The Inaugural Ali Shan

15 Jul

I wanted to inaugurate the blog with one of my favorite teas of late. Something that would be easy to rave about. Also something to just improve my day, as I have had many days of suck with what is going on five weeks of intense shoulder rehab as well as all of my tomato transplants dying this week after a heavy rain, as well as someone killing my volunteer butterfly bushes thinking they were weeds. Goodie. This is one of those teas that I drink because I love me, and I deserve delicious things every so often. It makes me smile and go to a happy place, like a good scotch. Mmm… scotch…

Dry: Tiny rolled balls of oolong leaves varying from bright yellow green to deep jungle-green/blue-green in color. Nothing overly impressive about the aroma. Vegetal. Grassy. Meh.

Brewing: 6oz gaiwan, 1tsp/8oz ratio, 185*, 3 minutes (as per recommended brewing instructions)

Aroma: My favorite part of the entire experience? Adjusting the lid of the gaiwan to get ready to pour and getting punched in the face with a seductive, heavenly aroma that’s buttery, honeyed, and slightly floral. I want to live in my gaiwan. After pouring the tea I crawl as much as possible into the gaiwan and just stay there until the liquor cools off to something drinkable. If I could take a bath in this tea I’d probably drown after falling asleep in the intoxicating aroma. It’s like a siren of the tea, calling sailors to a watery doom.

Flavor: Less, “OMG I WANT TO LIVE IN IT.” Much more balanced though. Not quite so much rich buttery-honey flavor and more floral notes. Also an ever so slightly bitter note towards the end, reminding me of green teas. Delicious. Velvety. Smooth. Nothing very lingering. It’s in, down, gone. Happy taste-buds. On additional resteeps I reduced the time and any twangy bitterness disappeared without messing with the other flavors.

Also, there is a small flower bud amongst my oolong leaves, which I take to be a fortuitous sign from the tea gods in regards to starting the blog today. Thanks tea gods!

What: Ali Shan by Tao of Tea
Type: Oolong
Cost: $7.25/oz
Cost per Cup: $0.29*
Resteeps: 3 before flavor started to diminish. About 7 before it was hot oolong flavored water.
Tea Score: 85 – Aroma alone would get infinity (+1) but the flavor pulls it down to a real number like 85. Might be better if it didn’t have such a freaking awesome aroma. Tough act to follow.
Cupboard Score: 95 – Best be in my cupboard for those days I need some tea lovin.

*Determined with info on the labeling of the 2oz tin. 20z tin proclaims to make 50 cups. 1oz of tea would make 25 cups.

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