Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Taiwan Bai Hao Oolong (Teavivre)

And this is it! The last review in my marathon of Teavivre samples! (Just you wait, there's probably a new box waiting at the post office as we speak.) This tea commonly goes by two names: bai hao (白毫 - white tips) or Eastern/Oriental beauty (东方美人 - dōng fāng měi rén).

This oolong only comes from Xinzhu in Taiwan, and while not technically organic, is grown without pesticides, as a production step of this tea is to be bitten by a variety of leafhopper. This bug bite creates a chemical reaction in the leaf that starts oxidation before the leaves are even picked.

The leaves are large, twisted and the colour of dark chocolate, with a generous amount of fuzzy white tips. The leaves have a woody, malty aroma with just a wee hint of orchid.

First steeping brings a liquor that is a deep orange, with an aroma of raisins, malt and honey. There's a bracing astringency, with honey sweetness paired with an earnest earthy note. There's raisins, caramel, and fruit all on the tongue, with malty raisin in the aftertaste.

Second steeping is lighter in colour and has an enticing spiced honey aroma. There's more fruit and honey on the tongue, with almost a suggestion of maple. The astringency has vanished, but there still is a gentle earthiness and malty aftertaste, almost to the point of being smoky. I'm really enjoying this tea.

Taiwan Bai Hao Oolong at Teavivre

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