Ethan Kurland

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96
drank Shanlinxi by Ethan Kurland
285 tasting notes

My second Shan Lin Xi from Ethan is from higher up the mountain than the Perfect oolong I reviewed a month ago. It’s still relatively affordable at $25 for 50 g. (Before I got into high mountain oolongs, calling that amount affordable would have made me roll my eyes.) I steeped 6 g of tea in a 120 ml porcelain pot using boiling water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The wonderfully sweet dry aroma is of honeydew melon, gardenia, honeysuckle, orchid, other florals, cookies, and grass. The first steep has notes of gardenia, honeydew, osmanthus (maybe? I still haven’t figured out this flavour), honeysuckle, sweet pea flowers, orchid, and a vegetal backbone. The second steep adds perfectly ripe apricot and the herbaceous note that seems to be a Shan Lin Xi trademark for me. The third and fourth steeps present a lovely combination of flowers, apricot, and nectarine, with the herbaceous and vegetal notes in the background. There’s a long, fruity aftertaste with hints of lettuce. Soft Mandarin orange notes become especially prominent in steeps four and five. By steep seven, the stonefruit and citrus start to fade, though the floral and vegetal notes are still enjoyable. Later steeps have notes of spinach, asparagus, and grass with the odd hint of florals.

This tea feels like summer to the Perfect’s spring. I like the headier florals and the greater amount of stonefruit, though using my preferred brewing method, it also steeps out fairly quickly. During the three weeks this package has been open, I’ve seen it evolve from a predominantly floral tea into one with the fruity flavours I enjoy, which leads me to believe that some enthusiasts might consider them a sign that a tea is getting older. Either way, it’s been fun to appreciate this oolong on an almost daily basis, and I’ll probably do this with some of my other high mountain oolongs.

Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Cookie, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mandarin, Nectarine, Orchid, Osmanthus, Spinach, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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94

I recently joined TeaForum, which has a sometimes intimidatingly knowledgeable group of tea drinkers and vendors. One of these vendors is Ethan Kurland, who sells a small, highly curated selection of Taiwanese oolongs that have a high reputation among the cognoscenti. I picked up his three Shan Lin Xi oolongs, along with samples of some other things. I also bought two 30 ml clay teapots, which I’ll be using as the world’s tiniest tea comparison set.

Of the three Shan Lin Xi oolongs, Perfect comes from the lowest elevation and is the most affordable. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of heady orchids, honeysuckle, other florals, honey, cookies, and grass. The first steep is a heap of buttery florals, including orchid, honeysuckle, and sweet pea, on a background of honey, cookies, grass, and green beans. The next steep adds sweet cream corn and a hint of something fruity, maybe apricot. The third steep has notes of green apple, coriander, and the herbaceousness I sometimes find in Shan Lin Xi oolongs. The tea is a bit more savoury, though the florals are still going strong. Subsequent rounds lean more toward spinach and beans, but the orchids, sweet peas, honeysuckle, and lilacs are very present until steep seven or so. The session ends with vegetal notes and hints of flowers.

This is a lovely oolong, especially given that it’s $0.19 per gram. The vendor compares it to a Baozhong and I think that’s accurate. I would have liked to see more fruit and for the tea to have lasted longer, but all in all, I’m very happy with it.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cookie, Coriander, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lilac, Orchid, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

Yes! I creep on that place maybe every few weeks. So glad you purchased some of his oolong.

Leafhopper

It’s really good! Those people on TeaForum have a deep knowledge of and appreciation for tea, and deep pockets to match. They give me tea and teaware envy!

LuckyMe

I’m on that site too but haven’t logged on in a while. Their discussion forums are what I wish Steepster would be

Leafhopper

I also wish Steepster’s discussion boards were more active. However, I think Steepster is more approachable to newer tea drinkers who might not yet have the experience and knowledge base for TeaForum. The forum also doesn’t seem like a great place for flavoured tea drinkers. I guess both sites have their own niche.

Mastress Alita

I’m one of those people that signed up there, and then immediately dipped out and never went back because I didn’t feel like the “right” kind of tea drinker or have anything to add to the sort of stuff there…

I think one of the biggest weaknesses with the Steepster forums is the fact that threads from over a decade ago are constantly being “revived” by spam posts, and stay “at the top” even after the spam comment is deleted, burying actual current topics. The forums seriously need to go through and lock/archive threads past a certain date, and make it so if a spam comment is deleted, that thread goes back to its proper position based on activity.

Leafhopper

Mastress Alita, yes, the content on TeaForum is pretty specialized. I’ve made a few good connections there and have gotten some of my questions answered, but it does appeal to a certain kind of tea drinker.

I’ve also noticed old threads being bumped to the top of the discussion board and think archiving them past a certain point would be a good idea. Maybe that’s something we should bring up to the admins.

tea-sipper

I don’t know if I’d like to see any threads lock, but I definitely agree that if spam is deleted, the thread should go back to the last spot it was in, rather than linger among recent threads.

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