Day 2. I had to cold brew this. After 24 hours or so the liquor is green instead of yesterdays yellow. The taste is sublime. The aroma is heavenly. It’s right up there with Verdants Handpicked.
“Day 2. I had to cold brew this. After 24 hours or so the liquor is green instead of yesterdays yellow. The taste is sublime. The aroma is heavenly. It’s right up there with Verdants...” Read full tasting note
“Backlog from last night. I stopped by Asha last night after dinner to have a gaiwan service of this one. I have wanted to try it but never got around to ordering or swapping for it. I like Alishans...” Read full tasting note
“hmm. So I still think Alishans are kind of wimpy but I wanted to try this one anyway and it certainly seems like one of the better ones I have had. I've been steeping this in a gaiwan at around...” Read full tasting note
“Alishan! I love Alishan! And this has to be one of the best that I’ve tried. It starts out quite light, but the flavors and the texture develops as I continue to sip it. Beautifully...” Read full tasting note
Handpicked leaves. Top quality production by Mr. Li.
A sweet aroma reminiscent of a brisk, high mountain sunrises and sweet green vegetation.
From the “Pure Heart,” or Qing Xin / 清心 varietal, considered the most pure representation of high mountain tea.
If we had to describe this tea in one sentence:
White tea is elegant, green tea is pure, and black tea is bold, but a fine Oolong is all three and more.
Company description not available.
Alishan OolongAcquired Taste Tea Co.
Alishan OolongTen Ren
Alishan OolongDie Kunst des Tees
Alishan OolongCaoly Industrial Co., Ltd.
alishan OolongThe Spice Merchant
Backlog from last night. I stopped by Asha last night after dinner to have a gaiwan service of this one. I have wanted to try it but never got around to ordering or swapping for it. I like Alishans ok, but I’ve never been wild over them. This one got such great reviews I wanted to try it.
At Asha I did get a tea tray and cup with my gaiwan so that I could decant into it. I also got a pot of water, but it was really only enough for a rinse and two steeps. As it was already getting late I didn’t get another pot… also I was there alone and I didn’t want to leave my stuff to go up to the counter and a refill. I have to say that it’s been a while since I used a gaiwan and I kind of miss it. There is something about it that I really like. Guess I should look into getting one.
They only gave me a relatively small amount of leaf for this one, maybe a couple of grams. Less than I would have typically used, and pretty skimpy for charging $7 for the tea service. She informed me that the steep time should be 1 minute, which I guess it would need to be with that little leaf. It was kind of like steeping western style in a gaiwan. I rinsed it, and this rinse was definitely mostly flavorless as opposed to my typical rinses.
This tea was almost impossibly floral. It seemed almost like an orchid oolong, it’s that intense. To me, it smelled so lovely and buttery and delicious. In the taste I mostly got florals and fresh vegetal greenness, without much butteriness or creaminess. But that is what I would expect from an Alishan, and this one is quite impressive. By the second steep the leaves had opened up, filling the gaiwan about half-way. Still light and green and floral. A lovely tea, for sure.
hmm. So I still think Alishans are kind of wimpy but I wanted to try this one anyway and it certainly seems like one of the better ones I have had.
I’ve been steeping this in a gaiwan at around 180 F for 60 seconds or so. My impressions of the first two steeps are it’s very light and citrusy with an elegant creamy element. I am reminded of lemon meringue.
The third steep is usually my favorite with oolongs and I’m also getting the coconut milk element that Geoffrey described in his tasting note. I think I will need to try cold brewing the rest of this sample as well, that would probably bring out the sweetness in this tea a lot.
About the fourth infusion I’m getting some sugar snap peas in here, I’m thankful this tea is not overly flowery in any way. A gentle and elegant way to start my day.
I’ve tasted about a dozen ali shan offerings (most of them quite green, slightly-roasted like this one). Upon comparison, this is a standout. When it comes to floral aromas, I found some lovely ones within, lilac among them. However, it’s not as strongly floral as some I’ve had (and I do cherish those floral notes). Where this Pure Heart shines is the leaf freshness and tenderness and the even coverage of oxidation across the leaf. Obviously there was a lot of careful attention paid to bruising this crop, and it delivers a great drinking experience. Rich flavors of butter and corn are a delightful contrast to a light-bodied liquor which is clean and sparkling like champagne.
The pickers took complete budsets down to the third open leaf, yielding finished nuggets of dry tea that are large and fat. Many of the nuggets sport a ‘handle’ of stem which I’ve come to associate with hand-picked products. Gazing at the steeped budsets transports me to the tea fields in my mind’s eye. They are so juicy and tender that I am inclined to gobble up 90% of the leaf and stem, as if it were steamed asparagus. I wonder what it would taste like with a little bit of vinegarette dressing … something to explore with a future session’s results. I’m having my tea and eating it, too! This ali shan is an opportunity to discover the sweetness of stems, which are often sweeter than the leaves. This revelation has caused me to view stemmy tea with a less doubtful eye.
5 grams tea / 3 ounces water. Short rinse, followed by a rest … then steeps from one to ten minutes, with higher temperature in later ones.
Thank you to BTVSGal for this sample. Wow what flavor! This is buttery like buttered popcorn! Fantastic…and who would have thunk it! The White Tea floral is still there but not in the front knocking you down. I like that. There is such a weave of flavors that you think would not go together. Buttered popcorn and orchids? But it goes together like popcorn in the park on a Spring day. So good. I lightly sweetened mine. The second steep 2 minutes was longer than the 1 minute of the first. I can smell the charcoal and a little rubber in the vegital. Not a big deal. Still buttery and floral and light golden. I believe this is going to take multiple steeps better than any tea I’ve had thus far which makes it a bargan. I only used 1.5 tsp for 8 oz. and estimate it will go at least 4 or more steeps. Nice with chunks of salted cantalope or crenshaw melon.
Impressive! This is definitely the star of the three teas I received from Asha. I ordered a half ounce sample of it, while that was still an option, and put about half of it into my gaiwan this morning (approx. 7 grams). I’ve been using the standard method I like for brewing oolongs gongfu style: boiling or near boiling water, one immediate rinse, then three seconds for the 1st and 2nd infusions, and increase the steep time by an additional three seconds with each following infusion. I just finished my first thirty second infusion, so I’ve steeped this tea about ten times now. It has not let up one bit.
So the first couple infusions were very light, and I didn’t expect much from them. The tea really started to get going on the third and fourth infusion. Here’s what I’ve noted on it’s characteristics:
(of fragrance and flavor)
Base-note: Exactly like Thai sticky sweet rice.
Mid-notes: coconut milk and orchids.
Top-notes: hints of vanilla bean and sliced almond, and sometimes hint of sweet corn
Aftertaste: Above notes persist and unfold over minutes to surprising additional fruit notes, like occasional flashes of light peach, sweet apple and honeydew melon. Also tingles in a pleasant way.
Mouth-feel: Very light, almost vaporous, and yet somehow still creamy.
It all makes me wish I had some fresh sliced mango to eat for breakfast alongside this tea! I’m really amazed by the kinship between this tea and the sweet rice in coconut milk that is served with mango as a Thai dessert. It’s so delicious. Quite fantastic in many ways! I’ll definitely be ordering more of it.
This is incredible!
This is a very flavorful Alishan and I’m totally LOVING it! I can always appreciate a nice Alishan and this is the bees-knees!
It’s happiness in a cup! It’s juicy and sweet and a tad floral but brisk and bright! Very clean and pure!
I’ll be doing multiple infusions on this one (but I have some backlogging to do, too!)
I love the name of this oolong. It sounds delicious!
First Infusion: Lightly buttery, clean & fresh. Very smooth, not astringent in the slightest.
Second Infusion: Stronger butter scent. Floral notes are definitely coming through now. Not as smooth as the first infusion. Flavors are more floral and with a little bit of bite.
Third Infusion: Still a bit astringent. The dominate flavor is of flowers, but with something like buttered greens in the background. Quite tasty!
I am going to stop steeping now, only because dinner is on the way. This is a very fresh and clean tasting oolong with nice floral flavors. I prefer a bit more milky/buttery notes in my oolongs, but drinking this tea gets me in the mood for spring!