Eager to provide my gaiwan with a tea session (and to benefit myself from said exercise), I eagerly open the package of tea and breathe in the aroma of the dry leaves. The smell is decidedly subtle but not weak. Above all, it actually reminds me a bit of the smell of a Ti Kwan Yin, yet with marked difference. The floral aromas coming from the leaves are as far as that comparison goes. The leaves do not smell strongly vegetal, but they have a touch of sweetness. I hesitate to term it a fruitiness, but is almost as though the sweetness is partially (or wholly) apart from the floral notes. Light and bright are good descriptors.
After preheating my teaware, I rinse the leaves to begin to open their flavor and aromas more. Taking a whiff of the now-wet leaves in the gaiwan, I find it interesting that this high mountain oolong is even more floral than initially thought. Steeping the leaves for thirty seconds, the brew is eagerly poured from gaiwan to fairness pitcher to cup. My first sip is…unexpected! Now, I certainly mean this in a good way.
Based on the aromas that had been dancing from the dry and wet leaves, as well as the freshly steeped tea itself, I anticipated a light and perhaps sweet taste. What I got was bolder, a veritable flood of flavor across one’s mouth, yet it remained true to the original aromas.
The body of the taste is a certain floral greenness, yet not so green as to taste like one is drinking green tea. Natural sweetness laces the edges of the tea, but it seems that there is only enough sweetness to override any hints of astringency. Unsuspectingly, there are very few, if any, notes of creaminess about this oolong. The flavor is deep, though; my description making it sound far too simple. From sip to sip, it shows off a fully body of tastes, literally altering flavor as one sips, holds the tea in one’s mouth for a moment, and then swallows. This oolong has a mostly-green aftertaste. Hints of the floral profile stick around to remind the drinker of what they just experienced. It leaves one’s mouth feeling clean.
Over several more steepings, the flavors become more pronounced and a bit more bold in the green-area.
Despite the Teavivre description of their Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea being a beginner Taiwanese oolong, I think it is much, much more than that, eager and willing to show its complexities. I would definitely recommend giving this tea a try, and, unlike some of the teas that I recommend, I do not think that I shall say “if you like such-and-such a tea, give this oolong a try.” No, just give this oolong a try, unless you are adamantly opposed to floral oolongs. I think you will enjoy it. On my personal enjoyment scale, I rate this tea an 83/100.