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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Taiwan Oolong Madness

I love being home in southern California for two reasons: I get to use my large-sized tea tray, and I can take advantage of the sunny weather for my photos. My grandmother is staying with my family for a while, and she brought a ton of Taiwan Oolong. I've been busy with my job-search, but I finally sat her down so I can properly document what type of teas she brought. She had forgotten what the vendor told her, so we decided to have a tea tasting between myself, my mother, and my grandmother.

Taiwan Oolong "A"

This tea was harvested in Spring 2009, and it comes from the Li Mountain, which is located in central Taiwan. My mother liked this tea particularly, because of the low astringency and the better flavor. When we felt the wet tea leaves it seemed a little bit "thinner" compared to the others. This tea is about $18 for 50 grams, but since the standard of living is a little lower there, I'd say the tea is worth about $30 for 50 grams. The tea has minimal roasting, if any, and I love the soft floral flavor.

Taiwan Oolong "B"

This tea was also harvested in Spring 2009, and it also comes from the Li Mountain region; however, there are some big differences between the two teas. We noted that this tea has a very distinct floral aroma. When i smelled the wet tea leaf and the tea itself, I was reminded of TGY. The wet leaf was also thicker than the others, which I'm assuming means there's more concentrated flavor in the leaves, and that the leaves are probably older. This was slightly more astringency, which was a hui gan, so we enjoyed it quite much. The flavor itself was so-so, I think Oolong "A" had better flavor, but Oolong "B" had better aroma. This tea was slightly cheaper, about $14 for 50 grams.

Taiwan Oolong "C"

It was much easier to tell this tea apart from the others, because there is some light roasting. My grandmother forgot where exactly this tea came from, but she distinctly remembered being told it was of lower quality. From what I've learned from different tea vendors in Taiwan, light green Oolong are preferred to roasted Oolong.Even there isn't too much color variation, I could smell the roasted aroma was the dry tea leaf. The tea had a nice roasted aroma that contrasted nicely with the other teas. Wasn't too much to write home about though. Not suprisingly, the price reflects the tea's quality: $7.00 for 50 grams.

So I have a lot of Taiwanese oolong, so if anyone is interested in trading samples, please let me know. I'm looking for some Shincha/Sencha, Gyokuro, Dancong, and Wuyi.

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