Monday, October 22, 2012

Winter 2012 Alishan Chang Shu Hu


Left: September 30
Alishan is one of the most popular tea mountain for a reason. Its Oolongs have a lot of Gao Shan energy and vitality. At the same time, their prices are very reasonable when compared to Lishan or Da Yu Ling.

This winter, I have selected 2 luanze Oolongs (qingxin Oolongs) from Chang Shu Hu in Ali Shan. Both were hand harvested from an elevation of 1500 m to 1600 m. Only 2 days separate them.

The first (left) was harvested on September 30, 2012.

 
Right: October 2nd
The second (right) was harvested on October 2nd, 2012.

Tasting both Oolongs provides a good example of how Oolongs from the same season and same location can vary. You just never get exactly the same tea. Each batch has its characteristics, and this makes selecting Oolong so interesting and important.
1. Scent.
Both dry leaves exude a dry lavender scent. It is stronger and darker on the left, lighter on the right.
The brews have a fruity scent reminding me of ripe, sweet and juicy oranges (the kind you peel, not press). The right has again a stronger scent.
2. Taste
Both Oolongs have a sugar cane sweetness that is characteristic of winter harvests. The right one is slightly astringent also, while the one on the left is smoother. Both leave a cooling sensation on the tongue.
The aftertaste is very long and full of pleasant stimulations in the mouth. The left tea has a more rough and darker note compared to the tea on the right.
3. Appearance
Both brews are very clear and bright. The brew on the left is darker. We can see that the leaves are more oxidized (red edges) than the tea on the right. There the open leaves have a darker greenish appearance. This is a tea that has seen more sunshine than the batch on the left. That's also why the right tea hasn't been dried as long as the left.

Conclusion: The Oolong from September 30 displays stronger 'fruity' notes. The October 2nd Oolong is lighter, but also finer. I will call them 'fruity' and 'fine' on my selection. Both are very pleasant and convey the warmth and fresh energy of Alishan Oolong!

7 comments:

Mr.R said...

Sounds very tasty! Cannot wait to try these, winter teas are my favourite.

Philippe de Bordeaux filipek said...

Tu as pris de la hauteur Cher Stéphane! C'est la vue de ta terrasse sur Taipei?
à bientot. Et merci pour les porcelaines.Extra!

Luke said...

Thats too bad. I really love the scent of lavender and I would have ordered one of these if this blog came only one day earlier. Next time :)

Stephane said...

Thanks Mr R! Read you soon!

Philippe, c'est la vue de la terrasse de mon immeuble vers le les montagnes de Wenshan au sud, depuis la banlieue de New Taipei City!

Luke,
enjoy the package that will arrive soon!

Terry Morrison said...

Actually the one on the right could be lighter and sweeter because it had less sunshine. Shade grown and cloud and mist green teas tend to be darker because less sunshine causes the leaves to make more chlorophyll and therefore be darker. In addition the leaves have more L- theanine which adds sweetness to the tea. Although I recognize that some say L-theanine gives tea an umami taste, but that is not my experience.

Rafau said...

The High Mountain Tea & a highly urbanized city.
Beautiful view...
RafMot

Stephane said...

Thanks for your comment, Terry. For high mountain Oolong, mist is also important to moisten and freshen the leaves. Too much sun isn't a good thing. Agreed. Maybe I should say it had the right amount. And, what is really important, is to have sunshine at the time of picking, harvesting the leaves. This also improves their quality (as Lu Yu already mentioned in his Cha Jing).

Thanks Rafau,
The high rises are like a reflection of the human spirit: going higher and higher! Quality living and quality tea.