As I first typed out the word oolong for this review, I realized that I had far too many o’s in the word. This can happen with a word like “oolong,” and I supposed it would not have changed the sound. Say it with me. “Ooolong…” Okay, good, now we are in the right mindset for this tea!
Grown in Taiwan, “Li Shan” refers to the region in which it is grown, known as Pear Mountain. According to Canton Tea Co., this is one of the highest tea-growing regions in that country. If you wondered whether this tea was related to the oolong known as “ali shan,” look no farther: they are similar! The styles of these two oolongs are much alike, as are the flavors, though this oolong is grown at a higher altitude than ali shan.
Preparing for a gong fu session with a gaiwan, I heated my water to nearly boiling and preheated my teaware. I used several teaspoons of leaf in the gaiwan, so that I could perform numerous short steepings. The dry leaves are very, very floral and the aroma is smooth and buttery. After rinsing the leaves, I steeped them for twenty seconds. The smell of the freshly brewed tea maintains the smooth and buttery nose with less intense floral notes. The flavor is floral and vegetal, and already it is very bold and expressive. The leaves have hardly yet opened. In the second steeping, I let the leaves steep for thirty seconds, wishing to strengthen the tea further. Judging by the initial aroma, it has worked. The brew is twice as dark as last time, a deep yellow-green.The mouthfeel is thick and a bit dry, but now the floral notes in the flavor are accompanied by some sweet fruitiness. This tea makes me feel rejuvenated and full, as though I were drinking something that was not at all water-based. Steeping three is for another thirty seconds. The resulting tea is much like the second steeping: thick, darker (than the first), floral, buttery, and just a bit fruity. In a word, it is delicious. This tea has met and exceeded all of my expectations for it. I am going to put the rest of the leaves in a larger pot and leave (no pun intended) them for an extended steep, in order to bring out all of the leftover tea flavor. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 89/100.