I was very intrigued when I tasted my first charcoal oolong tea. It was nothing like I had before. The aromas and flavours just blew me away. I do not know how to express this. I noticed that it is more difficult to get surprised as I get older. And things that manage to surprise me have a profound impact.
This tea is from Chao Cha Teas. I have already reviewed their fantastic gushu sheng pu-erh and Yunnanese silver needles. They were both impressive teas, and when it came to tasting this one, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. Actually, comparing this with all the other Guangdong oolongs, I can say that its aroma and flavours were not as intensive. This tea delicately carried sweetness throughout and offered a pleasant orchid fragrance. Swan, the founder of Chao Cha Teas, mentioned that this oolong has been a crowd pleaser and I can see why. I also think that this would make an excellent intro to the infinite world of oolong teas as it is a perfect example of what oolong tea is about, and it is nowhere near overwhelming.
I have observed that Honey Orchid (Mi Lan Xiang) can fetch very high prices. On a tea menu recently, I found it as the most expensive choice. Typically, Phoenix oolong is more affordable than Wuyi oolongs, but with the Mi Lan Xiang, we have an exception. This tea variety is trendy as it yields sweeter teas compared to other Dancong (single bush) oolongs. Due to their popularity, Mi Lan Xiang oolongs are sought after, and their prices are drawn up. The price range rises especially if the leaves are picked in early Spring or they come from the same tea garden (most Dan Dong oolongs are blends of teas coming from the same type of cultivars across the Phoenix Mountain).
Harvest time: 2020
Leaf colour: Tones of brown
Liquor colour: Dark yellow
Tea aroma: Woody (dry leaves); floral (infused leaves)
Tea taste: Rich orchid notes and a lingering sweet honey finish
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a teapot or gaiwan and add about 100 ml water at around 100°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10 seconds each time. You can steep this tea multiple times.
Shelf life: 2 years