zaterdag 29 september 2012

Li Shan 2011 Spring

I woke up with sunshine in my room and the first thing that came to my mind was: LISHAN!!! So I got up, went downstairs and started brewing tea. I've been excited trying this tea for a while now. For me Lishan teas are the standard I compare others too, perhaps because the first oolong I tried was from Li Shan. The initial dry smell of this tea was sweet but it didn't reveal that much yet. The balls were relative big and irregular and had an intense deep green colour. Once I had put the oolong into the preheated vessel I was surprised to smell 'Honey Pops', just incredible how tea can smell so different! For me this tea was already a winner, for me high mountain oolong has to be sweet,pure and elegant. Now, lets go to the brewing part!

I like to make my first brew very short because it makes  the brew  light and sweet. Later during the day I brew my teas a bit stronger but in the morning your taste buds don't need those high concentrations of flavor. There was so much going on with this tea I had to grab a paper to write down some stuff. As I mentioned it was sweet, mellow and the floral is pretty preeminent but in the aftertaste some more fruity flavors started to develop. Probably because of the low oxidation on this tea it lacked a bit of fruitiness that I adore in teas though it doesn't make it a bad tea, not at all! The floral notes with the subtle fruits gives it a very complex character. In the aftertaste you will be able to distinguish some orange peel and lychee. The taste of this tea brings me back to Taiwan where I had my first Gong Fu session with a Li Shan from the same year. It's strange how some tastes are graved so deep into your memory, some say our olfactory memory is the best of all. During my tea session my cousin texted me: I've got some tea from Vietnam for  you!  He went to Vietnam for 3 weeks to explore the country. Never had tea from Vietnam before(or it has to be some fake Taiwanese oolong) so I'm curious how it'll taste. I like to cool some tea down in a cup so I can distinguish the flavors better (also bitter notes will play a bigger role). When cooled down (to about 40-50°C) the tea becomes almost creamy with a superb sweetness. I can say that sweetness is the red line in this tea with other flavors developing around it.

Before I forget to mention, some more information about its growing conditions. As the name said it is grown on Lishan at about 1600m altitude and it's from the luanze (qinxing or Chin-xing, don't know the correct pinying). Again this tea from Mei Lan has done its job in pleasing me (a lot!). Tomorrow I'll review some puerh, don't expect too much from it because puerh flavors are something totally new to me. I've also been thinking about a Beerblog. As tea is natural for Chinese people, beer is natural to me.  (And I'm not talking about pasteurized pilsner here). See you tomorrow!

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