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Taiwan

Ma Liu Mie the Monkey King and Monkey Picked Oolong from Teavivre

There’s a lot to take in with a name like Taiwan Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea, but the most exciting part is “Monkey-Picked.”  What?  Really?  There were monkeys involved in getting this tea from the tree to my teapot?  According to legend, the steep cliff-side where this tea is grown is too treacherous for tea farmers to reach the leaves, so they trained monkeys to pick the leaves for them.  Ma Liu Mie is an honorable nickname for this tea used by the locals, as well as the name of the tea-picking Monkey King of legend. Read more about the tea under the “more info” tab here.

My first impression of this tea is that the leaves are small and dense, not cut or broken, but simply in a different shape than the long curls of black tea I’ve come to expect.  Dry, this oolong smells pleasantly earthy with a bit of stone-fruit sweetness like raisin or apricot.  I followed the recommended brewing instructions, using very hot, boiling water and a hefty serving of tea leaves.

At first sip, I notice strong roasted flavors.  However, this tea is not full-on smoke-flavored like lapsang souchong, instead it is more complex, like the perfect warm, golden-char flavor of eating food cooked over a campfire.  There are some of the aged, fermented notes I tend to associate with pu erh, but they are much more gentle and less sour. This type of earthiness is concentrated and layered, with notes of toasted grains, warm woods, and new leather.
On a day-to-day basis, I drink tea that is drinkable and easy-going.  I have to be in the right mood to want a bold, smokey lapsang souchong, or a challenging, fishy pu erh.  This Monkey Picked Oolong is a perfect compromise between all three.  It is so much more than a basic breakfast tea, but it is not so sour or smokey to bowl you over.  It is gentle and earthy, smooth and toasted, and it has a well-earned, legendary reputation.

How could you not give Monkey Picked Oolong a try?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Description:

Using Taiwan autumn tea as material, this Monkey Picked Tie Guanyin carefully selected by TeaVivre is baked slowly by soft fire (the baking process falls into three steps and every step lasts two minutes). The degree of fermentation is 100 percent so that the dried tea can keep a long-lasting fragrance. After brewing, the smell of honey peach and the baked flavor can be perfectly appreciated and the beverage tastes gorgeously smooth.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea

HoneyRedJadeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Golden Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Honey Red Jade Tea is a unique fermented black tea from the pristine hills of Taiwan. Hand-picked and processed, Honey Red Jade Tea is grown naturally to encourage the tea leafhoppers to feed on the tea leaves, producing a natural honey fragrance when the enzymes from the leafhopper interact with the tea plants. This tea brews to a dark caramel color with a sweet fragrance and refreshing taste.

Honey Red Jade tea is irresistible when it is hot. It is even better when it is cooled. The unique sweet floral and honey fragrance becomes more pronounced, with a slight hint of citrus. This is a tea you can leave in your cup or tumbler and not worry about over steeping or drinking it cold. Over-steeping and bitterness is not a problem with this tea.

Available in tea bags or loose form.

Benefits:  Aid in heart health.  In a 2009 research by Arab L. et al., it is said that people who consume 3 or more cups of black tea per day have a 21% lower risk of a stroke compared with people who consume less than 1 cup per day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is a fermented tea from Taiwan.  Straight from the bag you’ll see tightly rolled tea leaves waiting to release their magic.  Once these rolled leaves hit hot water – BAM – they puff out and open to fill the tea cup with magnificent black tea!  The post-infused aroma of Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is that of a biscuit and honey duo which was very pleasing to the nose.

I think I was expecting a brash and overly rich black tea flavored base to this on the tongue but it has a more even sip than I thought it would.  I’m not saying that is good, bad, or indifferent – it’s just something I was surprised by.  It had a woodsy-type flavor that seemed to come and go.  I do like this tea.  It’s satisfying.  Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is pleasant and not overly done in any way.  Perhaps this would be a nice loose leaf to share with friends…especially if you are unsure of their tea tastes.  Personally, I think this is perfect for early to middle of the afternoon.  I would need something more robust to start my day off but it might be better for those not into the super strong tasting black teas, too.

 

Iron Buddha Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea

IMG_7998Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Oollo Tea

Tea Description:

A present from the loving Bodhisattva of Compassion. Tightly rolled, the full leaves unfurl to emit pleasant stone fruit and wild honey notes with a hint of roasted nuts.

Origin
Varietal: Iron Buddha
Grower Name: Wang Family
Location: Pinglin, New Taipei, Taiwan
Elevation: 500m
Harvest: 2014 Spring

Tea Review
“It’s sweet with notes of honey, nutty and toasty with a very pleasant peach-like flavor.  It’s very smooth with a silky mouthfeel.” –Soriritea Sisters

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Iron Buddha Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea is from the Pinlin, New Taipei, Taiwan Region and grown by the Wang Family.  As you can see from the product description above this is the Spring 2014 Harvest and I must say that Iron Buddha Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea is a real winner!  I think it’s one of my FAVORITE Iron Buddha’s thus far!

Iron Buddha Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea is incredibly (yet naturally) sweet, juicy, and delicious!  If you like stone fruit – you may get a kick out of this one – because I agree with the description when it says it has notes of peach-like flavors floating about.  This tea was reviewed by Sororitea Sisters (Anne) before and I thought it was time for me to write about it as well.

The roasted notes, for me, are more of an undertone.  The peachy notes shine thru very nicely.  I have noticed, however, that if you cold brew or ice this tea the roasted notes pop up more in the middle to end sip.  This is also a nice tea for multiple infusions.  Just another reason I’m a fan of Iron Buddha Oolong Tea from Oollo Tea.

 

Golden Lily Oolong Tea From Dachi Tea

Fullscreen capture 10202015 24544 PMTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Dachi Tea

Tea Description:

This oolong is made from the Jinxuan varietal invented by Taiwan’s tea research, a varietal renown for its milky aroma and smooth mouthfeel. This specific yield is distinctively vibrant and balances flowery aromas with a faint creaminess, before its chartreuse-colored liqueur and its lightly-floral mid palate give way to a vegetal-yet-sweet finish, reminiscent of sugar snappeas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Golden Lily Oolong from Dachi Tea.  “Golden Lily Oolong” what a pretty name.  The name goes perfectly well with this lovely tea that is for sure.  My package says it was obtained at Alishan Mountain at 4,000 feet and that it is a Milky Lilly Oolong.

Dry this oolong smells very nice a combination of floral and peas.  Once you add the hot water it’s more of a floral aroma.  The flavor is heavily floral, subtly sweet because of the sugar snap pea flavor that is naturally found in this leaf, and the finish is quite creamy or ‘milky’ and lives up to it’s name.  It’s slippery on the tongue and after the cuppa is long-gone it leaves your tongue and teeth squeaky-clean.  Yummy!  This is a fantastic oolong!

Dayuling Premium High Mountain Oolong from Beautiful Taiwan Tea

dayulingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Beautiful Taiwan Tea

Tea Description:

The premium teas of Taiwan are known for their smoothness, the quality of their soup and their “Chaqi”.   Only grown in the highest areas, theses leaves take their time to grow and soak up all the cool mist and the High Mountain air.  You’ll feel calm and attentive with this Dayuling sourced High Mountain Oolong.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve heard great things about Dayuling Oolong; and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to try one! The high, high altitude at which this tea is grown (greater than 2500 meters) and limited quantity that can be produced because of the geographical location are a giant part of what makes this tea so special. At $20 an ounce, this isn’t the priciest tea in my cupboard but it’s certainly up there – I can’t help but cross my fingers and hope it’s worthy of the price tag.

I have to say, the leaf is very beautiful; dry the rolled up leaf gives off a very large, ‘thick’ appearance and has a weight in my hands. After the first infusion I could see why; the leaves are so giant – some of the biggest I’ve ever had the pleasure to brew up. Almost every single one is a completely full leaf, and I even picked out a stem that had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR completely intact leaves branching off it. Just stunning!

I certainly wasn’t going to squander this sample by Steeping it Western Style; so I enjoyed a lovely evening Gong Fu session. Sometimes I feel I can get a little stuck in my head when I’m drinking tea or doing Gong Fu in particular and I focus too much on the technical side of things while trying to pick apart flavour – and I didn’t want to do that with this tea so I just kept doing infusions without really taking physical notes; and I just kind of let the tea ‘speak to me’ while I drank it. It’s so delicate and fragile with very lovely, complex nuances! Teas grown at higher altitude tend to be more complex because, due to the altitude, they grow at a slower pace – and that comes through here for sure.

It’s quite a floral tea, that’s for sure – while the infusions I did blend together I remember the first couple had really lovely, pronounced floral notes of orchid, lily, and a bit of violet as well. Incredibly well balanced though; not ‘perfumey’, forced or over the top in the slightest. Other things I noticed were this very cool, crisp freshness. I kind of instinctively want to call that flavor ‘the smell before it rains’ but I don’t know if there’s a technical word for that. I know petrichor is defined as the smell of rainfall on dry soil/earth (and that’s my all time favourite smell) but this wasn’t quite that: it’s the smell of rain before any has actually fallen. No earthiness.

This was such a pleasant, relaxing tea though! I’m not sure how many infusions I got in total but it certainly lasted quite a while and made my evening magical. Probably well worth the price tag just to say I’d tried a Dayuling, but all in all a very delicious, serene taste experience too. I definitely felt a little tea drunk’buzzed afterwards.