Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha
This farm is owned and operated by a prominent tea artisan with several decades of experience in tea cultivation. He has been awarded champion of the most prestigious Oolong Tea competition in the world which is held at the Lu Gu Farmers’ Association. Nevertheless, his humble character allows us to sit and chat with him in his modest first generation tea factory on a regular basis. The tea garden is cultivated without any chemical weed killers or fertilizers, and only minimal use of water soluble pesticides early in the growing season.
Learn more about this tea here.
The dry leaf of this Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Black Tea from Eco-Cha looks a lot like an Oolong. The name even sounds like an Oolong … that is until you get to the “black tea” part.
The brewed tea is lighter in color than the average black tea. But nothing about this tea screams average to me – and that’s definitely a good thing! The liquid is golden and has a slightly earthy and woodsy aroma. I also smell notes of fruit and flower.
The flavor is incredible! It is so deliciously sweet. I am quick to identify vanilla notes – sweet and creamy. As the tea cools slightly, I am able to notice a minty tone to the tea. This minty flavor is especially noticeable when I slurp the tea, aerating it. I even notice the cooling effect of the mint-like flavor too, it kind of took me by surprise because there is no mint in this tea … only tea leaves!
The woodsy notes that are present in the fragrance start to present themselves in the flavor as well, but they are a bit more distant in the flavor than they are in the scent.
There are hints of flower in the distance, and these emerge more as the tea continues to cool. There is a warmth to this tea as well, like a warm spice note. The tasting notes on the Eco-Cha website suggest cinnamon, and I’m not sure that I’m actually tasting a distinct cinnamon note, but, there is definitely a warm spice note.
In one sip, I taste a slightly earthy note, the cool, crisp tones of mint, a sweet, creamy note that is very vanilla-esque, the warmth of spice and hints of flower and fruit and wood. I find that it is best served hot, but do yourself a favor and let it cool for just a few moments after you’ve poured it from your teapot. The cooling time gives the flavors time to set up, and it’s worth the wait! This is good chilled too, but, I think that some of the complexity is lost as the tea gets cold, and the complexity here is so amazing that you really want to experience it!
Take this one for a second infusion too … it’s still really flavorful! The flavors are not quite as focused as they were in the first infusion, but I still tasted all the flavors I did with the first pot of tea. Amazing!
It’s a beautiful tea, and definitely one worth exploring!