Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's oolong -- Alishan Oolong

Alishan Oolong

Asked to make a list of my favorite teas ... this one is high on the list. Why? Mellow and light-bodied, this oolong perfect for multiple infusions (This makes it much more afforadble, as it greatly reduces the price per cup!) Long beautiful hand rolled leafs gently unfurl, releasing and intoxicating aroma laced with deep floral tones woven with warm sugar notes. Each sip reveals a melting creamy mouthfeel that speaks to the decadence of this tea. This is a beautiful cup of tea!

Mount Ali in Taiwan, or Alishan 阿里山, is famous for its high-mountain oolong tea. It is a broad area with many distinct oolong tea producing areas with Zhone Shu Hu and Shu Zuo as the two of the most. It is one of the most popular tourist areas in Taiwan. Fresh air and clear mountain passes add to the richness of the scenic beauty found here. A narrow guage railway built by the Japanese is found here and is famous throughout the world.

The wood from Mount Ali is highly prized. Some say it carries the spirit of the mountain, and for this reason is sought after for making popular Taiwanese ancestral tablets.

The oolong tea growing regions in Alishan are situated between 3200 and 7600 feet above sea level. The high mountain conditions offer plenty of fog and low temperatures which are ideal for oolong tea, and the water used for irrigation is from pure mountain springs. The tea is harvested later than green teas and white teas. This gives the leaves a chance to strengthen, which great increases the leaf's ability to withstand the complex processing. A later harvest also means oils in the leaf have had a better chance to develop. This leads to the cup being richer than the green and white teas.

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