I have not had many of them but old the aged Taiwanese oolong teas I’ve had left me mesmerized. Including this oolong from 2010 that comes from a wild garden in Alishan.
The tea gardens in Alishan are distributed at 1200 to 1400 meters above sea level and this tea comes from an elevation of 1300 meters. During its cultivation no chemicals were used and actually before the production of this tea the tea gardens were left wild without any harvest for about 15 years.
For me this tea was like a marriage of a classic elegant Taiwanese fresh high mountain tea and a strong Wuyi rock tea. I could taste flowers, roasty notes and sweetness like an Alishan oolong but also mineral and spicy notes like a Wuyi Yancha. I think the Wuyi-like characteristics can be attributed to its age.
I am really fascinated by Taiwanese teas. Maybe this will pass but their aromas and flavours are unique and elegant. It is difficult to find good ones, and it is difficult to find good ones at reasonable prices (there won’t be any bargains when it comes to fine Taiwanese teas). And I have to say even with the teas I source from the same vendor, I may get mixed experiences. This one was a great one, I will happily put it amongst my favourites.
On another note, I was reading about Taiwanese oolong tea ceremony on my source book. I had no idea there is an etiquette around it. I won’t go into explaining them all but will list the stages:
1. Sizhu Heming (play music)
2. Gongying Jiabin (Welcome the guests)
3. Lin Quan Song Feng (Spring in the forest, wind through the pine)
4. Mengchuen Wennuan (Warm the teapot)
5. Jingpin Jianshang (Appreciate the tea)
6. Jian Ming Ru Gong (Assessing the leaves)
7. Runze Xiangming (Wash the leaves)
8. Hetang Piaoxian (Spread the fragrance)
9. Xuanlv Gaoya (Elegant melody)
10. Mulin Oubei (Warm the cups)
11. Cha Shu Xiang Wen (Tea is ready)
12. Chahai Cihang (Distribute the tea)
13. Re Tang Gua Qiao (Hot tea crosses the bridge)
14. Yougfu Fenfang (Deep valley fragrance)
15. Beili Guanse (Appreciate the colour)
16. Ting Wie Pin Qu (Tate the tea)
17. He Jing Qing Ji (Meditating)
That’s quite an exhaustive list!
Source: Pan Wei, Oolong Tea, 2010
Origin: Alishan, Nantou County, Taiwan
Harvest time: Spring 2010
Leaf colour: Tones of brown with reddish stems
Liquor colour: Honey
Tea Aroma: Elegant floral, mineral and spicy notes
Tea taste: Smooth and slightly sweet with yancha and highmountain oolong characteristics
Steeping/brewing: Place 5g in 100ml of water at 100ºC and rinse after 5 seconds. Steep for 10 seconds during the first infusion,and add 10 seconds to the subsequent infusions. You can re-steep this tea up to 5 times.
Shelf life: Can be aged