Review: Origin Tea Shan Lin Xi Yang Zi Wan (B) Winter 2012

Oolong Tea, Origin Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This oolong provides many satisfying steeps, and many surprising twists and turns, including delicious salted caramel notes. Fans of sweet oolongs will not be disappointed!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Shaiha gave it 8/10
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OriginTealogoThere are two lightly oxidized oolongs from the same village currently on offer at Origin tea. While the high altitude terroir is the same, the farms, processors and roasters are not, making for an interesting taste test. Up for review today is Offering B. For all the details on it's neighbour A, click here. It's leaves have been tightly rolled into pea-sized nuggets. Their scent is infused with strong toffee and soya sauce notes. This odd and surprising mix has me very intrigued.

Origin Tea recommends brewing their oolongs gongfu style. To do so I infused 4 grams of leaf in 60ml of water, heated to 95 degrees Celsius. After a brief rinse, I brewed my first steep for 15 seconds. The pale greenish-gold cup has a mild floral perfume. Taking a sip, the top notes are surprisingly salty, reminiscent of fleur de sel caramel. These quickly give way to gentle green bean and bell pepper notes. Some tart apricot and peach flavours also make an appearance. The cup lacks some depth to make it truly fantastic, but as a first steep, it's rather impressive.

I brew the leaves again for 30 seconds. The hints of caramel are now more evenly distributed throughout the sip. The fruit flavours are also stronger, lingering in the finish and the aftertaste, making this cup much sweeter than the previous. There is a touch of astringency present, but it seems to add to the flavour profile, rather than detract from it.

After a 45 second steep, my third cup is smoother and more traditional. The salted caramel notes have almost disappeared, leaving buttery greens and a long floral aftertaste to take their place. The feel is rounder, with more depth of flavour. This is a very satisfying cup overall, even without the flash of the savoury flavours.

I manage to pull two more interesting steeps from the leaves, following a 1 and 1 and a half minute long steep. The results are mildly sweet and planty, with some fennel and green banana notes. The feel remains completely smooth until the end. I could probably pull another decent steep from the leaves, given enough time.

Less conventional than it's neighbour, this oolong features delicious and unusual salted caramel notes. The leaves provide many satisfying steeps, with many surprising twists and turns. It's a bit intense to drink every day but it makes for a nice break from the ordinary. Fans of sweet oolongs will not be disappointed!

— To purchase Origin Tea Shan Lin Xi Yang Zi Wan (B) Winter 2012, 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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