Tea From Taiwan’s Zhong Shu Hu Ooolong

(Tea Provided For Review)
Origin: Zhang Shu Hu Village, Ali Shan, Chia Yi County, Taiwan
Harvest: November 2014
Cultivar: Cui Yu (Jade TaiCha #13)
Elevation: 1400m

Tea From Taiwan was kind enough to send me a couple samples of the teas I forgot to purchase after my review of their DaYuLing and I randomly decided to try this first. Tea From Taiwan describes this as:
Zhong Shu Hu oolong tea comes from the Zhong Shu Hu area of Ali Mountain (Alishan) - one of the most famous tea producing regions of Taiwan. The climate here is cool and moist with cloud cover and mists every day. These conditions are ideal for tea because the plants grow very slowly and produce tender, flavorful tea leaves and buds.
Zhong Shu Hu oolong tea has a sweet taste and refined aroma. Each brewing brings out new flavours and taste sensations. This tea has a complexity that provides continuous nuances with every cup.
Zhong Shu Hu oolong tea can be re-brewed several times while maintaining an excellent flavour. We recommend the Gong Fu method of preparation to bring out the best of this excellent tea.
I did not read the description until after I tried the tea and I was shocked to find out it is from the AliShan area; the tea reminds me much more of a LiShan tea than an AliShan, perhaps I haven’t had as good AliShan as this before. Many AliShan teas I have had in the past with a few exceptions have paled in comparison to this. I kind of regret not using my aroma cup on this.

Dry Leaves: The leaves are a little irregularly shaped, I’m guessing this is either a hand plucked tea or at the very least a hand rolled tea which is not surprising for a tea of this quality.

First Steeping
Temperature: 190oF
Brewing Time: Thirty Seconds
Aroma: Cinnamon and Roast
Flavor: Cinnamon, Floral and Vegetal
Tasting Notes: I already mentioned that I thought this was a LiShan at first, mostly because of now sweet and light it is, I've been hearing for quite some time that there is a bit of a tea forgery problem for quite some time, but up till now I never really paid much attention to it. I've had a few good AliShan in the past, but for the most part I've had some pretty mediocre teas that supposedly came from there. While this tea is delightfully buttery, it does not have that thick mouthfeel that many GaoShaCha are known for, but at the same time it is not exactly thin.

So far it is outstanding, it has a very strong floral aroma and taste as well as a distinct, yet light roast taste. As you probably already know I tend to prefer the more floral Taiwanese oolongs over the more roasted ones, but this was quite different from either the greener, but floral or roasted oolongs I tried in the past. At first I was just getting the floral and cinnamon notes, but after a couple seconds I was able to tell there is some roasty notes as well, still on the lighter side, but quite pleasant nonetheless.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 195oF
Brewing Time: Forty-five seconds
Aroma: Orchid, Cinnamon and Roast           
Flavor: Cinnamon, Floral, Vegetal and Roasted Nuts
Tasting Notes:  The liquor is becoming a little dark, yet it still taste like a greener oolong, even though it has a roasted nut flavor that I see more in Muzha oolongs. It is a little strange because it has these amazing green oolong flavors as well as some minor roasted oolong flavors. Regardless I am absolutely in love with this tea.

It has a nice mix of floral and vegetal taste. Tea From Taiwan’s description is absolutely spot on. While the cinnamon notes are the strongest of the individual flavors, I can’t help but taste the vegetal and nutty flavors as well. Whoever roasted this tea needs recognition because this is absolutely amazing! This was my favorite of these three infusions mostly because of the strength of the aroma while all the scents are still pleasant in the subsequent infusion I found the roasted scent a little too strong in the next infusion.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 200oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Roast and Floral
Flavor: Floral, Spicy Cinnamon, Spinach and Nutty
Tasting Notes: It was a little strange to see the cinnamon aroma disappear entirely and the roasted aroma become so pungent. The floral aroma is still there, but it feels a little underwhelming (it’s interesting to note that in later infusions the floral aroma becomes the sole scent remaining). As for the liquor it is becoming darker once again; while this tea does have a rather long life I got a little more than fifteen steepings out of the leaves before they felt completely used up, but the liquor tends to get very dark in later infusions. As for the flavors the cinnamon note has a new spicy edge to it which was rather nice and the vegetal taste has become distinctly spinach like.

I loved this tea. It is quite an elusive tea to describe, while it has these wonderful floral elements, it also has some slight roasted ones as well. I already mentioned how I originally thought this was a LiShan, but I have yet to mention that I was shocked to discover this is a fall tea. It has that wonderfully complexity that I associate more with winter oolongs. Regardless Tea From Taiwan at the time of writing this has this tea is on sale for $19.80 for 75 grams and that feels like a very good price for a tea as amazing as this. 


Just a guy who likes tea.