I am yet to discover the world of Taiwanese high-mountain oolongs. I did try a couple of Ali Shan oolongs which were closer to green tea. Still, this medium roasted one is quite unique and possibly better suited to my taste.
Dry leaves have a beautiful aroma which is multiplied when the leaves are washed with hot water. Sweet, smoky and fruity (mostly red berries) notes were transferred to my taste buds from the fragrances, and I loved this delicacy.
I was reading about the history of Taiwan’s high-mountain oolongs which emerged in the 1980s once China was able to trade with the rest of the world. Until then, Taiwanese tea-makers addressed a Chinese expatriate market in South Asia by making inferior versions of famous Chinese teas. Then starting from early 08ies tea makers from Dong Ding pioneered the birth of high mountain oolongs as they noticed the more elevated the tea cultivars, the creamier the taste. Ali Shan was the first example of high-mountain oolongs; it still has a very respectable name, but it also has some competition.
It was a strong tea overall, with a deep and rich flavour. I am so impressed by sweet Taiwanese roasted oolongs.
Source: Michael Harney. “The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea.”
Origin: Rueili, Ali Shan, Jiayi county (Chiayi), Taiwan
Harvest time: May 2019
Leave colour: Tones of dark green and brown
Liquor colour: Yellow
Tea aroma: Smoky with floral notes
Tea taste: Sweet with floral and red-berry 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)