Review of Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea

8 of 104 of 53 of 577 of 100

I enjoyed this oolong but, in contrast to the Dong Ding I recently sampled from TeaVivre, it did not jump out at me as outstanding quality, and it was perhaps a bit too smooth or mild for my tastes. I also found it was comparable in overall character to other examples of Ali Shan oolong that I've gotten for a much lower price.

Dry leaf is not as aromatic as some of the other oolongs, has a faint floral, herbaceous, and slightly skunky aroma.

Upon brewing this produces an interesting cup. I've found that Alishan often has a more complex and slightly more alien aroma than some of the other Taiwanese oolongs. This cup is buttery smooth, and has a very green character, yet has some darker qualities in the aroma. Unfortuanately, it also smells quite soapy to me.

There's almost a hint of bitter greens, like sauteed watercress. I really like this quality. I dislike the soapy quality though. I find that this tea tastes much better hot, and as it cools, the unpleasant aromatic tones come out more.

Overall, my impression was that this tea was too smooth to the point of the flavor being a bit uninteresting. There's also so little astringency that it seems thin-bodied. Even with a slightly longer steeping time, it seemed a bit watery. I found that I needed to use more leaf than average (a little over one teaspoon of dry leaf, which expands to A LOT of big, thick leaves).

I was able to easily make 2 infusions, but I found that the soapy quality was magnified in the second cup, and it still tasted a bit thin-bodied. I used boiling water and Western brewing. I found this tea to be tricky to brew to satisfaction--I experimented a bit, and one time it came out very enjoyable but the other times, not so much. I think it comes out thin if brewed too weakly, but can be soapy in later infusions, and I can't figure out exactly what made it come out better some times than others.

Good, but nowhere as easy to enjoy as the Dong Ding I more recently sampled from TeaVivre, and I'd take that tea any day. I also have tried other, inexpensive Ali Shan oolongs, such as the one from Tradition brand, which I actually preferred to this because of their bolder flavor and greater astringency, which led to a richer, more full-bodied cup without having to use as much leaf.

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Teavivre wrote:
on October 19th, 2013

Thanks for your review. As you said this tea smells soapy to you, i wonder if you have poured too much water. Would you please tell me how much water and tea leaves you have put? And how many minutes you have steeped? By the way, would you please tell me what kind of water you have used? Pure water or other?

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