Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Dachi Tea
Fresh and delicately balanced with a lotus flower and magnolia bouquet aroma, the semi-oxidized Sky High Oolong is the original High Mountain Oolong. The Sky High Oolong is notable for retaining its nutrients and the flavors of the unspoilt environment in which it is grown. Soft elements of crisp mountain air, natural earth and spring water pair well with its smooth mouthfeel and sweet aftertaste.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is my fourth and final tea to try from Dachi Tea’s inaugural collection – Sky High Oolong. As I often do, I saved the one that I thought I’d enjoy most for last. The name of this tea suggested to me that this would be an AliShan and indeed, it is! And you know how much I love me some AliShan Oolong!
Oh! My! Goodness!
I’ve tried many Alishan High Mountain Oolong teas in my years as a tea reviewer, and I’ve loved all that I’ve tried. At least, I can’t think of any that I disliked. But this Sky High Oolong from Dachi Tea might just be the very best Alishan High Mountain (not to be confused with Jin Xuan Oolong) that I’ve yet to try. If not the best – then it is in the top three and one that YOU SHOULD TRY for yourself!
To brew this tea, I measured 1 bamboo scoop of leaf into the bowl of my gaiwan. Then I heated the water to 180°F. For the rinse, I poured in just enough of the heated water to cover the leaves (the gaiwan was about 1/3 full) and I let the leaves steep for 15 seconds and then strained the liquid off the leaves and discarded it. Then I filled the gaiwan with heated water and let the rinsed leaves steep for 45 seconds. For each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds onto the steep time.
I strained each infusion into my YiXing mug that is designated for AliShan Oolong. The mug is large enough to hold at least 4 infusions and sometimes I can fit 5 infusions. This time, I stopped at 4 infusions.
My first cup (infusions 1 – 4) is absolutely EXQUISITE! It’s creamy and buttery. Not quite as milky as I’d experience from an AliShan Jin Xuan, this has more of a silky, buttery taste and texture than a heavy cream flavor/texture.
There is a lovely floral tone to this cup. The Dachi website suggests a balance between the flower of a lotus and magnolia blossoms, and I’m inclined to agree with that assessment, although every once in a while I also pick up on a note that is distinctly honeysuckle-ish. The sweet floral notes are really beautiful.
Something that I’ve picked up with this particular AliShan that I don’t often notice with AliShan Oolongs is a light ‘crispness’ that evokes thoughts of the air you might ‘taste’ when hiking in the mountains. That clean, exhilarating freshness that you’d experience from the air that surrounds you on such an excursion.
Further, the texture of this, while it is indeed creamy/buttery/silky – it isn’t a heavy texture that you might experience in another Alishan Oolong – it doesn’t feel heavy and ‘coating’ to the palate. It feels rather clean and light. In the aftertaste, I pick up on light mineral-y notes.
My second cup was a little lighter in texture than the first cup. This cup isn’t quite as creamy but I found that with the lighter texture, some of those floral notes really emerged strongly. This is a delightfully floral cup – light and refreshing – with an incredibly smooth character. I get next to no astringency and no bitterness, just a very smooth flavor that is floral and sweet. The aftertaste is sweet with only hints of the mineral notes I noticed with the first cup.
If I were to have to choose which cup I preferred, I’d say the first, only because I really enjoyed that silky creaminess, but I like this second cup too. I love the floral notes. About mid-cup, I start to notice a subtle fruit note that evokes thoughts of peach and just a hint of sweet citrus.
Overall, a truly amazing tea experience from Dachi. If you’re a fan of AliShan tea – this should be on your “MUST TRY” list!