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365 Teas Challenge > Day 296 - Highly Oxidised Alishan Oolong 2020

Oolong tea can be anything between green and black tea from an oxidation level of 10% to 95%. This is a rough definition I came up with, and it does not reflect any scientific description. This oolong has an oxidation level of 85%, and in this sense, I expected that it is closer to the taste of black tea. I was not wrong. Actually, the taste was so similar to a decent black tea, I almost forgot that I was having a delicate and expensive high mountain oolong tea from Alishan.

What is so special about this tea? Alishan has an elevation from 1,000 to 2,300 meters, and this tea was cultivated at around 1,400 meters. The Ali Mountain is covered by thick cloud and fog throughout the year. The cooler weather and lack of sunshine reduce the composition of catechins (are known to give a bitter taste to tea leaves) and increase the composition of theanine which are associated with a mellow flavour and elegant fragrance. This tea was cultivated organically and harvested in late summer.

It was a very aromatic tasting experience. I could not find strong notes in the aroma, but the flavours were sound and exciting. Interestingly, the empty cup had an ‘elegant’ scent, but I could not catch it elsewhere. Overall, a fine tea and unexpectedly fruity. I think that is also why I thought it almost tasted and felt like black tea.

Tea profile:

Type: Oolong

Origin: Alishan, Taiwan

Harvest time: Summer 2020

Leaf colour: Dark brown rolled leaves

Liquor colour: Dark amber

Tea aroma: Fruity and smokiness

Tea taste: Mellow and aromatic with fruity sweetness with some malty flavour

Steeping/brewing: Place 4 g of this tea in a porcelain gaiwan and add about 100 ml water at around 95°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10. You can resteep this tea about 4 times. Shelf-life: Can be aged.

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