Monday, October 22, 2012

Winter 2012 Alishan Chang Shu Hu

Left: September 30
Alishan is one of the most popular tea mountain for a reason. Its Oolongs have a lot of Gao Shan energy and vitality. At the same time, their prices are very reasonable when compared to Lishan or Da Yu Ling.

This winter, I have selected 2 luanze Oolongs (qingxin Oolongs) from Chang Shu Hu in Ali Shan. Both were hand harvested from an elevation of 1500 m to 1600 m. Only 2 days separate them.

The first (left) was harvested on September 30, 2012.

Right: October 2nd
The second (right) was harvested on October 2nd, 2012.

Tasting both Oolongs provides a good example of how Oolongs from the same season and same location can vary. You just never get exactly the same tea. Each batch has its characteristics, and this makes selecting Oolong so interesting and important.
1. Scent.
Both dry leaves exude a dry lavender scent. It is stronger and darker on the left, lighter on the right.
The brews have a fruity scent reminding me of ripe, sweet and juicy oranges (the kind you peel, not press). The right has again a stronger scent.
2. Taste
Both Oolongs have a sugar cane sweetness that is characteristic of winter harvests. The right one is slightly astringent also, while the one on the left is smoother. Both leave a cooling sensation on the tongue.
The aftertaste is very long and full of pleasant stimulations in the mouth. The left tea has a more rough and darker note compared to the tea on the right.
3. Appearance
Both brews are very clear and bright. The brew on the left is darker. We can see that the leaves are more oxidized (red edges) than the tea on the right. There the open leaves have a darker greenish appearance. This is a tea that has seen more sunshine than the batch on the left. That's also why the right tea hasn't been dried as long as the left.

Conclusion: The Oolong from September 30 displays stronger 'fruity' notes. The October 2nd Oolong is lighter, but also finer. I will call them 'fruity' and 'fine' on my selection. Both are very pleasant and convey the warmth and fresh energy of Alishan Oolong!

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