Review: Canton Tea Ali Shan Oolong

Canton Tea Co., Oolong Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is one of the best floral oolongs I've come across. It provides a lively combination of various types of sweetness: fruity, floral and vegetal. Yum!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.3/10
Other Teaviews: Daniel gave it 9.2/10, Shaiha gave it 9.6/10
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cantonalishanThe folks at Canton Tea generously sent me some samples along with my last order. This outstanding oolong was among them. The leaves were harvested by a small farm, high on the slopes of Taiwan's Mount Ali Shan in the spring of 2012. The tea was then put through a medium roast and rolled into raisin-like pellets. It's aroma is a delicious mix of lilac, vanilla and honey.

I follow the instructions provided on the package, infusing a generous teaspoonful of leaf in 8 ounces of water heated to 80 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. I can smell the tea's creamy, floral aroma from across my kitchen. The pale gold cup has a vibrant buttery taste and feel, each sip being completely smooth. As it cools the flavours become increasingly sweet especially in the finish. Honeysuckle, sweet corn, vanilla, grilled peaches and sugar snap pea flavours all compete for attention. Complex but very gratifying, I could drink this all day!

I brew the leaves again for 4 minutes. The results are more “brothy” this time, with a subtle hint of fruit and flower to the finish. Occasionally a tart peach and apricot flavour appears. Otherwise it's fairly similar to the previous cup.

I manage to get 2 more decent steeps out of the leaves following a 5 and a half and a 7 minute-long infusion. The tea becomes increasingly grassy and nutty over time. The peach and vanilla overtones of the previous cups are more delicate but still present, even in my fourth cup. While not as brilliant as the first to brews, this tea is remarkably consistent from one steep to the next. Impressively huge and pristine trios of leaves have unfurled in my infuser.

This is one of the best floral oolongs I've come across. It provides a lively combination of various types of sweetness: fruity, floral and vegetal. My only gripe is the discrepancy between the brewing instructions on the website and on my sample's label. Both seemed to work equally well. This tea is a bit pricey but completely worthwhile, especially considering how many steeps can be had from each portion of leaves. Currently out of stock at the time of writing, lets hope that this spring's harvest brings about another stellar crop!

— To purchase Canton Tea Ali Shan 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.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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