Monday, December 7, 2015

Eco-Cha: Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong, A Tea Review

Alas, for it is a day where I cannot really think of anything interesting to start today's blog off with. Now it is true that I have plenty to talk about (always was accused of loving the sound of my own chatter) but it seems that it is just geared towards tea, so without further ado, let us get to steeping!

Today's tea is from Eco-Cha, and sadly it is a tea that is quickly vanishing from the tea world. Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong, it is one of my favorite Oolongs, but the area it is being grown in is being taken back by the government to return it to its unique natural state. The naturalist in me approves of the preservation of unique eco-systems, the tea lover in me cries at the loss of one of my favorite Oolongs, where it was expensive beforehand, the remaining tea is now going to cost a fortune. So what makes this tea so special to me, well, let's start with the aroma of the dry leaves. In a word, delicious! It starts with a distinct yeasty farm bread and butter note, it has a sweetness and lack of grain bread note, if you have ever had that delightful fluffy, white bread that goes perfect with soup and butter, then you know that exact smell. After that there is a gentle spice and sweet Asian pears, it smells vaguely of poached pears rather than fresh ones, and the finish is a gentle blend of chestnuts and honeysuckles, with a delicate touch of wildflowers.

I love how many stems there are in this tea, lots of several leaves balled up into one...well...ball, it is very cool. The aroma of the soggy leaves is intensely buttery, there is a sweetness but it comes from the nectar of honeysuckles and hyacinths. The finish is wonderfully warm baking bread and sweet yeast. The aroma of the liquid is sweet and buttery, like freshly baked bread just slathered in honey butter, and that loaf of bread is sitting next to a blooming hyacinth.

From the first sip I am struck with the intense buttery thick mouthfeel, it is really amazing, I think if this tea had no taste (oh trust me, it does) and was just relying simply on the mouthfeel I would still be in awe. The tasting starts with sweetness of yeasty bread, butter, and honey, which then moves on to intense hyacinth nectar. The finish though, it swtiches pretty intensely to thick buttery greens, very much so like a mix of cooked bok choy and spinach, it manages to be very green and buttery without being overly savory...umami without the slightly meaty aspect that you get from some green teas, if that makes sense.

The aroma of the second steep is buttery sweet yeasty bread and hyacinth blossoms, again it reminds me of eating bread sitting next to a vase of blooming hyacinth, quite lovely. Again with the intensely thick and buttery mouthfeel, it coats the mouth and is oily without being slimy (drinking teas with coconut, now that I call slimy, this is only oily in sensation and not actual oil, an important distinction.) So this steep is intensely green and buttery, strong notes of turnip greens, cooked bok choy and cooked spinach. Usually when I have an oolong with green notes it is the taste of crushed vegetation (like walking through a forest and crushing leaves underfoot, I am tasting that smell) and not vegetal, so this buttery green intensity is immensely pleasant. The finish is juicy sweet hyacinth nectar that lasts for quite some time.

Third steeping! The aroma is a double punch of hyacinths and lilies with yeasty honey smothered buttery bread, it smells so good! One thing I find really fascinating is how sweet the aroma is and how savory green the taste is, me thinks this is why the taste is savory without being meaty. The taste starts out like the last steep, intensely buttery green with turnip greens, cooked bok choy, and cooked spinach. The finish kinda creeps up on me with a distinct blend of pear and apple that lingers well after the sipping is finished. I got as many steeps out of this tea as I could possibly muster, probably drinking it after it was done, but you know, getting more of this tea is going to be a hassle, so I need to make it last! I even ate the leaves when I was done!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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