Medium Roast Alishan Oolong - 2010 Winter Oolong Tea
Winter Harvest 2010
Growing Area: Alishan, Chiayi County, Taiwan
Varietal: Qing Xin (Green Heart) Oolong
Altitude: 4,000 ft (1,200 m)
This Winter Harvest High Mountain Oolong Tea comes from the Alishan Scenic Area in Southwest Taiwan’s Chiayi County. We buy all of our Alishan oolong tea from one awesome Tsou (an indigenous Taiwanese tribe/ethnic group) family who own and manage several tea gardens at different altitudes near Dabang, their village in Alishan.
This tea is a re-roasted version of our Winter, 2010 “1,200 Meter Alishan oolong” which was harvested in early December, 2010. It was stored under vacuum seal until my visit this past April, when I asked the wonderful woman who roasts the tea for us to do a medium roast with the last 6 KG of this harvest for us. To get to this finished product, she roasted the tea very slowly at a low temperature in an air-circulating oven for an additional 30+/- hours in total.
Flavor and Aroma:
When infused, this tea presents toasted grain-type elements layered on top of a deep, penetrating spicy-sweetness that reminds me of sweet, highly perfumed, oily spices like cinnamon or clove (although this tea doesn’t taste like either spice really) in both the flavor and aroma. The mouthfeel of the infused tea liquor is moderately thick and smooth, and the “hui gan” (literal translation: “return sweet”), or sweet aftertaste that comes after the initial bittersweet flavor fades, is beautifully sweet, spicy, a little bit tingly in the mouth and quite long lasting.
As usual, I suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Rather than sticking to a specific weight of tea leaves to water volume measure, we recommend simply filling your gaiwan or Yixing style teapot 1/4 to 1/3 full of dry tea leaves, use water just under a boil and a series of short steepings. If you prefer to use a weight to volume measure, try starting with 7 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot. I also recommend using aroma cups with this tea, but, if you don’t have aroma cups, be sure to enjoy the surprisingly sweet aroma that clings to the walls of your drinking cup after drinking this tea.
For Western-style steeping, start with 1-2 tsp of leaf per cup. Use water under a boil (195 degrees F), and steep for 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.