Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold
For some reason, 2015 and 2016 seem to have been an odyssey of Taiwanese tea. I think I’ve written about them more than any other type. Most of that is happenstance through samples I’ve received but it’s been nice to focus a bit on a particular region. Perhaps my tastes will bend more towards darker teas like Wuyi oolongs as the weather cools.
Having really enjoyed their Honey Red Jade, I was really excited to dig into Golden Leaf Tea’s Ali Mountain Oolong. The mouthfeel was thick with an almost creamy texture. Notes of orchid were accompanied by a pleasant vegetal quality that reminded me of lightly steamed baby spinach. The sweet lingering aftertaste lingered on my palate long after each sip. The roast was very subtle but present. It wasn’t overdone but I was grateful that it also wasn’t neon green as I really dislike that style of oolong. There was next to zero astringency, making this a very smooth and refreshing tea.
Overall this Ali Shan was a very well-balanced sip. It won first place at the 2015 North American Tea Championship. I can’t say that I’m surprised. I was able to get at least eight infusions in one sitting. The flavors evolved a bit over time but it never really lost it’s strength until the very end. High mountain oolong is definitely a sweet spot for me and this one hit the mark.