Monday, October 14, 2013

Teavivre, Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea

Teavivre Description:
Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong is a typical kind of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. This tea is from Ali Mountain, which is the birthland of High Mountain Tea.
The tea garden where Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea grows locates at the altitude between 800 meters to 1400 meters. On the high mountain, climate is cold and cloudy. Sunshine time is short, as a result, the astringent substance in the tea leaves is reduced, thus the tea becomes sweeter. In the mean time, temperature in daytime and in night is distinctive, which make the tea tree grows slowly. Therefore, the leaf is soft and thick with high content of pectin substance. This is the unique feature of Ali Shan Oolong Tea as being a type of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. What’s more, the tea trees are irrigated with spring water on Ali Mountain, making the tea carries a sweet flavor of spring water.

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
This is the last sample for Oolong Fest. None of this years oolong have been dark roasted. They have all been floral, sweet, excellent teas and each has been distinctly different from the others. Let's see if the trend continues.

Opening this sample, the aroma was very light and shows no real signs of what is to come. Removing the leaf pellets reveals they are very tightly twisted. I used my clear glass press and boiling water for a two minute steep. I almost used a gaiwan but I am glad I didn't. I would have missed the spectacle that is the dance of the leaves.

The pellets mostly rose to the surface while the remaining pieces sat on the bottom. Occasionally one would race up to the surface or dive to the bottom. They moved very quickly which I have never observed before. Some would rise, release bubbles, then sink again. I have only observed this before with flowering teas. Definitely an enjoyable experience.

I hate repeating myself but the liquor was white grape juice in color. Very light, very alive in appearance. The wet leaf only partially relaxed on this first steep and it had a marine seaweed aroma. The liquor itself is lightly floral in scent.

This is thick like broth. Buttery and vegetal in flavor. Lightly floral. The aftertaste is sweet and nearly immediately geranium plant in nature. It produced a slight tingling sensation especially in my cheeks. The tingle is something I have noticed with all the Taiwan teas.  I don't recall seeing it mentioned in any other reviews online so maybe it is just me.

I only used half the sample. As I steep the second time the leaf has relaxed and there is so much leaf! I cannot see through the press. With the water it appears to be an almost solid mass. Oolongs are cool that way.

The second cup is much like the first but now with some mineral notes. The color of the liquor is more golden. The aftertaste has grown less geranium plant and more floral. Yeah, wrap your head around that last line. Geranium is the term I use for that almost latex like flavor that often accompanies green oolongs but I find the term unappealing - so it is geranium plant.

This will definitely go more steeps and I may get to them after I publish.

I think it is a toss up between this one and the Taiwan High Mountain oolong for my personal favorites during Oolong Fest. What are your favorites?

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