Zhao Zhu Shan Lin Xi

Zhao Zhu Shan Lin Xi 2017 No.529

Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: pale greenish yellow

This tea came to me by way of Budapest. Zhao Zhu was founded by Péter and Gábor who met while studying in Beijing. I love that they state in their “About Us” page that they are in a learning process. So many companies try to present themselves as the ultimate experts but tea is a never-ending journey of discovery for all of us.

Shan Lin Xi is a region of Nantou County in Taiwan that gives this tea its name. The tea plantations here are located at high elevation (1,400m above sea level in this case). Cooler temperatures and mountain mists slow down the growth of plants, creating complex aromas in the finished tea.


The tightly rolled dry leaf was a deep, dark shade of green. Small tails of stems were visible but they were not a dominant feature. This style is typical of Taiwanese oolongs. I was immediately struck by the wonderful floral aroma as soon as I opened the sample package. That is always a sign of good things to come!

I found myself zoning out, imagining the pine-covered peaks where the tea was harvested. Playing with the leaves once they full unfurled was irresistible as well. Look at those thick juicy stems and big, beautiful leaves! I love being able to see the serrated edges and prominent veins. Both tell me that it was likely made with the Qing Xing cultivar.


Experience has told me that Zhao Zhu’s brewing recommendations are on the lighter side. I bumped it up to 7 grams with a 15-second infusion time for the first round. Teas like this are so aromatic that it would be a waste to not experience those volatile compounds at their fullest. This is particularly true when I’m evaluating tea instead of just drinking it for pleasure.

The intoxicating aromas that I noticed in the dry leaf carried right through to the cup. This tea was buttery and soft with sweet notes of vanilla in the finish. A subtle savory aspect kept it from being overly cloying. There was no astrigency to speak of but it still left a very fresh and clean feeling in the mouth. The floral aspect was very light, reminding me of the pink hyacinth blooming on my kitchen table.

Have you ever tried this tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Shan Lin Xi 2017 No. 529 sample provided for review by Zhao Zhu.

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My name is Nicole and I love tea...a lot! I have been writing about my love of the leaf since 2008. My work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. I am the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.