2020 Cai Cong Anxi Oolong/Verdant Tea -skysamurai-

This is one of the more difficult oolongs I’ve tried to decipher.

Some are your basic sudokus while others are kenkens. This one is a different puzzle. A kendoku!

It has mineral quality the twists along with a unique vegetal feel. They say cucumber as a descriptor and I can definitely taste a bit of that fresh vine picked taste but there is also a hint of green bean, freshly chopped. Feel like I am making a salad.

The flavor becomes a bit charcoal heavy as the steepings progress.

One of my nostrils is being difficult so I am having a bit of trouble evaluating what it is that is in my nose.

Citrus maybe? This is very different for one of Master Zhang’s oolongs but it just goes to show his breath of knowledge and tea making prowess.

 


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Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

This tea originally premiered in the Sept. 2020 Tea of the Month Club box! Master Zhang cultivates this rare Cai Cong (菜聪) varietal to encourage biodiversity on his high elevation plot in Daping, Anxi. His careful processing has brought out a surprisingly floral-fruit flavor in this tea along with deep osmanthus florals and a sweet, long aftertaste. The light oxidation of this tea’s traditional finish complements the dessert-like flavors of Cai Cong with a buttery, creamy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vietnam Red Oolong – Kim Tuyen/Simpson & Vail- Skysamurai-

Another advent tea gift. I find it interesting that while this one is a rolled style the others I have come upon are shaped into balls.

So it makes me wonder why the farmer decided to make that change. It is a gorgeous leaf. Dark chocolate in color with light brown flecks here and there. The flavor is mineral, musty, and filled with wet wood notes. There is honey in the after taste. It isn’t strong but the way it lingers is very unique.

My aroma cup doesn’t reveal much for the liquid but the wet leaf is earthy and kinda mineral. I say kinda because it hides. Sometimes you sense it and sometimes you don’t. Some oolongs can last for many steepings but this one seems to have had its limelight in the first and second steepings.

Though as I’m coming upon my 7th? infusion now I’m find some of the sweeter notes are really shining. The instructions also say to brew four minutes, which I assume would be western style. I’ve tried both western and gong fu but so far I prefer the gong fu. It offers the ability to test it out more at more stages, not that you can’t in western but it just doesn’t steep the same.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail

Description

This exquisite oolong comes to us from Northern Vietnam, where some of the old tea plants are still partially grown wild. Local villagers traditionally process these leaves and the resulting tea is unique and delicious.

The large leaves resemble a black tea, however, the brewed cup is distinctively oolong in character. The aroma is bright with slight spice and floral notes. The amber cup imparts a toasty aftertaste with a slight honey sweet flavor.

Brew tea at 212º – steep for 4 minutes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Huang Guan Yin/Harney and Sons – Ashmanra –

Huang Guan Yin goes by several names. The tea plant is a hybrid/cross of a Tie Guan Yin cultivar and a Huang Jin Gui cultivar. The name literally translates as “Yellow Goddess of Mercy.” It is sometimes also called No. 105 or simply Yellow Goddess. It is a fairly new cultivar.

This particular one from Harney and Sons is very light. There is none of the roasty toasty or smokey flavor found in many TGY or Wuyi oolongs. No Tung Ting nuttiness. I think some companies do sell this processed a little more roasty if their descriptions are accurate.

The scent cup revealed floral aroma reminiscent of baby powder – that light magnolia or osmanthus scent, and a baked sugary treat smell that made me think of cream filled dougnuts. Then a herbaceous savory note rises.

It was prepared gongfu style. The liquor is yellow. There is quite a mix of flavor here. The floral scents are still there, but there is a savory note overlaid on all the sweetness. Sipping the tea, I taste the floral aspects first and then the savory nips in at the aftertaste like vegetable liquor from leafy greens, like tender greens (popular in the South where I live) or perhaps bok choy, perhaps more well known.

The leaves held up for steep after steep, delivering a lot of flavor. It was a very interesting tea to try. I wouldn’t want to waste this one by drinking it with a meal. I prefer to enjoy it on it own to tease out all the flavors.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons 

Description

This is a light Oolong from the Wuyishan area of northern Fujian Province. We have been buying from Mr. Chao for many years. This Spring we stopped by and saw him and his wife. This is one of the 3 teas that we bought from them. This is a cross blend between Ti Quan Yin and Huang Jin Gui, so you have nice floral notes and a bit of sweetness.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

**this tea was purchased and not gifted in exchange for a review**

Shi Zuo Oolong Tea/Tea From Taiwan

(Insert Music Bed HERE)…The best part of waking up…is dancing leaves in your cup! Okay, I’m just having a little fun with spoof jingles and at the same totally showing my age. Regardless, it was the first thing that came to mind when I was infusing this tea. Shi Zuo Oolong from Tea From Taiwan…it’s where it’s AT!

Don’t let the gentle, pale yellow liquor tea color fool you! What it lacks in a bolder, more vibrant color…it makes up for in beautiful aroma and flavor!

It’s very fresh, clean, buttery, and sweet when it comes to taste. As for aroma it reminded me of sweet, sugar snap peas with a hint of raisin. The buttery texture of the sip lingers long after the sip and makes you crave more.

This is definitely one of the more interesting and flavorful Oolongs I have sampled in a while. I think it would pair well with a nice savory veggies and rice dish, too! YUM!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea From Taiwan

Description

Shi Zuo oolong tea (wu long tea) is grown in the Shi Zuo (Stone Table) area of Alishan (Mount Ali). At an altitude of 1300 meters, Shi Zuo has a cool, moist climate that is ideal for growing tea.

Shi Zuo oolong tea is hand picked and hand processed in the traditional manner of Taiwanese High Mountain oolongs. The processing results in ball-shaped tea pellets which consist of two or three leaves and a bud. These pellets open up during brewing to release the full flavor of the tea.

In order to experience the full potential of this tea, we recommend brewing it Gong Fu style. This method of brewing brings out the sweetness and complex undertones that mark this tea as one of the best that Taiwan has to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Sun-Link-Sea Oolong Tea/Fong Mong Tea Shop

Currently Fong Mong Tea has their Spring 2018 Shanlinxi Taiwan Sun-Link-Sea Oolong Tea featured in their shop. It’s a High Mountain Ooolong Loose Leaf.

I haven’t sipped on the Spring 2018 one YET but the Sun-Link-Sea Oolongs from previous years have been stellar!

Gaiwan Style is preferred but in a strainer always seems to get the infusing job done, too! I used about a tablespoon – maybe a little more – and let sit just until the leaves were ‘open’. This is what I like to call a ‘dancing tea’. Yup! You guessed it! The leaves dance around in the cup naturally while uncurling and steeping.

As much as I hate the term ‘mouth-feel’ I don’t really know how to describe the texture of the sip. It’s really quite amazing. It’s smooth, light, refreshing, a tad floral, a little vegetal-sweet, and even a bit fruity-sweet…maybe like a sweeter crab apple.

This tea is just begging me for multiple infusions. Of course, I had to oblige. I infused longer each time and was able to get a solid 3 to 4 infusions out of it. Delicious!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea

Description

Located between Xitou and Ali Mountain in central Taiwan – Nantou County, Shanlinxi (Sun-Link-Sea) is famous for its amazing “sun links sea” scenery. Situated at an altitude of approximately 1200 meters, Sun-Link-Sea has an average temperature of 20 degree Celsius all year long. Shanlinxi (Sun-Link-Sea) tea tree mountains, not as high as other high-mountain tea tree ones though, with their distinctive geographic environment, gestate another different fragrance and taste which is another characteristic fine tea of Taiwan high-mountain teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!