Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 20 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: pale greenish gold
Cuifeng is a tea growing district of Li Shan, also known as Pear Mountain. It just happens to be one of my favorite places for high mountain oolong so I was thrilled to see this one included in a batch of samples from Tillerman Tea. David, the founder, really knows his stuff. Some of you might even recognize him as a regular commenter on this blog and on my social media pages. It always says a lot when a tea vendor takes the time to interact with and share knowledge with the online tea community. His commitment and dedication to producer direct Taiwanese oolong is also something that I appreciate.
The dry leaf was beautifully rolled and deep green in color. I find myself skipping the step of rinsing tea more and more often lately. I'd rather drink the first infusion and let the tea build to full flavor than throw out the baby with the bathwater. Don't worry, my tea pets still get plenty of tea! I dug right in with the recommended 20-second infusion with fully boiling water. Tillerman Tea describes this tea as unctuous and that was definitely the first thing I noticed after taking my first sip. While the dictionary definition of the term refers to a greasy or soapy feeling, I thought it was more akin to a high-end olive oil. The mouthfeel was incredibly thick with no astringency to speak of.
The taste was intensely aromatic, everything that you would hope for from gaoshan oolong. Each sip transitioned to crazy florals to a finish that reminded me slightly of freshly steamed baby spinach. As the tea cooled, I also noticed an intriguing bright citrus note pop up. Gongfu is the way to go with this tea. Western-style brews are fine but they won't give you the concentrated aromas that really make this tea shine. After my infusions were done, I couldn't help but marvel at the fully unfurled leaves. They were large and bore the pronounced veins of the QIng XIng cultivar.