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Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea Leaves
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Edit tea info Last updated by Brandice
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185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 11 oz / 335 ml

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18 Tasting Notes View all

From Harney & Sons

This is one of Taiwan’s highest mountain teas. The tea plants must battle cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists. This makes a haunting brew with echoes of honey and cream.

Li Shan is one of the most recent High Mountain (Gao Shan) tea growing areas. It is located in the middle of Taiwan’s central mountain region. The tea is rolled into balls using special machines. In the old days, they used the feet of strong teamen to bend the leaf. This is considered one of the best oolongs in the world.

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

18 Tasting Notes

39 tasting notes

The tea brews a translucent pale yellow-green and has a distinctive and inviting buttery floral scent. The leaves are rolled and need space to expand so using a strainer or pyramid is recommended over the common paper type filters. I use a kettle with a temperature gauge and set it to the front of the oolong range for this tea, which is just right. The taste of this tea I describe as savory and it coats the mouth with the buttery earthy flavor characteristic of some of the high mountain oolongs. I was able to get two steeps out of my first bag with the second being slightly more intense on the earthy side. For those that like floral or earthy oolongs this is a privilege to drink, and quite a welcome departure from firm leaf varieties like wuyi cassia or da hong pao, from which I need a short break.

Not for the faint of heart with respect to price – but because the rolled leaves expand to a great degree, just a few are needed for a perfect cup. I just re-upped and ordered another batch, as some family members also took a keen liking to this tea, which we sipped in the evening as a way to relax and put the day behind us.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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31 tasting notes

This is a nice green oolong and I am enjoying it. It tastes more vegetal than floral. I think that I would rather floral. It is an expensive tea, and very highly rated. I am a little embarrassed to say that to me, it tastes pretty ordinary. I feel I’ve tasted it before in a less expensive form. I am going to resteep at a lower temperature with less water and hope for more magic.

OK, have resteeped. Still not impressed.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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58 tasting notes

Solid oolong, very clean.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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1617 tasting notes

As a part of my oolong literacy campaign, I recently ordered a sample of Li Shan from Harney & Sons. Must have been the luck of the draw, but this envelope contained 14 grams, while the others contained from 4 to 8 or 9 grams. Luck indeed, because this tea is delicious!

I was looking forward to trying another new oolong near the green end of the spectrum, and I simply assumed that Ali Shan, which is covered in The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea was the same as Li Shan. Apparently this is not the case, as the author explains that Li Shan is now competing with Ali Shan.

In some ways, it was a relief, as I really did not detect the listed tasting notes for Ali Shan: gardenia, lilac, key lime pie, … what?

Instead, I found Li Shan to smack vaguely of something half-way between tarragon and licorice! It also smelled floral, but I was unable to identify any particular flower.

The flavor was (past tense, since I already downed the whole glass!) so delicious, and the texture reminded me of milk oolong. Now I see that honey and cream are the company’s tasting notes for this particular oolong, so probably this is similar to milk oolong. The gnarled dark green nuggets do bear a resemblance to the unflavored milk oolongs I’ve tried so far. Even though I still have 11 grams left of this tea, it’s already going on my wish list.

The liquor is bright yellow with a slight tinge of green. What a joy to imbibe!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Lovely review!


Thank you, Sarsonator! ;-)


Yes, well-written. Sounds like a great tea too, I think I’ll be putting it on My wishlist :)


I put it on my wishlist too :)


Great—we can have a virtual tea party together! ;-)

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15 tasting notes

Wow! Talk about a good quality tea. Every leaf after steeping is whole and not ripped. This tea was quite pricey, but the delicate hands and care that have gone into processing this tea is impressive.
This nose is lightly vegetal…light greens and snow peas.
The first sip immediately coats your mouth with this velvety smooth texture and has moderate mouth-feel.
The flavor is light spinach with subtle toasted notes. Honey keeps coming to mind with the light sweetness, mainly because of the creamy texture and mouth-feel.
One of my favorite oolongs to date. Out of the oxidation spectrum for oolongs, this would fall toward the lightly/less oxidized end giving way to more vegetable notes than toasted.
I did 4 infusions and the flavor kept coming. Maybe that will level out the high price.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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