Sunday, April 15, 2007

Morning Tea -- review of Jin Xuan Oolong

T. and I sat down in the middle of the front room, tea paraphernalia set up for two, electric kettle plugged in; all excited over this new Oolong we got from the Jasmine Pearl. It was an unusual one, called Jin Xuan, Winter Pick, High Mountain Oolong.

This is an oolong house. We dig the ritual (there really is a use for those cute tiny little teapots and cups from China), and the variety of flavors you will get from just one set of brews of one tea. It's great stuff. Plus, how could we justify collecting so much varied teaware if we didn't do such an elaborate brewing style?

A high-mountain oolong is guaranteed to have more character just due to the growing conditions. But Winter pick had me intrigued. Little variations like elevation and time of picking have huge ramifications on the taste of the tea.

So, we brewed some up. At first, the brews (one and two) seemed awful light and grassy, but with a strong enough bitter/astringent end that we knew we hadn't under brewed it. But by the third brew, the taste opened up and had some more depth -- not a lot of rich deep tones, no caramel or smoke or anything like that, still very grassy, but richer and more satisfying. By the 4th and 5th brews I was really liking the tea. It had attained a nice ... whats the phrase I want to use, straw, or dried-leaf kind of note. That probably doesn't sound very appealing, but as light as it was, mixed with the original grassiness of the tea, it was very pleasant.

Overall, it's a light taste -- not as light as a White Tea, but definitely not as strong as the oolongs we are used to drinking in this house.

So I'd say it's a good tea, but enough outside my own taste (a little light) that I'm not crazy excited about it. For those who like white teas however, it would be a perfect crossover into the world of oolongs.

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