Review: Alishan Charcoal Fire Heavy Roast Oolong

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CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A sweet and savory alternative to Lapsang Souchong. "
CJ’s Teaview: 10/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 7.5/10, Vanessa gave it 8/10
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As someone who doesn't like smoked teas AT ALL, I was wary of a tea that had "Charcoal Fire" in the name.  Lapsang Souchong is my nemesis.  I insult her every chance I get by calling her names like "ashtray breath" and "cough."  She just laughs.  She has plenty of other fans.  Besides, she's tough, having passed through a pine wood smoking ceremony before she even gets packaged.

This Alishan here, he was roasted, not smoked.  I say  "vive la différence."  In my book, that difference is like the one between  a nice golden, browned turkey and a burnt one. Roasted turkey has a savory piquancy, and so it was with this tea.

It possessed a subtly cooked flavor that quickly stepped aside to allow those honey, sweet, floral, buttery, nutty, oolong flavors to parade over the tongue.  Oolongs are almost always complex, but the complexity of this heavily roasted tea was extravagant.   It finished with a touch of astringency.

One would think brewing such a many-faceted gem would be complicated, but it was as easy as brewing any dark tea.  I used a full teaspoon of leaves for each six ounces of boiling water.  The liquid starts to taste good after about a minute.  I liked it best after about four minutes.  T-Oolong's website recommends no more than five minutes.

This is well worth the waiting time it takes to ship from Taiwan.  I rate it a 10.

— To purchase Alishan Charcoal Fire Heavy Roast Oolong, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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