Review of Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
9 of 105 of 54 of 590 of 100
SuperbExcellentGood Value

My first time sampling Da Yu Ling, this was unexpectedly complex and interesting. It had a gingerbread and molasses quality that I've never before encountered in an oolong.

Dry leaf has a strong floral fragrance, similar to other green oolongs from Taiwan. Upon brewing though, this tea becomes much more interesting.

I brewed this Western-style in a mug. I found it was not picky about preparation; it works well with boiling water and becomes only subtly stronger or weaker if you change the steeping time. It always produced a light, clear liquor with just the perfect amount of body.

All of the other green oolongs from TeaVivre have tasted more-or-less similar, especially in their floral fragrance. This one stands out. There is a floral quality, but there are strong aromatic qualities that I have not before encountered in an oolong. The floral aroma is like lilac and rose--quite bold. What stands out is a gingerbread-like quality, suggestions of dried ginger and molasses, perhaps a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. I recommend a short first steep, shorter than the 1 minute TeaVivre recommends.

The second cup is equally flavorful but the aroma is slightly more muddled. I don't notice a distinct floral fragrance, and the gingerbread quality is weaker. It tastes more vegetal. I liked a longer second steep, 3+ min. worked best for me.

Oddly, in the third cup, the gingerbread aroma comes back full-force, but the floral quality is completely gone. There's a faint soapy aroma, but it's not unpleasant. There's also a new, savory quality that was not evident in the first two cups...it almost reminds me of stir-fried Celery in Sichuan food. Very interesting.

There was still a little flavor and aroma left in the leaf after the third steep, but I thought this last steep was less interesting. It did have a bit of a fresher, lighter quality though...it was interesting how much this tea changed in each infusion.

This tea was very enjoyable, and was certainly one of the most complex and interesting oolongs I've tried in a long time. It was very different from other green oolongss.

It's also very expensive, however. 100 grams is $69.90, and about a pound is over $300.

A side note, I just noticed something bizarre (and problematic) about TeaVivre's pricing. If buying the largest quantity, 500 grams, of this tea in a tin, it costs $30 more than buying it without a tin. Yet, with a less expensive tea (say Keemun Grade 1, one of my favorites), buying the same quantity of tea in the tin adds only $15 to the price. (Still expensive for a tin, if you ask me, but the discrepancy is odd.)

Buying a $7 sample for a treat might be worth it--this is a fascinating tea and I think it's well worth that cost for the experience of drinking it. I would not make this an everyday tea though, not just because of the price but because I didn't find it had as much of an everyday appeal. I also think this tea requires some focus to appreciate all its nuances.

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