Tea From Taiwan’s Wu Ling Oolong

(Tea Provided for Review)
Origin: Wu Ling Farm, Li Shan, Taichung County, Taiwan
Harvest: Winter 2014
Cultivar: Chin Shin
Elevation: 1800m



After being impressed with Tea From Taiwan’s Zhong Shu Hu I decided to try this Wu Ling despite the simple name. Tea From Taiwan describes this as:
Wu Ling oolong tea (wu-long tea) is our best tea in our regular collection. Wu Ling is a mountain area in Taichung county and its high altitude (more than 1800 meters) contributes to the ideal growing conditions for wu long tea.
Another reason why Wu Ling wu long tea is of such fine quality is the soil of the Wu Ling area. Wu Ling was a fruit producing region for many years until economic conditions favored imported fruit over home-grown apples and pears. Former orchards in the Wu Ling area were converted into oolong tea plantations, and Wu Ling wu long tea is renowned for its fruity quality.
Wu Ling is located on Mount Li (Li Shan or Pear Mountain) and wu long tea from Mount Li is the most prized wu long tea in Taiwan. It is ideally suited for gong fu style brewing and can be re-brewed up to eight times while still retaining plenty of flavor.
More information about the Li Shan area of Taiwan (including a section on Wu Ling wu long tea) can be found on this website about Wu Ling farm.
It sounds a bit like this is TFT’s house oolong. It’s cool that TFT list’s the farm’s website, although the English language version is currently unavailable. Although it is pretty strange for a vendor that specializes in Taiwanese teas to essentially give away their source especially when there are tons of online stores that specialize in Taiwanese Oolongs, I suspect TFT must get a really good deal on teas from the Wu Ling farm.





Dry Leaves: There is not much of a fragrance to the dry leaves, but the actual leaves have quite a strange shape, while they are tightly rolled they remind me a little of embryos. Perhaps they are hand rolled, but I am not sure.



First Steeping
Temperature: 190oF
Brewing Time: Thirty Seconds
Aroma: Cinnamon and Floral
Flavor: Floral, Fruity and Roasted Vegetal
Tasting Notes: It’s very silky. I do not think I have ever had a tea with this soft mouthfeel. Instantly I am reminded of the Zhong Shu Hu, while this Wu Ling lacks the cinnamon flavors of the Zhong Shu Hu it feels very similar. It does have that light roasted taste, but this time it feels more like roasted vegetables, more on the dark leafy green side, perhaps not as strong as kale yet.





The fruity notes are a little elusive; it took me quite some time to realize there were some fruity notes in there. So far I think I prefer the Zhong Shu Hu to this, although this has a much nicer mouthfeel.



Second Steeping
Temperature: 195oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Cinnamon and Floral
Flavor: Floral, Fruity, Vegetal and Sugar Cane
Tasting Notes: It is not as silky as the last infusion, but instead it is becoming creamy. I am happy to say it is starting to taste less like the Zhong Shu Hu, the roasted notes disappeared entirely and instead the vegetal notes are becoming very green. And there is a new sugar cane flavor that was quite nice, while this tea is certainly on the sweeter side it is not sickly sweet like some oolongs.





The cinnamon aroma is a little strong and overpowers the floral notes which are a little sad since there are some lovely orchid and violet notes in there.  Regardless all the flavors are very clean and refreshing.



Third Steeping
Temperature: 200oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Floral
Flavor: Peachy, Floral, Vegetal and Sugar Cane
Tasting Notes: It is becoming incredibly creamy! And it is starting to become a little darker, while the floral and vegetal notes are still present in the subsequent infusions the vegetal notes become more apparent and the sugar cane starts to become caramel-y. In the next infusion there is a rather interesting taste that I struggled to identify, almost like a sweet butter, but not exactly.





Regardless this is a lovely tea, I prefer it over the Zhong Shu Hu mostly for its rich flavors, while it lacks the incredible aroma of the ZSH it more than makes up for it with its incredible mouthfeel. I can see why this is one of Tea From Taiwan’s best teas in their regular collection.  At the time of writing this TFT is selling this for 75g at $29 or $4 for a 7g sample, it’s definitely worth checking out.




Rah

Just a guy who likes tea.

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