Jade Oolong (TT86)

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From Upton Tea

This is a Taiwanese Tung-Ting Oolong, characterized by a low amount of oxidation (18%). The dried leaves are green and tightly curled, and unfurl somewhat, but remain wrinkled, upon brewing. The leaves take up a great deal of space when unfurling--make sure you use a teapot or infuser that gives the leaves enough room to expand, as keeping the leaves from expanding can negatively impact the brewing by not allowing the flavors and aromas to diffuse into the water.

The tea brews a light golden color. The aroma is subtle and extremely mellow, more like a rather floral honey than like a tea. The flavor is very sweet, with almost no bitterness, sourness, or astringency. Whereas some Tung-Tings I've tried are a bit darker and richer tasting than this, this one is more like a Pouchong tea with less of an edge. It may be "greener" in color but it does not resemble any kind of green tea much at all. It also hardly resembles any of the darker oolongs--not even an amber oolong. While there is some richness and body, overall, it is thin and too weak. After drinking the whole cup, this tea leaves a bit of a fishy aroma, characteristic of some of the cheaper Pouchong teas I've tried, and I do not find it terribly pleasant.

Brewed as instructed, using slightly more than 1 teaspoon per cup, 3-4 min. at 180 degrees, I found this tea to be far too mellow for my enjoyment. I tried to get a second cup out of this, but it wasn't as enjoyable as the first, and given that the first was already too bland for my tastes, it was highly disappointing. I also tried brewing at a slightly higher temperature (still below boiling) and an unpleasant astringency came out, as well as some unpleasant characters to the aroma, and the overall pleasantness of the tea was destroyed. Perhaps using more leaves is necessary.

Bottom line? This tea is expensive, especially given that you need to use a liberal quantity of leaves in order to brew it well, that it is not good for multiple infusions, and that it is precariously difficult to brew well. And even when done right, it just doesn't have the boldness or subtlety of aroma to back it up. I greatly prefer the (much cheaper) Amber Oolong, and I have had very similar-tasting Pouchong teas from other sources that are much less expensive, and some of them I even think have more complexity than this one. Or try a greener Chinese oolong, again, much cheaper, and in my opinion, much more complexity.

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