02 October 2011

Two San Lin Xi oolong teas from Spring 2011

During our tea meeting this past weekend, Wyardley and our host, NM, both had 2011 San Lin Xi oolongs to share. WY purchased his from Floating Leaves Tea, where it has since sold out, and NM purchased his from a store in Taizhong (I think?).

We decided to taste them side by side to compare them.

They are pictured below. Floating Leaves is in front of the pink bag on the left, and NM's tea is in front of the other, white bag.
Two San Lin Xi Oolongs: Floating Leaves and NM's side by side

Perspective makes the Floating Leaves Tea look a little larger leafed than it is, though it was larger than NM's. NM's was also a brighter green whereas WY's had a bluish tinge. WY thought his was slighly higher oxidation.

Floating leaves:
Two San Lin Xi Oolongs: Floating Leaves

Two San Lin Xi Oolongs: NM purchase from Taiwan

San Lin Xi is a big mountain with many tea fields, but these teas could have been from neighboring farms. They smelled different in their bags (WY's was vegetal, NM's was nutty), but once in the pot they smelled almost identical. Their taste was almost identical too. NM's was thicker in taste and longer in aftertaste, whereas WY's was maybe slightly more floral and less veggie than NM's. But these differences were very, very slight.

The brewed leaves were nearly identical, too. WY's didn't show any additional oxidation that we could determine, either with our tongues or our eyes.

They were both pretty decent, and I preferred NM's but I couldn't say why, other than perhaps I thought the thickness would lend itself well to aging the tea. I don't care much for greener Taiwan oolongs, so the idea of changing them with age is always on my mind when tasting them.

Their sameness, though a bit boring in physical reality, was interesting to think about, that Taiwanese have their tea crafting down to an art that yields very consistent results. Judging gaoshan tea competitions must be rather difficult!


Gustia said...

My mouth is watering! I'm a big fan of tea but my knowledge is currently limited to which is the best tea shop to buy it from during my annual tea buying trip to Hong Kong. My favourite place being the Chinese Tea Hall at the Yue Hwa. I'm looking forward to learning more about the finer points of tea by reading your posts. Thank you for sharing.

Brian Soh said...

Hi, do you write PuErh Tea article?