Confession: Shan lin xi is my favorite variety of rolled green oolong, though my experience is somewhat limited. I’ve had spring and fall harvest from Eco-Cha, and found that I was enamored by the spring harvest but the fall harvest (which I ordered by mistake) ended up being dismissed to my bowl steeping stash after a few gongfu sessions didn’t really tickle me the same way. I have no idea what harvest this sample from BTTC is, but I’m excited to try it either way.
The aroma of the dry leaves in a prewarmed gaiwan is buttery and nutty. The wet leaves smell buttery and grassy with hints of alpine plants. The taste of the first infusion is very clean, grassy and buttery, really smooth. I’m mostly captivated by the cleanliness of the tea. It’s just so crisp and feels good on the tongue. There’s a warming camphor-like quality in the back of the throat.
The aroma of the wet leaves is intoxicating after the second infusion, it’s dripping with honey and sweet flowers, and alpine air. I’m really impressed by this. Man, this second infusion is something else. There are some honey sweet notes to it now. The body is really thick and buttery. The taste reminds me of the aroma of warm grasses and flowers in the afternoon sun. There’s a lingering aftertaste that is floral and almost fruity. This tea has the kind of complexity that I can’t even describe the flavor very well. I love when this happens. It’s an adventure tea. I feel I’m being transported to its origins and taking in all the sights, smells, and sounds.
One thing I’m enjoying about this tea, on the third infusion now, is that it doesn’t have the floral soapiness that is hard to avoid with some of these green high mountain oolongs. Some are quite susceptible to overbrewing. This one can brew up pretty rich in flavor without punching me with those heavy floral notes. Flavors here are similar to the second infusion but not quite as lush.
Fourth infusion now, similar to the third, mellowing out some. Still pretty buttery. I think this tea will push out many flavorful infusions to come. I’m going to go ahead and give this the Lion’s Seal of Approval!!! (there is actually no such thing, and I am a dork) This really is one of the best rolled oolongs I’ve had, and definitely stands up to the best Shan Lin Xi I’ve had. Great stuff. Going to give this the rating it deserves, since it had me swooning over it.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Pine