Sunday, December 14, 2014

Teavivre: Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea, A Tea Review

Hey all, still not feeling 100% yet, something about the transition from moderately warm and cold to full on constant cold winter always throws my body for a loop. Luckily taking a chill and getting some much needed sleep last night definitely seemed to help, along with a little thrift store therapy. I found some adorable new tea gear for an amazing price, I will have to have another tea gear show off soon! I am hoping after the 'Christmas rush' slows down I can get back to reviewing tea gear and tea books, but for now it is all tea all the time. I hope you all do not mind too terribly much.

So for today we are finishing up the Oolong tasting event from Teavivre with Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea! This Gao Shan is from the 1,000 meter zone of Ali Shan, this particular tea is a Jin Xuan varietal (one of my personal favorites, in case you were curious) and apparently irrigated with fresh spring water. I want to be irrigated with fresh spring water, that stuff is delicious and so clean tasting, but I am not a plant so I must live vicariously through tea. The aroma of this tea is really quite sweet, like sesame candies with honey (ever had those things, they are delicious!) along with a touch of honeysuckle nectar and sweet cream, the cream notes border on buttery. Ok, so this just might be a Southern thing, but it reminds me a little of that super creamy honey butter for biscuits, yes I have been guilty of just eating the butter and forgoing the biscuit.

The aroma of the brewed leaves is unsurprisingly very sweet, they smell like a blend of honeysuckles and fresh growing things in summer. There are also notes of yeasty baking bread and a touch of chestnuts. The blend of bread and chestnut makes me want to bake, I absolutely love chestnuts, but they are obnoxiously expensive and I was spoiled as a kid since I lived near a chestnut tree. The liquid is no where near as intense as the wet leaves, it is mild and sweet with baking bread notes and a touch of slightly creamy honeysuckle.

The first steep is light in taste but powerful in mouth feel. It is so smooth that I will go out of a limb and say it is silky, it does not fill the mouth, it caresses. The taste is sweet, blending yeasty bread and honeysuckles with a distinct green quality, not vegetal, just green. I find myself wondering if the taste is really that mild or if the sensation of the tea is so intense that I am distracted by it, a very real possibility.

Whoa, the aroma of the second steep really steps up its game, where the previous steep was pretty mild, this one is sweet and yeasty with flower notes and a touch of sweet cream. Surprisingly, the taste is not really sweet, it blends notes of spinach, growing green things, and bread. Specifically either a really mild sourdough or country farm bread. At the finish there is a hint of sweet flowers and chestnuts. I love how bread like this tea tastes, I do not run into a more savory green oolong very often, so it is a bit fun!

The third steep is similar to the second with its delightfully sweet and floral aroma, specifically it is the aroma of honeysuckles, one of my favorite summer flowers. The taste surprises again, it starts off similar to the second, not as green and primarily yeasty. Then it blooms into honeysuckles and honey which lingers to the finish where it is joined with chestnuts at the aftertaste. This is not my favorite ever Oolong, but it is quite enjoyable.

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