I’m giving this one another shot, keeping in mind that oolongs are usually best on their 2-3 steeps.
The first steep, like before, was rather weak, the liquor a very pale greenish-yellow. Flavour-wise it started out with a green but slightly buttery taste that faded into a light bakey flavour.
The scond steep is fuller, the colour a darker gold. It’s not a robust oolong- I don’t think this tea has the capability to do robust. I’m not really picking up any of that butteriness from the first steep, instead the flavour is an interesting combination of floral and fruitiness. The floral is subdued, less noticable than the Tung Ting I tried from The Granville Island Tea Co or the Four Seasons Oolong from Samovar. I’m also still picking up some bakeiness on the tail end of each sip, though the tea also has a bit of a ‘green’ aftertaste. As it cooled down the tea taste sweeter, smoother and less bakey.
The third steep has a bit of a fruity tang to it, but it’s getting noticably weaker so I think I’ll put this one to bed.
I revised my rating of this tea as I only got the chance to do one steep the first time I tried it. Now I find I like it much better. Overall all it’s a mildly flavoured, light tea with muted floral and fruity notes and a very smooth feel in the mouth.
That’s the end of this tea – it was only a small sample because I’d never tried an ali-shan before this and I didn’t want to buy 50g only to find out that I hated it.
As it turns out, I don’t hate it, but it generates kind of a ‘meh’ reaction from me. It’s about on par with Samovar’s Four Seasons Oolong – nice but I’ve certainly had better too.
Hm I think I oversteeped this a bit; there’s a harsh astringent flavour to the brew this time. So it looks like 3-3.5 min is the optimal steeping time for this oolong- I’ll have to try and remember that. :)
The two steepings (1st @ 3:30, 2nd @ 4:30) I coaxed out of these leaves were both smooth and with a slightly buttery/milk note to them, complimenting the vegetale flavours and the slightly floral notes.
As the leaves unfolded I was surprised to see a lot of stems and even things that would qualitfy as twigs in with the leaves. I’m rather impressed at how tightly the manufacturers managed to roll up the leaves with all those pokey bits in there – aren’t the leaves supposed to be removed first?
My second steeping of the leaves and I’m not really that impressed. The bakey flavour is pretty consistant but there’s none of the smooth, milky notes from the first steep. Instead there’s an astringent taste that makes my mouth feel a bit dry. Meh, the leaves might be good for several more steeps but I think I’ll just chuck them and start over in a few days.