Oolongs are one of the most enjoyable teas to watch when brewing. With Da Yu Ling, the dark green leaves are curled tightly into tiny, crooked balls when dry. By tiny, I mean smaller than a button. As the tea brews, the leaves unfurl to reveal their full, beautiful almond shape about the size of your thumb. That’s huge, compared to other tea leaves! This visual surprise is one of the reasons why I love oolong tea.
Also, oolongs have a distinct orchid fragrance compared to other teas. It’s lightly floral, with more exotic and regal hints than a typical floral or green tea. From there, the oolong scent spectrum expands, ranging from vegetal to sweet to slightly fruity. When dry, Da Yu Ling lies on the vegetal end; but when brewed, it exudes an enchanting mix of orchid, grass, and butter. I don’t detect the tangerine notes described by Yezi, yet the richness of Da Yu Ling’s bouquet is exactly what I look for from a good oolong.
Apart from Teavana’s Monkey-Picked Oolong, Da Yu Ling Oolong is the first tea I’ve tried that the vendor recommends to steep multiple times. For the first cup, I brewed about 1½ teaspoons for 1 minute. The water turns a pretty pale gold, with a minty green tinge. Of course, there’s no mint whatsoever when you sip it. In fact, the first cup of Da Yu Ling tastes like green tea – fresh, grassy, natural. Maybe that shouldn’t surprise me, since the dry leaves gave off that scent. Yet it did.
What makes Da Yu Ling a star is its additional steeps. The leaves release more flavor as the brew time increases. The steep I savored the most is at 90 seconds. Here, the liquid takes on a beautiful gold hue, and the orchid current starts to weave itself through. The tea also develops a smooth, buttery texture and a delightfully sweet finish. Whenever the 90-second brew is gone, my heart flops with disappointment because I enjoyed it so much – but then my mood flips to excitement, because the empty mug means I can make a new cup! I’d advise against brewing Da Yu Ling past 4 minutes, however. Beyond that point, a mild bitterness replaces the sweetness and eventually overpowers the floral notes.
Read my full review here: http://bibliophilesreverie.com/2014/09/17/tea-time-at-reverie-yezi-teas-da-yu-ling-oolong-tea/
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Orchid, Smooth, Sweet