|"Each infusion was so close to the ideal. Perhaps I initially mishandled the tea, setting up future brews for failure. Perhaps the tea was of a season's past and lost many of its subtleties. But I find it hard to believe the inherited qualities of the tea itself were the issue..."|
Jing Tea has seemed to have earned a sturdy and commendable reputation over the years, and I always look forward to my next go-round with any one of their teas. Better yet, I was able to sample one of my favorites: the addicting, Taiwenese oolong from the Alishan Mountain Range.
From first exposure, Jing’s very own Ali Shan is inviting, with tightly rolled leaves emanating an intoxicatingly sweet, floral, and especially creamy bouquet. The aroma is simply spot on with a desirable Ali Shan, and the compressed leaves promise multiple infusions with a similar flavor profile.
Sadly, the aroma is depressingly misleading, though I feel obliged to note immediately that the disappointment of the tea is probably primarily (if not entirely) due to the age and simple packaging of my particular sample. It is as a result difficult to assign in confidence a reliable rating and review to a respectable vendor’s surprisingly lackluster product.
Whatever the culprit, Jing’s Ali Shan is much more mineraly than expected and not so lush and saccharine. Without a doubt, the tea still holds strong orchid notes, but this is in spite of a plainer, almost thinner brew than that of a leading Ali Shan. There is still some sweetness as well – almost that of vanilla – that can be enjoyed for the first three or four infusions with a gongfu brewing method. But infusions had to be long, thus disintegrating any chance for a long-lasting session and crowding out the best of high elevation, Taiwanese oolongs in favor of a harsher and less complex liquor.
Each infusion was so close to the ideal. Perhaps I initially mishandled the tea, setting up future brews for failure. Perhaps the tea was of a season’s past and lost many of its subtleties. But I find it hard to believe the inherited qualities of the tea itself were the issue, primarily because of the quintessential aroma and secondly because of my consistent and repeated satisfaction with Jing. Despite the relatively average rating assigned, I hope for both the sake of buyers and those at Jing Tea that I’m wrong on this one. Honestly, there’s a strong likelihood that I am.
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