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98

I thought I had reviewed this one already.
One day I went tourist shopping in Singapore Chinatown, entered a tea shop, tasting the tea-du-jour, a nice oolong, wandered and smelled almost all the varieties available, as I had lots of time and there were nobody in the shop anyway. Their product range was definitely on “simple” green and oolong, plus some black, some pu-erh and lapsang souchong (I usually do not like the taste of those two last, just the smell is enough to tell me I do not feel like drinking that); nothing flavored, except maybe some jasmine.
I have to confess, I am far from a specialist in teas and usually tend more on the side of “I like drinking something with a nice taste”, hence my preference for flavored teas.
I decided to give a chance to a Taiwanese oolong, as the cup I had tried was rather nice (though not really available for sale for a reason I could not understand and which seems totally stupid).
I settled on choosing the most expensive of the common range, excluding the exceptional with off-the-charts pricing teas, which I am not knowledgeable enough to appreciate to their value.
At the smell, it smells greener and less astringent than the other ones; I had the feeling when smelling it that it would hardly turn bitter, while I had some doubts about even the second best. It comes as small pearls/beads, very nice to look at, quite convenient for serving IMO and hiding usually nice leaves.
The first times I brewed this tea in my usual big teapot, which was not a great idea. Recommended steeping time is to be short but it does not work so well with big water quantities, so I tended to oversteep and it turned a little bit bitter / not so nice. Another problem was that the leaves couldn’t expand nicely, as I use a teaball (I’ve got to get a filter though).
Today, I finally decided to try it, chinese style, with the gaiwans I also got in this shopping spree, and which I usually just use as regular cup. I’m a bit of a klutz and have to use the two of them – one to brew the tea, then the other to be poured in to drink after steeping. Thus I could try the first 60s first steeping (well more around 75 s), 40s second, 40s third and 50s following.
It’s better : no bitterness at all and a very green, very fresh taste. I have the feeling I could resteep the same leaves many times.
And the surprise was when I realized how big the leaves really were : around 6 to 7 cm ! I had never seen leaves this big unbroken before.

As a conclusion, after all this ranting, I’m glad I bought this tea as it really has a very delicate taste and contributes to further my education in fine teas. In my inexperience, I’m not sure oolong can get much better. Maybe it’ll grow more on me and I’ll feel more often willing to drink it as opposed to flavored tea, now that I know how to prepare it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec
LaFleurBleue

I brought a little box of those pearls to my office, when I usually drink it around lunch time and in the early afternoon. For my office cup, I’ve reduced the number of pearls/beads to 7, which almost fills my strainer, as the great nice big leaves unfold (with plenty of water or air in between).
I usually steep the leaves 3 or 4 times, but some days I’ve done it until 7 times. The tea was still very very nice, not bitter at all, not watery after those 7 times; of course, I forgot a few times the strainer steeping for much longer than the 1 mn recommended – the tea never turned bitter or unpleasant. The color did not change much either but is in any case such a light yellow from the first, that it’s a bit difficult to tell. I felt like I could have gone on for quite a while before being disappointed by a weak brew.
The unflavored but very delicate taste make it very easy to drink, without being weary of it.
I’ll most definitely try some other oolongs after this one. In any case, that won’t be soon, as it was a big 150g bag and I seem to use less than 1g for each brew so it’s going to last very long.

cteresa

I am having this right now and it´s lovely indeed! got to do a couple more steeps – the leaves have not even totally unfurled!

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LaFleurBleue

I brought a little box of those pearls to my office, when I usually drink it around lunch time and in the early afternoon. For my office cup, I’ve reduced the number of pearls/beads to 7, which almost fills my strainer, as the great nice big leaves unfold (with plenty of water or air in between).
I usually steep the leaves 3 or 4 times, but some days I’ve done it until 7 times. The tea was still very very nice, not bitter at all, not watery after those 7 times; of course, I forgot a few times the strainer steeping for much longer than the 1 mn recommended – the tea never turned bitter or unpleasant. The color did not change much either but is in any case such a light yellow from the first, that it’s a bit difficult to tell. I felt like I could have gone on for quite a while before being disappointed by a weak brew.
The unflavored but very delicate taste make it very easy to drink, without being weary of it.
I’ll most definitely try some other oolongs after this one. In any case, that won’t be soon, as it was a big 150g bag and I seem to use less than 1g for each brew so it’s going to last very long.

cteresa

I am having this right now and it´s lovely indeed! got to do a couple more steeps – the leaves have not even totally unfurled!

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Bio

I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.

Location

Singapore

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