One of the first benefits for tea drinkers is the absence of pesticides on these plantations. But the main benefit is the appearance of a new tea fragrance. Let's see how this plays out on high mountain Oolong:
Origin: Alishan, Taiwan
Elevation: 1500 meters
Harvested by hand on May 20th, 2013
Process: light oxidation and light to medium slow roast.
Brewed in a Qing dynasty (Qianlong reign) Yixing zisha hexagon shape teapot,
with filtered water boiled in a silver kettle.
And poured in Dehua porcelain 'dragon' cups.
For high mountain Oolong, the dry leaves don't appear particularly big. The reason for this can be found in the spent leaves (see below), or even in the white tips that appear in the dry leaves: this tea has been harvested particularly young and contains lots of buds.
The dark green color of the dry leaves is a sign of the tea's Hungshui Oolong type of roasting.
The dry scents are quite complex: there's the freshness of a high mountain Oolong, the sweet, intoxicating feeling of a light roast and a fruity note.
The brew's smell reminded me of my winter 2008 Hung Shui Oolong from Dong Ding. It has this distinctive honey-like smell produced by these small insect bites. I could smell it even before tasting the tea!
Refined and complex. On the one hand it feels light and fresh like high mountain Oolong, but than it feels also powerful and deep, fruity and dark, cooling and warm at the same time. There are many layers in the aftertaste. A lot of sweetness, but there can also be some astringency or even bitterness.
These leaves are quite difficult to brew. I don't recommend them for beginners. This is also a reason I chose to use an Yixing zisha teapot. It helps to well mix the tea's freshness and roast. My brewing advice is to use fewer leaves than usual, because these high mountain Oolong leaves are very concentrated and still very new. And for your first pours, be very gentle with the leaves: pour the just boiled water very slowly.
I could no less than prepare this full scale Chaxi. The several colors (black, orange and green) represents the many layers of aromas that unfold and combine in these leaves. Some are dark, some fruity and some fresh. The white 'pillow' is like a cloud on which the teapot rests. It's high in the mountain, close to heaven!
The potter Michel François created 'pillow' and also this big celadon bowl. Its curves are gracious and generous like a beautiful woman. The
|2 lids to close this qinghua jar tightly|