Oolong Choicest Grade (TT17)
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From Upton Tea
This is one of many similarly-priced grades of Taiwanese Oolong offered by Upton Tea: TT10, TT11, TT15, and T17. It is only a little more than twice the price of the fannings grade, and is less than 50% more expensive than the second-cheapest, "standard grade". The dry leaves are broken but in fairly large pieces, and are dark brown and look more or less similar to TT11 and TT15. They have an earthy aroma that is not particularly strong.
The brewed tea has an aroma which is rich and earthy, with a hint of dust-like tones reminiscent of Pu-erh. TT15 had faint suggestions of a rose-like floral quality, which is absent from this tea. Very, very mellow and smooth...much less bitterness than any of the lower grades, and also without much sourness or astringency. Yet full bodied. A decent tea but nothing outstanding.
Upton recommends using 1+ teaspoons, 190 degree water, and brewing for 3-4 minutes. I find that the tea is a bit bland if brewed in this manner...I prefer using just shy of 2 teaspoons and brewing for 5 minutes. You can make a second infusion, brewing for well over 5 minutes, but the second cup will be considerably less flavorful. Overall I don't think this tea is good for multiple infusions.
Bottom line? I personally think Upton stocks too many different grades of Taiwanese Oolong. They are so similar in price and flavor. The value for this particular tea isn't great because I found it was only really good for one brewing, and you needed to use more leaves to get a bold flavor.