Bai Yun Oolong Fall 09 from Norbu Tea

Bai Yun Oolong Fall 09 from Norbu TeaWhat a lovely cup of Oolong!  Not surprising, of course, because this is a Norbu Tea, after all.

In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to sample many of the greener Oolongs that Norbu has to offer, but, not as many of the dark Oolongs.   When I say “dark” I am referring to the color of the leaves (as well as the color of the liquor once brewed) due to oxidation levels.  This is one of the darker Oolongs that Norbu Teas sells, and I am thrilled to be reviewing it!

Oolong Teas are subjected to a period of oxidation, and the greener teas are oxidized for a shorter period of time, while the darker Oolongs are oxidized longer – but not as long as a Black Tea.  These particular tea leaves – Bai Yun Oolong from Yunnan, harvested in Fall 2009 – have been oxidized about 70 – 75%, which has left the leaves a very dark brown color.

The dry leaves do not possess a strong, discernible aroma.  This changes once the tea is brewed, and the liquor takes on a lovely, honey-like scent and a beautiful, clear amber color.  The flavor is rich in taste with a smooth mouthfeel that is not quite as thick as some of the greener Oolongs from Norbu, but it is still, nonetheless, quite pleasant.

The flavor is remarkably complex, which is something I’ve come to expect from Norbu Teas.  A sweet, peachy-like taste with a woodsy appeal present themselves upon the palate, while a sharp, yet ever-so-slightly sweet floral note lingers in the finish.  There is also a very subtle sour to this tea’s profile that is very soft and difficult to describe, but is quite delightful.  I really like how this tea appeals to so many areas on the tongue.

Norbu Tea describes this tea as

-Fall Harvest 2009
-English Name: White Cloud Oolong
-Gowing Area: Wu Liang Mountain, Jingdong County, Yunnan
-Varietal:  Yunnan Wu Liang large leaf
-Oxidation: +/- 70%

This “Bai Yun,” or White Cloud Oolong was made from fall harvest, 2009 “wild arbor” Yunnan Large Leaf tea grown in the Wu Liang mountain area of Pu-Erh prefecture.

It was processed in the style of the famous Taiwan oolong known as Bai Hao, Dong Fang Mei Ren, or “Oriental Beauty.”  During the past several years, a number of Taiwanese tea growers, tea masters and entrepreneurs have settled in Yunnan, bringing their own distinct styles of processing with them.  This tea is, in my mind at least, a fantastic example of what outside influences & expertise can do with Yunnan’s high quality “wild” tea raw materials, and the much lower price of a high quality Bai Hao style tea produced outside of Taiwan is definitely a welcome bonus.

Read more of this description here.

This is a tea that can be enjoyed iced, but just as the other teas that I’ve reviewed from Norbu Tea, I recommend drinking it hot.  It is as a hot tea that you can fully appreciate the many layers of flavor that this tea possesses.  Sweetener would disrupt the lovely nature of this tea, and it really doesn’t need it!  It has a very pleasing, natural sweetness.

I highly recommend this divine Oolong tea to any tea enthusiast, and especially to Oolong fans.

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