Alishan Qing Xin High Mountain Spring Oolong Tea, Lot 824

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Cookie, Coriander, Corn Husk, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Peach, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
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Edit tea info Last updated by Leafhopper
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 oz / 120 ml

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  • “For Christmas, I was given a wood-fired clay teapot, which I picked out myself because my family aren’t big tea people. Well, this was the first time I tried it and possibly the last. The tea...” Read full tasting note

From Taiwan Tea Crafts

If you’re accustomed to our previous Lots since winter 2016, you’ll be pleased to know Lot 824 comes from the same grower we’ve been following for a few years now which makes an expressive, yet balanced tea. His teas are quite complex and already propose a rich texture which is a sign of a generous and well-made tea. This beautiful scenic area of central Taiwan, which is also classified as a Natural Reserve, produces one of the most well-known and referenced teas to define the Gao Shan (high mountain) taste of Taiwanese oolongs. Our Alishan Oolong is from Rui Fong area in Chiayi County. This is more recently developed area for tea and has a soil structure that is more gravelly and layered in shale and has numerous gardens that produce fragrant, well-balanced teas that are pleasant and mellow with a well-defined sweetness. The gardens are situated at a slightly lower elevation than the highly rated Lishan, Dayuling and Shanlinxi areas but the characteristic high-mountain taste and aroma is very much there! A bright pastoral aroma will great the taster and prepare the taste buds to a refreshing honeysuckle quench with a silky smooth finish. This is a good benchmark Alishan that highlights the easy-drinking character of this terroir’s teas. This is a very good introductory tea to high-mountain oolongs.

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2 Tasting Notes

314 tasting notes

For Christmas, I was given a wood-fired clay teapot, which I picked out myself because my family aren’t big tea people. Well, this was the first time I tried it and possibly the last. The tea seemed slightly different, with more florals and sweetness and less grassiness than in the porcelain pot. But sometime during the session, a long crack appeared that went right through the body of the pot and leaks slightly.

I did manage to preheat the pot before putting in the leaves, but am wondering if waiting too long between steeps caused the pot to cool too much. At any rate, I bought this pot in late November, got it on December 7, kept it in the box to open on Christmas Day, then threw away the packaging in the post-holiday cleanup, and only tried it yesterday, January 9. All this is to say that I’m probably stuck with it. I’m incredibly bummed out, to the point that I’m considering giving up this hobby altogether. I could only afford this thing because it was half price, and what’s the point in getting another if I’ll just ruin it again?

Flavours: Honeysuckle, orchids, minerals, grass, crushed dreams

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Martin Bednář

I would siggest maybe returing it to the shop? Warranty claim? I think it should survive, unless it is stated it is not for hot water – but clay teapot like that?


I’ve contacted the vendor, so we’ll see what happens. But it’s been over 30 days since the sale and I threw out all the packaging, making it hard to prove my case. All I have is a slightly-more-than-30-day-old delivery confirmation and a cracked teapot.


It’s also made from Japanese clay and isn’t as thin walled as zhuni or Taiwanese clay pots, which does suggest that it should have been able to handle temperature fluctuations and even boiling water. My Japanese mini kyusu has done this successfully, though I admittedly didn’t use water at 195F. I don’t think the crack was there when I got it, though, so the session must be to blame. Whether it was my fault or the fault of the potter is something else.

Martin Bednář

Here, you have 2 years warranty after sale date. And it includes almost everything. If it was intented for hot water, it should survive. If not, it must be stated on packaging or pot itself. Packaging is not needed at all.
But that’s Europe. They should return you money or give you a new one. I hope everything goes well and you won’t give up the hobby because of one pot. But I understand your are bummed.


Your European warranty system sounds great! Do you need to buy the warranty separately, or is it applied automatically whenever you purchase something?

I bought the teapot from an American company, and didn’t ask about their return policy because I had no intention of returning it (mistake number one, I guess). I hope the vendor will respond later today with good news.

I probably won’t quit the hobby over a single pot, but I now know that I do like high mountain oolongs in clay, which, given how pricy clay pots are and that I almost had one I loved, has made me rather depressed. I’m also bummed that possible user error could have put me in this mess.


Shame about the pot. I have a few around here not the real Yixing but I will send you one if you need a pot.


Thanks for the offer! I need to talk to the vendor to see if they’ll provide a replacement, or at least a refund. I bought this wood-fired Japanese clay pot at half price for US$80, and honestly, I’m not sure how to get a hold of a similar pot at this price point. I actually thought I was pretty lucky. They’re usually several hundred dollars, and if the maker is responsible for the flaw, I guess I know why this pot was comparatively cheap. I also don’t want to ruin another perfectly good pot by being careless about the temperature. I’ll let you know if I hear back from the vendor.

Martin Bednář

Leafhopper: it’s in the cost. No need to buy it separately. You can buy “longer” warranty, if it is offered at all. But at least two years you have chance to ask money back or new item if it broke because it doesn’t have stated quality. For example if it breaks, clothes start to tear or water proof and shock resistant mobile phone stop working after hit of ground.
In 30 days they have to say you their statement (return/new item). They have to check on their costs how it was damaged. Of course, you don’t get money back if you are using it against operational manual or using it wrongly (bad size, overheating et cetera)


That seems fair. However, I’m not sure it works this way in North America. Hopefully the vendor will be understanding. :)


The vendor offered to exchange the teapot or refund the cost if I ship the old pot back. Hopefully the new pot will be better.

Martin Bednář

Great news! Be caruful though, what if is actually your fault :), just little teasing you.
But I am happy that it worked out very well for you!


I hope it will! I don’t like the potential replacement pot as much—it was my third choice instead of my first during the Black Friday sale—but as long as it works, that’s okay.

I’m actually still worried that I was responsible for this pot’s very early demise, and have been constantly googling how to use a clay teapot properly. Anyone with uncracked clay pots want to give me some tips?


Glad the vendor was able to resolve it for you. It doesn’t sound like the pot cracked from anything you did. It would have to suffer extreme thermal shock for it to crack the way it did. My guess is you got unlucky and received a defective teapot. Hope you have better luck with the next one,


Yes, that’s probably what happened. I may have let it cool to room temperature a couple times during my long tea session, but I can’t see how that alone could have caused the damage. Could storing it above the counter where I boil my kettle have done it? Again, probably not. Pots would break all the time if they were that temperamental.


I wouldn’t fret too much about it. My pots cool to room temperature all the team during sessions and they’re fine. I have both Japanese and Taiwanese clay pots. Mine are fairly inexpensive so there’s no way a high quality one should crack like that. Really, these clay teapots are designed to last a long time as long as they aren’t abused.


Thanks for your input. Glad to know it’s almost definitely the pot. The vendor actually did an about-face and refunded my money instead of sending the replacement, saying that international shipping is too expensive. I said I would pay to ship the defective pot back and he would just need to pay to ship the new one, but haven’t received an answer. So basically, I lost.


Leafhopper, I thought I’d commented on this note days ago, but I guess I didn’t. I’m not good with teapots either, but unlike your situation, it’s because I accidentally murder them. Really, anything made out of clay is kind of a waste with me because I’m clumsy. I have rather big, wide hands, so getting a grip on small objects is difficult for me. I’m also a very near-sighted and physically awkward human being. I slip and bump into things a lot when I brew gongfu because I can’t sit still and just have to ramble around the house while I sip my tea. Early on, I decided that it would be best for me to just lay in a steady supply of cheap gaiwans and ru yao pots. Now when I break or crack things, I don’t even worry about it. Oh, and I get the added benefit of not having to dedicate my brewing vessel to just one type of tea. As a matter of fact, the gaiwan I use most frequently only cost me like $11 or $12. My favorite, which I only use for Wuyi rock teas, cost me like $5. While it sucks that you had a problem with a pot you were clearly attached to, you don’t have to go all out with your brewing setup either. It can be as cheap and simple as you want, because the only consideration that should matter is how well the tools you have work for you. I’ve been there. I used to try to put together fancy, expensive setups, but I very quickly figured out that things like nice clay teapots were wasted on someone like me. Things can easily go wrong with clay (had one or two issues myself), and I’m just gonna break fancy things anyway, so I stopped bothering with them. TL;DR if you are operating on a really tight budget, it might be advisable to go with the cheapest, most reliable option that provides the most versatility. Oh, and also, don’t give up your hobby. One misfortune should not ruin something you enjoy. This place would feel colder and emptier without you.


Eastkyteaguy, thanks for your response. I also struggle with clumsy hands, spilling the contents of my gaiwan on the counter and sometimes on myself! I’ve found teapots to be a reasonable solution for this problem. (I’d love to know of a decent ru yao pot under 120 ml.) I also liked porcelain teapots because I didn’t have to dedicate them to one type of tea. My clumsiness was the main reason I thought I might have been responsible for the breakage of my expensive clay pot, although that probably wasn’t the case.

I have to confess that my desire for a nice clay pot might have been partly based on aesthetics and vanity, but when I realized that it actually made a difference for high mountain oolongs, I was hooked. Maybe a $35 pot from TTC could provide the same experience. While I’m on a somewhat tight budget, I’m willing to spend slightly more for a teapot that provides a better drinking experience, and therein lies the problem. I know nothing about clay teapots, and they seem to be either very reasonable (TTC) or stratospherically expensive ($150 or more).

I’m probably not going to give up my hobby because of my defective teapot, although I do notice that I’m shying away from high mountain oolongs with a sense of regret. I hope I can find a replacement for this thing under $100. Or if not, I’ll probably go back to brewing everything in my 120 ml porcelain pot.


I found a good white ru yao pot that was under 120 ml last year at It wasn’t much under 120 ml (about 100 ml), but it serves as proof that one can occasionally find such pots in smaller sizes. I’m a clay noob/rube, so unfortunately, I know virtually nothing about higher end clay vessels. The few experiences I have had were mostly with newer vessels that were not yet seasoned and never made it that far. Even then, I’ve been limited to working with Chao Zhou clay (bizarelly never had a good Dancong in a Chao Zhou clay vessel). Anything else is beyond me. I’d love to get a silver tea set. I know a number od people who love silver vessels, especially for Wuyi teas, ripe pu-erh, and Yunnan Dian Hong, but such things will be out of my price range for some time.


I might have to look that ru yao pot up. Regarding your use of Chao Zhou, were the breakages your fault or just due to flimsy teaware? And yes, while I’m tempted by silver teaware, it’s decidedly out of my price range.


A few of the breakages were due to the flimsiness of the teaware. I had a couple pots that developed cracks shortly after I started using them. I did, however, manage to break both of them at a later date. One I dropped, and the other I accidentally banged into a countertop and broke off the spout. I’ve also had a couple other pots that didn’t survive very long due to me dropping them. Like I said, I’m clumsy.


Your teapots seem to be a bit tougher than mine. Still, I’d love to know where you got your inexpensive teapots from. Right now, I just want a clay pot that will give its unique quality to brewing without breaking.

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