Here’s another backlogged review from a little earlier in the week. The third tea from my Shan Lin Xi oolong sampler, I found this one to be the least engaging of the group thus far. It was not a bad tea by any measure, it just lacked some of the depth and character that made both of the Shibi oolongs so appealing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted floral, fruity aromas with hints of cream and vanilla. After the rinse, I found aromas of cream, vanilla, butter, and sugarcane balanced by hints of fresh flowers and orchard fruits. The first infusion brought out aromas of pear, gardenia, and magnolia. In the mouth, I found notes of cream, butter, vanilla, and sugarcane underscored by subtle hints of magnolia and gardenia. There was something of an indistinct vegetal character there too. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of orchid, lily, honeysuckle, green apple, white grape, grass, lettuce, custard, spinach, seaweed, and minerals to go with hints of cantaloupe and a slightly brothy umami note. Oh, and the pear eventually managed to show up in the mouth as well. The later infusions were mostly a wash of minerals, butter, lettuce, and spinach with hints of umami, seaweed, green apple, and pear.
This was not a bad tea, but I could not muster all that much enthusiasm for it after a point. I found that the floral notes faded quickly and I could not find enough in the later infusions to hold my interest. In the end, I’m glad I took the opportunity to try this tea, but it did not hold up to the stronger, sweeter Shibi oolongs Taiwan Tea Crafts offers.
Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, White Grapes