it is long lasting.

Mug two starts very smooth and a little less creamy. It has developed an earthy plant taste. I can't come up with a better description. The aftertaste continues sweet and swells with the geranium flavor. Some who dislike the taste call it latex. To me, it reminds me of the scent of the geranium plants my neighbor grew when I was a young boy. I love teas that evoke memories.

Most of us will not consider this to be priced in the range of an everyday tea. It is a relatively rare tea to be sipped as a special treat but remember oolongs resteep really well. This one prepared my way is about $2 per 12 oz mug. That is no more expensive than a cup of tea at Starbucks. It will easily steep 3 times, making $0.67/mug. If you use a 6 oz cup that is 6 cups at $0.34. The initial investment needlessly scares a lot of us away from enjoying a rare treat.

Teavivre offers sample sizes of their teas that I generally get two or sometimes three sessions from one bag. It is an affordable way to experience high quality tea without the anxiety.

Visit the Teavivre website.

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