365 Challenge > Day 137 - Nantou Gui Fei Oolong Tea 2018

I knew there is a vast world of oolong tea out there and Taiwanese oolongs are those that I have explored the least. Luckily, I got hold of this oolong which was an exceptional experience despite that the quantity was low, and I have already finished it. When I write reviews, I like smelling the dry leaves over and over again, this time, I do not have that luxury. However, I kept the infused leaves in my luggage (I was travelling), and when I found them after a couple of days, they still smelt heavenly. I was tempted to re-steep them, but I did not.

When I first steeped this tea, I had hot water in my thermos, which was not warm enough to infuse this tea. Therefore, all the aromas and tastes were faint. Next time when I had a chance to re-steep this tea, I realised that its liquid should be cupper colour for the best-tasting experience. I achieved this colour with boiling water and at least two minutes steeping at the beginning as it took a while for the leaves to unfurl. The wet leaves had a very flowery aroma while the liquor also tasted smoky and lingering honey-sweet. This might be the sweetest oolong I have ever had. I was thinking about what the reason would be.

The answer is in nature. Similar to Bai Hao (oriental beauty) oolong, the buds of this Gui Fei were also bitten by a leafhopper species who leave a white mark it leaves behind. Their intervention results in live oxidation while the leaves are still on the stem making the leaf to develop a honey-life flavour and aroma. It is also worth to mention that these leafhoppers would not visit these plants if any pesticides were in use.

Overall, this was a fabulous example of a Taiwanese oolong with high oxidation and low roasting. I will get hold of more when I am back in China. Hopefully, soon.

Tea Profile:

Type: Oolong

Origin: Lugu, Nantou, Taiwan

Harvest time: April 2018

Leave colour: Tones of dark brown

Liquor colour: Cupper

Tea aroma: Smoky with tobacco and floral notes

Tea taste: Lingering sweet honey taste with accompanying floral and smoky notes

Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for about two minutes 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: Up to 2 years or more (some keep it in the fridge to improve the shelf life but for this you need to ensure that the tea is tightly sealed)

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