I think I’m in love! This is truly one of the very finest Oolong Teas that I have been privileged to try, and I’m not surprised at all that the tea should come from Norbu Tea. All the teas that I’ve tried from Norbu Tea have always been of excellent quality, and this Oolong is perhaps the best example of that excellence.
The aroma of this tea is very “green” – much like the scent of a very leafy forest just after a pouring rain – with a slightly toasty essence… perhaps the fragrance you might experience if you were to attempt to roast freshly cut grass. I must be honest, when I first smelled the tea, I was a bit worried that this tea would be too grassy-tasting for my preference… how wrong I was!
The flavor is nothing less than sublime, but beyond that, it is difficult to describe the flavor of this superb tea. There are so many unique and complex layers to the flavor profile of this tea. There is a roasted, almost nutty flavor to the tea which is complemented by its overall earthy qualities. A very faint floral undertone is also present, as well as a slight buttery essence.
Here’s an excerpt from Norbu Tea’s website about this Oolong:
The way this tea was roasted created a balance between flavor and aroma in the finished product. A lighter roasting would have resulted in more aroma, but less mouthfeel and Hui Gan (aftertaste), while a heavier roasting would have decreased the aroma but increased the strength of flavor and final mouthfeel of the steeped liquor. Tea masters will roast in different ways to produce many different results, and I worked with our producer to choose this roasting style based on the theory that the balance between flavor and aroma would be best Suited to the tastes of our customers in the West. Tea roasting is an art, and it is an art that our friends in Taiwan have really perfected in my opinion.
It has a unique “High Mountain Aroma” that can best be described as “orchidy” or floral, but it is an aroma (and resulting flavor) that is very hard to describe and truly unique to teas from this area. The mouthfeel of the infused tea liquor is nice and smooth without being too thick, and the flavor is light, crisp, and refreshingly sweet and floral as a result of the low oxidation and relatively light roasting. The Hui Gan, or sweet aftertaste that comes after the initial bittersweet flavor fades, is lovely and long lasting.
-Spring Harvest 2009
-Gowing Area: Alishan Scenic Area, Chiayi County, Taiwan
-Varietal: Qing Xin (Green Heart) Oolong
No sweetener is needed with this tea; in fact, I think that it would detract the palate from truly experiencing this tea in its entirety, and believe me, this is a tea that is worth experiencing! It should be enjoyed hot; as it cools, some of the more delicate flavors are lost. I don’t know really what else there is to say about this tea except that it is truly nirvana for the Oolong enthusiast.
This is a truly amazing tea.