Ali Shan Red Oolong - Taiwan Oolong Tea - Fall, 2012

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Oolong Tea
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From Norbu Tea

This dark-oxidized (red) oolong tea comes from the Alishan Scenic Area in Southwest Taiwan’s Chiayi County. As with all of our tea from Ali Shan, we work exclusively with one family who live in Dabang Village in the portion of Alishan Township reserved exclusively for Taiwan’s Tsou indigenous ethnic group. After well over a year of refining their production methodology, the family made this first publicly available red oolong production from the 2012 fall harvest. This tea was produced from Qing Xin (Green Heart) variety tea plants, which are known in Taiwan as “Qing Xin Oolong” or just “Oolong.”

The plantation where this tea was grown lies in the hills above Dabang Village at an altitude of 1,200+/- Meters (4,000+/- feet), and it was harvested in October during the Fall harvest season of 2012.
Appearance, Flavor and Aroma:
As is evident from the photographs, the dry leaves have been rolled into a ball-shape, similar to the famous green-style oolong teas of the region. When steeped, this tea produces a beautifully clear, reddish-amber infusion with a sweet aroma. There is a familiar, distinct flavor and sweetness unique to the Qing Xin tea cultivar used to produce this tea that comes through clearly in the cup along with some sweet spices (cinnamon perhaps?) and maybe just a touch of dried flowers. The infusion is full-bodied, well rounded and almost “slippery” in the mouth, and the aftertaste is remarkably sweet & spicy.

Steeping Guideline:
As usual, I suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Try starting out with 6-8 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot, water just under a boil and a series of short steepings starting with about 20 seconds for the first infusion.

This tea is excellent when infused in the traditional Western style. Start with about 1 teaspoon (2-3 grams) of leaf per standard size cup. Use water just off the boil, and steep for 3-5 minutes. I guess you could try it with milk and sugar for a morning cup if you really want to, but be sure to try it straight up first since it already has a real sensation/feeling of sweetness in the cup.

Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.

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