What I would give to have tried this tea when it was fresher. Tea Urchin, or whoever they acquired it from, must have stored it flawlessly because this green oolong with over 4 years of age has held up really well.
So far, I’ve steeped this gongfu with short steeps in a teapot and also western style. I really love the nuances of Taiwanese oolong when prepared gongfu, so my praises will be geared toward that method.
I wasn’t expecting such a forward dry leaf aroma from a 2014 tea but I was greeted with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, along with brown sugar, cream, apple, light creamy white florals and roasted pear. The aroma of the dry leaf matched that of the wet leaf and liquor throughout all steeps, evocative of… nevermind, I don’t know what but my room was a pocket of sweet spice, flowers, fruit and cream.
One of my housemates was acting neurotic today so I decided to share my gongfu session with her while she was spilling her life story to some poor Chevy dealership worker over the phone. I interrupted her with “Smell this, drink this,” thinking the calmness that often follows a high mountain oolong session would help her chill out. She stayed on the phone and never really savored it, pretty much slamming an empty tiny tea cup down within 5 seconds of me setting in on the glass table. Well, she did offer a few comments like “That first sip made my tongue tingle!” and “Oooh I really like this, thanks for sharing. I think it’s working.”
Moving on. The taste offered much the same as the aroma, with baking spices, florals like narcissus and creamy lily, brown sugar, a very light vegetal quality, green oolong grassiness, tingling minerals and later some green banana/banana leaf and lightly creamy, sweet lemon. Full mouthfeel with light salivation. The finish was moderate with those tropical fruit notes I delight in finding in some high mountain oolong: a mix of creamy passionfruit, guava and lychee that just stole my widdle tea heart. I didn’t notice the sugarcane returning sweetness and some slight mouth-cooling until late in the session. Those qualities were delayed compared to other teas of this style. One thing to note is I started off the session with a 200F rinse, which I drank, with no undesirable qualities, so I bumped it up to boiling for the entire session and it still performed excellently.
As a green oolong of this age, I can’t fault it for much. It was a little heavy on the high and low note fragrance and taste while lacking a bit in the midtones. That creamy tropical fruit aftertaste was a treat and probably would’ve been even stronger when fresh. The longevity of the tea was lacking a bit as well but dang that aroma.
Thanks for the few sample bags, Tea Urchin! I hope to see some more, maybe fresher, Shan Lin Xi oolong offered in the future.
Flavors: Apple, Banana, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cream, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Grass, Guava, Lemon, Lychee, Mineral, Narcissus, Nutmeg, Passion Fruit, Pear, Spices, Sugarcane, Tropical, Vegetal