Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 20 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: bright yellowish gold
I’m a big proponent of buying tea from a vendor who specializes in that particular tea type or region. While a company selling many kinds of tea isn’t necessarily bad, it is REALLY hard to be a “jack of all trades” and still source a quality product. Tillerman Tea is a great example of that. David Campbell, the company’s founder, sells only Taiwanese oolongs that he sources directly from the producers. His focus on sustainably farmed teas that are fairly priced is one I think all tea lovers can appreciate.
I really do love all teas but Taiwan’s high mountain oolongs were among the first that really knocked my socks off. It’s incredible that so many complex aromas can be brought out of a single plant simply by changing the way the leaves are processed. Taiwanese teas are usually named after the place where they are produced. Shan Lin Xi, located in Nantuo, is known for its high elevation as well as foggy, cooler weather.
The first thing that I noticed about this tea was its wonderful orchid notes. The second was the super smooth, buttery texture. Early infusions were lighter with a slight fruitiness that reminded me a bit of Fuji apples. Later infusions were more vegetal and with a crisp and refreshing finish. There was no bitterness, even when using fully boiling water. I generally prefer more highly oxidized oolongs and although this one is on the lighter side of the spectrum, it was very well done.
Have you ever tried this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!