Today I am looking at Eco-Cha's May Tea Club's tea, Award Winning Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea, and this is no ordinary Alishan, instead of the usual vibrant green, this one is lightly roasted and slightly oxidized more than normal. Eco-Cha wrote an excellent little article on the tea and it is awesome that the tea competitions are encouraging more roasting over bright green, because it is no secret that I am all about the roast. The aroma of the leaves is amazing, seriously delicious stuff! Notes of gentle floral (lily and honeysuckle) blend with herbaceous sage notes, and the notorious toasted sesame of gently roasted Oolong. The sesame note is strong, nutty and sweet, like sesame candy. I adore the spectrum of roast Oolongs can have, such variation!
Brewing it up in my peony pot (to match the peony cup that was part of the club this month...I do love me my peonies) the aroma of roast becomes much more pronounced, nutty notes of sesame and sunflower seeds (that is a new one) along with toasted oats and barley with underlying honeysuckles and flowers. The aroma of the liquid is wonderfully sweet, honeysuckles and lilies with sesame and gentle sage and sage flowers. A really nice balance of herbaceous, sweet, floral, and roast.
Oh my goodness that is sweet! I am a little distracted from the mouthfeel and other notes by the astounding sweetness.The way the roasting did its work is awesome, Alishan is usually quite sweet, floral nectar notes of honeysuckle and lilies with notes of sweet snap peas, but when it is roasted the sweetness magnifies, still maintaining the gentle floral notes and ramping it up to honey drenched sesame seeds and honeysuckles. At the end is a gentle sage note and a faint barley note.
The aroma for the second steep is most toastier, stronger notes of roasted oats and barley with a straight up tahini rather than seame candy note. The first thing I notice with this steep is the thick almost syrup like texture of the tea. It is not as sweet this steep, this one features the roasted barley and oat notes at the front, then it rolls into sage and thyme, along with gentle snap pea notes. At the aftertaste there is a gentle honeysuckle note that lingers along with the viscosity of the tea...so thick!
Third steep, last for the blog but not for me, this tea lasts for quite a while...in fact the other night I started my session at night and kept at it til sunrise. The aroma of this steep is very similar to the previous steep, with just a touch more sweetness. Ah, this tea has such a soothing cha qi, warming and mellow and making me feel inspired, one of the reasons I love good Oolongs! This steep is delicious, a perfect balance of herbaceous and sweet, floral and roast, with a smooth mouthfeel and taste that lingers. I can certainly see why this tea won awards, it is wonderful! Another excellent choice for the club.