zondag 8 april 2012

Ali Shan (Teahouse Oolong)

After a few days of snowboarding in France I was craving for some oolong tea and today I finally was able to make a nice cup! I wanted a very sweet, calming tea so I chose for an Ali Shan tea from teahouse oolong, which is a dutch importer, according to their website biological grown at 1200m.

I first made a cup competition style (3g for 5min) to see what the tea had to offer. After 5min of waiting I poured a cup and I was astonished by its intense and overwhelming sweetness. It starts of with a very flowery flavor which evolves in this super sweet peachlike taste which kept lingering in my mouth for minutes. It was so sweet I could almost feel the sugar between my teeth. This tea is extremely smooth and has a full body. Wow, I can't wait to try this gong fu cha style! When I examined the tealeafs I noticed they are very small, haven't seen any this small yet. I guess this is still a very young plantation or an early harvest? I'm not an expert so I hope someone can tell me why these leafs are so small. The tea is barely oxidized at all.

Intens green
So time to move on to the gong fu cha. I used my new bigger yi xing pot because I want to use it as much as possible. This seemed to be a bad idea because of its seize I used waaaaaaay too much tea than normal which resulted in 2 very bad steeps. I was very curious about the results in the yixing pot but when I poured the first brew (I didn't fill the whole pot, only about 1/2) I tasted a flat,bitter, disappointing cup of tea. I just wanted to spit it out. I just poured the tea away because it was terrible. For the 2nd steep I used the same amount of water but I steeped it for a shorter time. Again full of excitement I tried another cup but this was also flat and bitter (though a little bit less worse). What is this? I really used too much tea. Guess I learned my lesson on this one that being too greedy isn't good. Another lesson learned just by drinking tea =) On the 3rd steep I filled the whole pot and waited for about 40-45seconds. This steep was amazing just like the competition style! It was even more sweet and fruity. It's not complex, not at all but the sweetness gives such a satisfaction to your body. I felt the energy rushing through my body and my legs started tintling.

For this tea session I also used a new brand of water. This springwater is slighty acid (pH of 6) and has a very low mineral content. Soon I will make 2 cups of tea with 2 different waters so I can tell the difference. I mainly use water with a pH around 7.5-8 and a mineral content of 150mg/l+. I did notice a more smooth, sweeter brew with this water but ofcourse I can't certainly tell because I haven't tried this tea with the normal water I use. More on this topic soon.
EDIT: Today I tried this tea again with a smaller pot and it just can't convince me. The taste stayed rather flat even with different water and steepingtimes. I even wasn't able to find that sugary sweetness back again. This tea is rather disappointing and flat. Hopefully it will get better over time...

EDIT 2: Because I was so desperate with this tea and not knowing what to do I started reading about roasting oolong tea. Some said that heating the oolong for a short time will open it up so I tried.... I just used a wok and put it on the fire on a fairly low temperature and put a spoonfull of tea in there. I heated it for about 20min. and made a brew and I was surprised by the results! The tea really opened up and I found this sweetness back again that I liked so much. It was very mellow and elegant like it should be. Maybe I should store the other tea in a porcelain jar and maybe they will open up soon aswell.

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