Review of Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
10 of 105 of 54 of 597 of 100
OutstandingExcellentGood Value

This tea was top-notch and was definitely the strongest of the Taiwanese oolongs I've tried yet from TeaVivre, both in aroma and flavor. Very bold flavor, yet while having a clear liquor, smooth mouthfeel, and refined floral fragrance, without any off qualities.

Dry leaf is tightly rolled and looks dark green with an almost greenish cast, and is intensely aromatic. After brewing, the used leaves are interesting--many come with four leaves and a bud attached, but the individual leaves are smaller than I'm used to with oolongs. The leaves were all completely intact and unbroken.

Upon brewing, gives off an intense honey and flower fragrance, with light toasty tones. Has a clear and light liquor but is very strong tasting. There is a complete absence of the soapy qualities in the aroma, that I find plague even some relatively high grade oolongs.

Brewing as recommended, using 1 teaspoon of leaf and brewing for 2 minutes, it was almost too strong (in contrast to some of the other oolongs I've been sampling from TeaVivre, which came out almost too weak when brewed this way). I'd recommend going easy on the first infusion, only 1 minute or so, even if using Western-style brewing.

The second infusion, which I also brewed 2 minutes, seemed more balanced to me, and the aroma slightly more complex: more herbaceous and slightly less floral, although still very much like flowers and honey, and still somewhat toasty.

I was able to produce a total of four infusions, using Western-style brewing, which I thought remarkable. The leaves are very slow to unfurl, although there is so much flavor in the leaf that, except for the last steep, I used relatively shorter steeping times than I normally would. Interestingly, I found the later infusions did not exhibit the pungent, herbaceous quality that greener oolongs usually do...rather the aroma stayed the same, floral and slightly toasty, and petered out gradually.

Very expensive (almost $30 for as little as 50 grams and just under $50 for 100 grams). Is it worth it? This is definitely one of the best oolongs I've ever sampled. A small amount of leaf also stretches very far...but not exactly twice as far as lower grades, so you're still paying more for it. Perhaps this one would be good for a special treat...it definitely has the nuance and quality to back up the price, but it's certainly no everyday tea. It's like a special luxury good!

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