Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gao Shan Ali Shan Oolong from Spring 2011

This week's highlight is this Cha Xi with 2 American tea lovers. They both work in a tea shop and are so interested in tea that they came to Taiwan to tour the tea growing regions, tea shops and say hi to one of their favorite tea bloggers!

On a beautiful and hot day, I drove to the hills of southern Taipei and, after some searching, we found a great spot to brew tea. It had both shade and a nice breeze coming from the valley. My regular source of spring water was dry (due to the draught). Luckily, we could get enough water from a nearby temple.

Here, among others, I brewed the April 14, 2011 handpicked High Mountain Oolong from Zhang Shu Hu (in Ali Shan). At an elevation of 1600 meters, it is (so far) the best spring Oolong I selected this year. It's so good that I even can use my silver teapot!

Looking at the Cha Xi from above, I called it "Cha Dao, finding your tea path": the 3 qingbai singing cups seem to form a road around the plate and the jar. It's also a theme that resonated with my guests, after their weeks of travel around the island from one tea place to another. What surprised them is that they didn't find the best teas in Lugu or Ali Shan (where they are grown), but in tea shops in Taipei!
This Ali Shan Oolong (Qingxin/luanze Oolong cultivar) felt so pure and refreshing, sweet and long lasting!

The brew is so clear and transparent! And, amazingly, I've only used very few leaves. Opened up, they only occupy half of the teapot. These leaves have an incredible concentration and power that one would usually from a Da Yu Ling. And they also have the fruity and exuberant character of Ali Shan Oolong.

The cold weather and slow growth of this spring's harvest is one explanation for this unusual concentration. Another is that this comes for a new plantation.

For an optimal cup, I recommend to use fewer leaves than you usually do and wait long enough for the leaves to open up in the first brew.

A wonderful celadon tea jar completes the Cha Xi. It's color stands out and reminds me of Ju porcelain. I'm currently testing it along with other jars I've recently received.

3 happy Oolong drinkers!

5 comments:

Philippe de Bordeaux said...

Bonjour Cher Stéphane,

Quel cadre!

Cet Ali Shan exceptionnel si tu le compares par sa force à du Da Yu Ling je serais curieux de le déguster.

Quelles différences sens-tu de l'effet sur ton Corps de ce thé entre chez Toi à domicile à Taipei...cela doit être assez énorme cette osmose thé Ali Shan et le boire sur son propre lieu d'origine&cadre.
Il y a deja des nuances entre ma cour et mon intérieur;toute comme j'ai pu remarquer que le thé n'a jamais le même gout ou la mm impression seul, ou avec des hôtes...

à bientôt.

Et le bonjour à la Théière en argent!

. PHILIPPE .

Philippe de Bordeaux said...

Pourrais tu nous remettre un lien vers tes vieux Baozhongs 1983 1970;Ils n'apparaissent plus dans ta liste;j'ai dégusté dans la nuit Le 1983' c'est succulent comme des fruits rouges boisés;un voyage en foret et dans le temps; sublime.

Merci.

à bientôt.

Stephane said...

Bonjour Philippe,

Boire le thé en extérieur permet une meilleure communion avec la nature. Les détails, les nuances sont moins nets, mais le ressenti est plus entier. Le fait d'avoir des hôtes est un plus: on devient plus exigeant et on a plus d'avis.

J'ai remis le lien du Baozhong des 70s que j'ai pu ravoir. Le stock du 1983 est épuisé, malheureusement.

Bon dimanche!

payton said...

Merci beaucoup Stéphane! We had a wonderful time and wonderful tea.

InDidjinUs said...

Hey I know those Tea Travelers! Matt and Peyton! Cool to see some familiar faces. I have much gratitude for the devotion and quality of tea that they pour at Dobra Tea. What a cool coincidence!