High Mountain Oolong is a premium variety of Formosa oolong, native to the Ali Shan mountain region in Taiwan. Cultivated in mountain tea plantations, some as high as 8000 feet above sea level, High Mountain Alishan Oolongs grow in cool, cloudy, misty conditions. In the mountains’ higher reaches, ample cloud cover and a mild climate allow the leaves adequate time to develop their flavor. Just like fine wine estates, every fine Taiwanese tea plantation has its own microclimate – leading to its own unique yield of tea. The limited quantities in which they are produced, coupled with their slow growth rate, give High Mountain Oolongs their steep price tags.
How does High Mountain Oolong differ from other teas?
High Mountain Formosa Oolong is a lightly oxidized and highly aromatic tea. It has a rich mix of vegetal and floral notes – a direct result of its slow growth in the misty mountain tea plantations of eastern Taiwan. Typically harvested in the spring, High Mountain Oolong leaves are picked as a composite of one bud and two or three leaves. Curled up into small balls when dry, the tea unfurls as soft, jade green leaves once brewed.
Ali Shan Oolong varieties
There are two main tea cultivars from which Ali Shan Oolongs are typically produced. The Jin Xuan cultivar leads to a milky, buttery texture in the tea. The Qing Xin variety has a bolder taste that is fruity and floral rather than milky or creamy. Then again, Ali Shan teas take on new layers of flavor and depth when they are toasted. The specific fruity flavor in your batch of High Mountain Formosa Oolong will depend on its tea cultivar, the plantation it comes from, and the specific microclimate it encountered during cultivation, harvest, and processing.
WHAT DOES ALI SHAN OOLONG TASTE LIKE?
High Mountain Oolong makes for a brisk, fragrant sip, with a characteristic sweet aftertaste. It lies on the “greener side” of the oolong spectrum based on its light oxidation level. Predominantly “floral” at first, it develops “buttery” notes by the second or third steeping, finally settling into an “earthy” taste by the seventh or eighth iteration. Generally considered “light and refreshing,” High Mountain Oolong is a popular and “enjoyable every day tea.” Those who prefer stronger, toasty aromas and notes in their tea can find it a little too “mild and basic,” though. Commonly detected notes include peach, apricot, raisin, and orchid.
- Best of loose leaf High Mountain Oolongs last through multiple infusions (up to 7-8), gradually changing in flavor from floral, to buttery, to earthy. Steeping it for too long can bring in elements of bitterness and astringency. You can make the most of the tea’s delicate flavor by limiting the amount of tea you steep to about a gram per 50ml of water. Do not use boiling hot water; let the water cool down to keep any bitterness at bay.
- Also, try other types of Formosa Oolongs. From Oriental Beauty to Milk Oolong and Pouchong, Taiwanese oolongs are a world in themselves.
Where to buy the best Ali Shan Oolong online?
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Formosa Ali Shan
Ali Shan is a beautiful green oolong tea grown in the mountains of Taiwan, where high altitude slows plant growth, concentrating in its leaves great complexity and flavor. Its aroma is buttery and intoxicating floral, reminiscent of lilacs, the mark of an excellent green oolong. The golden-green liquor yields a layered, almost creamy cup, with notes of sweet honeysuckle and a whisper of a dry finish. Our Formosa Ali Shan may be steeped many times. Harvest: Spring 2019.
Award Winning Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea
Oolong King, highly aromatic, creamy, floral. The Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea is grown in Dayuling tea area at the altitude above 2500 meters, in which the climate is cold and forests grow well. This cold and moisture condition is suitable for tea trees growth. In addition, the soil here is fertile, meanwhile performs well in drainage. Thus the tea leaves carry a natural scent of flower and fruit.
Award Winning Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea
Milky, buttery, floral, sweet mouthfeel. Ali Shan Oolong Tea is a typical kind of Taiwan High Mountain Tea. The unique feature of Ali Shan Oolong Tea is the gardenia fragrance and natural milk aroma which is from the tea plant C. sinensis cv. Jinxuan (Tai Cha No.12). The main character of this tea is the fragrance of gardenia and milk.
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Isabelle is a freelance writer, self-taught tea nerd, and tea blending enthusiast. She is a herbalist with a strong interest in Ayurveda. Each year Isabelle travels extensively, returning with tea samples from around the world. She is a big fan of handmade teaware and Japanese green teas.