drank Thousand Arrows by Shanti Tea
1 tasting notes

This is an incredibly handsome tea with its large rolled spears of leaves. They are beautifully uniform in size and twist and very satisfying to hold in your hand too, I must say. Under the magnifying loop the uniform twist and the glimpses of leaf-bud fuzz is gorgeous, and when I shake out the pack the fuzz (ie: pekoe) indicates the presence of leaf buds.

The sample directions suggest 1tsp of leaf per cup (I’ll guess that’s 5 oz), bringing the water to a boil but letting it cool for a minute and steeping it 2 to 3 minutes with re-infusions. I don’t let the water cool for a full minute since these are tightly rolled leaves and will need some good heat in the water to unfurl them, at least on their first infusion.

I use 88C at 1 minute 10 seconds steep and get a strong golden colour liquor. The liquor’s colour and the wet leaves’s colours indicate this is a medium oxidised oolong. The medium-sized wet leaves, partially or fully unfurled show a uniform, classic bud and two leaves pluck — really lovely to look at. The leaves are a soft coppery brown mixed with a bright green. As I sit tasting and writing I notice that alot of the green is changing to brown as they oxidise while sitting.

The leaves give off a light toasty sweet and vegetal scent with floral and applesauce notes. The liquor has a refreshing light to medium body with very light astringency and its flavour follows the leaf’s aroma and has a pleasing sweet fruity taste note of applesauce, with a toasty finish. On the second steep there is a more forward flavour note of sweet dried fruit, like raisin.

I’m not sure this has the distance that we’ve come to expect from great Chinese oolongs, but there’s still plenty happening in this beautiful looking oolong.

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