Vietnam #12.5 High Mountain Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Bread, Butter, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Grass, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mineral, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Violet, Vegetal
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 oz / 149 ml

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From What-Cha

A smooth oolong with a sweet highly floral taste, perfect for those who love greener oolongs.

Produced from a unique cultivar developed in the producer’s own research garden in Vietnam, by crossing two of Taiwan’s most famous oolong cultivars; Jin Xuan (#12) and Cui Yu (#13), which I’ve named #12.5 in reference to the parents.

Tasting Notes:
- Smooth texture
- Sweet creamy taste

Harvest: Spring, March 2016

Origin: Phuc Tho, Lam Ha, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam
Altitude: 1,000-1,100m
Sourced: Direct from the Vietnamese producer

Cultivar: #12.5 [Cross of Jin Xuan (TTES #12) and Cui Yu (TTES #13)]
Oxidisation: 5-10%
Roast: None
Picking: Hand picked

Brewing Advice:
- Heat water to roughly 85°C/185°F
- Use 1-2 teaspoons per cup/small teapot
- Brew for 1-2 minutes

Packaging: Non-resealable vacuum-sealed bag packaged by the producer in Vietnam (50g or larger)

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4 Tasting Notes

1048 tasting notes

One of the many Southeast Asian oolongs I have been working my way through over the past couple of days, so far this tea has been the most disappointing of the bunch. What’s worse is that I have now tried two different harvests of this tea from two different years (this review focuses on the 2017 harvest) and have come away less than impressed each time. While this tea did admirably combine some aspects of the Jin Xuan and Cui Yu cultivars, I found that it did not offer enough of the most appealing qualities of either to leave a lasting impression on me.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, butter, custard, and grass. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of sugarcane and violet. The first infusion then brought out scents of lettuce and spinach. In the mouth, the liquor offered mild, subtle notes of butter, cream, grass, and sugarcane accompanied by vague hints of lettuce and spinach. Subsequent infusions began to bring out hints of custard and violet in the mouth. New impressions of vanilla, seaweed, honeydew, and minerals emerged, as did fleeting impressions of baked bread, coriander, and pear. I noticed a brothy umami quality on several of these infusions and much stronger spinach notes all around. The later infusions offered lingering impressions of minerals, butter, and cream as well as hints of grass, seaweed, and sugarcane here and there.

Um, this was just kind of a boring, bland oolong with a very flat, almost lifeless presence in the mouth. The tea did not seem to be stale, and since I have now had two different harvests of this tea and have gotten similar results with each, the only conclusion I can draw at this point is that’s just how this particular tea is. I brewed the final 4 grams of this tea in the Western style and the results were a little better, but not much. If you are into subtle, vegetal oolongs, I can see this one maybe doing something for you, but if you’re expecting a nice balance between the smooth, milky Jin Xuan and floral, grassy Cui Yu, it is my opinion that you may not be all that impressed. I may try this one again at some point in the future, but I also may pass on it. One is about as likely to occur as the other.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Grass, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mineral, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Violet

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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676 tasting notes

Hmm, the smell and taste of this tea don’t seem to match. It has the unmistakeable floral aroma of an oolong, but tastes like a green tea. Light buttery with a dominant vegetal flavor. The body is thin and has a slight sour/bitter note in the end if steeped too long. No matter how I brewed it, I couldn’t coax out any florals or fruity flavors from it. A rather atypical oolong.

Flavors: Grass, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

IM actually kind of curious now.

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8 tasting notes

This was a really nice tea, you could re-steep it a lot of times and it has a very nice flavour. It’s very smooth and sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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1705 tasting notes

Most recent tea of the a day, decent, buttery, mega smooth, creamy, and mildly sweet. Butterflowers pops in my head. I can taste the Jin Xuan and Cui Yu qualities easily, but need to rebrew with fresher utensil. Silly Daylon had this after a black tea…

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