Friday, June 8, 2012

TeaVivre, Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Seriously, who could resist trying a tea with this clever name? I did not intend to break into my latest round of samples from TeaVivre this soon, but they were there. Well you know how it is. Actually this sample pouch was not completely sealed. I might not have noticed but there were monkey droppings in the bottom of the bigger pouch in which it was packed ;) Being sealed in the larger pouch, the tea is still fresh and no harm done. Since it is open let’s have at it.

Before I start my review, for those who are interested in how this tea got its name - there is a fun article on the Gong Fu Girl blog, titled Monkeys, Tea Leaves and Lies.

The nuggets look like normal tiguanyin. I forgot to sniff the dry leaf. Steeped in my press for 3 minutes with boiling water. The brew is a green tinted amber. It is extremely clear yet dense. That probably makes no sense but I stared through the press at it for a few seconds as I found its beauty fascinating. This is my first monkey picked oolong. The rich roasted aroma coming off the brew caught me by surprise. I try not to read other reviews or company flavor profiles before tasting. You can also catch the oolong in the scent. The leaf did not fully open on the first steep.

The sip is like a wave crashing over the tongue. It begins as a hearty roasted blast breaking on the taste buds. Next, splashing up is a moment of intense milkiness. Then as the flavor begins to recede, the tiguanyin is revealed. The aftertaste is somewhere between tgy and watermelon rind.

Second cup I went 1 minute. I got interrupted and the cup sat after I poured for several minutes. This cup is very different from the first. The roasted notes are much more subdued. This tastes like a mild genmaicha has been brewed with tiguanyin. There is also another note, not exactly earthy, but not really woodsy in mid sip that others are calling nutty.

Third cup back at 3 minutes. Pretty much this is now a straight mild tiguanin. Sweet. It has a nice lingering fruity aftertaste. There is still a lot of flavor and more steeps left in this but I have to call it quits for the day.

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