Jade oolong is a type of Taiwanese oolong that is noted for its light, floral aroma and taste. Of all the Taiwanese oolongs, jade oolong is not so much one of the rarer types, as it is one of the less popular types. Most drinkers of Taiwanese oolongs have historically gravitated toward the more heavily roasted varieties, but judging from the number of lighter, sweeter Taiwanese oolongs that are currently on the market, that trend is starting to change. For me, that is a good thing. I greatly enjoy Taiwanese oolongs and welcome an increase in the amount of Taiwanese tea on the market.
For the purpose of this review, I brewed this tea gongfu style. Following a quick rinse, I prepared an initial infusion of 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water. This infusion lasted 20 seconds. It was followed by eight additional infusions lasting 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, and 36 seconds. Note that I did not exactly follow the traditional Taiwanese gongfu method. I was specifically trying to make sure that the first infusion was bursting with flavor and that the subsequent infusions introduced subtle variations as the tea faded. To be precise, I was trying to really focus the aromas and flavors while simultaneously testing this tea’s boundaries.
The initial infusions produced a lovely and almost indescribable aroma. To me, it resembled a mixture of honey and flowers-osmanthus, chrysanthemum, lillies, orchid, and magnolia perhaps? In the mouth, the first infusions produced delicate and superbly integrated notes of lily, magnolia, chrysanthemum, osmanthus, orchid, cream, honey, custard, sticky rice, and steamed buns with traces of sweetgrass in the background. The middle infusions were mellower, bringing out more pronounced cream, honey, and sweetgrass aromas and flavors. The later infusions emphasized heavy cream, honey, and sweetgrass aromas and flavors with faint floral underpinnings and a hint of light minerality.
In the end, I really liked this oolong. The vendor describes it as a good beginner’s oolong because the flavors are not overpowering, but I am not really sure that is fair. I can see this tea being a good introduction to Taiwanese oolongs, but I can also see it being a good everyday oolong for those who are more familiar with teas of this type. It has enough depth and complexity to really shine on its own, it holds up well over the course of a relatively lengthy session (something greener oolongs, even those of high quality, do not always do), and it displays a unique combination of aromas and flavors. Try as I might, I really could not find much fault with this tea. I recommend it highly.
Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Sweet