Friday, December 14, 2018

Tea From Taiwan: Da Yu Ling and Hua Gang, An Oolong Review

Ben and I had the best game of Commander the other night (technically I had two really good games, but the second one was him drawing nothing but lands so that was not really as fun) which was great because I was starting to develop a complex. Brewing Commander decks is one of my favorite past-times, and one I consider myself somewhat skilled at it, but of course I have a favorite deck. My baby, the Scarab God, a Dimir zombie tribal deck, it is not tier one but it is quite a good deck...except when it isn't. For several months I could not win a game, I was never hitting my card draw, ramp, win conditions...and statistically I should, I have enough ramp and card draw and have more than one win condition, but it seemed I just had the worst luck. It was starting to make me doubt my deck, but it seems my run of bad luck is over! Clearly that means I need to go back to working on card alters and finish that project. Though I do realize I need to tweak a few things, I do not have enough disruption and since I am in blue and play 1vs1 the most, it is needed.

Enough of MTG rambling, I could go on about that all day, so I should stop before I get out of hand. Today I am looking at a pair of Taiwanese Oolongs from way up in the mountains, by way of Tea From Taiwan. You can either get both of them separately or try them in this duo sampler, so let us take a trip high into the mountains to looks at two delightful teas. 


Sweet lord it has been an eternity since I had a DYL, what was once one of my favorite teas of all time has now become a real pain to get since they have greatly limited the amount of tea growing space in that region, replacing it with nature zones...the naturalist in me is happy, but the tea lover in me is miffed. This tea is immensely aromatic, very crisp and sweet with green vegetation notes, citrus flowers, papaya, and a lingering finish of daffodil flowers. Brewing up the leaves brings in stronger buttery notes of cooked bok choy and a touch of honeysuckles to go along with the daffodils. I might have spent way too much time sniffing the leaves before actually getting to drinking the tea. The first thing that really struck me was the immensely THICK mouthfeel, it was viscous and soup-like, and left an aftertaste that lingered for an eternity. The taste was phenomenal, notes of crisp green vegetation, irises and daffodils, sweet cream, and the lingering aftertaste of juicy pears. The tea lasts forever too, definitely a tea I sat with all day, I long lost count of how many steeps I got with it and was still sad to see it end. 


Hailing from the Hua Gang region of Li Shan (yet another favorite mountain...but honestly at this point I think I have said that about all of them...I just get really overwhelmed in a good way by Taiwanese Oolongs) The aroma of these leaves have a lot in common with the DYL, crisp and green with underlying floral notes and a delicate fruitiness, however those notes are different, this one brings in raw spinach leaves, hyacinth flowers, and a touch of apples. Brewing the leaves makes them undergo an aroma transformation, the floral notes turn into spicebush and lilies with their intense sweet and spicy qualities, and also a finish of starch similar to Hawaiian sweetbread (something I have to never be left alone with or I devour it like a maniac.) There is something magical about gaoshan oolongs, mostly that they are the thickest teas, I always expect them to look thicker than they are since their mouthfeels are like warm, gelatinous, soup and I love it. This tea is fairly balanced in its taste, no note overpowers another, it starts with a mellow green vegetation and slight herbaceous (the herb savory to be exact) note that fades into sweet lingering lilies and starchy sweet bread, both of these notes lasting long into the aftertaste. This was another tea that I sat with all day getting steep after steep of, and was sad when its lily taste faded like a closing blossom. 

Teas sent for review

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