When first starting to brew tea with attention, I had the tendency to shoot for maximum potency in brews. Something about wanting the tea to make a grand impression on my senses, something about not being at all subtle. I quickly learned to be more conservative when starting to experiment with young sheng puerh. After a few nausea-inducing sessions, I changed my whole approach to tea and erred on the side of leaving plenty of open space in the pot for the leaves to relax and unfurl. Insipid brews encouraged longer steeping times.
But each tea requires its own peculiar parameters to coax it into giving up its best. In the case of two more Hong Shui oolongs from the Lugu environs, a thicker brew proves better. I acquired both teas from Stephane of Teamasters blog.
One is a winter 2010 high mountain oolong from Feng Huang. I had a few sessions with this tea and the finest was when I added a little extra leaf to the pot. (Covering the bottom plus a small heap more) The more leaf-laden brews yielded a bright fruit taste during the first few infusions that was either non-existent or subdued in more judicious leaf-to-water ratios. Being over-generous with leaves might ravage the mouth and throat- as is the case with certain potent Bulang bings sourced by the Essence of Tea folks- then again one might just uncover something that was hidden before by pushing things a bit.
Here's this Feng Huang oolong with it's pretty winter-gold stems:
The other Hong Shui oolong was grown at lower elevations on Yi Guang Shan, which Stephane writes is halfway between the heights of Shan Lin Shi and the lower reaches of Zhu Shan. This tea is quite affordable (half the price of the Feng Huang), and very smooth and pure. I often dislike the lower elevation Taiwan oolongs. More often than not they seem a bit empty of anything other than a candy-sweet quality that I find unpleasant. Not so with this tea. While it lacks the content of the Feng Huang and the Shan Lin Shi that I wrote about earlier, it has a soothing honeyed fruit flavor that is greatly enhanced when a decent amount of leaf is used.
|Yi Guang Shan|
Thanks to Stephane and the farmers for the abundance of pleasure they have provided through the years.
|ALOT of strawberry plants grown with garlic to ward off insects in Zhunan, Miaoli CO.|