I need a tea tasting reset – that usually means a gongfu session with my favorite gaiwan and an everyday Taiwanese High Mountain oolong. Since, sadly, I’ve broken my favorite gaiwan, I’ll be using my alternate gaiwan. Seems suitable to brew a different High Mountain, too.
200F+ rinse until the rolled leaves unfurl, 9 infusions starting at 5s, ending at 1min, 195F-208F varying.
The rinse infusion is one of the most pleasant I’ve tried. Light, creamy, sweet, with no harsh taste whatsoever… more reminiscent of a milk oolong to me, as this lacks the floral or savory components I’m used to. That also means there’s no cloying flower or bitter toasty flavors that I dislike in oolong rinses. Surprising.
The first two infusions mostly follow the rinse profile, which is still surprising. It’s definitely still a High Mountain and not a milk oolong, as the creaminess is more buttery than milky and there’s that darker, buttery savory base. That savory flavor takes over for the next few infusions, with a hint of squash, and a mild sweet tapioca aftertaste. In the entire last half, the profile is mildly sweet, with a honeyed tapioca flavor and savory florals. It’s a great profile, but it doesn’t develop into anything else… It’s nice in that it’s pretty consistent at this point, and the infusion strength itself isn’t weakening. And all throughout the session, the liquor was thin-syrupy, like sugar water, and the tea itself was very refreshing despite the 195F-200F temperatures.
I’m willing to guess that this High Mountain oolong from Bird Pick is higher altitude than my everyday version, causing that creaminess I’m not used to. It’s also clear that this leaf is less rolled/oxidized, with larger rolls, more whole leaf, and fewer reddened leaf edges, making this less savory and toasty.
Edit: Very late steeps finally showcase those florals I was expecting, and very pleasantly so in combination with the honey. This resteeps better than usual, ending at 18 infusions.
Definitely a great oolong, and one I’ll look forward to brewing alternately with my current everyday High Mountain!