This was another oolong that reminded me that the world of oolongs is very rich and the more I try the more I am fascinated by the variety of taste and aroma this tea could offer.
This oolong comes from a town called Lugu in Nantou, Taiwan which has an elevation over 1200 meters. However, Hong Shui can come from different regions in Taiwan, unlike Dong Ding. There is a reason why I bring up Dong Ding as this oolong’s origin relates to it. When Dong Ding oolongs became very popular, some restrictions were applied in Taiwan as to which tea should be called Dong Ding accordingly only those that came from the Dong Ding mountain were given this prestigious name. However, other towns kept crafting oolongs in Dong Ding style and they were called ‘Hong Shui’. Some Hong Shui oolongs could be so fine that they can win prizes in Dong Ding competitions.
Anyway, when I tasted this tea I was surprised. (I know I say this almost every day, but I think trying a different tea every day already comes with its surprises. So please do not think I am ingenuine, only that I am startled too often.) I loved that the taste of this oolong was very unique. While some people describe it as the marriage between the styles of Tie Guan Yin from Anxi and Wuyi Yancha which have different proportions of roasting and oxidation, for me the tasting profile was very unique that I think I can remember it (fingers crossed!). To me, it was unbelievingly sweet, with floral notes but nothing like orchids or water lilies. Some other flowers that I am yet to discover. I also found some spiciness in this tea, which was reminiscent of Rou Gui (cinnamon) oolong from Guangdong. Also, I did not get any bitterness or astringency which in my opinion indicates how fine the tea is. But it did not finish there. There is also smokiness, woodiness, and some malt aromas. Very complex, very impressive. The seller also says that this tea is good for ageing, I can see why!
Origin: Qing Xing (Chin Shin) Cultivar, Lugu, Nantou, Taiwan
Harvest time: April 2018
Leave colour: Semi-rolled dark green and brown leaves
Liquor colour: Cupper
Tea aroma: Floral and slightly smoky
Tea taste: Medium bodied with sweetness and multilayered-floral, spicy, woody and malty undertones
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste. Shelf life: Can be aged if stored appropriately.