Review of Taiwan Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea

9 of 104 of 54 of 577 of 100
SuperbGoodGood Value

An old review that I had planned on posting and that somehow slipped through the cracks.

The dry leaf of this tea was not very aromatic, which was a first for me among teas from this company, which normally are intensely fragrant, immediately when opening them. The tightly-rolled, dark colored leaves had only a faint woody aroma, and the aroma was not totally pleasant. Thankfully, none of the unpleasant tones come out in the brewed cup.

This tea infuses astonishingly fast for a tightly-rolled, full-leaf oolong tea. Brewing with 1 teaspoon of leaf, I found a 1 minute infusion was almost too long. I would be inclined to avoid Gong-fu style brewing with this tea, as I'd imagine it would not produce good results unless you had a lot of skill at fast pouring (which I don't).

I later inspected the leaf and found that, although it consists of mostly whole leaves, the leaves are quite tattered and torn, and they are definitely on the small side as well. Maybe this explains the speedy steeping!

I experimented with brewing and settled on an odd approach, using less leaf than normal, making a 1 minute infusion, followed by a 4 minute infusion, and that's it. I had poor results when I made the infusions much longer or shorter.

Brewed the way I liked best, the first cup was quite delightful, pleasingly aromatic, all-around enjoyable. It had some woody tones and some herbaceous qualities, and was typical for a high-quality traditional Tie Guan Yin.

The second cup was mild, even though I used a much longer steeping. Honey was the dominant aroma, and there were woody qualities as well, with a strangely pervasive suggestion of spearmint.

The tea leaves give out quickly. I really do not like the way this tea infuses so fast. Traditionally, in Gong Fu style brewing, tea is prepared with a rinse, and with this tea I'd be afraid that even the rinse would take away a lot of the flavor.

This tea surprised me a bit, mainly with being so fast to infuse and hard to brew as I like to normally brew oolongs. It produced a good cup though, and the price is quite reasonable. I'd recommend it gladly, especially to people who, like me, typically brew tea once or twice in a mug rather than doing proper gong fu brewing. If you're into gong fu cha, I'd recommend something else, unless you're a master at fast pouring.

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