Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall 2010 Shan Lin Shi Oolong

This year's fall season in Taiwan is very particular and interesting. The first typhoon of the year hit the island 2 days ago, Sunday, September 19th. This means that there was no typhoon with excessive water during the whole summer. Secondly, the night temperatures have been unusually cool for the season. This kind of conditions are similar to winter weather and are very suitable for high mountain Oolong.

Cultivar: Luanze (qingxin) Oolong
Origin: Shan Lin Shi, Taiwan.
Elevation: 1500-1600 m
Hand picked on September 3rd, 2010
Process: light oxidation and rolled, and light roast.

Testing brew: 3 gr and 6 minutes in a white competition set.

The dry leaves have a fresh, dark green color with hints of yellow. Stems and white buds are visible. The fragrance is like young peach.

The brew is yellow, very clear with very little residue.

The open leaves include many buds. (See the circles in the picture on the left). The small and tender leaves are bitten by insects, a good sign of absence of pesiticides. The larger leaves are flexible (not too old) but very thick. The slightly red edges point to a slightly higher oxidation level.

The fragrance is light fruity, mostly peach and apricot with some traces of cereals and a hint of wasabi (!). The smell has the finesse and intensity of high mountain Oolong.

The taste is very well balanced, sweet with just a little fruity astringency on the tongue. Good concentration level. The mouth starts to salivate and the aftertaste keeps on unfolding, layer by layer. So sweet!

This Fall Shan Lin Shi Oolong is very good. Brewed with 'gongfu' in an appropriate teapot, it is even better! Lighter aromas come to life with shorter brewing times. Then, it can really be hard to distinguish its autumn origin. For those who long for the best deal on Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong, this is it! (Fall Oolongs are almost half the price of Spring harvests, and this year their quality is very close to winter Oolongs).

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