Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 40 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: greenish gold
Shan Lin Shi is located in Nantou County of Taiwan. You might also see it spelled as Shan Lin Xi. The literal translation of the name is Evergreen Grove Creek. Doesn’t that sound like heaven already? I received samples several teas from Songyi Tea and have enjoyed them a lot. This company is a bit unusual because they sell their teas to customers outside of Taiwan through Etsy.
I’ve mentioned it before but I love how granular the information provided about their teas gets. This particular tea was grown at 1,700m about sea level which puts it firmly into gao shan (aka high mountain oolong) territory. To get even more specific, it was grown on Longfeng (Dragon Phoenix) Gorge. This area is considered to be the most desirable area of Shan Lin Xi.
The dry leaf was deep green with a tight, mostly uniform roll. They had a sweetly floral and vegetal aroma. There were very few stems visible, indicating that great care was taken with producing this tea. These have to be sorted out by hand after the tea is finished being processed. The large, whole leaves unfurled beautifully in my gaiwan. It ALMOST made me wish that I had used glass but the heat loss would have been a bit too quick for my liking.
This tea brewed up a pale shade of greenish gold with nice clarity. One of my favorite things about this type of tea is how luminous the liquor looks, especially in white porcelain teaware. There was an intense floral aroma apparent even before I took my first sip. A slight roasted scent added sweetness as well as complexity.
The floral aroma from the wet leaf carried through to the cup. There was a prominent note of toasted sesame seed. Yum! It was fairly vegetal with a buttery mouthfeel and soft fruity finish. It maintained its strength well over the course of the six recommended infusions.
As per my usual, I stuck to their recommendations for this review. You could certainly play around a bit with parameters. Even with full boiling water it never became overly astringent or unpleasant. At just $0.30 per gram, this tea is comparable to offerings from other western facing vendors. It would make a great choice for those that are new to Taiwanese high mountain oolongs.