High Mountain Oolong Tea Review
As most people know, I’m a fan of tea. So when I had the chance to try this rare high mountain oolong tea, I couldn’t resist.
I received this beautiful tin of tea that appears to be a mix of two rare variants: Ali Shan Tea and Da Yu Ling Tea. Both come the mountainsides of Taiwan, and both are prized for their rarity.
What Is Ali Shan Tea?
According to the internet, Ali Shan Tea is grown from specific bushes that grow 1,000 meters above sea level, creating a unique climate that offers a scintillating and rich flavor. It provides a greener taste and color because it has less oxidation than other oolongs.
What Is Da Yu Ling Tea?
Da Yu Ling Tea is grown even higher in the mountains at an altitude of 2,600 – 2,800 meters. It’s grown specifically in shade, utilizing cloud coverage and fog to block out the sun and keep the leaves growing slowly to harbor more flavor.
About the Tea
This tea came in a beautiful canister that I won’t be afraid to display in my kitchen. The matte white surface is adorned with indigo flower buds, which I’m assuming mimic the look and feel of the tea plants. Once you open the canister, there’s an additional steel lid on the inside to preserve the freshness.
The tea came in two separate airtight bags. This is great, as I’ll be able to keep one bag totally fresh while I work on the other one. In total, you get 150 grams of tea, which equals about 5.3 oz. That’s pretty much tea, and should last for dozens of cups!
Brewing the Tea
Unfortunately, the directions on this particular tea weren’t very specific, which was a big downer. They basically said to use as much tea as you want, so I filled up my little tea ball strainer and hoped it was good enough (it probably wasn’t).
They also didn’t specify a temperature, but that the water shouldn’t be boiling. Ok then! It didn’t matter too much as I didn’t have a thermometer to use, but still, if you’re a tea snob and want the flavor right, this is kind of important. Instead, they included some kind of hard-to-read timing instructions.
Basically, the first step is to heat up the water and then quickly douse the leaves with a splash. This helps to “awaken” the leaves so that they’ll give off the best flavor. Quickly drain the leaves, saving the water to sip on or to put back in your cup.
After letting the leaves “awaken,” then fill the cup with hot water. Supposedly, you only need to let it brew for 20-30 seconds. However, I am used to dark black teas, so when the oolong didn’t change color, I let it sit for a couple minutes.
It was only then (and after a bit of Googling) that I realized this was a light colored tea. It wasn’t going to get darker. Stupid me.
I removed the tea leaves and prepared for my first sip of the delectable beverage.
What the Tea Tastes Like
So, if you’re never had more gourmet teas before… you will be in for a treat.
This oolong had the characteristics of a higher grade green tea, in that it had that leafy, sort of spinachy taste. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve had it, and I simply don’t have the food vocabulary to piece it all together. Just imagine of the aroma of cooked leafy greens, and you’ll be on the right path. No, it’s not for everyone, so be prepared.
However, there were faint echoes of sweetness and floral that made the tea a wholly delicious brew. In a way, it was almost creamy as well (which was strange, because as I said, the color was nearly clear).
Was it too strong even though I let it brew too long? Not really, which makes me think I either used too much water or not enough leaves. I can easily correct this next time.
Overall, the taste was refreshing and a nice palette cleanser. I had it before breakfast, and I think it was a nice accompaniment. You could also have it for afternoon tea.
There are very few teas I don’t like, and this high mountain oolong tea definitely isn’t one of them. One of the best things is that you can keep brewing it, up to five times without losing too much flavor.
Overall, I think it’s a great tea. Is the product a little sketchy? Yes, as the canister has no ingredients or size on it. Does that mean it’s a bad tea? No. If you’re a fan of fancy tea and enjoy the subtle differences between leaves, I think you’ll appreciate it. If your favorite tea is Lipton and you enjoy as much cream and sugar as possible… this will probably fall flat for you.