Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Eco-Cha: Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong (Fall 2015), a Tea Review

I am so in love with my new fishtank! When I was at the store picking it up I also collected a few more shrimp (I have six now!) and I impulse bought a Kuhli Loach. Usually I try very hard to not impulse buy fish, but there was only the one and it was lonely. Loaches are quite communal little (long) fish, so I hope to get him a companion at some point, I love Loaches, they are such fun to watch. Of course mine is missing, because they are also notorious hiders, so who knows what rock it has stuffed itself under.

Today, continuing with my themed Oolong week, is Eco-Cha's Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong, specifically the Fall 2015 harvest, so nice and fresh! I really enjoy Shan Lin Xi, it is an Oolong that I just find to taste so clean, like mountain air during the winter, so I am excited to see how this harvest compares to others I have had. If you have not, I highly recommend checking out the website for this tea, it is a wealth of information about the grower and this batch's harvest. The leaves are quite pretty, tightly balled and vibrant green, and the aroma is both intense and gentle...it makes sense, I promise. It starts out with a gentle chestnut note, then moves to creamy sweetness, then on to clean alpine air (it is a bit pine-y, just a touch) with a finish of lily of the valley, sugarcane, and a delicate note of oatmeal.

The first steep unfurls quite beautifully, showing off the richly green leaves. The aroma has left the realm of gentle and just moved straight to intense, I first notice the alpine fresh air with gentle green notes and just cleanliness, it smells refreshing. This moves on to honey, rolled oats, and a touch of gentle flowers. The liquid is quite sweet, notes of oatmeal and lily blossoms, sugarcane, honey, and that fresh mountain air. At the tail end of the sniffing is a note of snap peas adding a bit of green.

Now it is time for sipping the pale golden liquid. The texture is smooth, not quite buttery, but certainly no dryness at all. The tasting starts out sweet, a gentle sugarcane sweetness, this moves pretty immediately to snap peas and alpine air, honeysuckles, lilies, and a touch of butteriness. The finish is a nice lingering honey and smoothness.

Time for the second steep, the leaves are more unfurled and the liquid a little darker, the aroma is sweet and sugary, with notes of snap peas and oats. The texture of the mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, I would go all out and say it is buttery this steep. The taste is a perfect balance between sweet and green, notes of sugar cane and lilies, alpine air and snap peas, and a finish of oats. The aftertaste kinda sneaks up on you with a gentle floral sweet burst, just like nectar.

Moving right along to the third steep, the leaves are so fluffy I can barely close my gaiwan! The aroma is sweet again, the oat and sugarcane notes are stronger, the snap peas and alpine notes are more laid back, and it has a buttery undertone which is quite rich. The taste is sweet, creamy and sweet with a lean more towards flowers and green notes. Growing things, alpine air, snap peas, and a touch of crushed vegetation, the green then moves on to honeysuckle, lilies, and a touch of lilacs. The finish of flowers give the tea a nectar sweetness that lingers for a while. I went on for quite a few more steeps, these leaves just give and give, one of the reasons I love Eco-Cha's Oolongs so much, staying power!

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