Shan Lin Xi is my favourite tea region, so thanks to Fong Mong for providing this sample. According to the attached brewing instructions, this tea is from Zhushan, which I didn’t know was part of the Shan Lin Xi region. This tea seems to be high quality, with uniform, loosely rolled green nuggets; it even has an oxidizer packet to ensure freshness. I steeped about 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The smell of the dry leaves in the teapot is of honey, flowers, and the balsam note associated with SLX. The first steep has notes of flowers, honey, apple, grass, and cream. In a previous review, Ken pointed out a nutmeg component, and while my palate isn’t that refined, there’s definitely a bit of spice. There’s no astringency and the body is slick. The second steep is even more intense and has the piney balsam taste I could detect in the aroma. This combo lasts into the sixth steep, after which the tea loses its fruity and balsam components and becomes mostly honey and florals, with vegetal notes slowly sneaking in at the end of the session.

This tea is fantastic, especially for its price. I got lots of honey, balsam, fruit, and florals, and very few of the off notes that plague high-mountain oolongs, such as seaweed, spinach, veggies, and excessive astringency, and then only near the end of the session. I’ve had much more expensive oolongs that I’ve liked considerably less than this one, and I’ll probably order an entire package when I can justify buying more tea.

Flavors: Apple, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honey, Nutmeg, Pine, Smooth, Spices, Vegetal

190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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