I posted a combined review of this and a few other Alishans from Norbu on my teapages. Unfortunately, the one package of this that I had was opened a bit early, and suffered some loss of freshness and ‘zing’ before the review. So I can’t really rate it properly.
2010 Spring Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong - Taiwan Oolong Tea
-Spring Harvest 2010
-Growing Area: Alishan Scenic Area, Chiayi County, Taiwan
-Varietal: Qing Xin (Green Heart) Oolong
This example of High Mountain Oolong Tea comes from the Alishan (Mount Ali) Scenic Area in Taiwan. This particular tea was grown at an altitude of 1,200+/- Meters (3,900+/- feet) above sea level, and it was harvested in early May during the Spring season of 2010. This Spring’s harvest is a bit lighter in terms of flavor than last year’s Spring tea in my opinion, but the aroma and hui gan (bittersweet aftertaste) are excellent.
Our Tsou (an indigenous Taiwanese ethnic group) tea mistress roasted the tea leaves in a relatively low temperature oven, then sealed the tea in airtight containers to rest and mellow for 8-12 hours. Then she took the tea out of the containers and then repeated the process with another roast until she determined it was ready.
It has a unique “High Mountain Aroma” that can best be described as “orchidy” or floral, but it is an aroma that is truly unique to teas from this area. The mouthfeel of the infused tea liquor is nice and smooth without being thick, and the flavor is light & crisp as a result of the low oxidation and “green style oolong” type light roast. The Hui Gan, or bittersweet aftertaste, is quite nice with a sweet finish.
I recommend steeping this tea gongfu style to truly enjoy the layers of flavor that reveal themselves as the leaves unfurl over a series short steepings. I would start with about 7 grams in a small 100-150 cc Yixing type teapot or Gaiwan, and steep the leaves with 190-195 degree Farenheit water (under a boil). I have also enjoyed this tea many times steeped in the Western manner with good results.