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365 Challenge > Day 60 - Tie Luo Han (Iron Monk) Oolong

Written by our guest tea blogger Luca Campaniello ( who comes from Italy. Luca is a tea lover, a musician and a co-founder of "Fogliditè", the first Italian magazine on tea. He travelled in China across remote tea fields, with the belief that "Every leaf carries the taste of the soil where it grew. Tea has an evocative power, so drinking tea is much like travelling." He often sees tea leaves as artworks and tries to catch their beauty through still photo shots.

Dry leaves
Infused leaves

I love this 2017 Tie Luo Han; it comes from Hui Yuan Keng, an area in the Zhengyan nature reserve of Wuyishan, Fujian. The aroma of the dry leaves reminds me of nutmeg, with also sweet fruity notes and a delicate hint of hazelnut, stemming from its medium roasting.

In the first steeping, the leaves have a complex aroma that recalls the notes described before with the addition of a hint of cocoa. The 2nd steeping gives a very fruity flavour and the nutmeg taste prevails, while the 3rd one gives out the mineral note of Wuyi yancha.

The liqueur has a very warm taste, as well as an intense sweet aftertaste. The 4th infusion has a more citrus character which I associate with the scent of the mandarin peel and a slight acidity is also perceived in the cup. The other steepings alternate and combine all these scents making the tea tasting really pleasant and fun, as well as a pleasure for the palate.

A really high-quality Tie Luo Han!

Tea Profile:

Type: Oolong

Origin: Wuyishan, Fujian

Harvest time: 2017

Leave colour: Shades of brown

Liquor colour: Tangerine

Tea aroma: Nutmeg and hazelnut

Tea taste: Fruity, mineral, nutmeg with a sweet flavour

Steeping/brewing: You can use around 95°C water temperature

using 4 gr of tea in a 75 ml gaiwan/teapot. Allow 8 sec. for the first infusion and add additional time to the consequent infusions. For this review, I followed 8, 12, 15, 18, 25, 33, 45, 60, 80 seconds.

Shelf life: The only way to know is trying because every tea is different. For this one, I think it would be about 4 years. It could also be stored for 10 or more years but in perfect conditions, in airtight containers. A good tea farmer tastes his tea every year to check the quality and to choose if it needs re-roasting again. Some oolongs are even roasted annually for a total of 10-20 years.

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