PS: Below is the text of the review...
Welcome back!!! Thanks for bearing with me during my brief hiatus. Finally, the semester is over and I can get back to reviewing. In this edition of Mike’s Tea Review we will be looking at an oolong offering. Today’s tea is Adagio’s Ali Shan Oolong.
This particular tea is what is known as a Formosan oolong. What this means is that it is from Taiwan. More specifically, it is from the Alishan (Ali Mountain) area of Chiayi county, Taiwan. This area is one of Taiwan’s most famous tea growing regions. Alishan teas are most commonly grown at an elevation of 1000 to 1400 meters. Adagio’s website gives the following description for this tea:
Dry Leaf on 1/4" Graph PaperAdagio wrote:Oolong tea from Taiwan. Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful’ was what the Portuguese explorers called this island. The oolong tea grown here continues to be called as such. The exquisite bouquet of Formosa Oolong tea is regarded to be the finest in the world. Complex floral notes echo on your palate as you enjoy this product of Taiwan’s Ali mountain. Light bodied and softly sweet with an underlying complexity, this oolong will surely come to haunt. Perfect for multiple infusions.
Upon opening the sample tin what I immediately noticed was the sweet floral scent of the leaf. It was also noted that the dry leaf appears to be very tightly rolled.
This seems to be a greener oolong so I decided to brew this with water that was just off boil (approximately 190°). For almost all oolongs that are not being brewed gongfu style I tend to go with a leaf ratio of .015 grams per milliliter of water. In this case I was using 180 ml of water (6oz) so I used 2.7 grams.
The first infusion went for 3 minutes. The leaves of the oolong began to open nicely during this infusion, but were not totally open afterward. This tells me that Adagio is correct in suggesting multiple steeps. The wet leaf has a nice floral scent that doesn’t seem to be as sweet as in the dry leaf.
The liquor was a nice pale golden color which was somewhat misleading. Judging by the faint color I did not expect this tea to pack much flavor. I was wrong. This tea has outstanding flavor. I expected floral notes because of the aroma, but there was also a nice honey note to the liquor. The mouthfeel was slightly brothy and there was a nice sweet finish to the tea. There was almost no astringency noticed with this brew.
One thing I like about oolongs is that they often have a lingering aftertaste. This one has that quality to an extent, but not as much as other oolongs I have tried.
Wet Leaf on 1/4" Graph Paper
The second infusion was bumped up to 4 minutes and this time the leaves were fully opened. I was impressed with just how much leaf came out of those little rolls. This confirms that this is a very tightly rolled oolong. The wet leaf is large,whole and there are very few single leaves. Most are groupings of 2-3 leaves and a bud still connected with the stem. The second infusion had similar flavor to the first.
Overall I find this to be a very nice oolong. The flavor is outstanding and it is easy to brew. I would like to see a little more broth to the mouthfeel and a more lingering aftertaste, but other than that I cannot say anything bad about this tea. If you are looking for a nice introduction to the world of Formosan oolongs this alishan would be a nice place to start.
Currently, this sample is being offered for $5. Adagio says that this sample tin will make 10 cups but I find that it will take you farther than that… especially once you factor in multiple infusions.