Review: Mountain Tea Imperial Pearl

Mountain Tea, Oolong Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is truly a spectacular oolong. The chocolate/plum dimension of the flavour profile is particularly tasty. Highly recommended!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.6/10
Other Teaviews: Alexa gave it 9/10, Raven gave it 8.9/10, Shaiha gave it 8.1/10
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mountainteaimperialpearlThis rare Taiwanese tea is part of a new wave of heavily oxidized oolongs. Winner of awards at the North American Tea Championship in 2011 and 2012, it promises “notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, malt sugar, honey, and orange peel”. The rolled leaves are a dark olive green hue. They are quite small, about the size of red lentils. Their aroma is what is most striking to me though. Its sweet, savoury and nutty tones smell almost exactly like a chocolate peanut butter cup to me. Drool!

I infused 3 grams of leaf in 8 ounces of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 1 and a half minutes. The resulting cup has an enticing chocolate and smoke aroma. The liquor is a reddish brown - surprisingly dark, almost like a black tea's colouring. Taking a sip, the flavours are robust but smooth, reminding me of a young red wine. The top notes are somewhat chocolatey, followed by some honey, plum and black currant notes. The lingering aftertaste is sweet and a touch floral. All in all, this oolong made for quite a satisfying cuppa, strong enough to please even black tea drinkers, but not so rugged as to need milk and/or sugar.

I infused the leaves again for 2 minutes. This steep was relatively similar to the first, only with more plum and less cocoa to it. The mouth feel is also thinner and dryer. It's a little less decadent but very pleasant nonetheless.

I try steeping the leaves a third time for 3 minutes. The tea is rougher and thinner in feel still, especially in the top notes. Fortunately the mineral roughness mellows out as it cools. The finish blends caramel, malt and cinnamon notes, so the steep is well worth it.

My fourth brew clocks in at 4 and a half minutes. The woody top notes are followed by mild sweet potato, malt, and caramel flavours. The finish has developed a tang that is reminiscent of vanilla yogourt. This cup is impressively good, especially considering this is a fourth steep.

I infuse my final, fifth cup for 6 minutes. The faint malt-flavoured top notes recede quickly. This cup is all about the sweet, lingering finish. I am reminded of orange zest, ginger ale and lilac. The feel is much thinner, so I decide to stop. Given the strength of the finish, another decent steep could probably be pulled from the leaves though.

I can confirm that this is truly a spectacular oolong. It's in a similar vein to Chinese black teas, being robust but smooth and sweet. The chocolate/plum dimension of the flavour profile is particularly tasty. This tea is a bit pricey but it's available in a range of formats, making it easier to experiment without breaking the bank. Highly recommended!

— To purchase Mountain Tea Imperial Pearl, 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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