Review: Norbu Tea 2010 Winter Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong

Norbu Tea, Oolong Tea Add comments
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It's what bottled spring water should taste like."
Katie’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9.5/10
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I know I've gushed about them before, but I feel the need here to once again say: I love Norbu. They don't just label a tea with its name; they tell you the harvest season, elevation, oxidisation, preparation directions, etc. etc. This isn't just an Ali Shan. It's a Winter 2010 harvest Ali Shan, grown at 1500 metres and oxidised 20%. I feel like I have more experience with spring/summer/blended harvest high-mountain oolongs, but since the majority of companies don't give harvest season, that's just a guess.

The leaves are gorgeous, giant aqua-coloured balls flecked with bronze. They smell amazing, like grapes, berries, spice, and hay. With a leaf so rich in colour and scent, I'll be shocked if the flavour doesn't measure up.

I put 6 grams of leaf into a pre-heated 80 mL porcelain gaiwan and steep at 180° for 25 seconds. After being strained, the leaf smells brilliantly sweet and creamy. The cup is perfectly smooth with a sweet aftertaste. It is milky and floral. Crisp, with an unmuddled flavour, it's surprisingly refreshing.

Steep two: 30 seconds. There's a savoury quality to the scent and flavour, almost like umami. It is floral and sweet, which tapers out in the third steep, replaced with a more mineral flavour. It's what bottled spring water should taste like, but usually doesn't. Crisp and refreshing, I find myself craving more with every sip.

Steep 4: 60 seconds. It is much richer than before. The mineral flavour is more present, and there's a lingering vegetal taste. It settles in the stomach nicely, making it easy to fill the craving this tea has created for more tea.

Steep 5: 80 seconds. 6: 95 sec. 7: 2minutes. 8: 3min. 9: 4min. The tea probably could have lasted another steep or two, but at this point my Zojirushi ran out of hot water, and I was too lazy to boil the other kettle. Pathetic, I know, but I am really quite satisfied to leave the tea at this point. Another fantastic leaf from another fantastic company.

— To purchase Norbu Tea 2010 Winter Ali Shan High Mountain 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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