This tea. Wow. Upon the first whiff of the perfectly formed, dry, luminescent green leaves I knew I had something special. A sample was sent to me by a friend in Taiwan, but no note as to what it was so my first taste was completely blind. It wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered just how special this tea is. The first steep was fast, less than fifteen seconds and I needed very little leaf in the pot to get a really nice aroma and flavour to naturally show. The scent was of apple blossoms in springtime, just as they open, when they are at their freshest and this smell lingered seemingly forever. Then the flavour: crisp and incredibly clean. This tea left my mouth feeling silky smooth with a lovely returning sweetness on the tongue and in the back of my throat. The flavours were reminiscent of green apples blended perfectly with honey and a hint of cinnamon. I was able to re-steep at least 8 times, but I lost count so don’t quote me on that. It presented well after innumerable steeps.
And the energy. The greatest quality I look for in any new tea I try: it left me speechless and a little dumb-founded. This tea presents the energy of a well aged pu erh, and it’s fresh! I’m very used to high energy fresh oolongs from Formosa, but this one was explosive and left me seeing stars. The energy was probably enhanced a little because I used a fresh-oolong, well seasoned yixing, red clay pot from the late Ching dynasty to drink it (a pot made with clay from the lost clay process), but having also consumed it through a gaiwan, I know it presents almost as well without the yixing.
I have since learned that this tea has year after year been graded the highest grade oolong in Formosa and is grown with the strictest of organic standards. I will probably never have the chance to try it again beyond the small sample I have left as the waiting list to procure any is apparently ten years or more, but I will forever be indebted to my partner for finangling this small sample to try.