Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha
These leaves were cultivated by the same artisan who produced our previous batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Concubine Oolong. It’s a relatively small farm, managed by a husband and wife team who transformed their plot of virgin high mountain bamboo forest into a tea garden just ten years ago.
Learn more about this tea here.
Having previously enjoyed and reviewed the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong from Eco Cha, I was of course curious how the Concubine would make this tea different. The dry leaf immediately greets me with a different aroma than I experienced with the aforementioned tea. This smells very vegetative, reminiscent of a homemade vegetable broth. The brewed tea has a softer fragrance but still smells of cooked veggies.
My first cup of this tea is the combination of my first two infusions in my gaiwan (following a 15 second rinse) and the flavor here is rather delicate. It is sweet and tastes less vegetal than the aroma suggests. There is still a light vegetative note, but I taste more of a sweet vanilla and orchid note here than I do vegetable.
I taste notes of resinous pine and nutty notes. This first cup also has a very “airy” quality to it, like the crisp air in the mountains. Unlike the “non-Concubine” variety of this tea, I am experiencing less astringency with this tea, at least in these early infusions.
My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was slightly more astringent than the first. The flavors are more pronounced with this cup, and it is still a sweet and very smooth tasting tea. The floral notes are coming forward, and the pine notes are more apparent as well. The vegetal notes are still rather delicate, and I’m not noticing the vanilla tones that I could taste in the first cup.
With the third cup (infusions 5 and 6) I could notice the flavors begin to wane, but this is still a flavorful cup. Of the three cups that I enjoyed today, I found this one to be the most astringent, but, this is not what I’d call an overly astringent tea. The flowery notes are more pronounced and I can taste notes of osmanthus with the orchid. The resin notes are softer now, and I don’t really notice much of the vegetal notes at all now. Of the three cups, this is the most floral tasting.
A beautiful Oolong. This is a company that I highly recommend! They offer great customer service (so friendly!) and I LOVE their packaging – it’s so classy. And oh … of course, the most important thing: the teas are amazing!