After hearing such wonderful things about the hand-selected oolongs available at the Tea Masters blog, I decided to take the plunge and order a puerh sampler and a handful of oolongs to see what they were all about. The owner/ humble tea master Stéphane helped me select a few different teas, but I ultimately decided to go with the Si Ji Chun and Gao Shan Luanze oolongs to get a feel for the differences in price, quality, and altitude.
I started my journey with the extremely affordable Si Ji Chun oolong, for it allows me to get a feel for the “lower end” of the Tea Master’s spectrum. The leaves are beautifully rolled and unfurl to long, bright green leaves complete with their stems and even a couple buds. If I look closely I can see where the edges have been oxidized, but it’s VERY light.
To me, this tea tastes fresh, sweet, and grows increasingly “green” as my steeping times increase. It reminds me more of a pan-fired Chinese tea more so than a kelp-y Japanese green, but it’s got a certain vegetal aftertaste that I just can’t get out of my head! While I’m accustomed to Taiwanese oolongs being far less roasted and malty tasting (in comparison to Chinese teas), this one really surprised me with its bright flavors and floral notes and honey-like sweetness that shine early on at high temperatures.
In summation: I’m very impressed with the flavors and drinkability of this inexpensive ($5 for 25g) oolong. When I was on vacation, I tossed a handful of these oolong “pearls” into a ceramic cup and poured boiling water over them — the tea turned out great! My only suggestion would be to use about a 1-1.25:1 ratio in your gaiwan or pot (4-5g for 100ml of water); as a little extra leaf seems to really enhance the bouquet of sweetness. Would definitely order again!