vrijdag 12 april 2013

Antwerps Teacentre's Lishan Spring 2013

My first Spring tea of 2013. Mei Lan told me that this tea is quite special, made from a new cultivar which the farmer didn't want to reveal. I'm always up for some mystery! She thinks there might be some Assam in the genetics, and it wouldn't surprise me. While Assam was my first thought as well, right now I wouldn't be surprised if there was cauliflower or spinach mixed in.... this tea is vegetal!

It looks like a typical Taiwanese gaoshan, lovely blue/green colour. The balls - for some reason this always sounds funny to me- are slightly bigger than usual and irregular shaped. They give away a sweet flowery scent, not revealing their big surprise yet.

So far I've had 3 sessions with this tea, all 3 of them have been completely different. The gaiwan is able to tame the vegetal flavours, putting more accents on the long orchid, citrus aftertaste. Brewed with my mumyoi clay teapot, it's a  different story.

Most Taiwanese oolong I've tried so far are fruity or flowery, sometimes with a hint of vegetables. This tea is the other way around: vegetable soup with some flower sprinkled on top.
It starts of with a strong cauliflower and asparagus taste, in later brews evolving into a more meaty, spinach character. It feels big in the mouth and has lots of vegetal sweetness with hints of puffed honey rice. After the 4th brew, it becomes less brutal in the mouth -probably caused due my more intense steeps- developing a finer, more flowery palate. I don't know if my nose is fooling me or not because I could clearly smell a bit of  pepper in the brew. In the last brew, faint flavors of peach appear in the aftertaste... ah, something familiar at last.

The qi was strong- , the flavors were gone, something was wrong I said, "What was going on?" (couldn't help it but put some snoop doggy dog rhymes in here.) Just to make sure: nothing was wrong with the flavors, just had to fit in the lodi dodi rhyme.

Now I can understand, most of you are thinking : "what kind of vegetable soup tea is this?". It sounds a bit strange, perhaps even off-putting. In my experience, it has been one of the most complex teas I've tried so far, changing face every session. This oolong really has its own personality, making it stand out of the so many overflowery Taiwanese gaoshans.

Reading my reviews, it seems teas are always getting better and better with barely any bad review. It's not that I like every tea, just buying better and better quality the more experience I'm gaining. Till now, no quality tea has disappointed me. Because some flavour profiles don't appeal to me, doesn't make it a bad or low quality tea. This tea on the other hand, did satisfy my craving. The leaves are big and thick, resulting in many flavorful brews.

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