Monday, May 14, 2012

Shan Lin Shi High Mountain Oolong, Spring 2012

Cultivar: Qingxin/luanze Oolong
Harvested by hand on April 21, 2012

Origin: Shan Lin Shi, Nantou county, Taiwan
Elevation: 1500 meters
Process: Lightly oxidized and rolled.

(Similar to the 2010 spring harvest.)

Last Friday, 2 Canadian guests and I tasted several Oolongs outdoors. I started with my summer 2011 Shan Lin Shi luanze Oolong and said nothing. It's a game often played among tea friends: guess what tea I'm brewing?

They quickly identified a typical high mountain Oolong (either Shan Lin Shi or Ali Shan). They also detected the riper fruit flavors, but they didn't deduct that this wasn't a spring, but a summer harvest. The leaves haven't lost anything of their power or freshness, and are still a great bargain (summer harvests are roughly half price vs spring harvests!)

The second tea we tasted was this spring 2012 Shan Lin Shi luanze Oolong. This helped them to clarify the scent and taste differences between summer and spring leaves.

The fragrances are much more flowery and light. And the mouthfeel has more more finesse, elegance. It feels smooth and silk, and also carries that fresh, cooling effect of the high mountains. It's almost sweet with a hint of fresh papaya under the lid of the gaiwan!

The big, unfurled leaves show lots of insects bites (not only by tea jassids). They are testimony to the farmer's efforts to avoid using pesticides. The clarity and shine of the brew is matched by the pure and clean feeling in the mouth and a comfortable feeling in the stomach. (The oxidation level of these leaves isn't too low).
  Elegance and finesse characterize the taste of Shan Lin Shi Oolong!

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