This is my second session with this tea. I was going to write about it before, but was overwhelmed by its complexity. This high mountain oolong from the Li Shan area performs well above its relatively modest price point. I steeped 5 g in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 205F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first steep is a wonderful balance of floral, fruity, and vegetal. It has notes of peonies, sweet pea flowers, dried fruit (cranberries?), cooked spinach, arugula, and herbs, and is much pleasanter than that sounds. In the second and third steeps, nutty overtones become more noticeable and the liquor gets stronger and tangier. It also has the silky mouthfeel I associate with good Li Shan teas. I’m having trouble describing exactly what’s going on because this oolong is so complicated.

The next few steeps are nuttier and fruitier as the florals fade into the background. There’s a hint of grain, as mentioned on the website. If I were being fancy, I’d describe this as a cranberry-almond biscotti next to a receding bouquet of peonies. Even after nine steeps, this tea isn’t a sad vegetal mess like some high mountain oolongs, retaining its tangy, dried fruit flavour.

This is an exceptional oolong that I’m surprised is still in stock.

Flavors: Almond, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Floral, Grain, Herbaceous, Nutty, Spinach, Tangy

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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